preferences for os
-easy of use
-ok amount of repos
-small hdd footprint
Any would work, with fluxbox or openbox or something like that running. You may want to check out distros like puppy linux, vector, debian, etc. There's also slackware and arch, which would run great on it, but they're not as easy imho.
EDIT: Almost forgot about DSL, that would run great on that lappy.
I recommend www.puppyos.com or www.grafpup.com
Archlinux with xfce as the desktop would run fine on that. Installing it is a bit of a project, but maintaining it is easy.
I think you would need to install something like Debian
Using something source based wouldnt be worth it on an old machine, so apt-get will really be your friend
is a link to the floppy boot images, just download and write to a floppy disc
what are the critical packages i need to function? is there a package that has them?
That really depends on what you call critical. Before installing any extra packages you already have "everything you need", that is a commandline . If you do
apt-get install xfce4
that should install a lightweight graphical environment. If debian didn't change much since the last time it used it, X11 will automatically be installed too when installing xfce or an other window manager.
apt-get install xfce4
If debian didn't change much since the last time it used it, X11 will automatically be installed too when installing xfce or an other window manager.
Yes, yes, that command will install everything needed to run xfce4. Watch out for suggested packages when running that command, as it will probably suggest things like xfce themes and plugins, but won't install them, as they are not crucial to running xfce4.
The reason I'm saying "if it didn't change" is that maybe some debian maintainer figured that programs that use X don't necessarily need X on the same computer (they could use a remote display, or be accessed through ssh -X). If the maintainer reasoned that way, then xlibs would be installed as a dependency, but no X server. I'd be very surprised, though.
i should make a list of packages that i would need and then use apt-get for the easiest install.
I was hoping that i could get a audio/video package, accessories package, so i can do them in one shot instead of manually each one, but i can snaptic it.
Metapackages for things like "audio/video" make no sense in a distribution like debian, which has multiple possible choices for software for each task. Should it contain vlc, or mplayer, or xine, or...? or all possible choices and lots of redundancy?