After some testing a few nights ago with a few different Linux distribution so-called live CDs (CDs you can boot straight up into Linux, no install needed) I figured I'd try out Windows 2000 Professional on the laptop, and if we have problems with it I'll put on Fedora Core. This testing period also gives the Fedora folks more time to finish the new Fedora Core 5, which is due for launch in March.
I've made another decision regarding the software to be installed. With the major rewritten version 2 due very shortly, I've decided to go with Gaim for instant messaging. I tried out the current release (beta 2) at home and it works very well while still being a pretty small program. If it does end up being too much for the wee beastie I'll revert to GTalk but for the moment I'm aiming for Gaim.
As I write this I'm actually installing Windows 2000 Pro on the laptop and its going smoothly so far. Several years ago I attempted to install it for its then owner, only to have it constantly throw up on me. As it turned out the machine's hard drive was failing so it never completed the task. With a replaced drive it has been flying along so far, but it isn't finished yet so I'd best not jinx things.