After fitting a SSD to my computer I was left with a spare Sata hard drive doing nothing, so I rigged it up and downloaded a free copy of Ubuntu and
installed it on to this spare hard drive.
It went like a dream, you first down load Ubuntu by Googling Ubuntu, down load it (its Free) burn to ISO format(I used Image burn) I then copied it onto a DVD disc, and then downloaded the cover(from Free cd covers) , printed it, and then went into the Bios and made first boot device to start from the DVD/CD drive, then I booted up and it was simplicity itself to just follow the prompts and install , it does take some time for it to install so be patient and then you have a working copy of Ubuntu that is very similar to XP and it comes with a free office suite. It is just a matter of familiarisation now, also it passed a few enjoyable hours on and I have a useful hard drive back in circulation. its well worth the effort than paying Microsoft large amounts of cash for their system, though illegal copies of Windows can be obtained from nefarious sources , also the beauty of Ubuntu it does not come or demand an activation key(its Free) jmb
If you are not expecting it to deal with anything too "unusual" you may well find it a very good OS. I've made various attempts to get a working
Linux system over the years and have always ended up returning to Windoze.
Open Orifice is a reasonable alternative to M$ Orifice unless you have a need to highly customise it. My latest attempt was with Open Office Base, After four weeks of stuffing around on various fora attempting to convince Base to return to the last edited record on open I gave up, and returned to Access. In 24hours I had a completed working app and, now, some few weeks later, I have thousands of records and more customisations performed on the fly.
Of course, if you are talking hardware, Linux does not readily support legacy hardware. My system was built only about 5 years ago and has been happily running w7 all that time. Linux was not particularly keen on the nVidea card and would only operate my dual monitor setup at one resolution, and only reliably with screens mirrored. After a lot of jiggerpokery and replacement of video card with an ATI one I managed to convince it to work as an extended desktop but only at certain resolutions and not at the native resolutions for the monitors. My printer was another one that required a lot of stuffing around.
I'm not trying to put you off, John, but I am warning you that you have a steep learning curve ahead if anything "out of the ordinary" happens. That is, however, the beauty of that particular OS, if you like to tinker, you'll enjoy it, and, if you don't like one variety, there are many other variants to try.