I promised to fix a friends old laptop. I thought I would install a minimal desktop based on ubuntu. But ubuntu does not boot on this machine as it turned out. This also happened the first time I tried linux, ubuntu could not handle the old test laptop. That time I installed Suse without any problem.
I don't like Suse much and I did some digging around. I considered Fedora since I think redhat is probably still the best choice for servers(?) and it would hurt to learn it.
Final decision to give debian a chance since don't really have time to Fedora right now.
It worked without any problem! I think the debian installation process looks much better than Ubuntu and obviously it can handle old HW better.
I made a test installation with command line only and manually added Xfce & GDM. Had some intial problems but nothing much.
I also found out that there is a debian CD with lxde /xfce and I loaded lxde onto the laptop but I didn't like it much. After some google I decided to stick with a minimal xfce on top of debian.
Plan now is to load the xdebian into a virtal machine and use it as a reference when building the mini desktop.