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Linuxhelp _ Technical Support _ New to Linux, need advise please.

Posted by: woodstock310 Jan 13 2011, 04:20 AM

Hello, I am very new to Linux. While I have been converted, I have found that there is a LOT of distributions out there and finding one to best fit my specific needs is proving time consuming. I have used Windoz all my digital life and I'm tired of those folks... you know the ones I mean. Anyway, I'm hoping I can find someone who can just tell me what I can do. So, here's the deal:
I know NOTHING about programming, the terminal still scares me a bit and I HATE using it. (Yea, that's because of using the.. other OS for so long)
I have sort of inherited a bunch of Compaq Evo N610c laptops from a knucklehead who thought he knew what he was doing.... but didn't know he didn't know enough. These things have only 256MB RAM. They have to share CD drives because they don't all have them and the BIOS will not boot from a USB drive. They had a super buggy XP on them with I got them, kept blue-screening. My Puppy says there's nothing wrong with the hardware so I've gone Linux.
These laptops are to be used in a college MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) study room. Maybe they will go home with a few students as loners. I am transferring schools in Fall so I can't babysit these things past May 2011.
What I need is a distro that is all GUI. I need to be able to write down instructions for the next student who will take over that he or she will understand. I HAVE to assume this person will be all Windoz and will NOT have time to learn Linux command line. I need to be able to keep regular users from messing up anything on the computer while giving them the ability to do their work. Pretty much the computers need to have all the stuff Adobe puts out for free. Need to be able to stream online video, use the online homework sites that use wired stuff like Flash or whatever.
I figure that I can set up a recovery disk (or five) to fix anything that goes really bad without any command line stuff.
I think that's it for my requirements, I'll probably remember something I forgot when I go to bed tonight. smile.gif

My big question is this: what distro(s) can I use to do all this that are easy for me to configure? I REALLY don't want to mess around with the terminal, but if I have to.... PLEASE walk me through it!

Thanks to anyone who can help and a BIG THANKS to everyone who loves this programming stuff enough to create all these free tools!

Posted by: michaelk Jan 13 2011, 07:53 AM

256MB of RAM is not much even for linux when running the latest desktops. Ubuntu is a very good distribution for the beginner and there is a low powered version called lubuntu which might fit your needs. What exactly do you want to achieve with these computers? What applications do you want to run etc.

Posted by: woodstock310 Jan 13 2011, 02:02 PM

What exactly do you want to achieve with these computers? What applications do you want to run etc.
I want the students that use these computers to be able to access the OpenOffice suite, save files, access external devices (memory sticks), and access the internet without restrictions due to compatibility.
Two big issues with the internet is students have to be able to access the school's website some, unknown to me, plug-ins; AND use the online homework programs like (Flash).
It would be nice to access advanced math and science programs like Maple but if not there are a couple of other computers already set up for that.

I'll take a look at Lubuntu. I have tried the Netbook version but it doesn't like me. The screen goes black then comes back when I move the mouse over one of the icons on the bar on the left. My cousin got into the regular looking desktop on that one and it worked fine. If I could have it boot into that instead of the Netbook desktopn it just might work out....


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