233-300Mhz PII or 233Mhz P MMX, and it starts with 32 or 64 MB RAM, or about what you would need an older version of Linux to be happy with. You might have saved yourself some embarrassment if you had asked or looked it up first.
I'm not embarassed. There are definitely distributions that will run in that. You won't be able to render the next Toy Story on it, but there are defintiely distros that can make use of it.
Yes, it's user friendly, but it's *not* Windows.
I'm sorry, but I don't really see the problem. Windows CE is not Windows either. It looks like Windows (thereby adding to the new user's potential confusion), but it's not Windows.
There is little or no commercial support for Linux.
AFAIK Micrsoft offers no support to non-corporate customers.
There are indeed commercially-supported Linux offerings. RedHat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu are two examples.
Maybe, but how much home/personal or specialty (business specific, etc.) software is available for Linux, compared to Windows? I'm guessing CE actually has more, based on what I've seen for download.
Comared to Windows 2K/XP/Vista/7? Less business-specific. There's a large amount of personal use software out there, but there is indeed a lot of specialty business software out there. I guess I assumed that since the OP was asking about CE he didn't have that sort of software requirement.
As for software choice: right now, with the distribution that I'm typing this on, I can install any one of 26,041 software packages with a single click.
I've also heard many "office" type programs for Linux are not as powerful as their Windows equivalents. Has Open caught up with MS Office or Lotus Smartsuite?
OpenOffice has the vast, vast majority of features that MS Office does. I've never, *ever* seen a home user need to do something that it didn't support. Heck, I've never seen a business user do something that it didn't support. It's not a pixel-perfect replica, true, but I think for almost every user it's a suitable replacement.
Of course if you don't like OpenOffice, just run Office. Wine supports it just fine.
I've also heard that many Linux programs are distributed as source code the user needs to compile. That's great if you want to customize it for your own use, or install it on a non-intel machine. But the average home user will take one look at it and run.
That's definitely not true. Yes, the authors may make the source code available, but using a modern desktop distribution, the user won't need to do much more than point and click. The software is already compiled, packaged, and pre-configured by the distribution. In that sense it's a lot easier than Windows; there are no DLLs to find, no incompatible versions of the same DLL installed by something else, and no need to worry about malware.
Oh, and that applies to all machines, not just x86 ones.
Have you ever used CE? I have 2.11 (HPC Pro 3.0) with Pocket Office 3.0 and it resembles a stripped down version of Windows 95 and Office. It doesn't look that different, there are less options on the menu but those that are there are the same as there 9x/NT equivalents (except that a few sub-options are also missing.)
Yes, I have. I've used it on palmtops and PDAs, right about up until it morphed into Windows Mobile.
Yes, it looks similar, but it's substantially different under the hood. Now there's nothing wrong with that, but given that your earlier argument against KDE was that it "*does* look like Windows, adding to the new user's potential confusion", this looks like kind of a double standard.
Windows CE was never intended for a disk based notebook. It's stripped down so it will fit in ROM in computers too small and light to hold a hard drive. A version that can be installed on a ThinkPad Might be easier to get used to than Linux. There is no question that Linux is more powerful, but it's weird.
It's really not any more. It seems like you've got this image of Linux being some arcane, complex system that's difficult to use and poorly supported. That may have been more accurate 7-10 years ago, but it's definitely not true now.
Linux isn't intended for *any* specific piece of hardware. It's designed to be flexibile. It runs on everything from tiny mobile devices to massive IBM servers. There are distributions suited towards all sorts of different purposes, designed to run on all sorts of hardware combinations, by all sorts of users.
Is Linux right for the OP? I can't say -- that's something that only he/she can establish. But it's free, available legally, and available in hundreds of different varieties (each suited to a specific need or set of needs), so it makes sense to me to try it.