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Switching a FAMILY to Linux


As the title suggests, I am interested in switching my family including my six-year-old son to a more secure, private, and nimble personal computing paradigm. Recently I have been more and more intrigued in the computing experience that Linux and services like Protonmail, Brave, DuckDuckGo, Libre, and others have to offer. In a vacuum by myself, the switch away from Windows10 and Microsoft Services would be inconvenient at worst, but when I factor in my non-tech-enthusiast partner and my young son the waters get murkier. I recently bought my son his first computer - a ThinkPad yoga that came with Win10 pre-installed. Like most parents, my intent was/is to expose him to computing at a young age hoping that he takes a special interest in it. After seeing his 1st grade class create some really creative "programs" in Scratch I became extremely excited. Win10 offers a very kid-friendly UX and a massive library of very polished applications. My concern with switching the entire family over to Linux (and security/privacy focused services) is that much of the allure in computing that I am trying to instill in him will be lost among the lack of polished kid-friendly applications and experiences that (in my admittedly limited experience with Linux) he will likely encounter. For example, to call me on Skype he simply taps my picture on the taskbar. And that access to me and his other contacts is just as simple regradless of what device/platform they are using. On top of that the parental controls offered by Microsoft Accounts, which he currently has, seem far and beyond any solution that I have seen in the Linux realm. I have looked at elementary OS but the feature set isn't as extensive as I would be comfortable with. As for my partner, the power and flexibility of Office, Family Accounts, OneDrive, Skype, Exchange mail and calendars, etc.. are things that we have come to rely on every single day across iOS, Android, and Win10.

It seems most of the community centers around singles use case scenarios and experiences.

Are there any parents on the forum that have had positive experiences switching their children over to a Linux-only computing experience and if so what advice would you give?

Thanks in advance.


  • arochester

    Don't force anyone to do something they don't want to. It is a mistake.

    If your partner wants to stay with Microsoft Windows let her stay.

    A six-year-old is another matter. Not really worldlywise enough to decide this is Microsoft Windows and this is Linux. Should be very resilient at that age. Just let him see and use Linux. (Dual boot? ) Let him decide what to use.

    Or buy a Chromebook?

  • AvidUrner
    AvidUrner Posts: 2
    edited January 2019

    Actually, I installed Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on her old Toshiba to breathe new life into it and she was more than happy with it. Her use case, beyond all of the Microsoft collaberation features that we use together (OneDrive, OneNote, Calendar, etc...) is limited to basic browsing, music consumption, and document creation - typically work-scheduling of her doctors. As for my son, I assume he would choose GNU/Linux (my flavor of choice pop!_OS) simply because it comes with a robot background out of the box ha ha. My concern is that he would miss out on those "wow!" moments such as when he opened up Paint 3D for the first time and created his first 3D model. His eyes lit up and I had to pry the ThinkPad from him an hour later. Sure there are plenty of modeling applications available for Linux, but none of them are hardly friendly to a six-year-old.

  • arochester

    "(OneDrive, OneNote, Calendar, etc...)"

    The mobile versions of these are available in Linux through the browser. For example, go to outlook.live.com and click the thing with 9 dots in the upper left.

    3D. Look at e.g. https://all3dp.com/1/best-free-3d-modeling-software-3d-cad-3d-design-software/

    Another good source of information is alternativeto.net . Type in the name of a Windows program and it will show the Linux "equivalent">


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