Want to Install Linux on a Netbook that has Chinese-Language ONLY XP
Reason for Problem
I travel often for long periods of time (4-7 months) and have taken a netbook with me for the past 4 years. I am a touch typist (80 wpm), so I don't want to deal with a pad, and Chromebooks seem to have too many limitations for me to want one as my only computing device over such long periods of time.
I bought my netbook under unusual circumstances. I had been in China using cyber cafes when the government suddenly changed the rules. Only persons with Chinese ID cards could continue to use cybercafes. (ID cards had to be turned in at the desk, were scanned, and, I presume, the government kept a record of every website visited by each individual.) I went to government offices in two cities to complain that foreigners with a passport should be exempted to no avail. I even backtracked 7 hours by train to the last cyber cafe that let me use a computer only to find that it was a national rule that was also observed there.
I was to be in China for at least 7 more weeks, and I had no way to communicate with the outside world, so I went to an IT mall and bought a Samsung NP-N148 Atom Notebook with a 250 GB hard drive and NO optical drive. It had Windows XP Chinese Language version installed with NO multi-language pack. Through trial and error I learned how to use it, and I managed to download Chrome and a few other programs in their English language version which made life much simpler. I never found a way to install the multi-language pack without buying a new version of Windows; it would not install online no matter how or where I tried, and my research seemed to show that I was at a dead end.
I am tired of never knowing exactly what pop-up screens are telling me. Plus XP is expiring. And none of the alternative devices available (pads or Chromebooks), as I noted above, seems good to me. Therefore, I am wondering if I could install Linux in place of XP on this machine. These questions, however, are important:
1. Would the installation process involve the Chinese language since everything else on this computer seems to be in Chinese? When trying to install Linux 2-3 years ago via an online download, it never completed and I couldn't figure out why because all the selection and explanation screens were in Chinese! That, however, was probably because I was going through Windows to do the download.
2. I think downloading the installation to a disk on my home computer and then installing it to my netbook via an external optical drive attached by USB port would be my best way to do it--IF I don't have to deal with the Chinese language (Question 1). Does anyone suggest otherwise? Does anyone suspect I would still have a Chinese language problem with this process or others they might suggest?
3. Which version of Linux would you suggest that I use for this particular situation (no matter what your recommendation for a process to get it installed into my computer)?
Sorry this is such a long entry. It would be so nice if someone has encountered this problem before, but I doubt it from my research. I will appreciate any help or suggestions anyone can give me. I can live with XP in Chinese, but I bet I would be much happier with Linux. And I am not about to pay Microsoft for a second program for this same computer which is 4 years old and included XP in its purchase price.