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Re: Debian Blends: Newbie Blend

On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 04:25:19PM -0400, Daniel Dickinson wrote:
> What I really mean is 'a lightweight desktop which will meet the needs/wants
> of a strong cross-selection of low income computer users'.  

> Let me clarify.  I am building computers to give away and am basing
> them on Debian.  To begin with most users will be Debian Newbies, so
> the environment has to work easily enough for when they are getting
> started, but what it is really about is using old computers and
> refurbishing them, and having a system that will do most of what most
> users (who will be low income) will want.

this sort of thing is largely how i got involved in free software to the degree
that i am. i work at a non-profit organization called freegeek:

freegeek basically gives out refurbished computers to hundreds of inexperienced
computer users, running free software (currently pretty much stock Ubuntu,
though once upon a time, Debian). while hardware specs even on refurbished
machines at freegeek have actually gotten ridiculous, i'm still very interested
in a viable desktop for low-spec machines, as not everybody is so fortunate.

though honestly, i'm not really much of a desktop user myself, so it's hard for
me to recommend software to users who are very different from myself.  i think
back to debconf4, working with the debian-nonprofit project, when enrico
introduced us to concepts of user oriented design that i found invaluable:


though i've never really put them to much use...

> So we start with a basic XFCE desktop, then add some packages that I
> think are missing from a basic desktop install, (e.g. for digital
> cameras / mp3 players for the kids, etc), plus a couple of things that
> show what they can do that they might not know about.

i find XFCE to be a little confusing to many inexperienced or
minimally-experienced users (and i say this from watching them try to use it).
LXDE looks pretty good to me; it seems to follow more common conventions- if
only in the menu/taskbar layout (though i haven't actually watched many people
try to use LXDE).

> Basically it's a more complete desktop then the 1 CD desktop that
> Debian distributes because I am not sure the users will have an
> internet connection so the desktop needs to have enough on it
> (preferably pre-installed because they are newbies) without installing
> from the internet. 

so, it sounds like you're targeting inexperienced users, running on low-spec
hardware, who may not have decent network connectivity, who may/will be low
income... might be hard to sort out all those priorities. :)

live well,

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