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Ask Slashdot: What OS For a Donated Computer? 360

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-and-tax-deductible-software dept.
chefwear writes "I am thinking of donating retired computers to a local charity for kids. What OS do you think would be best for this? From reading tips regarding the donation of computers, it's widely recommended to keep with the currently installed OS (which is Windows XP in this case). Since XP will be unsupported in about two years, I'm not sure I would be setting the little ones up for success. Would anyone suggest donating a computer with a Linux distro like Ubuntu to a local charity for kids?"
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Ask Slashdot: What OS For a Donated Computer?

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  • Depends for what (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drolli (522659) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:11AM (#37041600) Journal

    In which context and for what should it be donated?

    • by rbrausse (1319883)

      the second question should be if the donating is some fire-and-forget action.

      are you willing to support the charity? or do you just dump some old hardware at their place? for the second case the pre-installed XP is probably better (I use this word loosely), if you (or another volunteer) is able to assist with software issues a user-friendly Linux (like Ubuntu LTS) would help the charity to use the computers for a long time.

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:40AM (#37041764)

        Be ready to do some real support. You may not find it very different form Windows but they will. That is just life, they aren't computer people. Be ready to have plenty of training to do. If you aren't willing to do that, then consider just leaving XP on them. You aren't doing them favours if you give them systems they can't handle and say "Too bad, your problem now!"

        Also make sure Linux supports everything they want to do. If it is just web surfing and e-mail, no problem. However if they want to run special educational software, it may be Windows only. If that's the case, XP may be what is needed. Remember that "You don't need that," or "Well there might be OSS that is kinda like it," is never an acceptable phrase. Unless you can find something that they are happy with as a replacement, it isn't a replacement.

        Just make sure that if you give them a Linux system, it will be workable for them. While a supported OS is always the best way to go, an unsupported OS won't necessarily be horrible. If the firewall is enabled and people don't use it as an administrator, it could be a long time before there is a real security issue.

        Also keep in mind how long the hardware will last or is going to be used. XP will have patches for another 2.5 years (April 8, 2014 is when it stops). Will the systems still likely be running much after that?

        There isn't a right way to do this, depends on the situation. So decide if you are willing to support it (or if they have a support guy that handles Linux, which is unlikely), and if so then find out if you can meet their needs with Linux. If not, put XPSP3 on them, patch it, harden it to the extent possible, install security software like MSE, and call it good.

        • Also keep in mind how long the hardware will last or is going to be used. XP will have patches for another 2.5 years (April 8, 2014 is when it stops).

          Meanwhile, the current Ubuntu LTS desktop release will only be supported until April 2013. I use Ubuntu myself, but this decision seems like a no-brainer to me.

          • My father is 88. Last year I noticed his Ubuntu desktop had changed and I asked how. It had invited him to update to the next LTS release, he had followed the instructions. He is a retired lawyer, not a programmer.
        • by Bert64 (520050)

          If your giving computers to a charity, its likely that the people who end up using the machines are doing so because they don't normally have access to computers, in which case they will be unfamiliar with whatever you put on them...

          That said, linux is a better choice because its more complete/usable by default, more difficult to screw up, much safer on the internet by default and you can run a modern version for free. Also linux will encourage them to learn the system in depth if they so desire (and kids a

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            Also linux will encourage them to learn the system in depth if they so desire (and kids are naturally inquisitive)

            People who grow up to be computer geeks are naturally inquisitive about computers. Most kids are more inquisitive about girls' breasts or how to break someone's arm.

        • Be ready to do some real support. You may not find it very different form Windows but they will.

          Implying that kids are no different than beat-down, corporatized, cubicle dwellers that are told not to think for themselves. Kids are still unfettered by exposure to hide-bound companies run by dicks asking about the TPS reports, so they won't need as much hand-holding as you seem to imply. In fact; the less exposure to Windows they have, the more quickly they will excell (no pun intended) with Linux.

