Newbie Installing Linux on V.Old Desktop AMD(073) 748Mhz (810LMR) 256(192)mb RAM

My In-laws wish to upgrade to Talk-Talk B/Band and I can supply them with a slightly less archaic machine than their present one.
They simply use it for web, email, printing the odd document via their HP 690 Printer and receiving the odd family photo (which currently destroys their connection)
Desktop offered currently has W2000 Pro + srvcpk4
AMD(073) 748Mhz (810LMR motherboard)
256(192)mb RAM(PCI33), 156B Generic H/Drive
Samsung SW-408 CD-r/rw.
I’d be grateful for any advice about installing Linux, the pros/cons, compatibility issues etc.
Especially what you would use re ‘Office’ Email and Word?
Much Appreciated

It really depends on what they do on the internet… Flash Video for example is going to be VERY slow on that spec.

Whilst there ARE small (lightweight) Linux, 192MB of RAM is usually a minimum, so the system will always be slow… add more RAM if possible.

I’d look at light weight distros such as:

Puppy Linux
Linux Mint LXDE

Lubuntu and MintLXDE will be an easier install (but bigger and slower)… Puppy and Slitaz will be smaller and quicker (but require a bit of knowledge to install).

Their HP 690 should “just work”, because it is supported by hplip (some distros may require hplip to be installed, but it’s usually installed by default).

If the PC is connected to the router by ethernet cable rather than wireless, no drivers should need installing.

As for M$ Office compatibility. … OpenOffice (or LibreOffice) can read and write M$ Office docs including Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, etc.

Better if they come as .doc, but they can read/write .docx too (occasional formatting issues with .doxcx, where a picture may have moved slightly in the displayed document, but it will all be there and readable)

And Abiword can open .doc and .docx too.

You could also take a look at “cloud” type distro’s such as
PepperminOS One (or Peppermint Ice) … Peppermint Ice may be better as it uses Google’s Chrome browser rather than Firefox (as in PeppermintOS One… Chrome being both Lighter and faster than Firefox.

Here’s a review of Peppermint Ice on a similarly spec’d lasptop

AND it will be very easy to install too, as it’s based on Ubuntu/Mint.

It (as with the others) comes as a LiveCD, so you can test drive it by booting to a fully working desktop from the CD without installing.

Remember, running Linux from a LiveCD will be slower than a hard drive installation so don’t draw speed conclusions from the LiveCD.

and you won’t be able to “install” extra software to a CD… but you WILL be able to once installed to the hard drive.