Suitability question

John Almberg jalmberg at
Thu Dec 18 23:09:27 UTC 2008

On Dec 18, 2008, at 4:25 PM, Patrick Baldwin wrote:

> Usually I'm asking questions for work related things.  This one is  
> more personal.
> My father has this tendency to end up wrecking his computer if he  
> uses the Internet
> much.  Computers are basically magic boxes to him, so education is  
> of limited usefulness
> here.
> I'm thinking I might be best of trying to built him a really locked- 
> down, high security
> box, almost an Internet appliance.  All he really does is use the  
> Web, and a little
> light word processing.
> What do people think of FreeBSD as the base OS for this idea?

I like your idea of getting your father (or anyone, for that matter)  
off Windows, but I personally don't think Linux or FreeBSD are good  
desktop choices for 'normal' folk. A much better choice, in my humble  
opinion, is the inexpensive Apple Mac Mini.

The way it works is you unplug the current cpu box and replace it  
with the Mini. You can use your current monitor, keyboard, printer,  
camera, etc. Unless some of these peripherals are ancient, it should  
be all plug and play (no hours of tinkering for you).

Your father gets a nice computer that actually does what he wants it  
to do, and you get a box that you can turn into a FreeBSD *server*  
that you can use to learn all about running an unix box.

I did this for my mom. All she wanted was Internet, email, and Word,  
but now she's doing all sorts of things that she would never have  
done with a *nix or Windows box, like getting an iPod for her morning  
walks, buying audio books from iTunes, taking photos and actually  
being able to download and print them(!), working on a family tree, etc.

Best of all, it only took me a few minutes of work to set up and show  
her how it worked. If she wants to learn something new, she can take  
a lesson at the Apple Store. It's amazing how much a 'normal' person  
can do with a friendly computer.

-- John

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