This article at WindowsitPro (!) tries Debian and UKuuntu to figure out what to do with an old Dell laptop.
Read about it here
If you're looking to load up Linux on that spare laptop over in the corner collecting dust both Debian and Kubuntu make pretty good choices, although it's clear to me that the Ubuntu project is far ahead of Debian in terms of hardware support. On the other hand, Debian does give you the built-in choice of desktops (Gnome or KDE) without having to figure out how to install one or the other since both are installed by default. Then again, if you want an Ubuntu platform with a Gnome desktop then load Ubuntu, and if you want KDE then load Kubuntu.