It's been a while since my last post. I've been busy developing a scripted install for a light-and-lean Debian system, and it's turning out to be more work that I originally expected. Most of the additional work is coming from the critical need I saw for some service applications as well as a few tweaks to pre-existing Apps.
I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel ... as well as an attractive fork in the road: the latest version of Ubuntu (Hardy Heron) while having a sorta-stupid name is an LTS release. That makes it quite attractive, especially given that Debian Etch may be aging a bit.