I'm currently having malware issues with my older winxp system. i'm trying to get it fixed, but in case i can't, i'm looking at sweeping my drive and going with a distro of linux. one of my friends had ubuntu for a while and seemed to like it decently well, but i never actually sat down and got familiar with the system and that's probably the closest i've been to linux. so needless to say, i'm an amature when it come to any distro of the os. i've been online reading as much as i can about the distros and i just had a few more questions.
the main one is, what will work best on a machine that's not the newest. it a computer i bought about 4-5 years ago. it is running around a 1ghz centrino processor with probably 20gb free of hd (should be near 100gb if i erase the drive) and about 512mb of ram.
from what i've read, i'm really liking linuxmint. it seems like it has taken ubuntu and improved on it. also, all of the distro's i've been looking at (mint, ubuntu, kubuntu, openSuSE) seem to be the ones that are easier to get used to. so what would you guys recommend for a person that is brand new to linux? i don't know too much about opensuse, but it seems to have it fans as well. are there really any huge differences between any of these distros?
and finally, i read the the difference between ubuntu and kubuntu is the graphic interface that it uses. one uses the GNOME and the other KDE. i really don't understand the difference between the two. they both look pretty similar to me. so what is the difference between them and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each.