Re: Good OS for these specs..
I have Windows XP installed on my PII PC w/ 384MB RAM, it runs a little slow, it's faster than I though it would be.
Linux is only free if you download it, obviously he can't download it off the internet w/o a working PC. I checked to see the prices on some of the CDs they ship to you and it's like $30 or more for selected Linux OSes. I'm not sure about all of them though.
EDIT: my PII is 450MHz