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I've got an old PC with a 400 Mhz CPU and 256 Mb RAM.

I just need to run LibreOffice Writer on it (or another word processor that opens .doc just as good, no Abiword). I'm looking for a light distro that offers it through its repos, or that can install it easily as a standalone.

EDIT: It has to run a DE with graphical mounting/unmounting of thumb drives. It is for linux newbies in a workplace.

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    A modern phone has way better specs than that. Actually, a raspberry pi has better spec than that.
    – jordanm
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 22:55
  • I doubt you can do that with only 256MB. I second jordanm: use that PC as a footrest and connect its screen to a Raspberry Pi. Libreoffice runs on Raspbian. Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 23:47

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I use debian whenever possible. If I was in your shoes I would install the bare minimum of packages. Specifically I would not install any packages during install. I would then install aptitude. then I would install ratpoision, LibreOffice Writer, and an X server. I might install some other utilities such as a man page viewer, but I would not install a regular desktop environment. This setup works, I have a similar setup, but might be criticized as being hard to use because ratpoisin is a strange window manager, it uses very little resources, but is not pretty or like anything you have used before.

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  • Great advice. WMs like fluxbox or black box (is that still around) would be good choices if he wants a somewhat familiar GUI experience. Whatever WM is chosen, a Debian install with nothing selected at the tasksel screen is the way to start.
    – casey
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 1:28
  • both are available and packaged for debian.
    – hildred
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 2:05
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Choose Bodhi Linux if you are new to linux. If you have some experience with LINUX Then you can install Ubuntu Minimal server installation there with basic X installation you can run GUI also. great news is Ubuntu Minimal installation can be done from 32 MB - 192 MB RAMS also.

I am sure , It will satisfy your needs.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/LowMemorySystems

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