Looking for advice on boot loader and distro choice


I know this is a pretty broad question and I'm just looking for
suggestions on a direction.

I've been watching a lot of the great work going on out there with the
beagleboard (particularly from the guys at LiquidWare with the Ubuntu
and Android ports) and the thing that has become most apparent is when
you combine open source hardware with open source software, the tenet
"there's more than one way to do it" becomes the single greatest
understatement of our time.

All this said, here's my problem. With all the options for advanced
interfaces and hardware support, i was wondering if anyone had a
recommendation for a "back to basics" distro that offers a few
relatively basic functions (I'm up for boot loader suggestions too,
but u-boot seems pretty popular and I don't really want to stray if
there isn't a particularly compelling reason). What I'm looking for
- a graphical menuing system, just a little bit prettier than ASCII
menuing. It doesn't need to anywhere nearly as beautiful as X or
Android (and I'd prefer it loads in significantly less time) it just
has to take tap / click input and turn it into OS level commands
(particularly perl scripts)
- the ability to load drivers for my hardware (stuff like usb cameras,
arduinos and all the standard stuff like ethernet ports and such)
- preferably the ability to install simple packages like curl and run

My original idea was to take someone's finished work and strip out the
stuff I didn't need, but I thought I'd check in here and see if
somebody knew of something closer to my desired end point.

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions,


Hi Scott,

Definitely you don't need any distros. All you need are:

1. U-Boot as a bootloader.
2. QT (http://qt.nokia.com/) as a GUI. Take a look at PerlQT (http://
perlqt.sourceforge.net/) if you are familiar with perl.
3. Buildroot (http://buildroot.uclibc.org/) for building minimal
RootFS with curl, cron etc.