I am not ashamed to admit it...OK, maybe a little ashamed...
I'm 31 years old and have been working on a 4-year degree since 1994. Now, I took a couple years off to serve as a volunteer missionary, then another year after I got my Associate's Degree. I changed schools, then got hired back at the place I got my A.S. as a network engineer. Since then (2001) I've been taking about 6 credits at a time in pursuit of a Computer Science degree.
Anyway, I'm now just a few credits away. For my senior project I'm putting together a Linux-based appliance for a company that wants to do monitoring of their WLAN devices. There's a lot more to it than just the OS, but maybe I'll get to that later.
For the OS, I started out with Ubuntu (at the company's request). I have been working to trim it down, but I am having a hard time getting it to under 100MB without breaking it. I am considering building a busybox system, but don't know if that will meet the company's requirements and needs. I've also considered modifying DSL or finnix.
Right now I'm building a LFS system, mostly for the experience and knowledge of what a base Linux system is really made of. I also ran across DFS, which looks kind of promising, but not much more than Ubuntu.
I'm just having a hard time deciding which road to take. One key thing is that I have to provide a system for the developers to easily update and change whatever I build. Another thing is that the entire OS is supposed to be stored on a CF card and loaded into a ramdisk on boot. All data will be stored to a RAID array. If anybody has comments, links, advice, I'm all ears. I've spent about 75 hours on the project doing research, testing, requirements gathering, and documentation and I have about 125 to go.