Rachael wrote:Furthermore, it is a kind of system that would probably benefit from using 32-bit rather than 64-bit. But the processor sounds like it can support both, so you can try both of them and see which one runs better for you. In my experience running Linux on old systems - just because it supports 64-bit doesn't mean it works best with 64-bit. You really have to try both and see which work better.
32-bit Linux is basically dead at this point. The upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 now only maintains packages for running 32-bit software on 64-bit. I believe Fedora is doing the same. Right now running 32-bit Linux is like running 32-bit Windows 10. It exists, but you're best off pretending it doesn't.
With that out of the way, if the laptop is capable of running 64-bit Linux with Xfce or LXDE it should work fine. KDE would likely run fine as well. Distros like Ubuntu should still have an easy way to install the nvidia legacy driver for that GPU. It should have enough memory for a strictly development machine and using a web browser for documentation. The Core 2 will definitely feel slow compared to modern CPUs, but it's usable. Generally speaking it's similar spec to my Thinkpad T61 and I ran Kubuntu on there up to about 16.04. Can't say it was limiting what I could do, but my Broadwell based laptop easily runs circles around it.
If you are going to find another machine I would highly recommend either an AMD or Intel GPU. Nvidia's Linux drivers are acceptable, but notably degraded experience compared to the open source drivers from AMD and Intel. Optimally you want an GCN 2nd gen or newer AMD since that's the driver that gets the most attention.