Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

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Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby kedaha » 2017-04-19 08:45

For some years, since Lenny in fact, I've been helping a few friends and elderly relatives—not many—to use a stable Debian desktop. The only support I give is to update the system remotely via ssh. The only work I do is at the start, namely setting up and configuring the system but, apart from that, it's no hassle at all; I got so fed up with dealing with their Windows woes that I thought "to hell with it!" and installed Debian and since then have never looked back. As for friends my "support" —such as it is—earns me a few beers. :D
I wonder if any other users do the same.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby dcihon » 2017-04-19 10:01

I have a few people running linux that I support. The only problems I have had are helping them with hardware like iPhones (getting pictures off of their phones), transitioning from Microsoft Office to Libreoffice. It is nice though not having to deal with all the malware that some of these people seem to attract. They are like magnets for malware.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby edbarx » 2017-04-19 10:22

My relatives and friends do not use Linux, they use Windows and Macs. For them how MS Windows works is the way an OS should work. They deem Linux as too difficult to use thinking I must be crazy to use it. I learnt the hard way, that if people don't specifically ask me to have Linux installed, it is useless to tell them. Those who have children have a good excuse ready whenever I tell them anything about Linux: they say, 'But at school our children are expected to know Windows'. I remember when at the beginning I started to use Linux, a couple who happen to know me, replied to me, 'We don't want to use an OS no one uses!'
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby kedaha » 2017-04-19 11:39

edbarx wrote:My relatives and friends do not use Linux, they use Windows and Macs. For them how MS Windows works is the way an OS should work. They deem Linux as too difficult to use thinking I must be crazy to use it.

My father, for example, is well into his eighties and has few desktop skills but with Debian it is sufficient for him to know how:
1. To press the button on the front of the computer and wait for the system to boot up with autologin of course.
2. To click on the Firefox icon, conveniently placed on the desktop.
3. To be able to play videos in the browser and adjust the volume control. I might mention that his computer is also connected to a large television screen so he's able to watch movies on a big screen.
3. To be able to send and receive emails.
4. To know how to shut the system down using a shutdown icon which I placed in the middle of his upper desktop panel.
And I just update the system from time to time by ssh.
And that's it; when he used Windows he really disliked it and was bothered by the pop-ups, nagware, antivirus update reminders and updates but he's really happy with his Debian mate desktop.
He hasn't learnt to do stuff like cutting and pasting or sending links to websites but, at that age, even doing the above tasks was a little challenging for him.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby No_windows » 2017-04-19 12:16

So far, no I don't. I've kind of let my dad handle their computer. Over the years they've had several hard times with computers that are likely due to lots of crap getting installed, including multiple copies of things like AOL. That kind of thing is frustrating enough that I don't want to deal with it, especially when I didn't witness the sequence of events leading up to whatever the problem is. Still I've wondered if I could get them to use linux. One problem is that they do use Skype, which I do not think is available for Debian.

I'm not sure I'd recommend Debian to my parents. I might suggest MX-16 or Solydx. I haven't used Solydx for awhile, but it was my first exposure to the Debian repositories, and worked well for me. I started using it shortly before Jessie became Stable.

My father has expressed a desire to build or have a second computer, so that might be an option for introducing them to linux.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby Bulkley » 2017-04-19 16:18

My friends and family have known for years that I use Linux. Some have even sat at my keyboard and used it. They all know it's reliable. Not one, not ever, have any of them said, "I want that." As mentioned above, there is a group mentality that equates computers with Windows. Full stop.

Some years ago an acquaintance volunteered to look after the local library's computers. He set up the server with Linux and the terminals with Windows. Of course, the server was reliable, would even reboot cleanly after our frequent power outages. He told me that users, even administrators, did not need to know that they were using Linux. That's the crux of it. If any of you clever guys were to set up Linux to look and feel like Windows and do it so well that the average user wouldn't know it might be accepted.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby GarryRicketson » 2017-04-19 16:55

I install , well not usually Debian, but MX-16 (before, the older versions)
anyway I install it to a few laptops for the kids here locally, when their
ms windows fails, which it invariably does,...
I don't try to mislead them, though, so I don't try to make it look and feel like
something it isn't.
Most of them like the XFCE , DE , after getting used to it, others prefer gnome,
none of them want OpenBox, or a WM, and something like the way I have mine,...
But I try to show them some of the various options, and once they start
catching on to it, they use the themes they like, backgrounds, etc,...just like they
did when they had windows,..
The main thing that is important to them as far as school goes , is that "libre office"
works, the teacher uses a windows PC, but also uses the windows version of
Libre Office,..but on the screen , it appears and works pretty much the same,
In other words, even though the teacher gives them examples, and assigments
based on his Windows machine, with Libre office, they can still follow the examples and do the assignments, using Linux with Libre Office, --- The same
applies to the browser, either Chromium, or FireFox, when online, and using google translate, or search, etc,... it looks the same as when using google translate
and search , on windows,..FaceBook looks the same, no matter what OS they use
as well,.. as long as it works, they don't really care what the OS is,and they like the fact that I also give them a "Live CD", show them how to re-install if need be, also show them how to use a usb stick to save data, or a "backup" of sorts.
The only other option, since I DO NOT do Windows, nor install it , the only other option for them is to take the laptop to the closest city, and have the guy that does do windows , re-install, etc,... the closest city / tech shops, is over 2 hours
away, not very convenient. Plus the "windows guy" is not for free, he charges them, I don't charge anything, I just ask that they pay the CD or DVD,or usb sticks, or bring one with them.
Last edited by GarryRicketson on 2017-04-19 20:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby Innovate » 2017-04-19 18:31

I do not induce ppl especially user errors or they would rant about setup wifi issues on Debian which is annoying.
But I can make ppl to run my Debian Xfce spins distro without saying a words to induce by their own free will.
I'm not going to induce them any other derivatives they're out of my control.

