A couple of weeks ago, I wrote, "Has Linux Fallen Into a Well?." It was a tale of two brothers, aka The Cave Dwellers, who had too many complaints and angst concerning the Windows XP installation on my wife's old HP DV-5000 laptop. Reinstalling XP didn't do any good the last time I did it, so I decided to give them Ubuntu 9.04 in its place. All I did was to tell them how to login and left the rest up to them.
Two days after the installation came the first question: "How do I install the Adobe Flash Player in the web browser?" I told them to follow the on screen instructions and promptly shooed them out of my domain (cave).
They've used the laptop non-stop since I reimaged it with no problems reported. They do all the usual stuff with it that they did with Windows: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, web browsing, iTunes, Email and word processing.
My printer comes on and prints homework and their occasional "wows" and "cools" have let me know that the laptop is serving them well so far. I've heard much less door kicking and muffled cursing from them since the big switch to Ubuntu. Now the only door kicking and muffled (and not so muffled) cursing only originates from me.
So, I have to humbly say that Ubuntu is the best thing to happen to that laptop in the past 3 or 4 years and I'm glad I made the transition. I think the boys will learn more about computing from this experience and will have a richer experience with a computer that "just works" instead of the constant frustrations that began this whole incident.
Ubuntu also allowed me to put off buying another laptop for at least a year or so. My daughter, 8, is not so moved by the change. She still assumes that the laptop is slow and painful to use. Did you get that? My 8 year-old daughter branded the laptop as slow.
Kids these days! They're so spoiled--when I was 8, I would have been glad to have any computer--problem was that personal computers hadn't been invented yet nor could I have afforded one anyway even if they had. Sorry, I had a flashback to the Stone Age for a moment.
In a weird way, I'm a bit disappointed that the boys made the transition from Windows to Ubuntu so easily. I expected wailing, gnashing of teeth, name calling and my image burning in effigy--or perhaps the real me being tortured by them placing my beer just out of my reach or something equally as sinister. They seem to enjoy using it but I'm sure someday they'll complain to their kids about Grandpa and the old recycled laptop.
I'm still waiting, almost patiently, for the second question.