Thanks to everybody messing around and figuring a great deal of things out. Without a few of your posts i wouldn't have been able to whip this up so quickly.
This is just a base debian etch debootstrap with a minimal set of applications
added to get you started. I added a few applications/utilities from the default
OS to make connecting to wireless networks easier and for mounting USB/SD cards.
Added extra kernel modules for ntfs/ext2/tun/smbfs and a few other goodies.
Some additional (not included in base debian etch) apps included are:
Iceweasel - GUI full featured web browser (with flash4, vlc and mozplugger plugins)
Elinks - console (text only) web browser
CenterIM - console instant messenger
WeeChat - console IRC client
Sylpheed - GUI email client
SnowNews - console news reader
Wireless-lan - GUI wireless app to scan and connect to wireless hotspots
VideoLan Client - GUI media player
Cplay - console audio player (plays mp3/wav/mod/sid/xm/s3m/au etc)
Xip Flash - GUI shockwave flash player
Xaumix - GUI volume control
Gqview - GUI image viewer
Xpaint - GUI paint and image manipulation program
Urxvt - GUI terminal emulator
Htop - console process monitor
Xcalc - GUI calculator
Calcurse - console calendar - todo list
Midnight Commander - console file manager and ftp client
Leafpad - GUI text editor
Aptitude - console package manager
Ltris - GUI Tetris game
Grun - GUI run prompt
This list of installed apps is small to keep size down but to have 'some' basic
functionality out of the box. I used quite a few console based apps also to keep
size down versus their larger GTK/X11 alternatives.
I removed all the manpages and docs also. They took up about 25MB of space. OUCH!
I added the default OS's 'desktop-backend' to aid in mounting and umounting USB/SD
cards. Beats doing that by hand. I added menu entries under "devices" for this.PLEASE NOTE: MAKE SURE YOU UNMOUNT USB/SD CARDS BEFORE POWERING DOWN! FAILURE TO DO
SO WILL FREEZE THE MACHINE AND YOU WILL HAVE TO HIT THE RESET BUTTON! ALSO UNMOUNT
BEFORE REMOVING YOUR SD/USB CARD OR IT WILL FREEZE THE SYSTEM!
Use aptitude or apt-get to add or remove software.
Recommended software (but not installed to save space in recovery.img) are:
abiword (word processor)
streamtuner (online radio tuner)
dillo (lightweight web browser)
mrxvt (tabbed terminal emulator)
gentoo (2 paned GUI file manager)
gftp (nice light graphical ftp client)
bluefish (html editor)
This recovery.img once installed uses about 440MB leaving you with about 560MB free.
Be carefull not to install HUGE applications as you will run out of space quickly.
I hope you find this a more hassle-free and ready to go base to start working with.
Download here: http://www.filefactory.com/file/ag515a8/n/Recovery_DebianEtchX11-wicknix_img