Finally, after several false starts and a couple of botched attempts, a fully 800×600 graphical desktop in 16-bit color depth, with Awesome 2.3.4 as the window manager using Crux 2.4 with Xorg 7.3 on a 120Mhz Pentium with only 16Mb of memory.
No tricks, no smoke or mirrors, no fancy footwork, unless you call building the entire thing from scratch “fancy.” The biggest stumbling blocks were getting X to run at all, and getting a network card to play nice with the hardware. For some reason, all the network cards I have — with the exception of my trusty WPC11 and maybe the ASIX-based wired card — trigger messages from the kernel claiming “cardbus cards are not supported.”
Right now the plan is to use the WPC11 until I can get the system into a condition I like. Performance is about the same level as the 100Mhz machine was … in other words, a 20Mhz difference does not offer a magical improvement in usability.
But hey, usability is all a matter of perspective.