Off the cuff without more details about your laptop here is my gut feeling as I have installed various flavors of Windohs and Linux on older laptops. I think you are in the 32-64 mb RAM range (160mb max RAM) with a K-6 AMD processor.
Your processor speed is OK, however you are going to have a tough time with Wxp OR any flavor of KDE or Gnome desktop on a laptop of that vintage with any thing less than 256mb RAM. Looks like graphics chip is compatible, you may have to futz with the Crystal sound chip but I think there is a module for it.
Remember that unlike Windows, Linux can run several different desktops and some require lots of horsepower (RAM) and others do well with very little.
My experience with older laptops is this: W95, W98, Wme,W2000 do well. I'm no expert but I think it has to do with the fact that the hdwr was optimised for this OS and the W9x interface was built into the DOS kernel and therefore very quick.
DSL or Puppy Linux run well on older hdwr and they have lite GUIs, but if you are used to a full featured point 'n click interface you may be disappointed.
Try one of Linux distros with a lightweight desktop and maybe Abiword and GnuCash instead of OpenOffice.
As far as your HD goes, you can get a fair amount of stuff packed onto it. The fact that a distro is on 1 or 5 CDs has little to do with it. You can elect NOT to load a bunch of stuff from a 5 CD distro onto a PC . I think DSL and Puppy are only about 80-160 mb.
I'm sure a bootable floppy is no problem. Check out their websites.
Hope this helps
Edited by Trio3b, 11 May 2007 - 01:15 AM.