- OS, Distribution, Kernel, Windows Manager, Desktop
- The file system, with a focus on home, but including useful information like dot-files.
- The Gnome Desktop
- What is on the hard drive?
- Backing Up
- Users, permissions, sudo.
- Making WiFi work and the problems of freedom and drivers
- Firefox, Flash, DVD's and ISOs
- Linux/OSS equivalents to commonly used apps (OpenOffice, The Gimp, Xara Xtreme, and Gnumeric)
- File based and command line processing of photos/graphics.
- Old fashioned text processing: Gedit
- Old fashioned text processing: Emacs outline mode, LaTeX, RegEx, and Sed
So, allow me to make my own list of things a non-technical user should probably see:
- Introduction to Linux
- How to install Linux
- The GNOME desktop
- Navigating folders
- Backing up & restoring files
- How to install extra software
- Wireless networking
- Linux equivalents to commonly used apps (OpenOffice.org, GIMP, etc)
On a related topic: My wife and I recently discussed upgrading her laptop to Fedora 12 over this coming weekend (she's still running Fedora 11.) She is not a technical user at all, but is comfortable installing Linux on her laptop all by herself. The bit where she gets a little worried is backing up all her data, then putting it back after re-installing her laptop.
While my wife has run the install process previously, I've always done the backup beforehand, and restored her data afterwards. Her data won't fit on a USB thumb drive, so I create a compressed tar file ("tar.bz2") of her home directory, copy it over our home network to another computer - then back again after she re-installs. It's easy to do, but kind of hard to explain to someone who doesn't know "tar" and "ssh".