I am a Linux newbie. I have Slackware 10.1 on a P-III 500mhz, and Red Hat 9.3 on a P-II 266 mhz. I have been trying to learn them for about a week with Slackware and 2 with Red Hat. I am not having a good time.
Until I found Puppy Linux
. It is referred to as a live CD verison. It is 50 to 60 meg. You burn the ISO image to a CD or DVD and boot form that cd. In about a minute or two you are up and running. In a couple of more minutes you are on the net ( I use a cable modem ). It comes with Open Office Lite. A verison called Chubby Puppy has a few more features.
You will need at least a 200 mhz, and 128 mb of ram. You will also need 50 meg of hard drive with this amount of ram. If you have 256 mb of ram the whole program will boot into a Ram Drive that it will make when it boots. If you have a CD or DVD burner you can set it up to burn your data and preferences back onto the disk. And once booted you can still use the CD/DVD drive just remove the boot CD/DVD
This is a compete OS and programs suite in a 60 meg or less file. You can still make changes just like in the other Linux flavors, but if you make a mistake you just reboot and all is forgiven.