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My grandparent's computer is becoming unusable. It's a celeron processor that wasn't new 6 years ago when I built it, bundled with 1 gb of ram, running on windows XP. ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Enthusiast meton_magis's Avatar
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    Request for comments on Fuduntu linux for the technologically hindered


    My grandparent's computer is becoming unusable. It's a celeron processor that wasn't new 6 years ago when I built it, bundled with 1 gb of ram, running on windows XP. It's pretty unbearable for them to use, and hard for me to keep fixing for them. So I'm building them a new computer.

    All they use the computer for is office software (they've been on open-office while on XP, so no concern there,) email (been using thunderbird,) VERY light internet use (mostly online banking and reading political propaganda sent to them by friends.)

    I'm thinking about going with an atom based nettop build to cut down on footprint, noise, and power. I'm currently using a first gen atom as a gentoo fileserver, but I'd be interested to know how they perform with desktop environments. I'd go with the max memory allowed just because memory is cheap (it's either 4 or 8 gigs, I don't recall.)

    My real question though is if anyone has any comments on how well Fuduntu works, and how easy it is to use. They wouldn't be given root access, so I'll be doing updates and installs remotely. I've been running it in a VM, and while it would never replace Fedora on my bare metal, it looks pretty good so far. It seems to include proprietary stuff like Mint, but it's based on Fedora, which I know better.

    Thanks, I appreciate any comments.
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    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    While I don't have firsthand experience with Fuduntu, from most reviews Fuduntu is a bit easier on resources than many other mainstream distros.
    Gnome 2.x is still included, so it will have a fairly easy interface for your grandparents.
    And as you mentioned, some of the minor proprietary features are already included, so the installation will be all the easier for you.
    Jay

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    Another great benefit is that Fuduntu is a rolling release distribution. After installing from our quarterly release media, you don't have to worry about reinstalling again in a few months to benefit from the latest software available.
    Kinda a nice feature also. I have a high respect for fewt and his distro. Too bad I am rpm challenged/dyslexic.
    I've ran it live on USB and was impressed with it on my EEEPC Netbooks and Acer Aspire One ZG5.
    Netflix on Fuduntu! Fuduntu
    Kinda cool also I guess. Me. I still do Hulu and Miro.

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    Linux Enthusiast meton_magis's Avatar
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    Yeah, have to say the rolling release was one of the attractive features. They live close, so I don't mind going over there to help them, but I'd hate having to reinstall and reconfigure their OS every 12 months had I gone with Fedora.

    They're not going to use it for movies, so while netflix on linux is exciting news for me, it's not a big deal for my grandparents.

    Running in a VM I'm seeing about 300mb of memory use right after logging into the desktop. It definitely seems lightweight and more responsive compared to windows XP. I can't believe it won't even run on 1gb of ram anymore.
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    This is off topic, but your comment about having to reinstall and reconfigure Fedora compelled me to post.
    I have used yum to update my Fedora systems since Fedora 12. I used yum to update my 5 systems here at home in one evening to Fedora 18 last week.
    It's the kind of thing to do once on a throw away VM to work out the kinks for your systems, but it saves a whole lot of work in reconfiguring.
    There are a number sites with instructions.

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Let them play with it on your VM for awhile and work with them to "tune" it to their liking. Then install it on the new system with those options and settings.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Linux Enthusiast meton_magis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jselover View Post
    This is off topic, but your comment about having to reinstall and reconfigure Fedora compelled me to post.
    I have used yum to update my Fedora systems since Fedora 12. I used yum to update my 5 systems here at home in one evening to Fedora 18 last week.
    It's the kind of thing to do once on a throw away VM to work out the kinks for your systems, but it saves a whole lot of work in reconfiguring.
    There are a number sites with instructions.
    Wow, I guess I haven't tried to upgrade in a while. Every time I tried in the past it failed miserably. I don't know if I'm changing something that makes it not work, or what, but I've never had it work. For my personal PC it's not a big deal because I reformat my system for every fedora release, and use it to reinstall windows, and clean up all my files that get everywhere. I have a fileserver, and on my desktop I have a windows partition and a linux one, so I use it to de-duplicate and synchronize all 3 to have what they need.

    Fedora really wasn't an option though. I'm not putting them on a bleeding edge distro. I'm an admin in a mostly RHEL shop, so I like being on Fedora to see what's coming in the future, but they just need something that works.

    Rubberman,
    That's a good idea, but I'm not sure I could easily accomplish that. They don't leave their house much, so it's going to be me bringing whatever over to them.
    I think I'll just set them up on the new system, and if they don't like it after a couple weeks, I'll buy a windows 7 license.
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    Linux Enthusiast meton_magis's Avatar
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    Well, Fuduntu was a bust. I tried installing it on an Asus Eee box running an Intel Atom d2700, and it ran into problems after doing a yum update. It couldn't even start X after that. I'm thinking now between CentoOS (because of long support cycle,) or Fedora with an alternate desktop environment (Gnome 3 would take too long to explain to my grandparents.) I might try Mate or Cinnamon, or possible LXDE. I'll update once I've decided on something, and will comment on how well my grandparents adapt (or if it miserably fails, and I have to install windows 7.)
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    Linux Enthusiast meton_magis's Avatar
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    Wanted to reply for anyone who may stumble onto this thread looking for the same.

    I ended up installing fedora 18, and used LXDE as the default environment. I configured the firewall to block all ports except port 22 (ssh), and disabled all authentication except RSA keyparis. I created 2 users, 1 for myself, 1 for my grandparents (and removed my userID from the login screen,) and put my ssh public key into my user's ~/.ssh/authorized_keys. I then setup vino (it's a vnc client thing,) to automatically start on their user's boot, and have it accept connections without prompting (and hid the icon so that it's harder for them to mess that up.) On my home desktop I use the Remmina remote desktop client to connect using the ssh tunnel, making the connection over the tunneled loopback address. This makes the connection through the firewall that's open on 22, and encrypts all traffic between the 2.

    I setup several cron jobs on their system. One connects to my fileserver at home over sftp (they have a passwordless keypair, and are jailed to only their home directory. they can not start a shell session, only sftp, google for sshd_config directive "ForceCommand internal-sftp"). Once every couple hours they sftp my server their current public ip address, and another one once a week copies over their disk usage (don't want them running out of space and not having warning.) I also setup automatic weekly btrfs snapshots.

    This whole setup seems to be working rather well for them. The only problem I've had so far is that they were using a cookbook program from 1995 which did not export data in a format that I can use. I had to print their entire recipie book out, and am recreating them 1 at a time into Gourmet.
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