I understand this is an unorthodox thing to ask, not to mention newbish but I have no idea if this is even possible...
being that I was finally able to find a donatee (sp?) for the old laptops that I did not want to trash, I am reticent to give them away as they are (xp, sp2 or 3 can't remember), as the last thing I want is to create data security problems to good kind people.
Neither would it be kosher to give them away with a distro from 2009... then I started wondering that if somehow I was able to find the last xorg version that used uxa for radeon I could probably try and waste a couple of hours trying to get debian7 to work with it.
The source code for every X server release from the past 25 years is still available from http://www.x.org/releases/ so it should be possible, may just be a lot of effort to find and build the right combination of pieces. The Debian repositories should have all their old package sources and versions as well.
Thanks for the reply, building from source would require more effort and time that I am willing to put in for charity... but using debian seems to be a good solution. I will attempt to search xorg release logs to see exactly when they switched from xaa to exa, thus rendering first generations of radeons unusable.