Linux for my dad?

Discussion in 'Other Operating Systems' started by gruntLOL, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. gruntLOL

    gruntLOL Member

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    Hey all we have a spare laptop at work that used to be used in the factory but for some reason we got new ones recently and this thing is perfect. Well aside from the fact that it runs really slow, which is simply just because it needs a format.

    To be honest it has a windows XP OEM key but like with all the laptops we get it NEVER seems to come with the XD CD, and I am sick of looking for one, not to mention getting them from the usual places doesn't bode well with me given that we will be accessing work material with it.....p2p just gives me the heeby jeebies sometimes.

    Anyway I digress. So I thought that maybe getting Ubuntu desktop would be good for dad, he really only wants a word editor (open office) and an outlook substitute (I'm sure there is one out there).

    My only main concerns are:

    A) Will getting drivers be an issue? The laptop is an Acer Aspire 3624WXCi. Where would I look for these drivers?

    B) My dad is not entirely computer literate (he still types with two fingers here at work and it makes me cry). I know Ubuntu desktop is quite forgiving I used an older version myself and found it not to be an issue really. I am just wondering will it be too far removed from normal windows that my dad won't be able to find anything? I sometimes take this for granted as I pick things up easily.

    C) Will I get good cross compatibility saving items in say open office then opening them back up in word 2007 here at work?

    That's pretty much it. I would really like to fiddle around with Ubuntu but not sure if dad will cope too well.
     
  2. cleary

    cleary Mental in the Face

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    The vast majority of drivers for linux come prepackaged as part of your kernel.
    Ubuntu has a pretty handy driver finder for non-free drivers/firmware that is additionally required by your hardware.

    As such, getting a newer kernel will give you, in general, better hardware support. So aim for the ubuntu 9.10 beta which just got released, or 9.04 if that gives you dramas.

    The best thing you can do is give it a shot - I'd be surprised if everything doesn't just work fine out of the box.
     
  3. bojo

    bojo Member

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    a) Best way is to just test. Grab a live CD, chuck it in and see what happens.

    b) It's hard to tell. Personally i have no problem with gnome/osx/windows. Once again, maybe the live cd might be good. Chuck it in, tell him to have a shot.

    Sometimes less pc-literate people are better, people seem to learn windows, and then dislike anything that changes, if either way he has to learn stuff, then it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    c) This might be problems. OO works pretty damn good with .doc, so if you save as .doc and open it in office you'll be fine.

    Personally i find it stuffs up big time with .docx. So just try to avoid .docx and you'll be fine.

    (also remember to maybe set OO default saving thing as .doc. It gets annoying when you relized you just sent an .odt to someone, so you have to save it again)
     
  4. OP
    OP
    gruntLOL

    gruntLOL Member

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    Are all their distros live CD's? Don't want to burn dads cap here at work (for some reason this month we have got super close.....still not too sure why no virus's or anything though hrm) anyway our ISP hosts the distros so we can get them via unmetered content I just want to make sure its live before I download it and boot into it.
     
  5. bojo

    bojo Member

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    Most of the ubuntu ones are default live cd. (i'd say you'd be aiming for the basic ubuntu 32bit cd for 9.04 right now).

    They do have 'alternate' cd's, in case the live cd doesn't work, but at that point i'd probably bail on the idea of using it if the live cd didn't work in the machine.

    Should be no problem grapping it off the isp unmetered content though. (i love my isp for doing that). On this note, if you decide you like the distro etc, make sure to point it's repos at your isp's one. I have like 4 or so ubuntu machines, and they all get updates from my isp, and whenever i want new software, it's no only free price wise, but free quota wise too. :D Still makes me smile.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    gruntLOL

    gruntLOL Member

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    Thanks, will do, still considering swapping my file server to linux for a fun little weekend project but the laptop I am currently using just seems to run so perfectly with winXP, utorrent + scheduler on that I don't want to touch it. Plus last time I think I tried to network my current windows machine to map a network drive on a linux machine and it was a pain, I was using server then though so no GUI....will let you know how I go with it all.

    Can you recommend a Microsoft Outlook alternative?
     
  7. HyRax1

    HyRax1 ¡Viva la Resolutión!

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    Evolution is probably the closest you'll get to Outlook and it can talk to Exchange servers too.
     
  8. IKT

    IKT Member

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    http://shaun.homelinux.org/laptop/acer3624.html

    Had great support back in ubuntu 6.06 so I imagine almost everything will work out of the box with 9.10.

    With regards to B) the best thing I would do is just be there for support, nothing turns people off computers quicker than having a problem and having no one to turn to for help.
     
