I’ve successfully installed Debian Linux on an old Asus Laptop. My wife used it for a few years, but she was trying to use it for word processing, and a few of the keys stick every now and then. It’s been a goal of mine to get it running a newer version of linux, but the CD drive is bad, so installing from a iso is out of the question. I kept meaning to install from usb drive, but the only one we have that didn’t have files I cared about on it was only 128 MB.
Anyway, I got a 1 GB usb drive from my insurance agent. Score! Oh, they still have the road atlases, but the free stuff has gotten considerably cooler. I followed the instructions here and it worked like a charm: http://bit.ly/dAKhWJ