I have 4 iMacs (350mhz, 256 megs of ram and 10gig HD) and want to set them up with a simple Linux variant.
It could be PuppyLinux, gOS or some other internet based Linux. I have done a lot of reading and googling but am still confused if there is a variant that will load on the iMac WITHOUT video problems.
Thought about Kubuntu (lightweight version of Ubuntu)? I installed it once on a B&W G3, should work (and hey... it's free...).
Did you have issues with the video or audio?
What do you want to do with the machines? Use them as desktops, or as servers? If you plan on using them as servers, something like FreeBSD or NetBSD would be a good choice...small footprint, and since they're CLI, you probably don't have to worry about video issues.
No servers. I just want to use the internet and openoffice.
Puppy and gOS are for Intel CPU machines, not PPC. You'll have to stick with PPC supporting distros. I haven't run Linux on an iMac in a couple years or so but I used to load Ubuntu on them (350 and 400, IIRC) and even witht eh video issue, it's not bad. The video is only a problem when it was first installed but once fixed, it wasn't a bother. The REAL problem with PPC Linux is the lack of niceties like available Flash players in the browsers and Java support, etc. Last time I looked into it Java was being supported through IBMs port for its PPC-based server systems, not through Sun. Also, most video codecs are made fro x86 and won't run on a PPC machine. In general you are better off staying with OS X on a PPC Mac unless you have a really specific need for something on Linux.
EDIT: Firefox 2 works on 10.2, so modern browsing isn't going to be a big deal, and OpenOffice want 10.4 for OO.o 2, but 1.1 only needs 10.2. Depending on what exactly you need to get done, most of it can still be accomplished way back on 10.2 systems.
I would recommend Xubuntu. (I think that is what was meant above instead of Kubuntu, which is actually just as heavy as normal ubuntu, if not more so.)
Xubuntu would use less memory (only needs 128MB ram as opposed to the 320MB ram suggested for ubuntu), although resultantly would not be as pretty. But it would be a lot quicker than either Kubuntu or Ubuntu.
Jon is right though, as far as I know there is no official flash support for PPC Linux, although on a 350Mhz machine I don't think flash would run well in OSX either. I haven't tried it myself but Gnash is an open source alternative to flash which would play youtube, and others. (Check out the faq below for more info)
For simple web browsing and OpenOffice use I would say either go with Jon's suggestion above, or use Xubuntu or another light linux distribution.
Take a look at these links if you want to go the Xubuntu route:
Install Guide: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=405934
Known Issues: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCKnownIssues
Thank you very much for the great answers. More straight forward and clear than the hours spent googling I have done on this little project.
Loaded Ubuntu on an iMac 350mhz with 512mb of ram. After fixing the video issue it loaded properly.
Been playing with Ubuntu now for a couple hours and am pleased. The next thing is to see if I can get on the internet.
I did read somewhere though...that the internal modem won't work with Ubuntu. We'll see.
This thread on the Ubuntu forums is what got me going. Very straightforward and easy: