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Christmas Cheer Operating Systems Software

Best Live Linux For Christmas Giving? 594

Posted by timothy
from the insert-your-favorite-winter-holiday dept.
trustedserf writes "This year I am including a bootable Live Linux CD in many of my Christmas cards. As I'll be making the copies myself I may even change the default desktop background to something personal, or Christmasy before running it off on cheap CD-Rs. The objective is to show people the easiest possible route to using a linux desktop so that they will be: A) Aware and B) Pleasantly surprised. About Christmas they may also have more time to try it out too. Naturally, I'm thinking of Gnoppix, but there are other options.. I use KDE, so I have to decide between it and Gnome. Bearing in mind my objectives, what distro would you choose. Also, importantly, is it possible any of them will damage their hardware (monitors with incorrect refresh etc.) I would be *very* unhappy if that happened. How many of them would fail to boot, leaving a bad impression? Which way would you go about it for maximum "WOW"."
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Best Live Linux For Christmas Giving?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:28PM (#10894895)
    A linux live CD by itself isn't going to get a normal person to run it. You need to put all sorts of easy to run/access games on it, plus Firefox. Then maybe... possibly... someone will actually use it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:31PM (#10894933)
      That would be Knoppix MAME [sourceforge.net] then.
      • I always keep around a disk full of free (as in beer) software to give people. It has the Windows versions of:

        Audacity
        BitTorrent - probably doesn't belong
        Blender
        FlightGear - along with our local scenery area
        Gaim
        Gimp
        GnuGo - never seen any interest in this (duh)
        GTK - for Gimp and Gaim, but it adds confusion
        Inkscape - version 0.40 due any day now
        Maxima
        Mozilla - FireFox and Thunderbird
        Mplayer
        OpenOffice.org
        Python - for the geeky kids
        VideoLan

        All this crap fits on one CD. I don't usually distribute

    • by daves (23318) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:31PM (#10894937) Journal
      That means http://sourceforge.net/projects/knoppixmame [sourceforge.net]
      • by Anonymous Coward
        If I'm on your christmas list, just fill it with pr0n intstead -- then the knoppix-feature of not touching the hard drive is pretty useful; so parents don't see the stuff in my browser history.
    • by MC Negro (780194)
      This is not a jab at Linux or anything, but the only things my peers know about Linux is that it's free and it's a Unix clone. Frankly, they would be pissed if I gave them a CD with a free operating system on it and tried to pass that off as a gift. Giving a CD full of free data is rather passe, IMHO. Why not offer to install and give support for a distro or download SuSE/Mandrake/Fedora Core and include a copy of CrossoverOffice (something that, coupled with help in installation and support, might actually
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Giving a CD full of free data is rather passe, IMHO

        It is? So was once popular but now it's out of fashion? Really, I must not have picked up on that trend.

        Or maybe you're using words that you don't know how to define! Always bad form, even for Slashdot. Hell, especially for Slashdot!
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:16AM (#10895254)
          I got an AOL 9 disk for christmas last year from my cousin. Needless to say he's getting a present from my cat's litterbox this year.
      • by damiangerous (218679) <1ndt7174ekq80001@sneakemail.com> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:31AM (#10895330)
        Frankly, they would be pissed if I gave them a CD with a free operating system on it and tried to pass that off as a gift.

        Wow, lucky thing that's not what he's doing!

      • by Yaztromo (655250) <.moc.cam. .ta. .omortzay.> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @01:04AM (#10895484) Homepage Journal
        It also fits on a mini CD-R, so it can be kept in a pocket. Might want to consider sending a card with one of those inside it.

        One thing to note here is that if you use mini CD-Rs and are sending to non-technical people, do them a favour and add a note that they shouldn't use the disc in a slot-loading drive. Most slot-loading drives (mostly found on laptops) can't handle these discs, where they jam and can damage the drive.

        There's nothing worse than getting a gift that forces you to send your laptop in for repair.

        Yaz.

