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You could do a network install as long as the network device is available for Ethernet or wireless. Problem would still be the boot for the resident hardware. Sure you could do the install from another machine but still some tweaking would be necessary once the HDD was moved to the older hardware.
Doable, yet I see no reason other than the challenge & learning experience. I still use older IBM 780el Laptops as controllers but keep the machine OS the same as when first moved to Slackware. A few have been upgraded to 12.1 but retained the original version on the drive partition(s).
My own kernel build with OSS drivers
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 77656 75996 1660 0 7508 43572
-/+ buffers/cache: 24916 52740
Swap: 500468 244 500224
After the upgrade midori stopped working, complaining about the lack of libnotify.so.1, symlinked it to libnotify.so.4 and it works again. Relieved not to have to rebuild webkitgtk again, it took 6 days and nights - 144 hours to compile!
Hmmm.... almost forget that my own 'old' laptop does not like the gl xscreensavers ---> black screens that require reboot . Recompiled and upgraded the xscreensaver package and used --without-gl. Lost all the cool screensavers but system now stable . Come on release version!