I've had this laptop for several years, and I like it, but I don't know what to do with it.
It's an old Fujitsu, with a pentimu classic clocked at 120mhz and 40mb of RAM. I replaced the original 1gb hard drive with a 2gb one.
My problem is this: I used to be very happy running FreeBSD on the machine, but then I got a pcmcia ethernet card. To make a long story short, the card appears to work in linux, but won't work in FreeBSD because support for my PCMCIA bridge appears to be permanently broken (nothing has changed since 4.8 ).
I want to put linux on the the thing, but he's a tender little guy. As much as I like the big distros, I really can't let the poor thing near Fedora Core or anything like that, so I'm forced to choose a linux distribution.
I'm teatering back and forth between slackware and debian. What I'd like is for the system to be easy to configure, and I also want it reasonably easy to update packages (so I can stay current with some programs like GAIM, if it can handle it).
In considering slackware, I know nothing about its package system and how one goes about keeping the software up to date. With debian this seems all done for you.
I'm really tempted to go with debian, but I remember trying to set up debian on that thing in the past and running into some problem with that ethernet card. At first I believed free *nix could make use of it, but knoppix proved me wrong a couple weeks ago.
So, any words of wisdom or suggestions? I'd really prefer to stick with one of the major distros; systems like DSL scare me. That aside, I'd like to find something that marriages lightness with ease of configuration. Is that asking too much?
Fedora might be okay if you don't install X (not sure though). Debian might be a good choice if you can get the hardware to work.
Slackware has a package management system but nothing like you may be used to. You don't search a program name and have something download and install it while getting all the dependancies. You download Slackware packages (special tgz archives) and use various tools to install, remove and upgrade that package. I have read somewhere that dependancies are not a huge concern in Slackware because of the depth of the distro.
I would give Slackware a try. I tried it a while ago and quite enjoyed it but you will have to get your hands dirty in config files.
Hope that helps,
If you want a small distro you can go for Damn Small Linux, which can fit anto 50mb. Though I think it primeraly a live distrobution, you can also install it iirc.