I don't know about you guys, but I'd recommend SLAX. It's based on slackware, and quite small. www.slax.org
. With that ram I wouldn't wish for a desktop *not even wish for a fast desktop, 'cause you'll be going completely on swap*, but try it, and if you don't like it just don't install it. I'd go with a small version of SLAX *maybe POPCORN* and from there on...
But here's a fast overview of the resources needed:
(This is for Debian, my OS of choice, but most of Linuxes are closer)
Install Type RAM Hard Drive
No desktop 24 megabytes 450 megabytes
With Desktop 64 megabytes 1 gigabyte
Server 128 megabytes 4 gigabytes
Standard Server. This is a small server profile, useful for a stripped down server which does not have a lot of niceties for shell users. It includes an FTP server, a web server, DNS, NIS, and POP. For these 100MB of disk space would suffice, and then you would need to add space for any data you serve up.
A standard desktop box, including the X window system, full desktop environments, sound, editors, etc. You'll need about 2GB using the standard desktop task, though it can be done in far less.
A more stripped-down user machine, without the X window system or X applications. Possibly suitable for a laptop or mobile computer. The size is around 140MB.
A desktop setup with all the development packages, such as Perl, C, C++, etc. Size is around 475MB. Assuming you are adding X11 and some additional packages for other uses, you should plan around 800MB for this type of machine.
I've put debian on a pentium 100 with 64 on ram, and ran pretty well... I did't got to the moon, but at least got some good websurfing with all those pretty windows any GUI can give. BUT I DISABLED ALL THAT EYE-CANDY EFFECTS FROM KDE. BYE BYE TO SHADINGS, SHADOWS, MOVING EFFECTS, AND ALL... BUT. IT'S OK.
NOW... if you really want that desktop gui... try FLUXBOX!!! it's a fast desktop gui for slow resources... here's a screenshot:
*and by the way, download backtrack (live cd) and try it with the fluxbox gui, if you like what you see then install it.
If you're a noob:
Install your Linux distro of choice, without any desktop, and then install fluxbox.
I'd go with Debian... but there should be a small distro with FLUXBOX as default.
Too much info?... naaaaaaahhhhhhhhh