Installing Ubuntu really isn't that bad (assuming it can access the file system and your hard drive isn't toast)
The first time I attempted an install, it turns out the hard drive is probably toast (not because of Ubuntu).
The second time, I tried on a computer that already had a partial (?) Debian install - Ubuntu couldn't access the file system, for whatever reason.
The third time I just installed the server version. It worked, but no GUI meant no easy network setup. I'm a techie, but it takes a whole other kind of person to get Linux that hard-core.
The fourth, and final time, I setup Ubuntu 6.06.1, with no problems (although install was very slow). The one thing I regret is not having a faster computer to do the install on. The machine I'm using is an old HP Pavilion XE734 with perhaps a slight RAM upgrade. It's not that bad, it's just not as fast as I'd like.
I've got a faster computer with more RAM sitting around, but I really don't want to use it, since it does have XP SP2 ... If push comes to shove, however, that's probably what I'll end up using.
I was hoping to use my sister's machine, which appeared to have Windows-related issues, but unfortunately it looks like it was really the hard drive. Transplanting it into another system resulted in the same problem - the inability to boot. I'll have to try yet a different hard drive in her box to verify that it's not the graphics card (as I originally thought), and then we can go in the direction of picking up a hard drive for her, or giving her one of my own.
Either way, I think Ubuntu will be a good choice for her. It may not give her all that she'd like, as far as programs, but it'll be secure and allow her to email and etcetera.
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