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Linux distro for Senior

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In my free time i teach the basics of computer science / Internet in a Swiss organization called Pro Senectute




Pro Senectute offers a comprehensive range of educational courses, sports possibilities, meeting places and events – and thereby also promotes contact between elderly people.


From this PDF



The organization is working closely with Microsoft. But since last year, they are looking for alternate solutions that are cheaper than M$.


As a KISS (Life philosphy: Keep It Simple and Stupid) adept, I had many discussions with the management team of Pro Senectute about using Linux. They were all skeptic about Linux. But today i got the official News that they want to make an alpha test in my town. If it works well (cheaper, better stability, less maintenance, recycling 5 years old computer....) they would test it on other spots of Switzerland and, in the best case, try to make a migration project from Windows to Linux for the whole Country.


I know there are distros (also) for Seniors like "Eldy Seniors" "Mageia" "Mint" but i have no experience with them... It's why I'm asking here if anybody has ideas about distro names I could test.


Here are some additional information about the "needs" of such a distro



Minimal req is P4 solo core, 2Gb RAM, nvidia video card with 256 VRam

Programs used are ONLY: Internet (www, mail, skype with webcam) LibreOffice or OpenOffice

If possible auto update without typing password

Auto Login

Locked System => means you cannot go on other programs than those above (like a desktop without Menu, only a few icons for each application)


These are the minimal requirements


For other things like bigger font, text to speech etc it is not planed because these courses are only for persons who don't have any handycap. There are other courses for persons with body difficulties.


Thanks in advance for your help



Edit: Typo

Edited by Panatella

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I think opensuse and Mageia are your best chance for newcomers to Linux. They are rock solid, offer all the system configuration tools that windows does and they are developed by people who actually contribute a LOT to upstream linux libraries and applications. Both distributions give you the professional feel and polish that you get from Microsoft Windows.


Ubuntu is "simple". It doesn't throw many system settings applications at you like opensuse and mageia do but can easily break. It just "works" and it assumes default setups that usually work for newcomers. The only problem is that ubuntu developers don't contribute to upstream. They operate in their own environment like Apple does.


A compromise is Fedora. Not as stable as opensuse and megeia but doesn't flood you with too many system configuration applications.


Both desktop environment, KDE and Gnome offer a lot of accessibility tools for visually impaired people, etc... But Gnome seems to be doing better in that area lately.

Edited by hussam

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I would recommend Ubuntu or Kubuntu (depends which GUI you prefer, I do GNOM, but KDE looks more Windows alike IMHO).

It will meet all requirements you mentioned, plus it is easy to install and stable.


Another plus is “apt-get” which allows quick installation of software from online repositories (if you are interested, please refer to some pages about it). This might be useful in future, when you need something more on that system.

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