Next month I will be visiting my parents and within that visit I plan on replacing my dad’s current PC—a REALLY OLD Gateway desktop with a slightly more modern Dell PC circa 2010. Being that my parents live nearly 400 miles (640 km) from me in a somewhat secluded area with a crappy internet connection, I need an OS running on that replacement PC that will be very stable during updates e.g., software not breaking and the OS booting correctly after updates.
My first thought was to use Fedora or Ubuntu. They both have automatic updates (very important for my dad). They run modern software and are reasonably stable and easy to use. Thing is, I don’t trust Linux as a reasonably trouble-free desktop OS. I’ve used various Linux flavors over the years on the desktop and server to not trust it with my parents.
Second option is a *BSD based desktop. FreeBSD is my preferred BSD and in the past I have ran vanilla FreeBSD with Gnome and i3-WM. While vanilla FreeBSD is very stable as an everyday desktop, not having an interactive GUI update manager makes it a poor choice for my parents. I don’t believe teaching them how to run freebsd-update and pkg update/upgrade in the terminal is going to happen. Therefore, TrueOS would be the logical choice. On paper it is what I want. However, in the past I have ran into various stability issues/breakage while trying to use TrueOS myself. Granted, most problems I’ve had were while running TrueOS in a VM which may have contributed to my issues. For a while I used TrueOS on my laptop, but the wireless network manager was extremely wonky. I finally gave up and went to Fedora.
The third option which I suspect is going to be an unpopular choice among many members here is to run Windows 10. I already have it activated on this Dell PC so I can always install it at no cost. In my own experience, Windows 10 has been nothing but reliable on my own PC during the past two years which to me places it ahead of Linux and possibly TrueOS. So the question really comes down to: TrueOS or Windows? Can I rely on TrueOS to be trouble-free for my dad since me having to coming out there and fix something is not a viable option? I guess what I’m trying to ask here is how reliable has TrueOS been for you and would you be comfortable installing it on your parent’s PC if fixing something required a six hour drive?