Well, what can I say? Yet again "thanks to Wicknix", of course!
With a few hours to spend over Christmas, I started to "roll my own" OS from this working Etch as a start. Almost to my surprise I'm 99% at my "ideal" LLL package. OK, it won't do all the fancy and resource intensive things which we know these things won't do, but it does most of the things I want on a daily basis, and is certainly a fully-fledged netbook in my view. I've got a fully working Abiword (no bugs), a version of FBReader (0.8.17) with the 90 degree flip screen, fully-working Icedove with HTML email support, Scuumvm games with full sound support, a choice of Xpdf or epdfview for PDF files, etc, etc. I've also got a choice of working Vodafone PAYG 3g modem support or an LG (Orange) 3g phone acting as a modem (using pppd or Wvdial whichever you prefer). Suffice to say I'm chuffed!
To build this I used the dual boot uImage (with screen brightness control) booting one copy with all the dev pkgs installed on /dev/nandflash2 to compile the bits I needed (e.g. FBReader), while building my custom Etch-based OS on /dev/nandflash. I used Checkinstall (an early compile) to create mipsel.deb packages so I could reinstall things if things started to go wrong (which happened a couple of times!). I've also "discovered" Iceape, which fits about half way in performance terms between Dillo and Firefox 3 and is doing everything I want in terms of basic browsing (but obviously lacks the plugins that you may use to get YouTube vids and stuff, but I've still got FF for that). But Iceape reminds me a bit of Netscape Navigator days, so it also offers a bit of reminiscing!
Anyway, the main point here is to endorse Wicknix's view that we can all work to get these things to work for us and have a hugely satisfying time doing it. I'm happy to share more details on how I got to where I am (including uploading any apps I've successfully compiled for this particular OS version), but I have one function yet to resolve - the dreaded battery indicator!!
So bottom-line: Can anyone provide a step-by-step guide to get run_desktop, desktop-backend plus the nice icons etc and all the other calls working for this particular release only my brain's dead?! I've also forgotten how to get a proper English keyboard working!