[xubuntu-users] Newbie Question

Jim Campbell jwcampbell at gmail.com
Fri Jun 29 21:04:42 UTC 2007

Hi Perry,

Thanks for considering Xubuntu.  I'll try to reply to each of your questions

On 6/29/07, McDowell, Perry (CIV) <mcdowell at nps.edu> wrote:
>  My mother finally agreed to try out this new thing called the Internet
> ("It might be more than a fad!!") and I am giving her one of my old (PIII,
> 500 MHz, 128MB) computers.  It had XP on it, but since she is not used to
> (corrupted by) MS, I was planning on putting Ubuntu on it, since I like
> Linux, support open source, and wanted a better performing OS since the
> computer is so old.  When I went to the website, I saw Xubuntu, which sounds
> even better for the old computer.  However, I couldn't find a clear
> breakdown of whether Xubuntu would meet her needs, or whether I should go
> ahead and install Ubuntu.
> If there is a page which clearly breaks down who should use which OS,
> please point me to it.  Or please let me know if Xubuntu will meet my
> mother's needs:
> 1) E-mail

 Xubuntu includes Mozilla Thunderbird as an email client by default.  This
should work for your mom without any problems.

2) Full internet (images, movies, etc.)

 Mozilla Firefox is installed by default, and it's a great web browser.
Contrary to what someone indicated below, flash-based videos / images are
very easy to watch in Mozilla Firefox.  You just need to install the
"flashplugin-nonfree" file from synaptic, one of the package managers.  No
command line necessary.

I've experienced difficulty in viewing some internet based media, but it's
mostly been the embedded microsoft stuff.  Windows Media Video… There may be
a way to get this to work, but I just haven't dug around for it.  Because I
haven't gotten this to work, I can't watch mlb.com baseball game highlights
through the web.  Sites like youtube or google video are no problem though -
they use flash.

Your mom should have no trouble viewing any of the videos that people send
to her, though.  Others may have other preferences, but VLC can play most
any type of video format available.  Mplayer might be a good alternative to

Xmms is a decent lightweight music player.  You would need to install
VLC/Mplayer and/or xmms yourself, after the initial OS installation.

3) Downloading images from a digital camera and slight manipulation of them.

The Gimp can do this, but it might be overkill for her.  You may want to
consider F-spot or maybe even Google's picasa for linux.  Please check into
their functionality, and see which one might work best for you.

4) Word processing, spreadsheet, etc.  (I couldn't find a definitive
> statement that OpenOffice would work on Xubuntu - this is probably my
> biggest concern.)

Openoffice works on Xubuntu, you'd just need to install it.  Abiword (word
processing) and Gnumeric (spreadsheets) are installed by default, and are a
bit lighter than OpenOffice.  It's up to you as to which one you'd use.

> would probably give my mother a heart attack and speed up my inheritance.

You shouldn't need  the command line once you get everything set up.  You
can even set up these options without using the command line, but you may
find it a bit faster to use the command line.

6) Very stable - I live two hours away, and so dropping by often to fix
> things can't happen (although she would probably like that; like most
> mothers, she thinks I don't visit enough.)

Xubuntu Feisty Fawn (version 7.04) has been quite stable.  It is worth

On the whole, Xubuntu would make a better candidate for the PC you describe
than Ubuntu or Kubuntu.  Adding some of the applications I've described may
use up a tad bit more memory than a default Xubuntu install would, but it
would be worth it to get the functionality that you say your mom must have.

No matter what you do, this computer will run better on Xubuntu than it
would on Windows 2000, which is what I'd recommend for the specs of that
computer on the Windows side.  A PIII @ 500mhz is too slow for Windows XP.

Good luck, Perry.  Send another note to the list if you need additional

jwcampbell at gmail.com
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