Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why Grannies Like Linux

New little mini-notebook PCs like the Asus Eee PC are popping up all over. And other budget-priced computers are being sold that cost less because they run some version of Linux, not Windows. And it's not just young people or geeks who are buying them. Grandmothers, apparently, are finding out that they love Linux.

So, I was thinking. My grandmothers are both in heaven now. I remember I was at my grandmother's house the day Windows 95 came out. I had been on vacation and hadn't realized what day it was, but the little podunk newspaper that they publish in this out-of-the-way corner of Indiana had a big ad for Windows 95. My grandmother asked what it was. I wasn't able to explain it to her -- but this was back when home computers weren't as common as they are now.

My children's grandfather has email, and his wife has a separate email address. They know how to use the computer, as do most grandparents nowadays. I'm pretty sure they know what Windows is. Whether they know what Linux is, that's another question.

Some people just want a computer to work. They want it to be able to run programs they can use to do email, surf the web, look at photos, watch videos, play music, write a simple document. They don't care what program it is, as long as it works and they can figure out how to use it easily.

So grandmothers like Linux if it's configured so it's easy to use, as it is on these computers. And the lower cost, saving the licensing fees that are associated with Windows machines, is a big plus to anyone who watches their pennies or just doesn't want to pay a high price for a computer.

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