If you need a compact, streamlined distro capable of running on an aging machine, take a look at Puppy Linux 2.17, a fresh release containing a number of new features, including seriously upgraded printing capabilities and enhanced modem detection and configuration.
"Finally, Puppy has CUPS!" says Puppy developer Barry Kauler in the release announcement. Incorporating the Common UNIX Printing System -- which includes Gutenprint 5.0.0 -- means 500+ printers are supported right off the bat. HP drivers are available as a separate PET package. CUPS also provides out-of-the-box print-to-PDF capability in this release.
And yes, some people still access the Internet via dial-up -- especially while on the road, in remote locales where broadband is non-existent. If you've got a hardware modem, Puppy 2.17 should have no trouble finding and supporting it.
If you've got a software modem, the odds of cooperation are somewhat greater in this release. However, the announcement explains, "If you have a soft-modem, which is most modern internal modem cards or on-motherboard modems, then Puppy will auto-detect if it is potentially usable by Puppy." If so, your modem will likely work. If not...well, it may "try to auto-configure, but may not get it right."
Other new features in this release include full automatic support for MultiMediaCards (MMC) and Secure Digital (SD) cards, better image file and drive mounting, enhanced boot configuration management, Linux kernel upgrade to 22.214.171.124, and a better PDF viewer -- ePDFView, which replaces Gsview. Kauler is particularly enthusiastic about the inclusion of Notecase Outliner in this release. "I am waxing poetic about this one," he said. "Version 0.5.8 has everything I dreamed of in a note-manager/outliner."
And heck... it's even got its own theme song. What more could you want?