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Linux for low-end hardware and internet browsing

My dad has a rather old computer that's just sitting there that I want to repurpose. Now I know could probably get a Pentium 4 very cheap but where's the fun in that?

What I'm after is something that's simple to use that will run on a Pentium II or III (I can't remember) with 4GB of HDD space and probably about 512MB of RAM.

What can I install on this to make it work?

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The electricity use of an old machine over one year may justify a new machine... but that's not the point. –  Alex Chamberlain Jun 11 '12 at 10:52
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marked as duplicate by Michael Mrozek Jun 11 '12 at 13:59

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Have a quick read of this techradar article.

Classic distribution for old machines: Damn Small Linux.

Look at Markdown/LaTeX for nice formatting of documents, but very low memory consumption whilst writing.

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Thanks, I'll take a look at those. –  Michael Frank Jun 11 '12 at 11:20
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There are many lightweight Linux distributions out there. Some that spring to mind are:
- Crunchbang
- Lubuntu

Or even more lightweight:
- SliTaz
- Puppy Linux
- Damn Small Linux

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