        • "Be ready to do some real support. You may not find it very different form Windows but they will"

          That's a load of FUD. I've installed close to a dozen Linux machines in the past year for kids and adults and about as many Windows ones. The support is the same. If anything, it's much easier for Linux because I just point them to the software repository and they can install anything they want with a click. With Windows it's a chore of disks and selections. For example, on the Ubuntu Linux systems I've insta

          • and if you don't happen to have the generic windows installed, you'll also have to maintain the dozen of entirely different preinstalled crapware utilities for each pc brand. Compare that to having the same environment and compatible config files with linux no matter which the architecture is. Old but perfectly useful Powerpc macs come to mind.

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          I agree. MS isn't supporting Windows XP anymore, but that doesn't mean it's "unsupported". Most people or even organizations have never contacted MS for support for Windows anyway. As long as there are people that know the system well enough, which is very true for Windows XP, it doesn't matter that MS isn't issuing patches anymore. Any remaining security problems can most likely be fixed by firewalls and other third party solutions. Although one small point. With many software packages written for Windo
  • It depends... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:13AM (#37041612) Journal
    it depends on what the purpose of the PC is going to be, are the kids going to be playing games, is it for web browsing, is it for educational purposes, is it to teach programming or business skills? All of these possibilities may affect the choice of OS. Overall though, if the tips that you've read suggest staying with the installed OS, why not follow the tips? XP being unsupported shouldn't affect them in any real manner, and if it does become a problem then the OS can be changed at that time.
    • by Slugster (635830)
      No, it doesn't depend.

      If you're being realistic, non-computer-geeks don't know jack shit about Linux, and don't have the time or desire to learn. Nobody will want to bother with some wierd OS that they can't buy software for at Wal-Mart.

      Without some flavor of Windows on it, the PC will end up being used as a door stop. The very things that Linux is best at, is the same things that regular (non-computer) people never do.
      • by Pieroxy (222434)

        Well, if it's for programming lessons, Ubuntu might be a good choice though. So I guess it still depends.
        If it's just to get them bootstrapped on "using a computer", windows will be best.

        Another point for Ubuntu is that if it suits their needs, they can install it on any other computer they might have at no cost. Hence, however fragmented their PC install base might be, they'll be able to level it with a consistent OS across the board.

      • Re:It depends... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shish (588640) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:36AM (#37041746) Homepage

        non-computer-geeks don't know jack shit about Linux

        They don't know jack shit about windows either; but if there's a desktop shortcut for The Internet, they'll be fine :-P

        • by Slugster (635830)

          They don't know jack shit about windows either; but if there's a desktop shortcut for The Internet, they'll be fine :-P

          -As long as all they wanted it for was to use the internet. :>|

          In the ads I've seen for charities asking for PC's, they almost always say that the PC's need to have a valid license for the Windows OS that is on it. Go and try to donate a Linux-only PC to some place and see what they say.




          And regarding monitors,,,, the local Goodwill stores will not even accept CRT's anymore.

        • by nashv (1479253)

          They don't know jack shit about windows either; but if there's a desktop shortcut for The Internet, they'll be fine :-P

          I second that. This seems to be lost on many people here at Slashdot. If these people knew anything about computers, they wouldn't have the security issues with Windows either. Windows 7 at least is an excellent piece of software (the marketing, monopolizing practices of its creator company notwithstanding). If you have clueless users , any system is going to be underthreat - Windows just happens to have about 90% of those clueless users simply because of its ubiquity.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Until they need some software and popping in the CD or double-clicking setup.exe won't work. Or anything else where you get a paint-by-the-numbers guide for the computer illiterate that's only good on Windows (and maybe OS X). And it's probably easier to find volunteers with a little bit of Windows knowledge than Linux knowledge when they need it. Not even a Linux system is that "fire and forget" that this doesn't matter.

      • by Lanteran (1883836)

        Bullshit, it's been brainless to use ubuntu since at least hardy. For people who have never used a computer before, ubuntu or mint is much much easier to learn than windows from scratch. Trust me, I've seen it. Though she doesn't use a computer often, I set my grandmother up with xubuntu 8.04 on the desktop years ago. Solid as a rock, been working ever since, and she's had no trouble either. With some flavor of windows on it though, it could easily become a doorstop to someone who doesn't know anything abou

      • Sure it depends.

        The charity may wipe all donated computes and install a sit license from scrach. In which case, the OS doesn't matter.

        The charity may be selling the computer at auction or in a thrift store. In that case, a legal license of the most recent version of Windows would be best.

