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Linux distro for aging grandparents

Rtwhit
  • 52 months ago

My grandparents have a decent i3 Dell, but it has Windows and in their old age I feel like they would easily fall for scams and viruses. I know Linux can still get viruses, obviously, but it can't be as bad as Windows. Which Linux distro is the most like Windows XP or 7? Any good recommendations? I've heard of Mint and Ubuntu, but don't know much else about Linux. Help is appreciated.

Comments

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

The most Windows 7-like distro is probably Zorin OS; Linux Mint Cinnamon is also good. Lubuntu 14.04 LTS is a good bet for a Windows XP-like distro.

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

I might be able to help you here. I was looking for the same thing for the same reasons and these are the ones I've installed and looked at: LXLE, Mint, Lubuntu, Zorin, elementary, and PCLinuxOS. (I've installed Ubuntu as well, but I'm not a fan of the Unity desktop.) Some of these descriptions I pulled from DistroWatch.com to save me time; I type slow. ;) Out of these, I'd look at either:

LXLE is an easy-to-use lightweight desktop Linux distribution based on Lubuntu and featuring the LXDE desktop environment. Compared to its parent, LXLE has a number of unique characteristics: it is built from Ubuntu's LTS (long-term support) releases, it covers most users' everyday needs by providing a good selection of default applications, and it adds useful modifications and tweaks to improve performance and functions. (And it's really easy to install and looks and acts a lot like a blend of Windows XP and 7. I actually run this on my HTPC for that very reason. Your grandparents would find this right up their alley, I think.)

or maybe

Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components. It also adds a custom desktop and menus, several unique configuration tools, and a web-based package installation interface. Linux Mint is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories. (It's different enough that its obvious that it's not Windows 7, but acts and looks close enough for your grandparents to find their way around it easily. I run this on my old beater coffee-shop laptop, a MPC T2500.)

I tend to favor the Ubuntu-based distros because the repositories are reliably updated and very extensive and installs are very easy to maintain. Lubuntu is really a lightweight respin of Ubuntu intended for low power devices like netbooks and older PCs; it's a good option if you don't think your grandparents will need that much. Good luck with helping your elders, and I hope I was a help to you. :)

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

I normally don't recommend fedora 'cus I haven't used it and like apt, but for here it seems worth looking into. it is stable with a simple not-very-customizable, feachure full (enough) GUI.

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

*feature full

And when I said I haven't used Fedora, I don't mean I'm recommending it blindly, my sister used to run Fedora (I think exclusively).

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

Fedora is a terrible distribution for this stuff. Each release has a very short support phase and the distro is generally a testbed for new Linux tech. It's also not especially stable (not unstable, just not well-polished). On Fedora 23, I've had X11 fail on me at least three times so far and the install is barely a few months old.

[comment deleted]
  • 52 months ago
  • 4 points

It is much harder to infect linux because of the same reason you said. You don't find vulnerabilities by looking at the source code, you find vulnerabilities by monitoring its interactions and screwing with them. Linux overcomes this by being open. All of the code is under heavy scrutiny and constant watch, and anyone who has the tools and knowledge to find volnerabilities also has the tools and knowledge to fix those vulnerabilities (Unlike mac or windows). There are 2 kinds of people who would be looking for os vulnerabilities, people who are looking for an easy malware target and people that are concerned with security. If you are legitamately concered with security you are probably either working for an antivirus software for windows or micro$oft or you're working on an open source kernel (linux) (because why go looking for vulnerabilities if you can't fix them), if you are looking to make malware linux is not the easy target you want because everything is locked down and typically is run by people who will notice a virus and can remove it manually (and either report it or pick it apart themselves). Linux also has a very agressive update cycle so anything found is quickly nutralized.

Windows is looked at with such negativity regarding security is because historically windows security was CRAP.it is much better now then it was before (I don't think file permissions were introduced until either vista or 7, I know xp just gave you a little "we have hidden some files from you but click here to show them" screen when you looked at system files). Plus the registry system has always been a mess for anything and the perfect place for viruses to hide.

getting an email from the prince of Nigeria asking for your credit card information is a different problem that can be fixed by a quick lesson and a browser extension or two (for example web of trust)

You are correct about being able to set up linux to be easy to use and distros like mint even make setting up an easy to use linux distrio pain free.

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