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Linux on a Windows XP computer?

My grand children gave me a Windows XP computer (made for Staples by Northgate) for my 86th birthday not realizing that I do Linux and now I'm trying to make the best of the situation. I had 7 different Linuxes, 5 were Debian and its derivatives installed on my old computer and I'd like to do similar on this new one.

As a test, I installed KNOPPIX on the harddrive and it works fine except for the modem and sound so I'd like to fix this problem.

The motherboard has integrated video and integrated sound and it has an Agere Systems PCI Soft Modem . As far as I can tell, video seems OK in Linux, at least it's there but I'm just comparing it to another WinXP computer where the video didn't work at all in Linux. Perhaps someone can enlighten me on this..

.I could use some recommendations about installing a modem that is more suitable for Linux, an internal PCI.Hardware version or external (which is preferable, series or USB?) I've been under the impression that any external modem will work in Linux but the data for some models.omits Linux in their operability list. I'd like to have audio but it doesn't have to be super quality---- I'm not a music fanatic so the cheapest sound card would be OK as long as it works in Linux..

I've checked Hardware Compatability Lists but they seem somewhat behind the times. This computer is quite up to date, enough so that a 4 way card reader was installed in lieu of a floppy drive. I had to install a floppy drive before I could run my Partition Manager to partition the 120 GB HD.

Recommendations please.........

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