My dad is running a pretty old computer with Windows XP. He got it in, I believe, 2002. It only has 256 MB of RAM, which was enough to run XP efficiently before the service packs and what have you. Lately, he's become very frustrated with it because, as you can imagine, XP is pretty non-responsive to only having 256 MB of RAM these days.
I really think Windows is the best OS for him, because he's not a very tech-heavy person. All he really does is browse the web, use E-Bay, check his e-mail, store pictures of our family on his computer, print things, and watch the occasional YouTube video, which is becoming more and more of a hassle as the system doesn't have enough physical memory to effectively render flash videos. He prefers Firefox, so no conversion is necessary there, and he uses Outlook, so Evolution would probably be more comfortable than Thunderbird for him, but either would probably do.
I've recommended downgrading to an older version of Windows to him, but he doesn't want to for obvious reasons. It costs money to buy a copy of the old version, and also who wants to still be using Windows 98?
Upgrading the RAM is probably the best option, but it's a very old type (PC133 SDRAM...we're talking pre-DDR here) that costs about $100 to get a gig for. Really, it's not worth the price he'd have to pay.
Ideally, I'd like to install Ubuntu or Linux Mint on his machine, but even these OSes recommend more than 256 MB to run well. I showed him a Xubuntu LiveCD and he seemed impressed, but the computer doesn't have enough space in the RAM for me to install the flash player to show him that it can really handle playing a YouTube video better than his XP installation can. I realize that if I installed it, it would perform a lot better, but I also understand that for a man that's over 50 years old, the idea of removing Windows or even running a dual-boot setup is a little scary.
Basically, I'm asking for a distro that would look good from a LiveCD that's also user-friendly enough that even my dad can use it. Distros like Puppy and Damn Small are out, because it requires a degree of technical skill that my dad doesn't have. He'd probably prefer sticking to his familiar GUI environment over learning a whole new way of computing using CLI, which is why I said I'd prefer something like Ubuntu or Mint.
Does a distro like this even exist? Is it really possible?