      • "but he did use it as his primary desktop for a while. "

        Why did he stop using it? Was it due to an issue with Linux or something else?
    • I agree. Here is what I would put on it in terms of basic apps:

      1. Firefox
      2. SuperTux
      3. The GIMP
      4. GAIM
      5. OO.o
      6. Solitare

      That should show them that they can do everything they want; games, web browsing, photo editing, and word processing. All the basics.

      PS- If you can, make sure that Firefox is ready to go with java, flash, and shockwave
    • Knoplix had frozen bubble included (its a "bust a move clone") Fun. I used to boot into knoplix just to play..
    • by nwbvt (768631) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:54PM (#10895114)
      I'm sorry, but if you are giving these to "normal people", you might as well just be giving them coasters, as that is what they will end up as.
  • sad. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Now I can see why you have no friends.
  • best? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:29PM (#10894903)
    windows-xp-professional-with-keygen.iso
  • Mandrake (Score:3, Informative)

    by truz24 (800762) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:29PM (#10894910)
    Mandrake has a live cd, and seems to be the best solution for a beginner. I have converted several people to Mandrake and they all seem to be happy with their solution
    • Did you try MEPIS? I believe you will not look at Mandrake again once you test drive MEPIS.

      Cb..

    • Re:Mandrake (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mycroft_VIII (572950) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:02AM (#10895156) Journal
      I wish I could second this (I rather liked Mandrake during the late 8.x and 0.x series), but Mandrake's live cd has failed to work on both systems I've tried it on.
      I went throught this before with, IIRC, mandrake 6.x series and 7.x.
      This time I suspect it doesn't like my video card* (can't find screen when trying to start X), but with the earlier distro's I would always get a divide by 0 error, and that on four or five machines in a row.
      It seems odd they have so much trouble with building a bootloader/installer that can't recover from such errors, in the first case div by zero is simply a very bad sign, and in the second shouldn't it switch to generic vga or even text mode?
      My current video card is a Radeon AIW-9600 and was used on both systems as the second try occured after a significant upgrade (new mb,ram,case optical drives and floppy+media reader only hd's,video,audio and powersuply were kept), given the issues surrounding drivers on any recent video card (especialy radeons) it doesn't suprise me X had issues, it does suprise me mandrake didn't think of it.
      Well I still have the old mb (nforce2) and case and can probably borrow my brother old nvidia card so I'll likely try again when I turn that into a backup system.
      Though if anyone knows how to get it working on my curent system (A8V delux asus mb, 1G ram, Atholon64 3500+, SB Live platinum, and Radeon AIW-9600) I'd listen. but this is someone elses ask slashdot, and to be honest I didn't really dig or try much beyond booting the livecd and watching it crash.

      Mycroft
    • Re:Mandrake (Score:3, Informative)

      by npistentis (694431)
      Suse also ships with a live CD, which ran great on my machine- I'd recommend it, as the only thing it didnt pick up automagically was my wifi card
  • by Ingolfke (515826) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:30PM (#10894914) Journal
    I'd skip the Linux live CD and give a charitable donation to The Human Fund [deadparrots.net] instead. It's much more meaningful.
  • Think Again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by comwiz56 (447651) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ziwmoc>> on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:30PM (#10894915) Homepage
    I would think twice before doing. Seriously, how many people, whether family or friends, wouldn't think of you as a fanatic or total nerd if you went around giving Linux as a christmas gift.

    I would suggest pulling some of your more technically inclined relatives/friends aside, and just show them Linux running on your machine.
    • Re:Think Again (Score:5, Interesting)

      by King_TJ (85913) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:39PM (#10895011) Journal
      Actually, it seems to me like it all depends.... I've had several relatives and family friends ask me quite a bit about "that whole Linux thing", pretty much out of the blue, after they realized I'm still working in the computer industry.

      There's a fair bit of curiousity out there from people who've heard about these cheaper/free alternatives to Windows for their computers. Something they can run as easily as sticking a disc in a drive might be just the thing for them to take a first-hand peek at it.

      Much really depends on how many of your family members/relatives already enjoy using a computer. In my direct family, practically nobody does. My mother uses the same PC I put together for her and gave her as an Xmas gift about 6 years ago - and she still struggles to remember exactly how she's supposed to check her email, print it out, and write replies to people. Honestly, she just hasn't been willing to put in the time it would take to get comfortable with using the few programs she wants to use.
    • Re:Think Again (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IntelliTubbie (29947) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:52PM (#10895099)
      I would think twice before doing. Seriously, how many people, whether family or friends, wouldn't think of you as a fanatic or total nerd if you went around giving Linux as a christmas gift.

