The Cousin (s) experiment


Early this year, my two cousins got new computers. One of them got a laptop & other one went for a desktop. One of my cousin, who got a laptop, is a second year computer science engineering student. The other one, has just completed his high-school.

The laptop was taken without my advice and unsurprisingly it sucked. But still, it makes a good general purpose laptop. The configuration of the Dell laptop is :-

Processor Intel Pentium Dual Core T4200
RAM 2 GB DDR2 @ 667 MHz
HDD 250 GB 5400 RPM
Screen Size 14.1” 1280×720 resolution
Graphics Integrated Intel GMA
Price Rs. 35000

Considering the price this laptop is not bad, but still, it is not good either. It was shipped with FreeDOS. My cousin, who has no knowledge about any operating system came to me and asked me to install an operating system on it.

Lets come to my second cousin, who just cleared his high-school. His dad called me and asked me to build a nice PC under Rs.25k. I was initially going for AMD Athlon II X2 250 & AMD 785G chipset. But the demand was so much high of this platform that we were told to wait for 7 days. So, I decided to go with the following configuration which was available on the spot:-

Processor Intel Pentium Dual Core E5400 @ 2.7 GHz
Motherboard Asus G31
RAM 2 GB DDR2 @ 800 MHz Kingston
HDD Western Digital Blue 500 GB SATA II
DVD Writer Sony DRU 870 S
LCD AOC F19 18.5” 1366×768 resolution
Cabinet & PSU Zebronics Bijli with the default PSU.
Graphics card Integrated

I decided to install Fedora 12 on both of the systems. There were many advantages of doing so, mainly :-

  • FOSS products.
  • No headaches about viruses, spywares, adwares etc.
  • Built in superb OpenOffice.Org suite.
  • Low resource usage.
  • No need of drivers (except for the Broadcom wireless in laptop).
  • Integrated IDE & development tools.
  • No need of defragmentation or disk cleanup.
  • Delta RPMs, which reduce the size of updates upto 80% (95% in some cases).

The installation was a breeze. I chose ext4 as the default filesystem on both computers. I created the following partitioning scheme on the both systems :-

  • / – was allocated about 25 GB on both machines.
  • /home – around 30 GB on the laptop & 40 GB on the desktop.
  • /movies – for storing movies. ext4 was again chosen.
  • /music – for storing music, again ext4.
  • /data – for storing miscellaneous data.

The only thing which I had to do was to grant permission to them to mount the filesystems and to install the updates. That’s it nothing else.

The installation went super smooth. Everything was detected out-of-the-box. I had to install few multimedia packages like gstreamer-plugins-bad  & ugly along with other multimedia features. They both were familiar with VLC Player though, so I installed that too. Oh, and I chose GNOME as the default user environment. The webcam was detected by Fedora & was working flawlessly via cheese. Brasero was doing a nice jobs in burning the data discs, music was perfectly being managed by Rhythmbox & Banshee.

Its been about 5 & a half months. I’ve never, ever done any kind of repair on those two computers. Every gadget in their home is working flawlessly with Fedora 12. More over, I even visited my cousin’s college to instruct his teacher & his seniors on Fedora 12.

I just want to say that, if you have a cousin or a relative who is new to computers, then try installing any flavour of GNU/Linux or PC-BSD. You’ll be amazed how well people adopt it. There are people who still believe that you’ve to learn commands to work on a GNU/Linux computer. Both of my cousins can’t even copy files via command line, yet they are working on their systems since last 5 months without my supervision.

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