Something even lower-end than DeliLinux for <16MB RAM laptops w/o CD drives is BasicLinux. Can run from floppy disks or in as little as 3MB RAM !
for info and BL3 downloads.
A standard recommendation as well, for slow/low-RAM laptops, is to activate a swap partition on the hard drive (imperative on old distro versions for 8MB RAM or less!)
Good rule-of-thumb is to double the RAM-size for swap partition.
When any bootable Linux gives CLI (=Command Line Interface) after superuser/root login, something like this 1-2-3 to make a swap partition :
1) 'fdisk /dev/hd?' where hd is ide hard drive and ? is a,b,c, or d ;
choose n option to create new partition, then t option and partition # (note this #) ;
make swap partition type 82 and then enter w to write partitioning
2) type 'mkswap -c /dev/hd?#' to format and check swap partition
3) type 'swapon /dev/hd?#' to activate swap partition while still logged in as superuser/root ;
There, you now have a little extra resources to get Linux going on a low-end laptop!