      Seriously ... this reminds me of people who push their favorite book on everyone as a "gift," and then constantly harass them if they haven't read it yet. Rule of thumb: any gift that requires less effort to give than to receive isn't much of a gift at all.

      Cheers,
      IT
    • Re:Think Again (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tough Love (215404)
      I would think twice before doing. Seriously, how many people, whether family or friends, wouldn't think of you as a fanatic or total nerd if you went around giving Linux as a christmas gift.

      I have done it, I am a nerd, and the gift was greatfully received, not to mention put to good use.
    • Re:Think Again (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp@NOspAm.freeshell.org> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:09AM (#10895210) Homepage Journal
      I think the poster is talking about sending it along with cards.

      So this isn't something you give out to your close friends and family. This is a gift you give out to people you just know well enough for a card.

      It does have a message with it. It subtley indicates that the sender knows something about Linux and wants other people to as well.

      If you want to make a living in Linux, think of it as a form of networking (the human kind, not the computer kind).
    • by Lord Kano (13027) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:27AM (#10895315) Homepage Journal
      About 11 years ago, I got so sick of my relatives getting me clothes for Christmas that I declared that if anyone every got me clothes again, I'd reward when with an NRA membership next Christmas.

      I have a family full of Democrats, I never got clothes from them again.

      LK
  • by terrymaster69 (792830) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:30PM (#10894917)
    My family wouldn't know what "boot from this cd" means. Good luck!
  • Mepis (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kyouryuu (685884) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:30PM (#10894918) Homepage
    Mepis Linux is another good choice. It's also very easy to install to the hard drive if they are impressed with the LiveCD version. It's also just one CD. http://www.mepis.org
    • Re:Mepis (Score:3, Informative)

      by madstork2000 (143169) *
      Mepid is an EXCELLENT CHOICE. What sets it apart is it includes a ton of hard to configure browser plugins. It is a pleasure to boot up and surf the web and see flash, java, etc and more out of the "box".

      It lets Linux users take for granted a lot of the things on the web that Windows users do. Which is important for something like this.

      MS2k
    • Re:Mepis (Score:3, Informative)

      by artson (728234)
      Mepis has my vote too. A Debian based distro and perfectly set up to install on the hard drive. I have only one quibble - I'd have preferred Firefox and Thunderbird rather than Mozilla and Mozilla Mail. Other than that, it's great.

      Recognized my sound card and modem
      Setup nicely with KPPP as a dialer
      Apt and Synaptic worked flawlessly
      Very nice installation with none of those useless flash-past-your-eyes messages about errors or problems (Ubuntu take note)
      As an aside, any distro that does this should pres
    • Re:Mepis (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jav1231 (539129)
      Got my vote! Installed it for the first time this week. Why can't all distro's do this? I would gut a lot of the apps in it, but at least they are decent apps! All the plugins are done, what more could you ask for? Mepis may very well represent a paradym shift in not only LiveCD's but distro's in general.
  • by Chess_the_cat (653159) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:31PM (#10894926) Homepage
    ...it's that people hate to be converted and they hate to be preached to. If your friends aren't looking to change their OS then just forget your little crusade because all you're going to do is piss people off.
    • Dude. Sounds like the live Linux CD is payback for my father in-law. Knoppix for him it is.

      Soko
    • If your friends aren't looking to change their OS then just forget your little crusade because all you're going to do is piss people off.
      Not necessarily, it doesn't have to a big pro-Linux conversion exercise. It just needs to cater to each person's interests. Plenty of games for those who enjoy them. Or if you've got an aunt who's interested in family trees find some OS software she might like to try. It's a lot of work though.
  • what's linux? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Coneasfast (690509) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:31PM (#10894931)
    I am including a bootable Live Linux CD in many of my Christmas cards

    interesting choice, as i'm guessing at least half the people you send to don't even know what linux is. i'd like to know how this turns out :)

    also, my suggestion is you is to include some sort of leaflet into getting them started, do they even know how to boot a bootable CD? just thought i should point this out.
  • GUI (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pseinstein (833696)
    I am not a linux guru but from the perspective of the average person go with something that has a simple GUI interface. All that fancy commandline stuff scares people.
    • go with something that has a simple GUI interface. All that fancy commandline stuff scares people.

