I sent the following note to technology and religion blogger Michelle Murrain two days ago, and post it here with her permission.
I have an idea for tag-team blogging if you're game. I can't think of anyone else I know who's qualified (because I'm not, except as a guinea pig.)
What, not so hypothetically, would be a good model or specification of used laptop to take an installation of Ubuntu or [the lighter] Xubuntu [Linux operating system] suitable for the director of a small, cash-strapped non-profit or the minister of small cash-strapped church. You know: the band between helplessly old but "old enough" to be bought at a small cost or given away.
And then what do you install on it if the user is tech-inexperienced? What features are non-negotiable? (I have opinions.)
Might you be game for a blog dialogue? Or do you have a ready-made resource you've written or know of?
She's agreed, and we'll link back and forth. Is this of interest of you, dear readers? I have a bit of a vested interest here: I have no laptop, but think one will help me in coming days. I don't have the cash to buy a new one, and think that reusing electronics is the right ecological and economic move. Plus, I would want to install Linux on it anyway, so I would rather avoid the "Microsoft tax" of getting a new laptop with a Windows package installed. (There are ways around it.)
Later. The reply: part 2