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The Joy of Stability


raymac46
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My younger granddaughter does her schoolwork on a desktop system that is older than she is. It was my go-to desktop until a couple of years ago when it could not be supported by Windows any longer. It's a Sandy Bridge i5 with 16 GB of RAM, a 1 TB SSD and an Nvidia 1060 GPU. It runs Linux like an Olympic sprint champion.

I installed Linux Mint Cinnamon for her. Her parents never update but I automated the security stuff. They never shut the system down either so it chugs away all the time.

Yesterday I upgraded it to Linux Mint  21 - an in place upgrade. Downloaded and installed over 2000 packages including Nvidia drivers for Linux. Everything went perfectly.

I know a lot of Linux users consider Linux Mint to be boring and conservative, but for my granddaughter there's a lot to be said for stability and reliability. The desktop PC is built like a tank, and its O/S is also pretty bulletproof.

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V.T. Eric Layton
1 minute ago, securitybreach said:

Nice, I always suggest LinuxMint to beginners.

 

Yup... I install Ubuntu or Mint on my "converts" computers. Other than my ol' lady friend, who still runs Windows, I feel very much like the Maytag repairman these days. I rarely ever hear any of my converts calling with computer problems, and when they do, like my brother, it's usually a hardware issue, not the OS.

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I don't always go around wearing a belt and suspenders. I run and maintain both Debian Testing and Arch Linux installs on appropriate equipment. However if I need a distro for a new user I'll always go with Linux Mint if the system will run it well.

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Glad all went well, raymac.  When you installed Linux Mint-Cinnamon, was that the first time using Linux for her?  If so, what did she think assuming she came from using Windows?  Everyone that I've talked Linux with seems to think they would never be able to use it.....they think it's too complicated and it doesn't look familiar, which I reckon is the biggest factor.  But it can look familiar...  For years I tried getting my dad to cross over but he was concerned, and rightly so that my mom would not be able to get the hang of it.  Looking back, what I should have done is given them a Live Distro of Ubuntu or Mint to test drive.  Oh well....  Everyone, have a great week....kinda damp here in S.E. Virginia

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The kids are familiar with Linux Mint because they use it on another desktop system I have here when they come visit. Linux has never been a problem for them as they mostly work in the Google Chrome ecosystem and are familiar with Chrome OS as well. I've installed LM for many Windows 7 refugees in the neighborhood. If seniors have old Windows programs they must have I usually install Wine and that will work in a lot of cases. One guy had an ancient genealogy program that wouldn't work in Windows 7 but worked fine using Wine.

Nowadays if a senior needs a new system I wonder if it wouldn't be best to recommend a Chromebook.

Edited by raymac46
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29 minutes ago, wa4chq said:

Glad all went well, raymac.  When you installed Linux Mint-Cinnamon, was that the first time using Linux for her?  If so, what did she think assuming she came from using Windows?  Everyone that I've talked Linux with seems to think they would never be able to use it.....they think it's too complicated and it doesn't look familiar, which I reckon is the biggest factor.  But it can look familiar...  For years I tried getting my dad to cross over but he was concerned, and rightly so that my mom would not be able to get the hang of it.  Looking back, what I should have done is given them a Live Distro of Ubuntu or Mint to test drive.  Oh well....  Everyone, have a great week....kinda damp here in S.E. Virginia

I'm 83 and live in a 400 unit apt bldg for the elderly.  I've installed various versions of Linux Mint on my neighbors computers over the years and the only time any of them have had a problem is when they have a "must have" Windows app that wouldn't run on Linux.  So long as someone who knows how to setup Mint installs it for them, coming from XP to Mint is easier than from XP to Win7 or Win10.  Even the "must have" problem can be solved if the machine has enough power to use VirtualBox.

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It is very hard to overcome the "legacy inertia" of a senior Windows user. Most folks I have installed Linux for have bought new Linux laptops to replace an old XP or Windows 7 desktop and they don't want to junk the older PC. Usually they like Linux but they find it "difficult" to maintain and so run obsolete versions. They always think they can download software from the Web and use it as they do with Windows.

They don't trust Linux because they didn't pay for it. That's why maybe it's better they buy a cheap Chromebook.

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8 hours ago, raymac46 said:

It is very hard to overcome the "legacy inertia" of a senior Windows user. Most folks I have installed Linux for have bought new Linux laptops to replace an old XP or Windows 7 desktop and they don't want to junk the older PC. Usually they like Linux but they find it "difficult" to maintain and so run obsolete versions. They always think they can download software from the Web and use it as they do with Windows.

