My wife's tablet PC (I've written about it here previously) is performing really poorly, given its specs. I asked about putting Windows 7 on it instead of the crapware-infested Vista that it shipped with. But another idea I had was showing her how it would run under a Linux flavor (TBD), maybe off a live CD. I know of a few distros, but I'm not familiar enough with them to decide on one to show her. It should probably be pretty good looking, simple-ish (but not "kiddie"), and hopefully easy to switch to from Windows. She already uses mostly open-source, cross-platform software on her PC (Firefox, Gimp, Inkscape, etc) so that's not a big concern. This would be a simple question except for the fact that she also needs pretty good tablet/pen input support. Any suggestions would be welcome!
Well, I'd recommend one of the Main Desktop Four: Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse or Mandriva. All four offer live CD options, so there's no problem there. For simple-ish, you would be looking at a Gnome desktop - KDE is more aimed at the power user (me, for example). Firefox is included as the default browser in most distros that use Gnome. I'm not sure about applications, but if an application that your wife is used to is not included, it would be a good opportunity to show off the package management feature from the live CD, to install the program into the live environment.
Which to go for? Ubuntu is fantastic for the beginner, it has a wealth of documentation and is very much community-oriented, which means it's easy to get free help very quickly. However, its distribution upgrade feature is shockingly bad (as in, don't use it, it'll probably fail), and it does have some proprietary (free as in beer) software included. This might be good (driver support) or not, depending on your point of view. Fedora is a great Linux all round, being innovative with its packages, having great security features and supporting a wide variety of packages. It does however seem more aimed at a corporate environment than the average desktop user (this does nothing to detract from its usability though). OpenSuse is a very polished distribution, which mixes and matches quite well and sports a very intuitive configuration interface. It does have a fairly bloated desktop though, which might feel a bit slow. Finally, Mandriva has great out-of-the-box support for hardware, and it's the distribution that's most likely to work with everything you've got. It's also very newbie friendly, and has excellent 64-bit support. It is however probably one of the most odd distributions around, with about five different websites, and there is very little documentation.
You could always go with something else, maybe based off the above. I hear good things about Linux Mint, for instance. These minor distributions might not get the same level of support though.
Sounds like I'd lean towards Ubuntu or maybe Fedora, given what you wrote. Thanks for the tips!
Brilliant! I should have thought of that -- maybe I can pick up one of those impulse-buy-priced memory sticks and use that instead.
(We just moved, so I haven't unpacked any of my writeable media or memory card readers yet...)
I figured it out -- I'm going to make a separate post about it.