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I have had a lot of experience with customising Dyne:bolic 1.4, and now with the new Dyne 2 beta 4 which is still under development, but which is an excellent platform for building a live distro which can be run from a hard drive complete with your own mix of applications. I expect that the innovative nature of this distro will lead to a DVD version, even double layered so that it can contain just about everything out there.
So while playing with the others why don'y you have a look and be surprised.
The UK has quite a good linux magazine "Linux format" http://www.linuxformat.co.uk/
This month's issue has a feature about building your own distro, and I notice their website has some discussion about this. You might like to check it out.
I declare "Conflict of interest = None".