Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Desktop Adapted for Dad

Filed under
Linux

Work had some old desktop PCs going spare and I set one up for my father. Mostly because I didn't want to have to remote admin a Windows machine I decided to install Debian on it.

At Easter in 2005 I gave my 69-year-old father his first computer. I had carefully installed and configured the software especially for him. I had taken care to consider his needs, and had attempted to second guess any problems he may have. I wrote my experience down in an article Desktop Adapted Dad (1), and which I recently presented to my Linux User Group. This short article is a summary of some of the steps I took to optimise my father's computer and some of the observations I made.

My father had never used a computer when I gave him his. He had never worked in an office environment or used a typewriter. Like many people his age his eyesight is not perfect even when corrected, and his glasses are bifocal which does make using a VDU more awkward than normal.

My plan for the computer was to configure it with the smallest set of software necessary to make it function correctly, to greatly simplify the desktop, and to select a visual design that would be clear and unambiguous.

We took the computer to him and showed him how to connect to the Internet, send and receive email, and how to drive the desktop. We spent several days with him, and during this time I continued to adjust the settings to suit his needs.

My first surprise was that what I thought was big and clear, was not anywhere near big or clear enough.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Brocade relying on open source and 'natural tension' for growth

In line with this prediction, Brocade has been working towards changing its business tactics from being known as a hardware enterprise storage provider to also becoming an additional player in the software-defined network market — one in which rival Cisco has also been dipping its toes. Read more

Hey, here's some face-tracking tech from Samsung you probably won't find creepy at all

Samsung says it'll release the source code to software that allows physically disabled people to move a mouse pointer with their eyes. Read more

Fedora 21 Innovates in Docker Cloud Virtualization with Project Atomic

Docker, OpenStack, EC2 and "Project Atomic" are among the leading buzzwords for Fedora Linux 21, the upcoming release of the community-developed open source operating system that serves as the basis for Red Hat's enterprise Linux platforms. Due out next month, the release is now receiving its final tweaks from developers, who have revealed further details on the cloud and virtualization innovations in the new version. Read more

The rise of Debian technology

Out of 285 active distributions on Distrowatch, 132 are based on Debian and 67 on Ubuntu. This predominance is not only unrivalled in a field as diverse as Linux distros, but has been true now for several years. I've cited it several times, but until now, I haven't addressed the question this observation also raises: how did this state of affairs come about? Read more