i have the same strong almost ten years old laptop, i want see it working for ever and ever...
System spec: (almost the same)
CPU: Pentium II @ 333mhz
RAM: 64 mb
GPU: 4mb ATi mobility rage pro.
*HDD: 6gb hitachi something
*without internet connection (i connect here on my other core2 desktop, running ubuntu)
24x CD reader
a lot of people suggest increase the ram for better results... ok sure it will work to make run with better distros, but i'm not sure if i would find a compatible, not damaged, not expensive, and easy to find memory module in my country, so i decided to work with my base configuration (the same with the hard disk).. just one thing i like to find in the near future: a pcmcia net connection card, but actually i want to use my laptop to practice some programation
well, with this on mind, i had tried some distros, here my experiencies:
ubuntu 8.04 live cd -> runs but inhumanely slow (my click never responds, or maybe in hour, but i didn't wait)
xubuntu 8.04 -> hangs on installation
xubuntu 9.04 -> installs (in hours), but still insanely slow (
so, althought i like ubuntu on my modern desktop, i had to discard it on my old laptop
surfing on the net i follow some suggestions
damn small linux 4.4 (live cd and hdd install) -> installed fast, ran fast, the graphical interface is a bit different (from gnome) but easy to adapt.... i thought i found my distro but oh oh, a "little" problem (damn!) ...it sometimes recognizes my usb flash memory, sometimes not... tried to mount and umount in gui, in console, but the same... so, i discard that distro, because my laptop had not communication with the world... next
vector linux 5.9 light (live cd and hdd install) -> installed fast and ran quickly (not too fast, but good).. the graphical interface is so cool and easy to use... but... (the "but" again)... vector never recognize my usb flash... i tried vector's forums, suggestions, edit mtab, etc.. nothing worked.. and other "little detail" my laptop's fan is always off in the first system login, so after some minutes (depending of the cpu load) all the system shut down automatically because too high temperature... on the second login after that, the fan keep run... this is not a nice way to work... so, again, discarded...
at last the winner distro:
puppy linux 4.2 (live and hdd) -> installed fast and ran quickly... the graphical interface is friendly, easy to adapt, my usb flash memory is ALWAYS automatically mounted, and the cpu's fan runs ok, no more high temperature shut downs... but (always there is a "but") puppy runs always in root, i don't like much this, but i don't have internet connection so it isn't a vulnerability to me (at the present).. second "but", puppy is designed to run as a live cd, so there are some details to follow if you want to install extra libs in a "hdd instalation".. but nothing hard... some people suggest: "run puppy as live cd in your laptop to avoid that tricks", but again i remember my old hardware: a live cd requires a lot of reads from my old and tired cd reader, and there's not a suitable easy to find replace, so i choice a "full hdd install" and i'll assume the challenge... see you on puppy's forums
(pd: i had not dealed with the audio stuff (still) it seems it is not easy, but is another challenge)