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I have a Dell Latitude P233 128Mb with 4Gb hard drive. I have no operating system yet and it's a contest between Windows XP and Linux. But there seems to be many version of Linux and I really only want this laptop for wordprocessing, spreadsheet and internet access.
there is no *best* linux. if there was, the others wouldn't bother would they? have a search on this stie for a lot of opinions on the most suitable for various users, and try sites like distrowatch.com
Knoppix is a bootable CD that autoconfigures everything. You can make a boot floppy if your laptop BIOS does not support booting from CD. If you like it you can install it to your hard drive. There are also some variants of Knoppix at the website such as Morphix which is a little smaller.
The beauty of these three distros is that it doesn't take long to install them and the Knoppix distros are self configurating (you will of course still need to make adjustments here and there). If they boot OK then you can go into the XF86Config file and see what works for your particular system.
Get all of the specs for your machine before you start, especially, monitor horizontal & vertical frequency ranges and screen sizes, video card model & amout of video ram. These are required for proper Xserver configuration.
I am a newbie, but I just installed Mandrake 9.0 on a Dell 7500 with a 400mHz PII and 128MB mem with no problem at all. Everything worked immediately except the sound and I found the file to load for that on the Mandrake forum. (http://www.mandrakeusers.org)
I created ISO disks from the Mandrake download, told the machine to boot from CD, took all the defaults on the install, and 20 minutes later had a freshly formatted disk with Mandy 9.0 installed and working.
I am surfing the net using a WiFi card. Mandrake comes with KDE Office and a bunch of other apps that will do everything you want and smoothly.
Everyone recommended Mandrake for a first time ease of use install and I can testify to that!!
Now I am learning Linux and getting a kick out of all the applications that come with Mandy
I tried tp install RH 8.0 and it locked up right as it was starting the PCMCIA and I couldn't get it to install. So I gave Mandrake 9.1 a try. It installed without any errors. However, when it boots up it locks up at the starting PCMCIA. The only way that I can get it to boot is under interactive mode and telling the system NO to starting pcmcia. That doesn't help me much because I want to use my wireless network card. I have done alot of reading in the forums and see that both of these distros have major issues with the pcmcia being supported. I think at this point, I will be looking to try a different distro. I really would like to get linux on my laptop with everything working. If find one that I can do all of this, I will post here and let you know.