      The 90's called. They want their joke back.

      Gnome [gnome.org] and KDE [kde.org] are two of the many GUIs available and they have been included in most distributions for years.
  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:32PM (#10894941) Homepage
    Another nifty customization would be to set the Firefox Home Page to something personal and/or Christmas'ie [komar.org] so they are reminded again of your gift (cool idea) when they fire up the browser.
  • My vote: (Score:3, Funny)

    by po_boy (69692) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:32PM (#10894943) Homepage
    Christmux.
  • by bagboy (630125) <neoNO@SPAMarctic.net> on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:32PM (#10894945)
    has a lot of punch... Firefox, Multimedia and easy set up....
  • Unless you will have alot of people going "WTF happened to windows!?!" "This asshole crashed my computer and now I have some foreign interface on it"
  • Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Morgahastu (522162)
    I'd hate to be a member of your family, worst gift ever.

    Honestly.

    Don't give people these discs, unless everyone in your family is a geek no one will even use it or know what to do with it.

    Most people who use Windows don't even know how to install that and that's really easy.

  • Don't use a cheap-o CD-R.. The price is low because the quality is low, do you want a low quality CD causing people to not switch?

    Which brings up the point: What makes you think that the people you send Christmas cards to want to switch from Windows?
  • "Which way would you go about it for maximum "WOW"."

    You mean as in: "WOW! I knew he was nerdy, but...just... WOW!!"?
  • Mepis (Score:4, Informative)

    by gvc (167165) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:34PM (#10894962)
    I tried a bunch of live CDs on my Toshiba 5200 and none worked properly until I found Mepis [mepis.org] and downloaded it. It worked perfectly - even the wireless. And installing to the hard drive was easy, too.

    Mepis is Debian based; much lower barrier to admission than other Debian distros.

  • Penguin Piercings Or maybe "Raver Penguin" Anyway, a real penguin with some glow sticks would rule. Think there is a Gov. grant for testing X on these somewhere?
  • well.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by SkankinMonkey (528381)
    Nothing says, 'I'm cheap' on Christmas like giving out burned CD's of free OS's! I bet you gave out bootable floppies of FreeDOS before you got a burner!
  • "Excellent, a heavy card... might be some money or something in there... or maybe a cool music CD. Cool!"
    *rip, rip, fwiiip*
    "What the hell?"
    "LINUX! Oh for f*ck's sake!"

    "Why the hell would I want to put this on my machine? It's got what... like 18 games out for it? Can it play HL2? No... can it play Halo2? No... Does it really improve what I'm currently doing if I'm not a nerd? Not really."

    *throws it with the AOL CDs*

    * Note: I actually think the idea is fairly cool.... BUT only when sent to a very select g
    • Can it play HL2? No

      not to be anal or ruin your post but HL2 is now playable on linux using transgaming's flavor of wine

      slashdot story here [slashdot.org]

      all the same, your point is prolly true....
  • I have not come across a better bootable Linux than MEPIS, http://mepis.org/ [mepis.org]. I was even able to listen to the BBC's .ram and .rm streams out of the box! I was also able to pick my favorite station that streams in Windows Media as well. No distro comes close, and its package handling and fonts are better than what most distros offer save for Linspire. And ohh...it's Debian based. Everyone should try MEPIS.

    Cb..

  • Awesome! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by czarangelus (805501)
    I just want to say that I think this is an awesome idea. I've been trying to convince my dad to switch to Linux for some time now- maybe I can guilt him into trying Linux out if I disguise it as a Christmas present!
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:36PM (#10894984)
    This is like a relative trying to convert you to Colgate from Crest....

    lame gift.

    Give em a linux powered media player or something useful...

    What about putting photos and music on it and use it as the card itself...

