As I said in the previous post it is possible to put Linux on some quite old hardware. At the same time as asking if I would install Linux on his laptop my friend gave me an old IBM T20 not quite as shiny as the one in this picture.
I had a spare 128mb PC100 Ram module, so I was able to upgrade to 256mb Ram, having booted up the PC into the installed Windows ME to check all was working, which it was, I decided to install Mint 9 and check out if they were telling the truth.
Well I can report they were. While it was a little slow with the live disc I have successfully installed Mint and as I write this the PC is ticking away installing 2 years worth of updates. Boot up time is nothing to write home about taking 3-4 minutes and once up and running the CPU (a P3 700) runs at about 45% capacity, and at idle the system is using between 110-120mb Ram which is about 40 - 47% of the available system Ram. Changing to a Linux distro based on one of the less resource hungry Desktop Environments such as LXDE would definitely give some improvement, as would an upgrade to the Max 512mb Ram the PC supports.
However for a free laptop despite it not being in good physical order as the case is cracked, there's a key missing off the key board, and the memory module bay cover is missing (it is 12 years old) I feel I got a bit of a bargain. The keyboard is not a problem as I have some spare keys which I can fit, and the actual key mechanism is working. I can pick up a memory cover off e-bay for £2-3 and I have a larger hard drive in the spares box if I decide to install it. I'm not sure if it's worth the cost of buying a couple of 256mb Ram modules of e-bay as it could cost me £30 with the postage and the PC's not worth much more than that.
I'll probably leave it how it is, and use it to demo the fact that you can still use older hardware with Linux and have an up to date OS at the same time.