They don't trust Linux because they didn't pay for it. That's why maybe it's better they buy a cheap Chromebook.

IMO, a Chromebook is much harder for an elderly person to learn than Mint.  Also, Chromebooks cease being updated after a given period of time.  Linux Mint updates are much easier than Windows and it is nowhere near as important.  I have yet to see and old version of Mint become malware infected.  In addition, most old XP machines can easily be converted to Mint.

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You probably would have to automate the LM updates for your average senior to keep it up to date, if my experience is generally applicable. If you can do that, great but it was tough during the pandemic. I would much rather see a senior buy a new Chromebook than one of the cheap Windows laptops they often get. Those are painfully slow to begin with and get worse. If converting an old XP machine, Linux is the way to go, but 32 bit machines are getting harder to justify keeping in service.

 

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-reasons-chromebooks-perfect-computer-elderly-person/

Edited by raymac46
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Hedon James
1 hour ago, raymac46 said:

You probably would have to automate the LM updates for your average senior to keep it up to date, if my experience is generally applicable. If you can do that, great but it was tough during the pandemic. I would much rather see a senior buy a new Chromebook than one of the cheap Windows laptops they often get. Those are painfully slow to begin with and get worse. If converting an old XP machine, Linux is the way to go, but 32 bit machines are getting harder to justify keeping in service.

 

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-reasons-chromebooks-perfect-computer-elderly-person/

Agreed.  But if you have one, and it's still serviceable, with at least 4GB RAM, AntiX and BunsenLabs (both Debian based) are excellent choices that perform better than whatever the original OS was.  AntiX uses the Windows paradigm (mostly) but BunsenLabs does not.  However, just install "lxpanel", add the lxpanel, and configure it for the Windows paradigm.  I say "lxpanel" because it's GTK based, but the QT based lxqt-panel would also work fine.  Both are extremely lightweight; and modular enough to NOT pull in an entire desktop metapackage.  FWIW...

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7 hours ago, raymac46 said:

You probably would have to automate the LM updates for your average senior to keep it up to date, if my experience is generally applicable. If you can do that, great but it was tough during the pandemic. I would much rather see a senior buy a new Chromebook than one of the cheap Windows laptops they often get. Those are painfully slow to begin with and get worse. If converting an old XP machine, Linux is the way to go, but 32 bit machines are getting harder to justify keeping in service.

 

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-reasons-chromebooks-perfect-computer-elderly-person/

Why would you need to automate a process that just requires a couple of mouse clicks and entering a simple password?  When the shield shows red, you click it, click "Install" and enter the password and bingo, you're done.  There may be some seniors incapable of that but most of us aren't suffering from dementia.😉

Edited by Bookmem
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I am simply reporting what I have observed with many seniors where I have installed Linux. If I don't go back and do upgrades or updates they don't get done. I would assume it would be the same way with Windows Updates if they were not automated. @Bookmem You are an experienced Linux user but not many folks I have helped out are in this category. Even my own daughter and SIL don't do Linux updates that regularly and they are not seniors.

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@HJ I would consider installing Linux on a 32 bit machine simply a proof of concept - much like an install I did on a Pentium 133 laptop 15 years ago - no CD, no USB, used plug-in Ethernet and floppy disk. The last 32 bit PCs I had were netbooks from 2008. Both had painfully slow storage and less than 2 GB of RAM. I had antiX on them before recycling.

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45 minutes ago, raymac46 said:

I am simply reporting what I have observed with many seniors where I have installed Linux. If I don't go back and do upgrades or updates they don't get done. I would assume it would be the same way with Windows Updates if they were not automated. @Bookmem You are an experienced Linux user but not many folks I have helped out are in this category. Even my own daughter and SIL don't do Linux updates that regularly and they are not seniors.

 

45 minutes ago, raymac46 said:

I am simply reporting what I have observed with many seniors where I have installed Linux. If I don't go back and do upgrades or updates they don't get done. I would assume it would be the same way with Windows Updates if they were not automated. @Bookmem You are an experienced Linux user but not many folks I have helped out are in this category. Even my own daughter and SIL don't do Linux updates that regularly and they are not seniors.

