What would be a good way to do an absolutely minimal installation of Debian Linux (or a distro based on it) and then install what I need as I need it using apt-get? The system would need to have decent hardware support (ie. work with my cable modem) but, apart from that, contain the minimum required to boot the system and run apt-get.
I was trying to install Linux (the latest version of that damned Mandrake), and I seem to have screwed my partition table. Neither Mandrake nor Windows XP will boot -- I'm posting this message from a Knoppix livecd. Mandrake just goes to a blank screen and hangs but Windows gives a message about a missing dll. What can I do to fix this? I'm in over my head here.