I am in the process of refurbing several older laptop machines for use by a couple college guys we have in training to learn basic web development in python. These are students who intern at my company and are hoping to do some work when the summer comes building simple client-oriented webapps (learning the basics of OOP, MVC webapp design in flask, etc.). We're trying to function as the "practical" side of their education.
I would like to get them set up on these machines we have sitting about, but I'd like to use a linux distro that would have a gui that closely approximates what they are being compelled to use at school (windows.) I don't really have much of a preference as far as GUI goes since much of what we'll be learning together is accomplished on the command line. I just see this as an easier adjustment for them while they are still reliant on a graphical environment.
In the past I'd go straight for Ubuntu, but since they started using the Unity GUI the responsiveness overall can be pretty clunky on older machines, especially since these machines (there are four of them) run the gambit on specs (though all are at least 1.0Ghz and none have anything better than basic integrated video.)
Has anyone had to setup a similar working environment in Mint, bare Debian or Zorin? Thanks.