  • All right. So I am probably going to get modded down for this, but, thre are always better gifts than Linux CDs. However, if you really want something computer oriented, send out copies of Firefox.
  • SuSE live cd distro (Score:2, Informative)

    by TwistedTR (443315)
    SuSE Live CD. I've found it has better general hardware support (don't want it to coredump on someone) and the default program pack does a pretty good job.
  • So you use KDE but 'naturally' you would choose GNOPPIX? Why not Knoppix?

    • Knoppix has a lot stuffed on it, but in my opinion it has a very unpolished feel to it. Things have weird names, odd looks, missing icons. I think people would come off with a better impression if he used Gnoppix.
      • The point still stands that 'naturally' doesn't fit well if the person is a KDE user. Knoppix is what would 'natually' follow, not gnoppix. :(
  • If you apply yourself a little bit, you could be the next AOL.

    1.Start by sending Linux CD's to friends and family.
    2.Branch out to your whole town
    3.Now county level, then state, etc
    4.????
    5. pro^H^H^H declarw bankruptcy

    Okay, so maybe a few bugs to work out, but still, Rock On! great Idea

    Oh, and I would use Red Hat, so maybe you could get sued for some free publicity.

  • Oh, jeez. (Score:3, Funny)

    by SamMichaels (213605) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:43PM (#10895037)
    I'm jumping on the "this is dumb" bandwagon.

    Give them something useful like Firefox. Leave a note:

    1) Install
    2) Use for 7 days
    3) Send me a thank you card for saving you
  • I would go with knoppix, KDE is much more windowizy and many windows users cannt even tell the difference. It is very user friendly and has alot of extra apps that are really usefull. If they finally decide to make the switch I would strong suggest Fedoria. Its very easy to install and update/maintain. The only thing I would suggest is for them to just burn all there files on a CD before installing. Anyway goodluck on your mission!
  • by sllim (95682) <achanceNO@SPAMearthlink.net> on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:47PM (#10895064)
    The people that say that this smacks of conversion and fanaticalism are correct. I mean, put it in the xmas cards if you want, but don't get all upset if no one installs it.
    I mean seriously, how many people really want to think about OS's during Christmas?
    This is a better Halloween gift then anything. You can be that crazy old man that gives out Linux Distros instead of candy bars.

    On a serious note.
    This puts a thought in my head.

    I have pretty much 'zero' interest in running Linux thankyouverymuch.
    One of the reasons I don't desire to attempt it is because of the headache factor. Command line commands I don't know, drivers I don't know where to find, sound card that won't work.... blah, blah blah.

    All I know is that when I install windows it comes up as advertised.

    See, I think this guy is onto something. I just don't think he is thinking of the correct use for it.
    What about a seriously generic Linux distro where a newbie like myself could put it in his CD drive, it would boot into some sort of DOS like equivelant where it would ask some simple questions about partioning and formatting the drive, then 20 minutes later it would finish the install and boot me up to a GUI desktop with video drivers installed (well generic ones at least), sound drivers installed and firefox installed.

    I am not aware that such a creature exists. It probably does though. But that is one reason I haven't attempted it. I don't feel like taking on a learning curve that for me would start on the install. I can learn about dealing with drivers and command lines and such later. Just get me to a GUI desktop so I have some sort of baseline to work from.
    • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:09AM (#10895212) Homepage
      Check out Ubuntu [ubuntulinux.org]. From what I've heard (friend of mine tried it) install should be rather painless.

      Here's the Ubuntu About page [ubuntulinux.org] for more info.
    • by Tough Love (215404) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:18AM (#10895270)
      The people that say that this smacks of conversion and fanaticalism are correct.

      See, given your comments below, that's why you need the CD.

      What about a seriously generic Linux distro where a newbie like myself could put it in his CD drive, it would boot into some sort of DOS like equivelant where it would ask some simple questions about partioning and formatting the drive, then 20 minutes later it would finish the install and boot me up to a GUI desktop with video drivers installed (well generic ones at least), sound drivers installed and firefox installed.

