You can buy a CD of VectorLinux 5.8 Standard for $2.50 US including shipping from Edmunds Enterprises
and for $4.99 from CheapBytes
). These are legal CDs. They are the same as the free version of VL you can download and are burned to a CD. They are a good option for people on dialup. 5.8 Standard is very good and I ran it happily until I started beta testing 5.9 Standard.
I have a 433 Mhz Dell Celeron/MMX, with 127 mg RAM (128 but I think 1 is used by PCI modem card or video card). That's what shows on Norton's Checkit Diagnostics.
I have 40 GB hardisk space with less that 5 Gb used by Windows 98 SE that I am running now. The person I bought it from said it is a Pentium I but the 433 Mhz makes it faster, about Penitum 1.5.
A Celeron is a slightly crippled budget model of the corresponding Pentium. At 433 MHz your Celeron would be in the Pentium II class. It does not perform as well as a Pentium II 433 primarily because the Celeron has less L2 cache. When Celerons first came out, they had *no* L2 cache and performed much worse than a Pentium. Intel came to its senses after the first Celerons were panned so badly and added L2 cache (128K, I think, compared with 512K for Pentiums of the time, but the Celeron cache ran at full clock speed whereas the PII cache ran at half clock speed). The 433 MHz Celeron has 128K L2 cache running at 433 MHz.
I want to install to my harddisk, dual boot, and I don't care about running live CD.
Easily achieved. You'll need some empty space on your hard drive--you'll have to shrink a partition or logical drive if there is no unallocated space. There are free Linux tools to do this without destroying data (QTParted, for example). Or you can use something like Partition Magic or Partition Commander if you have them.
I need to run OpenOffice 2.0 so I am compatible with Word and Excel through email with the rest of the world.
The much lighter weight AbiWord is compatible with MS Word, though I don't know if it does as good a job as OOo. Gnumeric is also lighter than OOo Calc and is compatible with Excel.
I find it a little bit hard to believe that I will have any trouble running OpenOffice under Linux if I'm running Microsoft Office under Windows 98 SE. That's slow but can OpenOffice be worse than that?
It depends on what version of Office you're running. OOo likes RAM and CPU power, but if you can stand the wait while it loads you may be able to tolerate it.