Bill + Ben running Kubuntu!

Since I’m a good guy at heart, I set up a couple of old Compaq Deskpro EN’s for Belmont Parish Hall that had been donated by Phillips during their factory closure. The machines weren’t bad – PIII 1Ghz, 128Mb RAM, 20Gb hard drive with the usual on-board graphics, network + audio. Quite impressive little machines. I called them Bill + Ben.

Anyways, without the money (or rather the need) to pay for Windows licences, Office licences, etc. and without me wanting to constantly patch them and remove viruses + spyware, Linux was called for. Having toyed with Ubuntu and Edubuntu with a possible move of some school workstations to Linux, I decided to give Kubuntu a whirl for these computers. The reason for my switch away from Debian + Gentoo is quite simple – the computers needed to be as simple to use as possible, and resemble the look + feel of Windows.

Debian is a little too slow on the uptake with updates to KDE, and I didn’t fancy running them from testing without me taking control of them. Ubuntu runs Gnome by default which is a little too different out-of-the-box for a user coming from Windows. Edubuntu is too much for kids. Knowing the Debian base would hold steady and apt would make it easy to update stuff at the click of a button, Kubuntu rolled out painfully easily. Everything was picked up during install, only requiring Firefox + Thunderbird to be installed once the install was finished. A quick tweaking of KDE to remove the desktop pager, wastebin + KNote from the system try, and dropping desktop icons for Writer, Calc + Impress (turning off Java + setting MS Office default file formats) along with simple shortcuts to E-mail, Internet, My Documents, Floppy, CD-ROM, etc. meant sitting my mother down at the screen resulted in a smile on her face rather than puzzlement.

Actually, my mother is no slouch with computers now, but as with most people, doesn’t like change. For her to be comfortable using it hopefully means the other users at the hall will be too. I have another one to do tomorrow which will be the main office one, and looking at bringing another two older machines out of the garage to setup in the same manner giving them 4 machines for open access at the hall. With each of the machines setup to automatically download updates, along with a restore image created with partimage, shouldn’t be much that can go wrong.

Here’s hoping so!


Senior Content Development for Microsoft writing about Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Model train nerd. Occasionally I play video games.

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