using linux as a means to access Google Apps

I am working for a school who is moving over to Google Apps.

We have some older PCs that are currently running windows.

We have also bought some chrome books.

We would like the PCs to run in a similar way to the Chromebooks.

I have tried Chromium OS, in particular this package. http://chromeos.hexxeh.net/lime.php

However I found it wouldnt boot on some of the older PCs that I would want to use it for. In fact it only seemed to boot on my nearly new HP Probook.

I am booting from a USB drive to test but I would want a proper installation on the hard drive as the final set up.

I am looking at Chrome OS Linux as an alternative too. I ideally I want these device to be fixed in a default state so the users gets the same experience over time. I want either the user to be completely unable to make any changes or any changes are flushed out after a reboot. I gave used Faronics Deep Freeze in Windows.................something similar would be good.

I have a little experience with linux but get stuck very easily. Most of my experience with linux came from experimenting with LTSP last year

Does anyone have any suggestions of how best to achieve this.
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roy_battyDirectorAsked:
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Duncan RoeConnect With a Mentor Software DeveloperCommented:
Linux generally loads well on old hardware. To check, you might like to get Knoppix from knoppix.net. As a distribution to install, I like Slackware - the installation uses only ncurses (character) graphics so no trouble with video cards.
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steveoskhConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If I understand what you want.  You are looking to replace Windows on some desktop PC's with the Chrome OS so that it will function just like a ChromeBook.  Locked down OS that only runs web apps.
The chrome OS is very specific on hardware requirements.  There are forums and discussion groups that can help you with what hardware will work.  It has been a while since I lurked on those lists.  I know they had a lot of posts about what laptop hardware worked, not sure about desktop class hardware.

If you want to stay in the windows os world, there are ways to virtualize or lockdown the desktop and OS.  May not prevent someone from tampering, but can be setup to revert back to a know image on reboot.
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Allen FalconConnect With a Mentor CEO & Pragmatic EvangelistCommented:
If you put Linux on a box, you can configure it to start the Chrome browser and to shutdown or log off when Chrome exits.

Note that you won't be able to manage these devices through the Chromebooks for Education management console ... at least not yet.
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