Im very close to setting up linux for my self, i run Gentoo linux all the time on my desktop machine and i find it the perfect match for anything really, No bloat just what you want. You choose everything to install from the get go and you even have the option to compile everything youself for optomization. And then you could build your own small kernel easily. I would recomend you try Gentoo and on top of that maby COAR(iirc.) which is old but im gona see if i can get it to work from the gentoo base install, it setups everything to run from a ram disk so you get speed and can mount your filesystem read only which should help keep it uncorrupted, however im not sure if this is really nessary in the days of ReiserFS and ext3 etc. Hope that helps some.