About a year ago, I came across some laptops that came off company lease. The hard drives had been destroyed and batteries taken out. I built myself a fairly nice machine and had enough components left over to make a few others. My grandmother had expressed interest in getting a laptop for a couple of years, but had never used a computer before. Ever.
I put together a hard drive and about 512MB of RAM in one of them, and loaded it with Fedora 8 (current version at the time). We had to go through using a mouse for the first time and logging on and off, and work from there, but she learned how to use it pretty quickly.
After a couple of months of playing with different things on it, she found out she could intermittently pick up a wireless signal and could briefly get internet access. She recently got to the point where she feels very comfortable with her machine and browsing that she wanted to get high speed internet access.
Here’s where Comcast comes in. Comcst offered her a deal to get her phone and basic internet (3mb/down) for a good rate. Comcast guy comes over to see her setup and is puzzled that her laptop doesn’t have Windows on it. My grandmother gave the guy my phone number and he asked me what “Fedora” was, so I gave a brief description to assure him that it’s something that wouldn’t cause him any grief. The conversation ended optimistically.
To briefly back up, when I lived in a nearby town I had Comcast internet access while using Fedora, and got it setup and working without a hassle. For all I remember they registered the MAC on my modem, and it went fine from there.
My grandmother called me back today, very disappointed. The guy from Comcast called the regional office and was told that they would not set up anyone’s home network unless they are running Windows.
The hardest part is – What requires Windows? You register the modem, the linux machine will detect DNS and local domain settings, done. Comcast may be complaining about hard times with people cutting out TV service, but with nonsense practices like this, maybe it’s time I introduce my grandmother to the competition.
AT&T U-Verse didn’t put up a fight with my Fedora machine.