So appearently there's a Red Hat Linux Enterprise 5.1 and I'd just like to make it clear that I'm not trying to install that. I'm trying to install the original Red Hat Linux 5.1 from 1998 in a virtual machine for use in a project.
I tried VirtualBox first, and during installation I got multiple errors regarding the architecture. Some google searches taught me that VirtualBox has trouble emulating Linux 2.1, and I would need to set up VirtualBox on a 32-bit system. I don't have a good enough 32-bit system to run VirtualBox, and I'd rather use my 64-bit system for the better monitor and specs anyways.
So I tried QEMU. After a three hour journey that consumed my night, I have concluded that while Red Hat does install in QEMU, X can only be used in the cierra VGA mode at 16 colors. Any other VGA mode and X throws an error lack of memory, even if I'm simply at 640x480 with with 16 colors. The cierra mode CAN use more then 16 colors, but doing so causes fonts to render poorly and the cursor to render invisible. I don't want to go into specifics, but for the project I will need at least 640x480 with more then 16 colors.
What is the best way, then, to emulate Red Hat Linux 5.1 while getting more then 16 colors? Alternatively, how can I get RHL running in QEMU with more then 16 colors? I should also mention that running on real hardware is not an option. While I do have period-accurate machines that can run 5.1, I need to be able to take advantage of features from my modern PC (such as fast internet access, and not having to constantly use USB thumb drives or floppy disks) for this project to go successfully. If nothing else, is there at least another old version of Linux that will run the Enlightenment Window Manager that can be emulated in QEMU with more then 16 colors.