A friend gave me an old laptop running Gnome 2.24.1. It's been in storage for years but seems to run fine, albeit with this old OS. Now, I don't know too much about Linux, but I'd like to set it up for my Mum to use at home. The first problem I've run into is that I don't see how to get it to connect to the wireless internet. There are some networking applications, but they're asking about SSID and Ethernet and all that stuff. Is there any way to get it to auto-detect our wifi at home? I guess once it's connected it's going to want to get updates after all these years, right?
You don't say what version of Red Hat you're using, you can check like this:
You likely have some old version of Fedora on it. Perhaps Fedora Core 5 or 6 with that version of GNOME.
In those ancient versions I believe they came with a version of NetworkManager. There's typically a GUI for it in the upper right menu bar. You'll need to put your WPA network's SSID & Passphrase into this applet's dialogs. Try left or right clicking on this applet to gain access to it.
I'd also encourage you to download a more modern version of Fedora (it's up to 20 now)! There has been tremendous advancements since GNOME 2.24 and much of the software will likely make the setting up of the WiFi much easier. As I recall, with GNOME 2.24, getting WiFi and other things on a laptop could be fairly tricky at times.