Anyway, this Thinkpad is now slow and underpowered by today's standards but I'm forced to squeeze performance out of it. One way is by turning off unnecessary services.
To do this, I could go and manually turn off stuff, but I'm getting lazy in my old age so I turn to a tool like
rcconf. Not installed by default but a quick apt-get away.
rcconf, I discovered a few other services I could turn off to free up more memory.
avahi-demon: a network discovery program, which my laptop doesn't really use.
apport: a daemon that intercepts program crashes.