I didn't have much of a problem with the roaring penguin under slack 7.1, but I was using that distro long after it was old just to eek performance out of an older machine, so I was probably using a much better build of the RP, and even better exist now.
The NIC depends, for instance I had a lot of issues with my tulip card under 2.2.x kernel based distros (of which 7.1 runs 2.2.16, right?), but zero problems under Slack 8.0 and 8.1(or at least the past four hours, wheee!!!!)
I have an ATI graphics card, so I don't know much about having to deal with outside of X support like the Nvidias. From what I've read its pretty easy to hack the modules into an 4.x.x based XFConfig and a headache top get them working right under 3.3.6, so you should be alright.
The base kernel, bare.i, has support for reiser, ext3 and ext2 built in, so if you can shuffle all your stuff onto one partition to save it and then install around that partition, it'll mount the part and you can re-shuffle from there.
As for the install, its still the same old install... only it asked during config if I wanted to send it some special kernel parameters and suggested /dev/hdX=ide-scsi, wow, Slack got burner friendly.
Of course, I'm going to see if the luster fades, I doubt it...