Wednesday, June 06, 2012

antiX-base M12.0 has been set up for Mother to use!

I installed the antiX-base M12.0 pre-final version on a 2004-vintage Dell Dimension 3000 desktop that I acquired from my sister, and I put it in my Mother's den, and configured it to automatically login to a JWM desktop with Rox icons, containing a Web browser and a terminal.

With the automatic login feature enabled, my Mother can press the power button, wait about half a minute, and have a ready to use system that runs quite a bit faster than the Windows XP that was previously installed on this system. All she has to do is single click on a rather large desktop icon that I've labeled "Web Browser", and I've set up her browser with two tabs; one for Email, (which my sister had set up for her three years ago), a tab for the Detroit Free Press News, and a search widget in the top of the browser to research anything else that she is interested in.

Who says that Linux is too difficult to use, even for an eighty four year old woman, who is not very familiar with technology? She can use it on her own! I did have to teach her how to do it, but I made it as simple as possible, showed her how to turn on this "new" (for her) system, what to click, how to use the different mouse, and which buttons to use to turn it on, off, and navigate. She's able to use it, and has used it twice now in the past week, including earlier on Tuesday evening.

I give my Mother a lot of credit for being willing to try things out, and I take a little bit of credit for thinking about what can be easy and fast for her to use, and setting up things in such a way, that with a few clicks, she can do all the things that she needs to do, mostly reading Email from her children and from her friends at church and in her social circles - a humanities study group, and some women's travel groups. She is able to do all the things she needs with it, and its set up so that other things stay out of her way and don't confuse her.

Three cheers to anticapitalista and his team for having the wisdom to make both IceWM and JWM, which are easier for novices to deal with than the fancier dwm, wmii, and Fluxbox that the advanced users seem to prefer, for the decision to include a feature to optionally enable automatic login, perfect for someone like my Mom, and the decision to include a tool to switch the default window manager. I used those features to set up JWM with Rox icons, and enable automatic login. These choices make even a distribution normally thought of as a "hobbyist-based", light, flexible system, into something I can set up for nearly anyone to use.


Unknown said...

Good for you, B, & great for your mum!

I think that Linux is actually best for the oldies, personally. She no longer runs a MS virus magnet & I believe that it just runs & looks smoother?

In my travels as a MS fix-it girl, I have found that about 85-90% of my customers do the basics with their systems anyway (email, photos, web, music)- and the main complaint? Viruses!

Good on ya!

Cheers from T in AU :)

Brian Masinick said...

That's exactly what I determined shortly after I moved here. I found that my Mother had a Dell Latitude D610, similar to the D600 that I used to have that I've since given to my son. I knew that in 2007 Windows XP ran OK on that box, but it kept getting slower and slower as changes were added. Meanwhile, I knew that Linux distros, especially Debian-based ones, knew that hardware and worked well with it. SimplyMEPIS and antiX work particularly well. Since antiX is lighter than MEPIS and its pretty easy to configure, I reasoned that whether the default system was the easiest to install and configure was immaterial, as long as I was the one taking care of it. What I wanted was a super fast system, easy to install, easy to configure. What I got was even better; I found that the newest release now has features for auto login; I don't usually use that, but for Mom, it's perfect. Then I made sure that the browser icon was big, visible, and labeled. Last, I showed Mom how to use all of it. She seemed to handle this one slightly easier than other ones, so I knew that I'd done a good job this time.