Just to show it can be done ... again ... this is a Dell Dimension 8200 P75t, service tag 5c7xg.
This is a 75Mhz Pentium machine loaded up with 64Mb of SIMM chips, a massive 1.5Gb Western Digital Caviar hard drive, Ubuntu 6.06.1 and Openbox 3.3.1.
This machine dates back to 1995, and arrived at my doorstep replete with ISA network and sound cards and onboard S3 graphics. I added a slightly newer CDROM because the one in it wouldn't read a 700Mb CD. Best of all, it has PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports; this time I wasn't hamstrung by the absence of a working pointer device.
I yanked everything but the essentials and wiped the drive clean. A server installation took 3.5 hours, with another hour or so to get a GUI in place. This uses ObConf and ObMenu (which means Python, et al, needed installation), XFE as a file manager and the XFCE terminal window for CLI access. Conky is keeping me advised of the system resources.
Bootup takes about three minutes, maybe more. Opening a terminal window takes close to 15 seconds. Everything moves impossibly slow at 75Mhz. It's like having your brain pressed through a bowl of mashed potatoes.
In the end though, we have a 16-bit desktop at 1024x768 with transparent terminal windows. Best of all, the desktop boots on less than 22Mb, the entire installation takes less than 500Mb and you get a relatively working system with what amount to -- literally -- junk parts.
Fun? Heck yes!
P.S.: The sharp-eyed viewer will notice that my IP address is 0.0.0.0. The ISA network card was disfunctional, my spare PCI network card is too new for the machine, and I can't find the Intel PRO 100 card I used to get Turbo online.
So how do you get kernel upgrades, install Openbox and Python and upgrade to a full GUI from a server installation without a network connection?
Ah, grasshopper, you must be sneaky, like me. ...
P.P.S.: I think this is about the bottom of the barrel for me. It's getting amazingly hard to find a working, complete system that predates this generation. Perhaps if you have an old 66Mhz Packard-Bell 486DX in the garage you can give it a try, but for myself, I'm out.