      I've got news for you, the CD's we are talking about here go way beyond that. It's basically just put it in your CD drive and 1 minute later it's up and running a full GUI with your browser connected to the internet and solitaire ready to play. Not to mention having a _full_ office suit ready to use.

      Still think it's not something you want to find in your XMas stocking?
  • by voidptr (609) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:47PM (#10895065) Homepage Journal
    You're kidding, right?

    If one of my relatives tried to use a christmas card to evangelize an operating system, they'd be spending Christmas outside in the barn.
  • I love your idea! (Score:2, Informative)

    by psych-major (767984)
    I have messed around with several live Linux CD's and have settled on SLAX Popcorn, which is based on Slackware. http://slax.linux-live.org/download.php It comes standard with Firefox, Thunderbird and MPlayer already installed, and being Slack-based, it is extremely smooth and stable. I can't see that it would harm any PC hardware as it probes quite thoroughly while booting. I have booted several PC's and laptops with it and all major items funtioned correctly without any tweaking needed. It can boot totall
  • just put a message on the first boot screen that says they must send copies of the Live CD to 7 friends and family within one week or they'll have bad luck... like Timmy Tomelson in Desmodo, Nebrasksa who didn't believe the curse and was sued by the RIAA, for illegally downloading copies of John Tesh at the Red Rocks or Bostuli Smith of New Townslope, New Hampshire whose liquid cooled beowulf cluster sprung a leak destroying his systems, and rendering his attempt to compile a complete Gentoo distributin in
  • Knoppix Hacks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by krmt (91422) <[therefrmhere] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:00AM (#10895143) Homepage
    I've been trying to figure out a decent gift for my Dad, and I was thinking the new O'reilly Knoppix Hacks book would be a good choice. He used to love computers, but he feels like they've gotten too complex for him, and he's totally frustrated from dealing with Windows virus and spyware issues. The book looks like it's got some good info on dealing with those, plus knoppix might be a fun little toy for him to play with that'd make computers simple again. It'd also let him know a bit about what I've been babbling on and off to them about for years now :-)

    The idea of giving them just a CD though? Lame. The CD with some decent instructions tailored to their needs, if they actually have them then maybe you've got something there. I'm personally going to go check the book out in the store before I order it for him.
  • by jhoger (519683) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:02AM (#10895161) Homepage
    Well, you could just pop the browser up with the full text of the GPL, and have a dancing RMS elf walk them through gearhead freedom issues that no one but us really care about...

    How about... if it were the Christmas card, and you gave instructions on how to boot it, and that it's *safe* and doesn't install anything to their hard drive. Some people might try it out.

    Have it boot up, pop open a browser and show some online christmas card that you know is safe.

    After that closes, have a stocking or something that says "click me" which is really a folder with a bunch of games in it.

    That's more like something someone would want...

  • by Romeozulu (248240) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:18AM (#10895271)
    Which way would you go about it for maximum "WOW"."

    Buy them a Mac
  • by Wouter Van Hemel (411877) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:34AM (#10895343) Homepage
    Depends on who you send it to, ofcourse. But make sure in any case it has THE cardgames, not the ones from Gnome, but really, exactly the SAME ones as in Windows. Otherwise it won't do, because they'll be DIFFERENT and therefore BAD. For the rest, have lots of dumb backgrounds with kittens or other cute animals, scarcely dressed women - actresses maybe, some action sport pictures, a car or two and a holiday location that they could never afford, perhaps very cheesy cherubs with corny christmas wishes, that kind of stuff. Don't forget some really heavy mouse cursors, and perhaps a very bomastic start-up sound, followed by santa's voice (linux originated in Finland after all).

    That's how people judge an OS, you know.

    They'll think it's cool. In fact, they'll think it's so cool they will show it to anyone who comes to visit them. And that's when we'll unexpectedly pull them in on superior security, stability, standards compliance and ofcourse the preemptible kernel...

    OK, maybe not, but they'll still think it's a cool demo cd, ho ho.
  • by Blackbrain (94923) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:44AM (#10895392)
    You should give them Hikarunix! [hikarunix.org] It's a Linux bootable and a Go game tutor!

    ...Ok, so I'm whoring to get more Torrents for the new version, but it's still a good idea....

