Ubuntu, the Senior Project

First off let me say that Windows 8 has brought me back.  After many moons of  living life in the realm of OSX, happily I might add, I needed a PC to more easily work with SQL Server at home.  I did not want to run a VM or remote connect to a windows machine.  So I bought a new Lenovo Ideapad and after a few upgrades it has become my machine of choice.  That being said, I have a mother and father, both of whom are around 60.  My mother obtains old discarded PCs from everyone else that upgrades.  Her latest acquisition is an Intel Core 2 Duo with a 200 GB hard drive, 2 GB of ram, and Windows XP.  The computer was free.  She loaded her copy of Office onto it, but wanted Microsoft Publisher, which she uses at work.  Publisher was not included in her version of office, so she searched the web for Free Publisher.

A few days later I was at her home doing a system restore, and trying to cleanse the PC of whatever bug had nested.  While asking her about the issue I found that she wanted to buy Publisher, but couldn’t unless she upgraded to Windows 8.  No one sells the old stuff anymore!  Then she wasn’t sure if her PC could handle Windows 8, and then she just tried to find a free version.

I asked her what she does on her PC and about her needs.  Normally all she does is check email and facebook, my father just plays solitare.  So then we considered the upgrades and I realized she has 10 more PCs at her non-profit that are all in the same boat.  There is NO way her under-funded non-profit could afford upgrading 10 PCs, unless there are non-profit licenses that I don’t know about, which is possible…  So at this point I decided that I am going to try an experiment.

Phase 1 is that I am going to build a machine that runs on Ubuntu, with opensource alternatives and see if my mom can adapt, and perhaps thrive.  She is not a power user, and she’s pretty computer savvy, however she has never used anything other than windows, and I am intrigued.

If all goes well and she embraces Ubuntu, then phase 2 will be to do the same to all of the donated PCs and begin to teach the customers at her non-profit, a Senior Citizen recreation center how to use Linux, and all of the opensource software alternatives.

I’m excited to be able to help out, and give them alternatives to shelling massive funds that could do more & better if spent elsewhere.  We’ll see where this goes, it starts tonight when I get home and begin installing Ubuntu and more on an HP 8700 I have laying around the house.

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