Some time ago I bought a used ThinkPad for my grandparents – fully equipped with printer and high speed internet connection. I installed Kubuntu on it and most of it ran out of the box. So far so good.

Then came the time of learning. Did you ever think about how much coordination is needed to mouse over an icon, hold the mouse in place and click with your finger on the right button? It’s incredibly difficult for old people. At least it was for my grandfather. He died before I could teach him all he wanted to know.

But here comes Granny.

She moves the mouse like nothing and already taught herself a lot about using a computer simply by trying everything. This is limited of course. So I wanted to print the KMail manual for her to help her learn. Well, I did print something actually.

First issue: we both only had the english manual. I knew there was a German version but I simply couldn’t find it in the repositories (or anywhere else). I ended up with the version I found on docs.kde.org.

Second issue: the documentation covers a lot of things that are of no interest to a new-to-all-things-computer Granny (think about encrypting or MIME-types). I finally copied&pasted those paragraphs that I thought were the most useful into a txt-file and printed that, put it inside an envelope and brought it to the post office. And no, a simple email wouldn’t have done the job in this case. Apparently.

Now I’m looking forward to the first email from my Granny. Yes, I’m incredibly proud of her.

And I’m happy about all the effort that was taken to make KDE applications easy to use and easy to understand. Even for Grannies.

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6 Responses to KDE for Grannies

  1. Kdebianism sagt:

    I have some experience with KDE and elders, 15 desktops in different places, I mean, not a network with 15 desktops.

    My KDE and distro winner combination is Debian + KDE.

    I’ve tried Kubuntu too but it’s too buggy.

  2. Shamil sagt:

    One of the things i like are the elderly who like to learn. Reminds me of this lady who had an old p3 with win98 and had it up till 2006. I told her to buy a better computer that would last for years on end. Next thing i know is that i’m setting up a quad core 4gb ram geforce 8600gt dell with vista 64 bit. Yeah she definitely got something that’ll last for years on end alright (i think she went overboard, but regardless she hit the mark of what i told her to get regardless). All i had to do for her was give vista the classic windows theme with the classic start menu and she was at home. I’d have installed kubuntu for her on her old machine, but i think that’d be more problematic since she uses quicken and now the newest version of quicken and would rather not have her experience any difficulties with wine or having to teach her a new software with a linux financing software. She had to learn the new quicken 2008 as opposed to the quicken from like 2000 she had.

  3. Alexandra sagt:

    The big plus here is that she hadn’t worked with any computers before, so she didn’t have to switch to a new user interface and probably will never have to do so.

  4. Shamil sagt:

    Kde is the winner for migrating windows users.

  5. [mad]Berry sagt:

    I too have experience in getting elders to use computers, and must say Kubuntu is a great help.

    The interface is simple enough for them to quickly pick up where to go to find stuff.

    I always tell people not to fear and just play you can’t break a whole lot so just play.

    I also think that some of us computer geeks or nerds or technicians, should really tone down the geek talk and try harder to put stuff in „regular people“ language.

    Kdebianism wrote:

    I’ve tried Kubuntu too but it’s too buggy.

    When did you try this? 2005 lol

    [mad]Berry

  6. Shamil sagt:

    One of the things i like are the elderly who like to learn. Reminds me of this lady who had an old p3 with win98 and had it up till 2006. I told her to buy a better computer that would last for years on end. Next thing i know is that i'm setting up a quad core 4gb ram geforce 8600gt dell with vista 64 bit. Yeah she definitely got something that'll last for years on end alright (i think she went overboard, but regardless she hit the mark of what i told her to get regardless). All i had to do for her was give vista the classic windows theme with the classic start menu and she was at home. I'd have installed kubuntu for her on her old machine, but i think that'd be more problematic since she uses quicken and now the newest version of quicken and would rather not have her experience any difficulties with wine or having to teach her a new software with a linux financing software. She had to learn the new quicken 2008 as opposed to the quicken from like 2000 she had.