        The charity may be using it administratively. In that case, it should be running whatever best runs their office apps.

        The charity may use it as a dumb terminal putting up a slide show in their lobby. In that case, the OS ha

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        If these kids are being given computers by a charity, chances are its because they can't afford to buy one themselves... As such, will know jack shit about anything computer related.

        Similarly they won't have much money, so they aren't going to be buying software for it at walmart.. They will be using software that is free, wether that means pirated or freely distributable probably won't matter to them.

        Also, the idea of buying software at walmart is antiquated, why would anyone want to do that when they have

  • Dualboot? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cheaphomemadeacid (881971) <cheaphomemadeacid@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:15AM (#37041638) Journal
    Keep the old xp's lying around and install Ubuntu dualboot.
  • Licensing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headLITE (171240) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:21AM (#37041662)

    I would install Ubuntu or some other free operating system. Main reason being licensing, with Ubuntu they'll get a current operating system and future updates and I don't have to worry about whether the XP license was part of a family pack and I can't even give it away, or whether it's an OEM license that prevents them from modifying the hardware, etc.

    • I'd install Ubuntu or some other Linux distro mainly because it'll be easy to keep up-to-date. XP is outdated, there's still plenty of open vulnerabilities on it and so on, but any of the more popular Linux distro keeps on pumping out security updates and will likely do so for years to come.

      Especially if the PCs are going for kids it's quite important that they work and that there won't be some nasties throwing up links for porn sites or such, and besides, there's plenty of great parenting tools available f

    • Another vote for Linux. One reason: no anti-virus needed. Install WINE, and configure OpenOffice to save in MSOffice 95/97 format (.doc, .xls) instead of the default OpenOffice formats (for compatability)
  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:26AM (#37041686)

    XP is still very much relevant - much to Microsoft's chagrin - regardless of its expiration date. The machine comes with a (OEM) license, presumably, so why waste it?

    At the same time, might as well expose them to a Linux distribution that at least has scores of layman support, such as Ubuntu.

    So why not set up a dual-boot system?

  • Leaving a clean copy of XP would be my suggestion since you already have the licenses and I reckon the Hardware itself will not likely survive another 2 years (They are Kids after all). But then again that would be too easy so here is another suggestion: Install OpenBSD to provide a solid foundation On top of that install Ubuntu (for an easy to use Linux distro) in VirtualBox, On top of that copy of Ubuntu install Windows XP if the kids need it to run their games In that virtual instance of XP get Firefo
    • by Lanteran (1883836)

      Virtualization? This is an xp era machine, those usually don't go beyond Pentium 4 era stuff. It's damn near impossible to get ubuntu running with any kind of speed in a VM unless you've got pretty nice specs which probably wouldn't exist or be any kind of common pre-2006.

  • by steveha (103154) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:30AM (#37041708) Homepage

    Windows XP needs expert maintenance to keep it running properly. You need to install antivirus and keep it updated, you need to run Windows Update, you need to keep various software packages up to date (and they all have their own ways to update). Printers and such all support XP, but you have to figure out where to get the driver and which one to use; whereas with Ubuntu the driver support isn't 100%, but the stuff that does work will really Just Work with no fussing. (Where I work, there is a networked printer that Ubuntu talks to perfectly, and it took well over an hour to get it working under Windows 7. And I had to install some wacky HP software that I really hate, to get it to go.) And even if you do everything right, after a few years the system will get kind of slow and bogged down, at which time you should really do a bare-metal reinstall to speed things up again.

    Ubuntu should run well on any computer from the "Designed for XP" era. It has one unified package manager. The Ubuntu Software Center is a place where kids can get stuff for free, and it's legal and it won't be malware.

    When I give away computers, I put Ubuntu on them. (Sometimes I also put Windows on them, if the person getting them has a need for Windows. But kids have no actual need for Windows, and Ubuntu works great.)

    steveha

    • by Lanteran (1883836)

      I'm in favor of putting linux on this computer, but ubuntu will not run on any computer with a "Designed for XP" sticker. I doubt you could run it with any kind of efficiency with less than 1GB of RAM and a pentium 4 or maybe high end pentium 3. XP stretches back further than that.

