It takes less than one hour to install SuSE 9.0 Personal edition on a slow system. For that one hour investment, you’ll get a slick, well-organized Linux desktop that you should be able to live with. The article is at the Librenix Linux admin portal.
This is the third release of SuSE Linux that I’ve purchased and each version is smaller and better than the last. SuSE 6.3, purchased in early 1999, failed to fit on a dedicated 6.4 GB disk. SuSE 9.0 Personal Edition took a grand total of 2 GB of disk space. In spite of the reduction in disk requirements (and CD-ROM’s), it includes everything I expect a modern distribution to have.