  • by adolfojp (730818) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:57AM (#10895455)
    I understand that you are being thoughtfull because you believe that your friends will be better off by running linux instead of windows.

    Still, what if you received a bible, coran,scientology book or a Chick Track from a friend that is concerned for your soul. Perhaps even got an AOL CD from a friend that wants you to switch to a "better" service.

    Send them something that they like, not something that you think might be good for them. Do not be an evangelist in christmass time. You might have less christmas cards to send next year.

    Cheers,
    Adolfo
  • Gift giving rules (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @01:29AM (#10895618) Homepage Journal
    One of the rules of gift giving is to never give a pet as a gift. It requires a level of responsibility and commitment that cannot be forced upon a person.

    I get the feeling that trying to switch someone to another OS somehow falls under the same etiquette.

    Dan East
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:14AM (#10895821) Homepage Journal
    I think it's a good idea - there are a few people I know who are so fed up with constant spyware, virus and trojan removal, they don't even use their computer anymore.

    One person I know hasn't been able to get online for months, and has spent hundreds on getting their computer fixed. I gave them a linux CD (install) after making sure they didn't mind that everything would be wiped, and they knew enough to configure their dial up. I haven't heard back yet, so maybe they're dead, or catching up on porn.

    My suggestion for a window manager is definitely Gnome. I'm no dummy, but KDE seems to have a bigger learning curve. My coworkers are happily using Gnome, and don't really notice a difference from Windows 98. As they were already moved to Firefox and Thunderbird, I didn't have much trouble.

    As far as the busted hardware, I am one of the few people (that will admit it on here) who blew up a monitor with a wanky custom Knoppix, NOT the one from Knoppix, and probably due mostly to a tard sandwich I enjoyed earlier that day. It can happen, but most likely not - if you shut off any way to get into the 'mess with your video' at start up, everyone should be fine. At worst, they're out a cool Linux CD, at best they'll call you up and ask how to get it working. (Then you're in trouble - at least it's not Windows - 'Uh, ok, go into the registry...' Ugh.)

    I think its a fine idea, and encourage you to do it. There may be one person out there who really appreciates the ability to use their computer again, if only to surf the web and use email without fear.

    So ends my Expert and Unassailable Take on This. (Which was really just to get you to read this comment - I know how /.ers can't resist a challenge :)

  • OpenCD (Score:3, Informative)

    by miyako (632510) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [okayim]> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:46AM (#10895937) Homepage Journal
    While it may seem like a nice thing to give out live cd's for linux, you might go fruther giving out a copy of the The OpenCD [sunsite.dk] instead. It's a compliation of open source software for windows. You can also compile your own, I like to give out CDs with Firefox, Open Office, GIMP, Gaim, and a few free games. A bootable linux distro is just likely to confuse people, but software that they can use on their computers all the time without having to boot into a new OS is useful. As a side bonus, most people don't know about OSS or realize that the software is free, so it seems even more valueable ;)
  • This is repugnant. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Torak- (198078) <torak&addict,net,nz> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:55AM (#10895974) Homepage
    What kind of inconsiderate asshole gives Linux as a *Christmas present* to his non-geek friends and family? This is the worst kind of gift-giving - the kind given for the benefit of the person giving it rather than the pleasure of the recipient. I'm vaguely reminded of the episode of The Simpsons where Homer buys Marge a bowling ball for her birthday.

    Christ, what a bunch of cocks.
  • by zarkzervo (634677) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @03:56AM (#10896157) Homepage Journal
    I'm surprised at how many here say things like: "That's geeky!" and "That's a stupid idea!"

    News for nerds indeed!

    I like the idea. Why not try it out and give a report back later? This is what I think will happen: They will ask you the next time you visit what you gave them because it didn't work in their cd-player or computer. You sit down and show them and they will think it's a fun idea.

    Then. The next time people in the news mentions Linux, they will say something like: "Yeah! I've tried Linux. I'm up-to-date in this computer-place-thingy-stuff. This intur-newt-thing."

    It's fun. It's nerdy. I can't see why all you so called "nerds" are so negative. If it doesn't hurt anybody. Why is this such a bad idea?

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

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