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Cheeze2525

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My current project is to fix up old laptops and set them up for kids in my mother’s non-profit so the high school and college kids have laptops to use for their technology crazed schools. However, I ran into a problem some of the old laptops people donated to me will not support the current window and windows is expensive. So, I have been looking for alternatives for the children to use. My I.T. teacher suggested looking at Linux. I need to find a Linux OS that I can easily learn and teach the teens and young adults, I need to be able to run word for them to write their papers, and I need it to be free or cheap. If there are any suggestions please message me.
 


ShowMeRon

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My current project is to fix up old laptops and set them up for kids in my mother’s non-profit so the high school and college kids have laptops to use for their technology crazed schools. However, I ran into a problem some of the old laptops people donated to me will not support the current window and windows is expensive. So, I have been looking for alternatives for the children to use. My I.T. teacher suggested looking at Linux. I need to find a Linux OS that I can easily learn and teach the teens and young adults, I need to be able to run word for them to write their papers, and I need it to be free or cheap. If there are any suggestions please message me.
Welcome Cheeze2525-here's a link that should help you decide: http://distrowatch.com/
 

atanere

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Hi @Cheeze2525, and welcome to the site!

So, let's start by steering you away from the program called "Word" since that is a Microsoft Office product and it is not free (although it may be fairly cheap in an educational environment). There is another office program included with most popular Linux distributions called "LibreOffice," and it includes a word processing tool called "Writer." The Writer program will save documents in the Microsoft format, if needed. The actual Microsoft Word program will not run natively in Linux. It can be made to run in a special Linux environment called "Wine," but that is most likely not going to be a good choice for your older laptops.

Next, because you are getting a mix of various brand laptops, with different hardware (some more RAM, some less, different video cards, etc)... you will probably not find a one-size-fits-all version of Linux. Although Linux is free for you to download and install, it may or may not be "easy" for you if you do not have previous experience with it. Imagine a person who has NEVER used Windows before... it may not be easy for that person! That is true of Apple products too. Linux is a robust and complex operating system, completely comparable to modern Windows or Mac.

So, with the various brand laptops, you may need to experiment with several different Linux versions, especially those designed for "lower system requirements" (especially RAM). Some of those versions also may not include LibreOffice (because it needs a fair amount of system resources)... but in some cases it will work although you may have to download it and install it separately. In other cases, there are other word processing programs that you can find to run on older computers, but they may not be compatible with the Microsoft format (if that is a requirement for you). Linux is a great idea for your project, but you may need someone with more experience to help you get started with it.

Here are some articles that give more info about Linux versions that will likely work best for you:

http://www.linuxandubuntu.com/home/5-lightweight-linux-for-old-computers

https://www.howtogeek.com/172987/revive-your-old-pc-the-3-best-linux-systems-for-old-computers/

https://fossbytes.com/best-lightweight-linux-distros/

https://itsfoss.com/lightweight-linux-beginners/

https://www.linux.com/news/best-lightweight-linux-distros-2017

Good luck!
 


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