source: mark.stosberg.com/Tech/linux_switch/martha.html --- copy & paste --- Martha Challenges Martha's Mac Performa was dead. The monitor worked, but she needed a complete hardware and software solution otherwise. She could not really afford a new computer, and needed to spend an absolute minimum. She lives three hours away and does not plan to connect her computer to the internet, so it would be difficult for me to help remotely. She needed a solution that required no training. She needed to be able to take care of her own system administration nearly all of the time. However, her software needs were simple: She wanted to use a word processor and spreadsheet, and have Windows compatible. Solution I was able to completely recover her Mac hard drive from the dead machine using the INSERT live CD, which features tools to work with the HFS+ (Mac) file system. I created a Mac format CD with the contents (using Linux), and shipped that back to her first. I found I had spare parts to construct a machine for her based around a 233 Mhz processor, a 4 Gig hard drive, 64 Megs of memory and 1X CD-ROM (the slowest I know of!). I upgraded the memory to 192 Megs for under $50. The 1X CD drive worked well enough to install from, although it was slow. With that in place, the machine was quite responsible and usable with Mandrake 10.0. OpenOffice will be familiar to use after using Microsoft Office, and has great compatibility with the Word and Excel file formats. Documents can easily be transferred back and forth from work via floppy or a USB Flash Drive. There will be no chance the computer will catch a Windows virus in the process. Several of the components in the old system are upgradable if Martha wants to invest more in the system later. As a safe guard, a more unix-savvy friend in the area agreed to be available if I couldn't help remotely and a home visit was needed. Results Martha called when first setting up her computer. She needed a tip on getting her new monitor to be recognized. Once the new system booted, she quickly grasp how to navigate the desktop and get around OpenOffice. So far, she hasn't called back for additional tech support.