My mother, voluntarily and expertly, is now using Ubuntu linux on her computer. The computer is a 2007 ThinkPad my uncle had lying around. Unlike her 2007 MacBook running MacOS, which is now incapable of updating enough to run modern browsers, her Linux rig is totally up to date and runs beautifully.
I really dislike feeding the stereotype according to which a young man referring to "my mother" presumes that an older woman must have technology skills that are edging around zero. In this case, however, the stereotype fits. My mother is brilliant, earned a PhD in medieval lingusitics, held a significant position at a major national cultural institution, and inspired me from a young age to be a blazing fast typist. She's not a computer whiz by choice, because she rightly decided that becoming one was not worth her time. As a result, she has no interest wasting her life, as I do mine, by learning new programs or hacking around on the command line. For similar reasons, when her MacBook started breaking, she went to the Apple Store to replace it, but then returned it out of disgust for the commercialism of it all. So she asked me to set her up on an old computer running Linux. Today, we talked through how to use email on Thunderbird, and with a little bit of help she was able to get the old computer, full of nothing but community-created software, to meet her needs beautifully.
So, at risk of feeding the stereotype, it's true: Even my mother can run Linux.
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