My grandfather was a programmer back in the day, and lately he's been hearing about the RPi in the news and he's expressed a desire to try one out. He can remember computers filling whole rooms and punching his programs on to cards, so it's safe to say that his computing knowledge, while extensive, is a little outdated, and the idea of something the size of a credit card with orders of magnitude more processing power than his old refrigerator-sized mainframes is equal parts exciting and daunting.
So, in the interest of making him feel at home and getting him using the system as quickly and painlessly as possible, I'm looking for a distro that supports as much of his old knowledge as possible. He worked with UNIX when it was brand new, and Linux when it arrived, so he's comfortable working from the command line (in fact, it took quite a bit to get him to STOP using the command prompt in Windows 7...).
The main priorities are:
- Relatively hassle-free setup, including networking if possible
- Lightweight low-clutter desktop
- Support for C and FORTRAN compilers
That last one might seem odd; essentially, he used to give lectures on FORTRAN, and wants to try building some programs that he always wanted to write - including one to do a Fourier-transform-based calculation that he did by hand with a slide rule (!) when he was a mechanical engineer, before he got into computing.