 

45 minutes ago, raymac46 said:

I am simply reporting what I have observed with many seniors where I have installed Linux. If I don't go back and do upgrades or updates they don't get done. I would assume it would be the same way with Windows Updates if they were not automated. @Bookmem You are an experienced Linux user but not many folks I have helped out are in this category. Even my own daughter and SIL don't do Linux updates that regularly and they are not seniors.

Sorry about the triple quote.  I'm just waking up and didn't realize I done so.  But let me ask this question, did anyone of them suffer from not updating?  IOW, did they have malware problems?  And did you show them how simple it is to update Mint?  Linux gives people the CHOICE of whether or not to update.  Windows' forced (automated) updating is VERY intrusive IMO.

 

edit: Wait!!  I just noticed the red dot on my update icon.  Took less the 5 seconds to accomplish the update.

Edited by Bookmem
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V.T. Eric Layton
3 hours ago, raymac46 said:

what I have observed with many seniors where I have installed Linux. If I don't go back and do upgrades or updates they don't get done.

 

This is my experience, also. Everyone I've converted to Ubuntu or Mint have their updates set by me to happen automagically. So far, no issues with that. :)

 

I have one elderly lady (a pal's mom) who didn't want to "do" Linux when here Windows system failed. I recommended the Chromebook to her. She's been using it without a glitch for nearly three years now. It still does automatic updates; even the browsers are updated regularly. I usually check the situation with her Chromebook whenever I visit her. She says it's the most carefree computer experience she's ever had. She also says that she just completely stop using computers or the Internet if she has to go back to Windows. ;)

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V.T. Eric Layton

Well, there were enough typos in that post above. Maybe that's my limit for the day. Always good to get that out of the way early. ;)

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Admittedly I have a small sample size but Bookmem is right none who have received a Linux install have had malware problems - and I did show them how to update. I just found it less hassle overall to automate security updates and make sure. Windows users I have helped out did get scareware, ransomware or phishing malware - or if they did not, they were paranoid about getting hacked. We have a well informed community here and that it sadly not the case out in userland.

If a person in my aquaintance has old hardware they want to repurpose I'd always recommend Linux - but I've enjoyed my personal Chromebook and I would have no hesitation recommending one to the average Web surfer who might otherwise buy a cheap wimpy and slow Windows laptop.

Edited by raymac46
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Hedon James
On 1/25/2023 at 8:52 AM, raymac46 said:

@HJ I would consider installing Linux on a 32 bit machine simply a proof of concept - much like an install I did on a Pentium 133 laptop 15 years ago - no CD, no USB, used plug-in Ethernet and floppy disk. The last 32 bit PCs I had were netbooks from 2008. Both had painfully slow storage and less than 2 GB of RAM. I had antiX on them before recycling.

That's why I mention "at least 4GB RAM", as I think that's probably the minimum needed to cruise the internet today with a modern browser.  truth on what you said though, and all the netbooks I crossed paths with couldn't be upgraded.  Not to mention that even if you had a 64bit netbook, it often required a 32bit shim for the bootloader....can't remember exactly; just that it was a nightmare to get those machines converted to linux.  and even if successful, they were still slow and sluggish.  imagine if the user kept Windows OEM on those machines.  in theory, those netbooks were a fantastic idea.  in reality, the implementation was so bungled that it killed netbooks, IMO.  But out of the ashes arose Chromebooks....which address nearly every issue that netbook users experienced.

 

Still not a fan of the "cloud-based" experience, as it's just a modern take on "dumb terminals" and a main/room server.  I'll maintain my own data, thank you for very much.

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15 hours ago, raymac46 said:

Admittedly I have a small sample size but Bookmem is right none who have received a Linux install have had malware problems - and I did show them how to update. I just found it less hassle overall to automate security updates and make sure. Windows users I have helped out did get scareware, ransomware or phishing malware - or if they did not, they were paranoid about getting hacked. We have a well informed community here and that it sadly not the case out in userland.

If a person in my aquaintance has old hardware they want to repurpose I'd always recommend Linux - but I've enjoyed my personal Chromebook and I would have no hesitation recommending one to the average Web surfer who might otherwise buy a cheap wimpy and slow Windows laptop.

It may be because I have a plethera of other devices, but I have a touchscreen Chromebook and never use it.   I can see how it could be a good compromise device, but I'm a strong believer in "the right tool for the job" and use different devices for different purposes.  To me, the Chromebook isn't the right tool for any particular task.

