Great Linux Desktop Experiment
I plan to give my family netbooks this year, and I would like some recommendations for how best to configure the machines for:
- Linux Newbies (primarily Windows users)
- Remote Administration via SSH & to remote dynamic IPs
- Identical installs on 5 identical machines
- Easy recovery
ifwhen they break them
- Recommended applications to install (Flash, etc...)
- Copying settings/cookies/bookmarks from current machines to the netbooks, post install & setup
My goal for them is to provide them with machines for web surfing, music listening, internet audio & video, IM & Video Chat. My goal for me is to not have to support Windows any longer.
For #1 I am wondering if there are specific editions (of ubuntu or other distros) recommended for Windows users new to linux. Should I install a theme that is Windows (OS X?) like or would that make things worse since it won't be exactly like they are used to. Maybe a clean break from the old is best to get them to try new things.
For #2 I am planning to setup SSH on the netbooks & administration accounts for myself so I can SSH from home and fix/install/update their machines. One requirement for this is that the netbooks should update a dynamic IP service with their current IP so I can find them no matter what network they are on (if possible).
#3, Is it worth it to setup some sort of automated/mirrored install for 5 devices, or should I just power through separate installs.
#4, Should I setup some sort of kiosk mode so that with every reboot the system undoes any damage they have done and is back to a known good state? How would I handle letting them save some changes, but not others?
#6, I plan to set them all up at my home, then take them to theirs. Once there is there any way that I can plug up a USB cable to their current machines and copy things like bookmarks over to the new machines automatically?
Any advice or suggestions welcome.