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Ok, last time I messed with Linux was Red Hat 6 (pre Fedora). So I am a true newbie when it comes to Linux. But my church has some computers in which they need to give out to some poor people in our church. Neither the church nor the people who are getting the computers have $50 to buy a copy of Win98SE. So I figured that Linux would be a good solution.
I need a easy to use Distro that will work on OLD pc's. These are all P2 233-300 range.
So I need a Linux Distro that will run well, and they need to be able to run OpenOffice.org, Firefox and connect to the Internet through dialup. That's their main purpose is checking email and minor surfing.
I already downloaded Fedora 6 (3gigs) worth and Ubuntu but am thinking they may be too much for these old of computers. What version should I use and which distro?
In my humble opinion, Debian or Slackware (or some derivative) would be a better bet. The newer, flashier distros (RH, FC) tend to need more resources. Slackware (my favorite) can scale down and run well even on a 486. The only problem with these suggestions, especially Slackware, is they aren't always "newbie friendly". Just my 2cents
There are many light distros to choose from, and I think it's best that you spend some time investigating what feels right to you. Picking a distro is a philosophical and personal choice. None is distinctively superior to the others in any technical sense, but some are specifically engineered to run on very modest equipment.
Here is a partial list. When one looks interesting, check out the home page, and google around for independent reviews.
There are 1,000 or more threads on these forums asking exactly the same question. Use the Search feature for "old computer." User jacook normally provides a good list of light distros.
You can also look at Zenwalk. It combines the stability of Slackware with a benefits of netpkg. Although I haven't run it on the lower-end machines, Zenwalk's official website say you can get decent performance out of P2's as well. You can test it out on one machine with all the apps loaded to see how it fares, at worst, you'll have one more coaster to trash
Whatever distro you choose, forget using a big desktop environment like Gnome or KDE and use a lightweight one such as XFCE or a lightweight window manager such as Fluxbox. This will help with memory usage and make your system run faster.