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Aside from the Atom processors the last Intel 32 bit CPU was made around 2006. A mobo from that era may be able to max out at 4 GB DDR, but it'll have ugly video and probably SATA1 so upgrading the hard drive to an SSD will be a waste of time. You will get a floppy drive though. :w00tx100:

My oldest junker in service now has a Core 2 Duo E8400, 8 GB of DDR2, SSD SATA2 and an Nvidia GTX950. I had to update the BIOS to get 8GB of RAM support. It's tolerable for light use but I wouldn't want it for any mission critical stuff.

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The Chromebook I have is quite powerful - runs as well as a Windows laptop with Ryzen 5 3500U. It has great battery life and works well as a couch surfing appliance. I wouldn't want it to do all my computing either. The grandkids like it because everything they do is in the Google Education ecosystem.

My wife has a friend who does nothing but browser surf and web email. She is familiar with Chrome. But she would need a 17 inch screen as her sight is not too good. I'd feel comfortable recommending a Chromebook for her, although she could still get scareware with it.

In my view the Chromebook is a vast improvement over the netbook of a decade ago, and I like it better than a tablet or phone for casual surfing.

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V.T. Eric Layton
2 hours ago, Bookmem said:

..."the right tool for the job" and use different devices for different purposes. 

 

To me, the Chromebook isn't the right tool for any particular task.

 

As to the first statement above, yes. I'm that way also. However, I've also learned the value of improvising when it comes to tools/projects; not necessarily talking strictly about computering here, though.

 

About the second statement above: the friend's mom I mention above whom I recommended the Chromebook to does precisely two things on that computer. She visits with her friends and family on FaceBook and she uses her bank's online bill pay to pay her household bills. That's it. Chromebook has been a perfect tool for her for her needs. :)

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V.T. Eric Layton

A side note here...

 

Of course, my main (and only) negative thought about Chromebook is that it's Google. I'm not a big fan of Google. Do no weevil. :hysterical:

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I started out in this thread talking about how nice Linux Mint is and ended up talking about the good things in owning a Chromebook. Nothing like topic creep, huh? BTW, if I had to summarize my worldview:

 

  1. If you want to game with train sims, do your income tax or finances, or there's some other program you can't use without it, run Windows.
  2. If you have old hardware you want to keep in service, or you want to keep your mind active, run Linux.
  3. If your grandkids work with Google, or you want to be able to support Chrome OS, or you want something for content consumption that's better than a tablet, investigate a Chromebook.

It's all good.

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Hedon James
14 hours ago, raymac46 said:

I started out in this thread talking about how nice Linux Mint is and ended up talking about the good things in owning a Chromebook. Nothing like topic creep, huh? BTW, if I had to summarize my worldview:

 

  1. If you want to game with train sims, do your income tax or finances, or there's some other program you can't use without it, run Windows.
  2. If you have old hardware you want to keep in service, or you want to keep your mind active, run Linux.
  3. If your grandkids work with Google, or you want to be able to support Chrome OS, or you want something for content consumption that's better than a tablet, investigate a Chromebook.

It's all good.

 

Mostly agree, except as follows:

  1. If you want to game with train sims, do your income tax or finances, or there's some other program you can't use without it, run Windows.
  2. If you work in the professional field of graphic design and/or artistic creation, use MacOS.
  3. If your grandkids work with Google, or you want to be able to support Chrome OS, or you want something for content consumption that's better than a tablet, investigate a Chromebook.
  4. In ALL other use cases, just run Linux.

There, fixed it for you!  😎

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I left out MacOS because I am the world's worst artist - it's my personal worldview after all. :hysterical: I avoid the Apple ecosystem the same way many folks stay away from Google.

But in general terms you are correct.

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V.T. Eric Layton
17 hours ago, raymac46 said:

It's all good.

 

I'm a big fan of "use what works best for you!" :)

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abarbarian
On 1/27/2023 at 2:07 PM, raymac46 said:

I avoid the Apple ecosystem

 

As my bank manager says I can not afford to buy Apple products and food at the same time. So naturally I choose to buy food. 😎

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securitybreach
On 1/26/2023 at 5:38 PM, raymac46 said:

I started out in this thread talking about how nice Linux Mint is and ended up talking about the good things in owning a Chromebook. Nothing like topic creep, huh? BTW, if I had to summarize my worldview:

 

  1. If you want to game with train sims...

 

Looks like it works pretty well on popular train sims games (from protondb):

 

5Y2WOyM.png

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