[linux-elitists] Update--distribution for your mother?

Joey Hess joey@kitenet.net
Sun Aug 17 10:30:16 PDT 2003

Adam Kessel wrote:
> I've only ever used Debian and have probably Debianized dozens of friends
> and family thus far.  I'm a little concerned, though, about all the
> 'unstable' systems I'm leaving in my wake.  The stable packages for the
> desktop are getting too ancient.  While I know there are backports of
> crucial software (Mozilla 1.x (x>0), OpenOffice), I find myself
> inevitably having to pull more and more things out of unstable until
> finally it's just easier to upgrade everything.  The problem is, of
> course, that these systems are not as stable and reliable as I'd like
> people to think GNU/Linux is, and also my non-tech-savvy friends/family
> don't upgrade and ultimately end up booting into the MS partition when
> things don't work.  
> I recently downloaded Red Hat 9 and Mandrake 9.1 and did fresh installs
> of each to see if either would be better for "your mother's computer."
> Both of the installations were quite easy, and I tried playing around
> with them for a while but couldn't really figure out what the differences
> would be in useability over the long haul.  

Once you've chosen how bleeding edge software to install and installed
it, it doesn't really matter where you got it from. Don't confuse
Debian's use of "stable", meaning "does not change" with "reliable" or
"does not crash". Most of the GUI stuff in Debian unstable is slightly
less crash-prone than the versions in stable.

When I install systems for my nontechnical family members, I am more
concerned with how hard it will be to upgrade it remotely, sshing in
over their dialup connections, when there is a security hole or other
important change to make.

see shy jo
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