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        XP as it shipped originally is a lot less resource hungry than the current iteration with all service packs applied... It's unlikely that those early XP machines will run the current version adequately either, and an install of XP with no service packs is a totally irresponsible thing to use.

      • by kenh (9056)

        ubuntu will not run on any computer with a "Designed for XP" sticker

        Are you serious?

        The first dual-core Pentiums (805, 630, 930, etc) shipped with "Designed for XP" stickers, and the early Core systems did as well...

        Ubuntu & other Linux reach back to PII era CPUs and run acceptably, for people with time on their hands. A P3 system with a gig of RAM is a usable Linux desktop.

    • Printers and such all support XP, but you have to figure out where to get the driver and which one to use; whereas with Ubuntu the driver support isn't 100%, but the stuff that does work will really Just Work with no fussing.

      So essentially what you're saying is "Plug anything into XP and it's going to work. But you might have to put in a CD that came with the thing, or go to the manufacturer's webpage. However with Ubuntu it's a crapshoot that anything you plug in will work, and there's really no guarantee that there's a driver for it, but in the off chance there is a driver it's going to be a good one."

  • Do them a favor and put FreeBSD on it. Configure it beforehand so everything works; they won't even be able to figure out how to break it, and if they can even manage to do that, then they'll have learned enough to fix it.

  • I would go with Ubuntu, linuxmint or some such desktop distro today. Not so much because it's a better OS or will be supported longer than XP but because when you're donating computers you have to expect that they will end up in the hands of people who can't necessarily afford to buy software to do a lot of things and by default XP comes with 0 extras and won't necessarily know how/where to fine open source options for windows. In this light your typical linux distribution comes with software that will do a
  • Businesses are almost totally Windows based. It is only when you get into the server room that you'll find Linux. So if you're setting someone up to work with Windows in later life that would be the choice. But there may be a lot more tablet use in 10 years.

    But I used an Amiga up until about 1998 and on that I learned how to program C and other things. It's not held back my knowledge of Windows.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      You started out on a platform that encouraged you to learn, windows actively discourages curiosity and learning... People who start on non windows platforms tend to have no trouble adapting to other systems, but those who start on windows tend to become pigeonholed.

      Businesses today may use windows, but when i went to school businesses were using dos, mainframes, and some old unix machines etc. It's pointless for kids of today to get stuck on windows, especially a version that is already out of date. When th

  • If the computers are only to be used for web browsing then any OS will do of course, but I'm assuming that the people you donate the computers to will buy printer X or webcam Y tomorrow and expect it to work after inserting the cd that comes in the box. Linux is excellent until you pop in a windows driver cd...

    So I recommend leaving XP on there, just make sure security settings are ok, MSE is installed, use chrome for browsing, make a recovery partition and a simple bare-metal restore procedure etc. etc.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Most half decent printers will just work with linux, without needing to insert a cd. I don't even have CD readers in most of my machines.

  • by PyroMosh (287149) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:51AM (#37041820) Homepage

    Moe info is needed. I had to do something similar when my employer got rid of a lot of old machines. they went to different places, and for each, I evaluated certain criteria.

    Who will be administering these machines? This might make the decision easy for you, it might not BE your decision if there's a competent admin in the organization there who will of course have their own ideas. They may use the product keys the machines came with, they may have their own distro they want to standardize on, or they may even qualify for one of the cheap or free site licenses that Microsoft offers to NPOs.

    As others have asked, what will the machines be used for? If it's 100% for the web, any OS will do, and it's a question of what will be easiest to maintain. Install the OS, lock it down good, install Firefox or Chrome in terminal mode and you're golden.

    If you have any expectation that the staff or kids will want to install their own applications, you're almost certainly better off with XP - end of life or not. WINE is probably not something you want to get into with folks who don't understand computers well enough to administer them on their own.

    Remember, just because it's a charity for local kids doesn't necessarily mean anything. Kids might not ever get anywhere near these machines. They could go to an admin who does the finances. One of the PCs we donated went to a charity for Cerebral Palsy where it's being used for fund raising. It's running Razor's Edge on XP.

    The best thing to do is ask how they expect to use the machines. Then figure out how to set them up based on that (If they don't have their own people).

