I'm trying to setup a *buntu system for grandma. Her needs are a browser, a text processer (libreoffice will be fine), being able to watch youtube and not being able to get into too much trouble deleting or misplacing files that she really would rather keep.

Is there one of the ubuntu variants that makes it easy to set this up (edubuntu?) Or should one stick with the stock ubuntu (since I have only really experience with that) and then remove all superfluous menus etc.


Any Ubuntu which best suits the hardware configuration plus this GUI specifically designed for the elderly might be another choice worth trying out:


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    I like the interface and would check it out at leisure for details. Wonder if we have a linux distro based on the same lines, and not just an interface...anyways, cross platform support is a big plus.. but maybe they should think about rebranding it so that non-so elderly, but still computer-uncomfortable people can use it too without any psychological age-related quandry. – charlie May 14 '13 at 7:16
  • @charlie: I totally agree with you as a 55-year-old with a young heart and soul ;-) Actually I think for "grannies" an Android (or Ubuntu soon) tablet PC might be more suitable. Non-Ubuntu PC operating systems like Webconverger also might be another alternative. – Sadi May 14 '13 at 7:32

Linux mint (ubuntu based)

Linux mint is an easy to use desktop. The layout of the menu's and such look the same as on a windows desktop, which makes transition from a windows machine easier (I assumed Granny used to have a windows machine)


In principle, any *buntu would do, but consider the specifications of the computer you are going to use, and also consider if she would find it too complicated to learn Unity. Perhaps she would work better with it, perhaps not.

You can try yourself running live CDs of Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu with Gnome, or even derivate distros, and then let her work with one or two of them to make a final decision.

Good luck!


For my Mama I set up Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with classic Gnome desktop. I placed all program shortcuts important to her on the desktop using quite big icons. She is very satisfied.

LTS is a good choice as older ppl do not like changes, and it offers very long support.

My mum works on her own user account with normal user priveleges, so she cannot mess up anything important. I also set up system so she is automatically logged in and she has no password set up so she can do everything she wants. Also update manager doesn't bother her.

To install Gnome desktop simply write gnome shell in ubuntu software center.


basically any desktop environment is good, any but unity. I find tha people feel weir about the window menu going up to the top bar and that they can only see it if they put the mouse on top of if. They also find uncomfortable with the close minimize/maximize buttons being on top of the dock bar and not directly on top of the window.

You should try something easy to use. Maybe gnome shell with a dock bar allways visible and big icons, and icons in the desktop. Or maybe xfce, the one good thing of it is that the names below icons are very readable because of their solid color background.

Anyway, choose what you choose you will absolutely have to tweak it.

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