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Honestly you could put pretty much any distribution on it and it would function fine. Ubuntu or Mint would probably be good choices, but I'd suggest stripping them down a little bit and locking them up real nice before handing it over.
I'll look in to those suggestions thanks, Do they install like W!ndows (From a disc) or is it more complicated than that? What about drivers for video, sound and wifi, are these easy to set up? Thanks again...
Most hardware will work out of the box for Ubuntu, WiFi might be an issue. You may want to find the exact model of your Wireless card, and run a search to see what you can find for Linux compatibility.
And yes, they'll run and install from CD. You might want to look at Live CD on Wikipedia, that should help you understand most of it. Most LiveCD's have a means on them to install the Distribution they're for.
Thanks a lot guys, yes it is an old and slow machine, but XP Pro just about works (slowly) I'll try a few live cd's and see which works best, I don't need flashy gimmicks, I just want something similar to a linux powered netbook but with out the user interface they force upon you... I already have two W!ndows machines (Desktop and Netbook) so this is just something to play around with really (And to keep the kids off my laptop, lol)
I have tried DSL, it ran rather well on a computer with 1GB HD, 16MB ram, and 75MHz Pentium. It should run fine on your laptop.
Even Xubuntu warns about installing with less that 256MB of Ram, I'm not sure how much xfce needs, but xubuntu is still probably a bit heavy for the laptop.
If you're less worried about speed, I'd reccomend Debian. It's less optimized for older computers, but you can do a lot more with debian, and there are way more porgrams avaliable for it. If you install icewm as a window manager, it will run like a breeze on your laptop. It's also fun to tinker with, if that's what you're looking for.
About the least machine I ever got today's Linux (Debian Etch, graphical) to run on was a:
Pentium III 1.0 GHz
384 MB ram
And that was slow.
Some people like to save old computers, and try to set them up for the kids. I get asked by friends to set up their old computers as kids machines. But I've got news. Kids require more machine than parents do. Playing on a PC requires better hardware than working on a PC. Kids deserve to have a good machine, that will run modern programs, not an old pile of junk. Kids can't learn anything using an old PC, because it's too slow, and it won't run software designed for kids. So, the kids will be bored, and eventually abandon the PC for a toy that responds faster.
And, if you have a kids PC, you are responsible for it. Kids will be kids. And a kid on the Internet is like a 3 year old with a no credit limit American Express card, alone in New York City.
People won't learn Linux without some incentive. If you're still willing to use Windows yourself, that's probably what you should stick with for the kids, until you get tired of the pain. Then try Linux. But I can give you some incentive right now. Your kids will not be able to mess up a Linux box, because malware is not written to operate under the Linux kernel. So they can download any amount of spyware, adware, and malware; and none of it will run; keeping the machine nice and clean.
Linux has some great kids programs, written by people who want kids to learn useful subject matter, not by capitalists who want kids to grow up to not ask questions, and to consume products they don't need. Kids need to have fun, while they learn foreign languages, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, ancient literature, The Bible, and vocabulary.
My kids are older 13 and 10, And need access to the internet for school homework, But kids being kids usually end up on miniclip or something similar, trouble is they haven't learnt not to click on the flashy adverts at the side of the screen saying "Win a Wii" and such, that's why i thought i would try a Linux based system. The laptop itself can work ok under XP Pro, It's slow but it's useable and stable, there must be a Linux distro from around the same era that'll work ok and give access to the internet, We use firefox on both other machines so they probably wouldn't know the difference, lol
. . . they haven't learnt not to click on the flashy adverts at the side of the screen saying "Win a Wii" and such . . . We use firefox on both other machines so they probably wouldn't know the difference . . .
Since you use Firefox, why not install the "Ad Block Plus" extension, and the "Noscript" one so you (and they) don't see any "flashy adverts" to distract them. (The "noscript" settings will need to be "tuned" for each site they use, but it's worth the effort.)
Of course, if everyone were to suppress the ads, many of the ad-supported sites would not be viable. So, if you subscribe to Kant's view of "ethical behaviour," it might be unethical to suppress the ads. I compromise by setting ABP to download the ad, but not display it. That way the site registers a download for which they can charge the advertiser, but I don't need to actually look at the advert. This may be even less ethical, but it works for me.
Since you use Firefox, why not install the "Ad Block Plus" extension, and the "Noscript" one so you (and they) don't see any "flashy adverts" to distract them.
I have ABP on the Netbook already to speed up web page rendering as it's only 1GHz, I've looked at tinycore (Thanks linus72 ) I'm going to burn an iso later and try that out, see how it goes.
I'm getting a bit fed up with W!ndows and it's many problems, mainly it's ability to fill up the netbook's 4GB C:\ SSD drive with crap by just sitting idle (Can't believe Asus would sell a netbook with such a small C:\ drive and have W!ndows installed???)
EDIT: I'm now downloading Slax and VectorLinuxLight which are supposed to run fine on a Pentium I with 64MB, Anyone have any experience with them?
Last edited by Fatboyfun; 12-01-2009 at 05:56 PM.
Reason: Add info.