  • by Treffster (1037980) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @06:06AM (#37041906)
    Ask yourself 3 questions:

    1) Will the kids want to play computer games? Of course, they are kids, what else are computers for at that age? That means XP.

    2) Who will help them with the computer? Answer: other kids, parents and teachers. I bet your bottom dollar kids will get much better teaching from others with XP compared to Ubuntu, purely because of the install base and general familiarity.

    3) Is the 2 year limit on XP relevant? Of course not, in 2 years as an XP machine it'll be due for a re-install anyway (if not before).
  • by BandoMcHando (85123) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @06:08AM (#37041914)

    It might be worth taking a look at the Helios Project, (Website: http://www.heliosinitiative.org/ [heliosinitiative.org] , Blog of bloke running it: http://linuxlock.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] ), as this is exactly what they do, collect together donated PCs and stuff, and provide refurbished PCs with Linux on to people on a charitable basis (predominantly disadvantaged kids I believe). (And they do some training etc as well I think).

    Anyway, a lot of the postings on their have been quite interesting over the years, and I think they currently use either Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

  • I doubt any charity would (if they had sense) use a computer with the software that was on it when it was donated. Who knows what is on there - viruses, trojans, porn collections, bank details etc. They'd wipe it and install from scratch. Given that, they would have their own ideas of what to install but as a courtesy you could supply the original install discs if you had them. You could also offer to help them choose an OS if you wanted to volunteer to set it up, in which case their requirements would dict
    • by kenh (9056)

      A clean install of an OS allows the recipient to easily test that the box functions, and allows the donor to confirm it is fully-functional (I.e. the optical drive works, etc,). I would perform an install on systems I donate, but I wouldn't expect it to remain on the system.

  • I'd suggest Edubuntu

    https://edubuntu.org/about [edubuntu.org]

    I never used it myself although there's a 'try it now' which lets you run it over the internet and get a look at it.

  • I comes stable so its less likely updates breaking something and then no one being around to fix it. The issue i see with Ubuntu is if no one knows how to maintain it it could get stuck with some buggy package or unity if someone mucks it up.

    Just if you did use Debian be nice and get Ice Weasel tracking the current version of Firefox having anyone still using 3.5 is cruel.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @06:42AM (#37042050) Homepage

    As long as the PCs have 40GB or more of disk space, just install Ubuntu side by side with XP, with the latter as the first choice in GRUB.

    This gives them a familiar environment (XP), but lets curious kids explore Linux if they're interested.

  • Apple iOS (Score:3, Funny)

    by tehcyder (746570) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @06:59AM (#37042128) Journal
    Because you should only be donating high quality iPads to kids, anything else just isn't fair on them. You don't want to restrict their intellectual and socio-economic growth

    And with the vast number of apps available for any possible purpose, whether for business, education or pleasure, there really is no better platform for choice.

    So, all in all, it has to be Apple iOS for freedom, choice and thinking of the children who are our future.
    • Are you serious? Normally I would assume not, but this is slashdot. If you are, what would you suggest he do with his old machines? Doorstops?

  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:12AM (#37042176)

    I wouldn't give anyone a system with an existing OS. You should scrub the drive and install fresh. Particularly with XP or other strains of Windows, there's no telling what might be crawling around in an old system. Even with Linux, are you certain you've found every trace of your old pr0n collection and deleted it?

    • by vlm (69642)

      there's no telling what might be crawling around in an old system

      Which is why a lot of charities wipe by default. What's their liability if you install windows, a windows keylogger, donate to them, and now you identify theft someone?

  • Just stick to Windows XP, and install Deep Freeze. (Software) damage caused from toying around or from virus infection will instantly be "healed" when the computer is powered off at the end of the day. This is a practical solution that would save you tons of headache.
  • For elementary school age kids, whatever OS you install will be obsolete by the time they graduate middle school, let alone high school or college. Same for current middle school kids.

    WinXP is an anomaly for it's lifespan - it retains almost 50% of the total desktop market after what, almost ten years of use?

    For kids, especially young kids, it is about supporting not just web browsers, but 10+ year-old software written for WinXP and earlier OSes. Besides, you can only donate OSes you have a legal right to i

  • Why are you asking Slashdot? Are you donating them to Slashdot? Maybe you should take this up with whoever you're donating to.

