I started trying out a few lightweight linux distributions for and old box “PIII, 256Mb” and it has been an interesting experience. Right now am checking out zenwalk and will try crunchbang in a day or so. It seems zenwalk is better suited than most common linux distros for new comers to linux than even well known ones like ubuntu and fedora.
Just to make a point clear am not bashing fedora or ubuntu, i have used both at one time or another and a few more. But I was looking for something I can use on a box for grandmama, that means few updates, no hassle install and most of the stuff running out of the box flash,mp3 etc.. I was just gonna try it for a day or so(Zenwalk) but it has ended up getting itself permanently on one of the partitions because it it is so user friendly, even my other half who is not sold on linux has been using it without any major complaints just the usual “where is word” and their collection of games even kid friendly ones is quite good.
Personally my main distro on my desktop/server is Centos, am looking forward to learning some new things along the way. I will come back and write on what I found out.
Edit: Tried cruchbang and a few more since I wrote the post and of those I tested slack based distros have the crown namely with Zenwalk and vector linux. One of the biggest problem with other linux distributions I found out during the test is that while the full live desktop versions running kde and gnome work ok out of the box, the xfce light verson most suitable for old hardware have video problems. I have now decided to stop the test and insted have opened up several bug reports with the ones I had problems with to try and resolve these problems.