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I've heard about these "netbooks." Before you get too deep into the project, check to see whether or not the OS can be replaced. On many of these devices, the Windows CE OS is actually burned to ROM (read-only) and the BIOS does not support boot from an external CD/USB drive. Also in many cases these devices have ARM processors, which means most Linux distros designed for i686-family processors will not work.
If you manage to find out wether it will boot from usb/cd like snowpine suggested and it does you might want to try Damn Small Linux. That distro has very low system requirements. Most popular distros like Ubuntu or Fedora require about 512MB RAM but DSL will run fine on 128MB.
If you can install another OS on it (i.e. the OS is on writable memory), then I have the following suggestions, based on architectures:
Puppy linux (security issue -- you run as root. It's also easier to break stuff, in my experience). This would be perfect on a lightweight computer, however.
Try going to linux.org, and navigate to "distributions" (on the left). Select English, All Matches, and Other in the dropdown boxes, and click "Go". This will bring up a list of distributions -- try looking through these, some of them might work for you.
If not, then you could use Gentoo -- but it's quite a challenge. If you find that one of the distributions from linux.org will run on your computer, but it doesn't have X11 (the graphical system), then you could use it to install Gentoo. If not, it'll have to be cross-compiled, as there may not be anything pre-built for your architecture (I might even try to do this with a virtual machine).
I hope this helps.
EDIT: For ARM or MIPS, you might want to take a look at Debian. You could try installing a LXDE version of it. However, I have no experience with it.
I run slackware current on 96 mb ram 400mhz AMD I built LXDE desktop for it fluxbox ran ok to. It runs ok. it runs better than M$ 98 did. it also runs 11.0 and 10.2 and puppy linux
The big problem I have is flash and java the old CPU is just slow.