I have a (now "old school") Acer Aspire AO751 that, even when I got it, was slow-ish for Windows XP (the default Operating System).
In the past I have installed Ubuntu Netbook on there, but that was years ago before Ubuntu was bloaty.
I did try, as a test, to get Debian Wheezy on there, but even that was bloaty.
But the bloatness wasn't the operating system, it was the desktop environment. Gnome and KDE and Unity run fine on recent hardware, but when you have an itty bitty netbook, things just don't run so well.
So, here's how I fixed my netbook -
- Blat Windows. You'll feel better for it
- Netbook install Debian
- Install xfce as the desktop environment
- Login, do some minor aesthetic changes (like removing the mouse from the default launcher panel.. no offense)