My goal is to get a minimal GUI that lets me run a basic browser like Dillo and open a couple of xterms.
I've spent the last few days trying to find a linux distro that will work on that machine. I've done a lot of work on OpenWRT, so naturally I though that would work, but X appears to be broken in the recent builds — I can't get the keyboard to work. (OK, not surprising; OpenWRT is made to run on wifi Access Point hardware which doesn't have a keyboard...)
All of the "mini" distros come as a live CD; useless on a machine without a CD-ROM. Ditto for the USB images.
I'm also finding that the definition of a "mini" distro has gotten to the point of "It fits on a 3GB partition and needs 128 MB RAM to run."
Has linux really become that bloated? Do we really need 2.2 GB of cruft to bring up a simple X session? Is there a distro that provides direct ext2 images instead of live CDs?