Linux an old laptop

Hi, I recently aquired an old laptop from the military (free of course). It's old, a 133 proc, 16 megs of ram, and a 2gig hdd.
I wanted to know which distro of linux i should put on the laptop. Because I'm YAN (yet another newbie), i really have no idea which distro to use, just that it should be an old one.

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  1. You should be able to run RedHat 7.2 on there. Just when you install only have it install the packages you know you will be needing. You can always add them later.
    You can download 7.2 for free.

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  2. Technically speaking, there is no distro of Linux that you won't be able to run. Linux doesn't "phase out" drivers too often.

    But you're going to want to limit the packages and eye-candy. And loadup at least 200meg swap file as well. If you're using a Gui, it's going to hit the swap file very quickly...

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  3. Yeah, any distro will work really. Just make sure there aren't a lot of services running by default, you have plenty of swap, you install only the packages you need, and that you use a lighter gui. Something like IceWM will work well.

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  4. It doesn't have to be an old distro, just use well chosen small apps. BTW, does it even have a CDROM drive? That may make life harder if not, as most now come on CD only.

    I'd consider using Debian 3.0 on that box - you can download the (older) boot and setup files onto floppies if you need to, and then load the bulk of it over the 'net. It can be a bit hard to get started initially though... As for apps, the cpu speed is bearable, but the lack of RAM is tough. I'd suggest running blackbox for the window manager (very small and stable), and maybe Opera for the web browser?

    There are also dedicated "small" distros out there, such as:

    Vector Linux looked pretty slick, and they say it runs fine in 16MB RAM...

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