I seem to have come full circle in this whole speed-tweak problem. Last night I spent about six hours putting Ubuntu 6.06.1 on a 120Mhz Pentium 1 machine with 48Mb EDO and a 1.5Gb hard drive.
The results were actually nicer than you might imagine. Boot times were awful (like 1-2 minutes just to the login, another 30-45 seconds to the XFCE GUI), but it worked.
The real trick was trying to get it to boot from CD. When your BIOS doesn’t let you boot from CD, everything is suddenly hamstrung. Luckily, there are geniuses out there who have run into this problem before, and come up with things like Smart Boot Manager. And thank goodness for the Ubuntu wiki.
On top of that problem was a weak 4X CDROM that couldn’t read a 700Mb CD (or at least wouldn’t … perhaps it was a technical issue) and only 32Mb of memory. I had done Ubuntu installations with only 40Mb, but not less than the requisite 36Mb. Under that line, the installer goes haywire.
Either way, it has been a learning experience. I’m going to work up a description and maybe add it to the forums.