Using Linux on an older computer to telecommute

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I have an older computer running Win98 at home and want to use it to telecommute to occasionally. I have a cable modem so speed isn?t an issue, but my OS is. Win98 is not compatible with my company?s Webmail. A techie at lunch suggested that a combo of Linux and Mozilla might be able to handle it, and I must confess that I?ve been toying with the idea of learning more about Linux. Problem is, I don?t know where to start. Can anyone recommend a Linux distribution that is free and easy for someone new to the OS to work with?

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Does your ‘old’ computer support booting from CD?
If so, then Mepis, or regular Knoppix, or any of a dozen other ‘LiveCD’ variants will work.
If not, any small hard drive (3-4 GB) will hold a complete distribution.

**Not a plug**
I recommend a book with distro if you have never used Linux before. Either ‘Master Linux Visually’or my new favorite ‘Point & Click Linux!’ by Robin Miler.

Good Luck and welcome the world of diversity.

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  • petkoa
    I really don't understand the statement: "Win98 is not compatible with my company's Webmail" Does it mean that IE 4/5 which goes with Win98/98SE lacks some features necessary to access this webmail? If so, probably you should upgrade to IE6 for win98, or even better, to install a mozilla for win32 (if it has the features required). BR, Petko
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  • DrillO
    I agree with petkoa.....while I wholy support the use of Linux, I love it myself, but if you want to telecommute, upgrade you browser, Firefox is a great choice, and have at it. If you want to use/learn Linux, it is best not to do it on a machine you rely on for business until you are comfortable with it. Yes, Linux will work out of the box on what you want to do initially, but there may be other things you need to do that may take more knowledge. Best of luck. Paul
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  • Develish
    Debian is a good choice. We run Linux gateways using old Pentium III processors. As long as you are not looking for a GUI. On the GUI front, stick with a Basic commercial Red Hat or SuSe or Mandrake. You will need the support.
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  • Amisenin
    Points to ponder: 1 not compatible with my company?s Webmail 2 combo of Linux and Mozilla 3 I have an older computer running Win98 4 I don?t know where to start I have ordered the above according to importance and here are the answers: 1. How can Win98 have anything to do with Webmail? You just need a browser to access a webmail - same way as this one on techtarget. You might need some plugins depending on the design on the webmail like java, flash, etc. 2. Just another OS and another browser. You can get mozilla for Windows also. It isn't the answer to your problem. 3. Like any other OS a Linux distro doesn't carry drivers for all kinds of hardware. So first of all you need to find out if the inards of your old machine is supported by the linux distro you choose. The easiest way is to go for an install but if it fails then you will again have to install Win98. 4. If you want to learn Linux my advice is to get another box or make a seperate partition is there is sufficient space. Finally you haven't mentioned what exactly is the problem that you are facing. Please do so and it would be much easier to solve. Ami
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  • Stomfi
    I do a lot of work refurbishing older (from p2s with 128MB) PCs and giving them away to the "Digital Divide" for doing general computing tasks. Teaching Linux newbies is a big part of servicing the clients and I use a book called "Linux in Easy Steps" by Mike McGrath, which you can get from Amazon. The install and setup sections are biased towards Mandriva but it is quite understandable for SuSE 9x users. If you can increase you RAM to 256MB or more, you will find that SuSE 9.2 or Mandrake 10.1 performs quite well on a P2 450Mhz. If this is too slow, you can always install a copy of Knoppix, using the knoppix installer, which run quite fast on low end equipment, although you may like to visit your local Linux User Group, for a bit of help with the install. Another fast distro I use is Dyne:bolic, which is oriented towards music, art and video, and uses a light window manager. It has all the necessary web tools, but doesn't run the more popular KDE and Gnome which Windows centric users seem to prefer. Dynebolic installs as a compressed system that expands on bootup, but it runs really fast. I do a bit of writing for informed newbies at Novell Cool Solutions and if you want to ask me a detailed question there, with full hardware and network description, I can do some practical research at my lab on your problem.
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  • Oscar52
    If you have not found a distbrution to use yet, try Ubuntu. It's easy to install(1 CD) and it's free. http://www.ubuntulinux.org/ You can also download the Live CD (boots from the CD-ROM, no hard drive needed) and take it for a "test drive" without effecting your current OS.
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