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Ubuntu Linux

Ask Slashdot: Easiest Linux Distro For a Newbie 622

anymooseposter writes "My mom is taking a computer class at the local Community College. she asks: 'I need to download a Linux OS and try it out for class. The assignment is to use an OS different from what you normally use. Well, since I use Windows and OS X, the assignment suggests Linux. But, my question is, what is the easiest version based on Linux for me to put on CD and try? I saw several on the web. Any thoughts off the top of your head?' What Linux Disto would be easiest to set up without having to resort to dual booting and/or driver issues?"
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Ask Slashdot: Easiest Linux Distro For a Newbie

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  • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @08:20PM (#36677528)

    I agree. My grandparents, my 80 year old (retired air-force mechanic) neighbour, my Aunt and Uncles all use Ubuntu and have never even used a CLI.

    In my experience non-technical people have no more difficulty adapting to Ubuntu than they do upgrading from XP to Win7. Additionally, Gnome's drag n drop threshold is great for people with shaky hands, but I would suggest increasing the window border size for ease of resizing (1px resize regions?! Are you MAD?). It seems the biggest hurdle keeping average folks from using Linux is just lack of exposure.

    Once I introduce them to the Application repository ("Oh, so it's a free App Store?", yes Grandma, to you it is...), and set updates to install automatically they're all set. Hell, it's so easy that my Grandpa "accidentally" upgraded to the latest LTS version.

    I even install Linux instead of Win7 for my friends and family: "Try Linux out first; It's free, so why not? If you don't like we can always buy the Windows7 upgrade later." Even if someone goes with Windows, or OSX, there's no real reason not to have a Linux boot option just in case the other OS gets hosed -- This has saved me "urgent" weekend visits more times than I can count, and some folks choose to stick with Linux afterwards, heh.

    Now my friends and relatives call me just to talk instead of also guiltily dropping hints that they need me to fix their computers...

  • by Wandering Fire ( 2214566 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @10:09PM (#36678450)
    I would like to clarify what you said because I installed Win7 myself. It comes in a box with DVDs for 32 and 64 bit. For a lot of people (not me) it may be hard to find out what version you want to install. The install took at least an hour of rebooting and took place in low resolution. Then you can create your account. Then you need to install updates (reboot). Then when you open windows again, THERE ARE MORE UPDATES WHICH MEANS I HAVE TO REBOOT AGAIN!!! Almost every time I open windows, there are updates. And even if I can read the license code, it's still a pain. And then I need to go hunting around the internet for all the apps I need. So in short: no USB key, no 15 minute install, you don't get the apps you need preinstalled, and the license code IS a pain. Don't bother with Windows. Get a Mac or Linux.
  • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @10:24PM (#36678572)

    So try something more different (and better) than linux:

    plan9 or inferno.

    Inferno can just run inside windows or OSX.

  • by RMingin ( 985478 ) on Wednesday July 06, 2011 @10:31PM (#36678636) Homepage
    Even better: Get unetbootin, use that to put Ubuntu on a nice big thumbdrive, and allocate a few GB for persistence. It's as close to a portable install as I've ever seen.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein