Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
To save money, I cobbled together a computer for my mother out of cast-offs left over from my own upgrades. She doesn't need a cutting-edge computer because she's not a power user, but she does need a reliable machine to run a few basic applications and to access the Internet. I moved my mother from Windows to Ubuntu Linux, and the experience was a surprisingly smooth one.
The machine I gave her sports a 2.2GHz Intel Celeron CPU, 512MB of RAM, and Nvidia MX440 graphics card with 64MB of RAM. It's not a cutting-edge gaming rig, but it's an adequate machine for her needs, which include email, Web browsing, music and video playback, photo management, and word processing.
The challenge was to not only build a working system, but also to maintain consistency with her old system. This meant migrating her data across, finding comparable equivalents for all of her Windows applications, and adjusting the desktop layout to one that was similar to that of Windows.