After double-checking all the minor details with Ubuntu, I decided it was time to regain a little speed again, and tinker with Arch Linux on my X60s.
Whoooeee. Now that’s fast. Ubuntu was a pleasant experience on a machine this quick, but Arch is like a caffiene buzz. If I hotwire the /etc/inittab to go straight to X using one of the methods here, I get from Grub to X in under 17 seconds. Memory use is only 44Mb with X, IceWM and a few other programs running, according to htop.
That’s pretty darned impressive. Not the best ever, but still quite nice considering the array of machines I have used in the past. I seem to remember the 1Ghz Inspiron bouncing to an Openbox desktop in only 16 seconds with Crux, but I might be conveniently misremembering that. ;)
In any case, Crux is probably the last stop on this little distro-hop adventure. Between these two dustups with Ubuntu and Arch and the information at thinkwiki.org, I have enough information now about the underlying hardware to confidently put together a proper custom kernel, and see if the machine will start.
Beyond that … I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought that far into the future yet. … :|