  • by salesgeek (263995) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @07:56AM (#37042436) Homepage

    I have five kids (4 daughters, 1 son) and about the same number of computers in the house. Here is what I've learned:

    Windows computers, no matter what version become unusable after six months due to kids installing stuff that includes three metric tons of crapware. If you remove the ability to install, you remove the ability to learn to manage the computer, which kind of defeats the purpose of letting your kids have a computer to begin with. When things go wrong, Dad is out 4-8 hours, usually re-installing everything on the laptop.

    Macs work well, but are too expensive to let a 13 year old throw in the backpack, get stolen at the school library, etc... a $400 PC is not nearly as likely to grow legs because it will sell for $200 on the street. A $1300 Mac will get $900, which buys a lot of mind altering chemicals. When things go wrong, Dad is out 10-30 minutes.

    Linux works fine. The kids like Kubuntu because they can customize everything (KDE4 is good at that), can access everything (Konqueror and Dolphin are amazing) and the browsers (Chrome, FireFox, Reconq and Opera) are all fine. OpenOffice is well suited to K-12 use, and Inkscape and Gimp are fantasic. There is no IE to fsck everthing up to hell. System administration is surprisingly not that big of a deal. It's pretty cool when they tell you, "Dad, I wanted to learn 3d so I found this thing called blender and here's what I made." When things go wrong, Dad is out 10-15 minutes, tops, and can usually SSH in and fix the problem.

  • Ebuntu.
  • I'm going to suggest something revolutionary. I know this is a Slashdot flame war about operating systems but here's my two suggestions:

    1) Ask someone at the charity what they would like to have on the computer.
    or
    2) Donate whatever you would be happier giving to them.

    In either case you should follow the advice above about formatting the drive. You never know if there are cached credit card numbers or something else that could get you into serious trouble, so you should always format. Depending on whether

  • Since XP will be unsupported in about two years, I'm not sure I would be setting the little ones up for success.

    Where is this concern grounded? Is XP going to just go away in two years? Is there a Linux distribution that can better familiarize kids with how to use a PC than XP can? Will learning on XP somehow set them up for failure/trouble?

    If anything, I'd be more concerned about the people (if anyone) who will be expected to support the donated PCs. A lot of these donations go to organizations rather

  • I gave both to my sister for her new laptops.

    The conclusion? XP needs constant attention, but none of them are critical and you can do it every 6 months and you will be OK.

    Linux, just works, but she has no chance to add anything to it. Printer works, but the scanner doesn't, USB 3G no go, .....

    There is no winner or loser, just differences.
  • by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:33AM (#37043970)
    training and support for the little things like internet connections or even installing software. The Microsoft Windows ecosystem is somewhat self supporting with so many _"experts"_ all over the place willing to show the completely clueless what things to click on.

    So, if the charity has a small base of volunteers and they could be trained on the basics and some were willing to learn more, something like Ubuntu would be perfect. The charity could use LTSP to set up a multi-seat training room or labs and if they were REALLY into it, all the installed systems could have their software update system set to the charities server for updates but not really needed unless there were lots of customization.

    Without the basic training, the charity would get calls like "where is the D drive when I put my CD in?". But with Edubuntu and the KDE education packages along with others I think a Kubuntu installation would be a very good solution. And unlike a Windows system, they would not be taught to pirate proprietary software because they can't afford it, they would be taught to look for and try out different free solutions and can do so from the 10s of thousands of free software packages out there.

    LoB
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @11:27AM (#37044524) Homepage Journal

    If you subscribe to (now government-backed, thanks Blizzard) view that software EULAs are enforceable and software copies that come with EULAs don't have their titles transferred, then your "gift" of a computer will also come with contractual obligations upon the user that they never opted into and don't have the power to opt out of (except by replacing the OS). Furthermore, they probably won't even know what those obligations are, since you will be clicking through the 52-page "I agree" screen instead of the children reading it carefully and clicking "I agree" to indicate the child's fully informed consent to the binding contract.

    (If this sounds totally fucked up, don't blame me.)

    Doing this to anyone would hardly be "charitable," and doing it to children who don't even have a chance of understanding all the risks, would be even less so. Thus, you might want to avoid that if you're thinking in terms of charities.

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