Debian is also a great distro for rescuing old machines. You can do a network install using packages from the web using only a few floppies.
And using "debootstrap" (Debian Boostrap) you don't even need a floppy drive. If you can mount the hard drive in a machine with Debian running on it, you can use debootstrap to install a minimal bootable version of Debian with apt-get installed so you can build up from there.
I installed Debian on an old Fujitsu Stylistic 2300 using a USB hard drive case. After removing the hard drive and putting it in the USB case, I just dumped a base system on it using debootstrap, installed SSH, and configured the network settings. Then it was as simple as logging in over SSH and finishing the job.