Many people are still in denial that Linux is a viable alternative to Windows on the desktop. I have written numerous posts of my experiments with several Linux distributions and my dumping of Vista. In yet another post, I talked about my plans to switch my parents over to Linux.
The next experiment will be my parents. I still have to reset the clock on their VCR every time I go to their house. All they do is read email, surf a few web sites, and play Spades and Mahjong.Well, that day has come. YiaYia is Greek for grandmother, and YiaYia loves Linux. My parents have an old Dell 4300 with 256MB of RAM. They boot this box and basically leave the room for 15-20 minutes as it struggles to come to life. Even when it does come up it is sluggish and choppy when viewing rich media content. Every time I go to their house I run various tuning and spyware applications with limited impact. My folks where getting ready to buy a brand new PC which would have been a total waste of money for the limited resources that their usage requires. So I convinced them to give Linux a try before they spent their retirement money on a box with enough horsepower to run Vista.
Enter PCLinuxOS. I installed PCLOS in between commercials of the Giants-Lions game on Sunday. My parents are long time AOL users and were still living on the nasty AOL thick client software. I showed them that they can have all of the same functionality on aol.com using Firefox which includes their email. They were able to boot their old clunker PC with PCLOS and get to their AOL mail account in about 3 minutes. The box is humming now and they are extremely happy.
I brought my external hard drive and loaded their PC up with Greek Music and a Live Yanni concert (hey, we're Greek!). Without installing a single additional package, they were able to simply double click on the Yanni video and the video started playing on MPlayer. Then I brought up the music player (I can't remember exactly which tool this was) and it built a music catalog from the files I copied to the disk drive. I set it up to run in random and started the player. PCLOS did a great job of recognizing all of the drivers on this machine out of the box! At that point I think my parents mentioned something about all of those college tuition bills paying off.
I had to leave after the football game and didn't get a chance to finish. Over Thanksgiving I will get my Dad's Hoyle Games and my Mom's Mahjong running under Wine and they will be good to go. My folks are extremely challenged with computers. They don't understand most computer concepts and can only do simple things that require clicking a mouse. They are able to do everything on Linux that they could do on Windows. Without spending a dime, their old PC is now as good as new. The only complaint I heard was my Dad's concern for his Microsoft stock. And to make a good day better, my Giants won.
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