Re: 16 mb problem
I ran Debian nearly 10 years ago on an HP Omnibook 300
(386sx/16), so it's certainly possible.
If the laptop is to be run independently, then you need to
run X if you want a GUI. My favorite light-weight window
manager is fluxbox because it's light (a fork of blackbox)
but also does tabs. I no longer can live without tabs.
Anyhow, if the laptop is to be on a network, you might
consider running all your apps on a nearby host and using
the laptop as a terminal... the lightest way to do it
would be to use the kernel frame buffer device and fbvnc on
the laptop (and realvncserver or tightvncserver on the
An interesting note about kernels... 2.6.x has the uClinux
kernel fork folded back in... i.e. it can be built really
tiny as needed for microcontrollers and other low-spec CPUs.
So while the stock 2.6.x kernels are certainly bigger than
the 2.2 and 2.4 family, it may be possible to build custom
kernels that are quite small.
(If you never heard of uClinux, it's the fork of Linux that
was small enough to run on a 68000-based Palm PDA).