Ubuntu is the obvious choice for most people, but when that person is stuck on a 400MHz Pentium II laptop with 128MB of RAM, it might not be such a good idea. So, here are some small distributions that get the job done on old systems, too.
The hypothetical test box is what caught my eye, not so much the lite label. VL 5.8 Standard would be ideal for this laptop, or a desktop with similar specs. For a 400 MHz machine one would expect a 4.3 to 6.4 GB hard drive, surely not less than 3.2 GB.
I researched lite distributions for a friend with 133mhz/16mb ram/2.1GB hdd laptop. I recall the negative feedback for UbuntuLite, that it was so slow and bulky it was hardly "lite". During the research I came across a nice little distro named VectorLinux. I also did a close comparison of VL and Xubuntu on a P3/450mhz, and it was "no contest".
I would say, the most glaring error of the article was not mentioning Puppy.