  9. Crinos

    Crinos Member

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    Yeah it really depends what server you're talking to. In any case OTHER than Exchange, I'd use Thunderbird, but it's pretty trivial getting Evolution to talk to Exchange(native MAPI even!)

    POP/IMAP server = Thunderbird
    Exchange server = Evolution
     
  10. OP
    OP
    gruntLOL

    gruntLOL Member

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    yeah its just a pop3 ISP mail account, thanks mate will try and look it up at 64kb/s a second as I cant wait till tomorrow :D
     
  11. Soarer GT

    Soarer GT Member

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    As part of the handover, you should really create him a gmail account that auto-pops the ISP email and then move all the existing email to the gmail account.

    Nothing worse than losing all your emails.
     
  12. Swathe

    Swathe (Banned or Deleted)

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    I totally agree. This is the best option by and far.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    gruntLOL

    gruntLOL Member

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    Hrmm I will speak to dad about that, I get duplicates of all his emails on my machine but delete them as they are on his so it sounds like a good idea.

    I would like to set up my own email account for here at work too as I need my own account but I think I need to contact my ISP to get a second address @ourdomain.com
     
  14. OP
    OP
    gruntLOL

    gruntLOL Member

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    Just installed linux and it is horrendously slow, like really slow! took me about 45 seconds to open firefox, XP didn't run this slow, granted the hardware is dated, is that just because visual themes are maxed?
     
  15. -=N0N@ME420=-

    -=N0N@ME420=- Member

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    which distro? different distros perform differently, some are more optimised for older computers.
     
  16. Dimtar

    Dimtar Member

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    Sorry to borrow the thread. Does evolution work on windows?
     
  17. OP
    OP
    gruntLOL

    gruntLOL Member

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    Ubuntu 9.04, booted the liveCD (well USB in this case....man that is so handy) onto an old dell desktop we have here that has some severe hardware issues but for the few minutes the PC was stable the live CD ran fine so it doesn't appear to be the distro. Weird thing was on the laptop I opened the system monitor then tried to open an app, CPU useage was fairly stable, as was my Memory useage (it's always around 50% as it only has 256MB ram, and about 100 of that was taken up my video resources) still it wasn't pulling much more.

    Laptop was plugged into AC, not running off of battery, any app, be it firefox, open office or thunderbird all locked the PC up, after 10 odd mins I could shut them down though tbh it was quicker to hard reset. When the apps are open the mouse jolts around like the PC is under weird load spikes.

    Any ideas?
     
  18. -=N0N@ME420=-

    -=N0N@ME420=- Member

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    Not really,

    http://projects.gnome.org/evolution/download.shtml

    These guys say they've got it running:

    http://www.dipconsultants.com/evolution/download.htm

    but I'm not really that trustworthy, and it's a few versions old.

    Some of the linux veterans should be around to help soon (*cough*hyrax/hydra1*cough*) first thing I generally do is check the system log (system > administration > log file viewer) and then head to 'syslog' then scroll to the bottom, generally it's very easy to see if there's an issue as it says so, for example mine currently has:

    Code:
    Oct 15 10:13:59  rtkit-daemon[2086]: Failed to make ourselves RT: Invalid argument
    Oct 15 10:14:01  rtkit-daemon[2086]: Failed to make ourselves RT: Invalid argument
    Oct 15 10:14:01  rtkit-daemon[2086]: Failed to make ourselves RT: Invalid argument
    Oct 15 10:14:01  rtkit-daemon[2086]: Failed to make ourselves RT: Invalid argument
    Oct 15 10:14:01  rtkit-daemon[2086]: Failed to make ourselves RT: Invalid argument
    Oct 15 10:14:02  kernel: [   31.347860] 2:1:1: cannot get freq at ep 0x1
    Oct 15 10:14:02  kernel: [   31.358367] 2:2:1: cannot get freq at ep 0x82
    Oct 15 10:14:02  kernel: [   31.364346] 2:2:1: cannot get freq at ep 0x82
    Oct 15 10:14:02  kernel: [   31.435352] 2:1:1: cannot get freq at ep 0x1
    Oct 15 10:14:02  kernel: [   31.443350] 2:2:1: cannot get freq at ep 0x82
    Oct 15 10:14:02  kernel: [   31.449342] 2:2:1: cannot get freq at ep 0x82
    syslog is incredibly useful compared to the windows version.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2009
  19. SpudBoy

    SpudBoy Member

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    it might work through cygwin
     
  20. tr3nton

    tr3nton Member

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    Do you want to use evolution as you want to use exchange on windows without using outlook?

    I use thunderbird with imap and in combination with davmail - for calendar, contact support. (this is on ubuntu, but davmail and thunderbird are available for windows)
     

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