It's Sun vs North wind strategy and I'm using the Sun strategy.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby NFT5 » 2017-04-19 19:42

My wife used to be barely capable as an XP user and now has Ubuntu on a desktop and Debian on a notebook. Since changing from XP she's found her own way and is now capable of most everyday tasks, only calling for help when Flash inevitably falls over, for whatever reason. I do updates when necessary.

At work I have 5 PCs and changed them all from XP to Debian a few years ago. I gave each person a very short 10 minute training session and haven't heard a single complaint or even a request for assistance since. "It just works" was one comment made that probably summarised everyone's feeling about Debian. I do updates and maintenance.

My bookkeeper bought one of the machines that I updated and gave it to her son. I'd preloaded it with Ubuntu MATE. Her husband, who is a Windows software developer, was so impressed that he's changed both his notebook and their home desktop to Linux.

I've built a few PCs for other friends and relatives and usually set them up with Debian or Ubuntu MATE and Win7 in a dual boot setup. Generally they use the Linux OS sometimes but continue to use Windows since they're more familiar with it. None have ever asked me to remove the Linux OS because they either don't like it or don't ever use it.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby PhilGil » 2017-04-19 20:47

A co-worker who used Debian (installed/supported by me) until we had problems with our RDP connection and I had to move her back to Windows. If Microsoft really loves Linux as much as they say they do they'd port their f'ing remote desktop client.

My wife uses Debian Jessie/Cinnamon and seems content, although she's not a very knowledgeable or demanding computer user. As long as she has a web browser and word processor she's happy. I recently bought her a new(er) laptop and the setup consisted of: pull SSD from old laptop, place SSD in new(er) laptop, boot. One of the reasons I'm a Linux user - can't do that in Windows.

My daughter (a geek like her old man) recently replaced Windows with Ubuntu Gnome on her laptop. We'll she how long she keeps it installed this time. She likes Linux, but tends go back to Windows for games and Visual Studio after a few months.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby oswaldkelso » 2017-04-20 07:02

No. I used to :shock: I really liked how easy it was to remove the non free parts of the system or at least only run the parts needed to make it function. Removing non-free and contrib and adding linux-libre is extremely easy. This allowed me to "liberate their systems" in easy stages as they become more free software aware. I have been known to use the non-free repos required to get their hardware running then disable them.

I currently support 5 local users on Debian derivatives. I'm pragmatic. The 4 XFCE users are now on MXlinux the fifth is on Gnuinos and openbox. I give limited support to a 6th distant Ubuntu user when visiting and over the phone. What I will support basically depends on how politically engaged they are. Consciously using "Free software" is a political act and while I don't expect them to switch to Dragora overnight if they are free software aware I tend to support them more readily allowing for my own values.

If the init that can't be named becomes inescapable by default, I'll switch them all to a Devuan mix or Dragora 3 or let them do their own support. Users that only use free software because it's cheaper than Windows should be using Windows they contribute nothing.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby Nili » 2017-04-23 16:16

NO! i find it difficult to persuade my friends. I tried several times but without results. Therefore, free arbitrator, let each other choose what we/they want.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby debiman » 2017-04-24 05:44

i'm never trying to actively promote linux.
but i also keep on repeating things like "not again! with linux, this wouldn't have happened...".
a few times friends asked me to do something about their bogged windows computers.
i said the only help i'd offer is to install linux, if they want to. in that case i'd also be willing to help with problems later.
twice i actually did. in the first case, the laptop went unused immediately (although the install was succesful and i even took the effort to make it look nice), but in the second case it's still in use 1.5 years later.

i think for 99% of all people it's a question of money.
if they can afford to buy a new computer, that will be the preferred route. not installing linux on the old machine.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby MALsPa » 2017-04-24 06:26

kedaha wrote:For some years, since Lenny in fact, I've been helping a few friends and elderly relatives—not many—to use a stable Debian desktop. The only support I give is to update the system remotely via ssh. The only work I do is at the start, namely setting up and configuring the system but, apart from that, it's no hassle at all; I got so fed up with dealing with their Windows woes that I thought "to hell with it!" and installed Debian and since then have never looked back. As for friends my "support" —such as it is—earns me a few beers. :D
I wonder if any other users do the same.

I don't think I'm a nice enough person to do this sort of thing. I figure that the ones who are gonna appreciate Linux are the ones who gravitate over to Linux on their own, and that they'll figure it out themselves. And they'll find the forums.
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Re: Do you help relatives & friends to use a Debian desktop?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2017-04-24 19:39

My partner & child use Debian exclusively and have done for almost three years now.

I do the sysadmin, obviously :)

I have tried to convert my dad but he doesn't really have the energy to tinker, which is a shame because he introduced me to UNIX in the 1980s when I had the chance to play with the Sun SPARCstations he was using at University.
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