[Semibug] OS choice for computer illiterate family members?

Kyle Willett kyle.d.willett at gmail.com
Thu May 18 01:59:42 EDT 2023

So I had meant to ask this question after the talk on Tuesday night but was
enjoying listening to and learning from everyone else that I failed to
remember to ask!

So, I'm sure many of you can relate, being the computer nerd in the family
means you are tech support for the extended family and their friends.
Honestly I don't mind it that much and if I can help my family out it feels

In 2014 when Windows XP went EOL I with some twisting of the arms got my
parents each from XP to Xubuntu (Ubuntu Linux LTS with Xfce), I switched my
computer to Win 7 and FreeBSD dual boot, but I had an uncle who refused to

It's now been a decade and websites just don't work with win XP anymore.
Even though I've put an anti Ransomware and anti virus on it he struggles
with the fundamental fact that HTML 5 videos don't work, and for web
browsers you are stuck with an old LTS Firefox (I had to force him to stop
using the ie that came with service pack 3 in XP). I've just about got him
convinced to upgrade the OS.

Now for my questions, I have two.
1) What OS would you recommend for the computer novice that is safe and
secure? I'm leaning towards ChromeOS Flex because it auto updates, runs
everything in a chroot jail, and is virtually idiot proof! I've asked
around on Reddit and his AMD Kabini is well supported by flex but I don't
know for how long, tied for second choice is Xubuntu like I do for mom and
dad but I'm hesitant to pull that trigger because I know he will never
update it and I don't want to have to run over to apply updated every visit
to town! (I would of course run the updates from LTS to LTS). Tied for
second is OpenBSD -stable. It has had two remotely executable bugs since
it's founding in the 90s. Slap xfce4 on there, instsll Firefox and Libra
office or Google docs and good to go even if he doesn't patch the software
because OpenBSD is that secure. How secure though is say Firefox or
chromium if you don't patch the versions for 1 year?

2) It has recently come to my attention that when Xubuntu prompts my mom
for updates she closes the dialog box not wanting to change anything on her
computer. :Facepalm:. Should I look at moving her to OpenBSD too? Is the
fact that the Ubuntu spins use snaps now keeping her safe (because for
those who don't know snaps auto update themselves). My mom's case is a bit
different because she does online banking and I've got her hooked on some
open source games. My uncle literary just browses the Internet and does
word docs and Excell sheets.

Thanks in advance guys! Really appreciate this group!

Kyle Willett
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.nycbug.org:8443/pipermail/semibug/attachments/20230518/71f63509/attachment.htm>

More information about the Semibug mailing list