[Linux-aus] Open Source for Seniors

Dave Davey daved at windclimber.id.au
Sat Feb 3 17:55:02 UTC 2007

On Sat, Feb 03, 2007 at 05:06:42PM +1100, Andrew Swinn wrote:
> I have been contacted by the Clubs Development Officer of the Australian 
> Seniors Computer Clubs Association in regards to the possibility of setting 
> up some sort of presence at a soon to be held expo. The ASCCA are an 
> association providing support to many computing clubs throughout Australia. 
> They hold an expo every year as part of Seniors Week and this year they are 
> holding it in Dubbo. 
> So being in Dubbo I have been asked if I could setup something about Linux and 
> Open Source Software and perhaps provide a 30 min seminar on the topic. 
> Seniors Week is in the middle of March so I don't have that long to organise 
> things, but first stop is this mailing list to ask for suggestions.
> Being that this is senior focused there is really no room for tech talk so I 
> am wondering what else is there?

Whoa...  Just because the members are seniors does not mean they are
technically incompetent.   And those involved in the Association and
active enough to attend a national conference are likely to the more capable
people.  The 30 minute time limit is a more serious restriction.

The senior computer users I help in my community are expressing increasing
interest in Linux - especially when I use a Linux rescue system to copy
critical documents and photos from a Windows system made unusable by
a trojan.  The word gets around pretty quickly. Nevertheless they have
many reservations and uncertainties, often it seems planted by computer
sales, and particularly service people.  (The impression I have gained
is that service technicians "expert" in Windows feel seriously threatened
by Linux and try to protect their territory in unethical ways.)

Some of the questions that a short talk might be partly aimed at

	Can I use a 5 year old machine that I am told is now
		too slow for Windows XP?
	What happens when I am emailed a MSword document, a PowerPoint
		presentation, a PDF file, an Excel file, a photograph?
	My anti-virus software did not successfully protect my Windows
		system against infection.  Will this be true of Linux too?
	Can I download photos from my digital camera?
	Can I edit video from my digital video camera?
	Will my TV card work?
	Can I upload photos to Ebay?
	Can I use Publisher to prepare my club magazine for the printer?

Things that some have been impressed by:

	That whole distibutions can be downloaded and burned to CDs or DVDs.
	That updates for all applications can be obtained and applied
		with ease.
	That many people do not use Windows.  Not at all.  Never.
	That viruses are not a serious issue.
	That PDF files can be produced with ease.
	That OpenOffice is as easy to use as MSoffice.
	That dual boot machines are possible (man in the shop said impossible).

Hope this is some help.


David F. Davey
D'Entrecasteaux                                       Phone: +61 3 6267 4852
378 Manuka Road                                      Mobile: +61 417 206 368
Kettering                                       CDMA mobile: +61 428 674 852
Tasmania 7155                                           Fax: +61 3 6267 4791
Australia                                            daved at windclimber.id.au

More information about the linux-aus mailing list