* Swap on USB flash drives is bad news due to the wear rates. The EEE I have has 2GB's of RAM so I don't think losing a swap partition would matter significantly.
* I nearly always use ext3 as a file system on desktop machines. The journal updates are known to cause additional wear to the flash drive than ext2. However, I have heard that the amount of extra updates made by ext3 is not overly significant when compared to a long-term life of a decent USB flash drive. Therefore, I would prefer the much greater reliability of ext3 if nobody here disagrees with that assessment.
* Using relatime and noatime lengthens the flash lifetime. I don't mind using this, but I wonder what impact it would have on normal desktop apps like mail clients etc. Could anybody give me any idea if this would be a problem or not?
I run a EEEPc 900 with External Flash Drive (SD Flash to be Exact).
I usually stick with Ext2 since I believe better safe than sorry. But whatever floats your boat is also fine also.
For the Noatime thing for Ext3.
Add to options in the fstab for every ext3 mount
The mount options are "noatime,commit=60"
noatime will prevent updating the access time every time you open a file
commit=60 (ext3 option) only writes to the journal once every 60 seconds instead of the default 5.
These two options together should significantly cut down on the write cycles.
I don't run straight Vanilla Debian on My EEEPC. Right now I run a Persistent AntiX 8.5 Prefinal on SD Flash. I made a AntiX 8.5 Full Iso on Usb first (used Linux version of Unetbootin). After Booting Pendrive.
I downloaded another AntiX 8.5 prefinal and saved it to the live USB Used the AntiX Control Center in live USB to use the antiX2usb installer to make my Live SD card with persistence to save changes.
Basically everything is automated. You will need to unmount which ever drive you install to if using antiX2usb installer.
Depending on what Debian you are going to go with. Lenny,Squeeze,Sidux. And depending if you want to run Live USB with Persistence or just install Debian to Flash like a internal Hardrive Install. It will take a little experimentation for the install, maybe setting up grub right, getting wireless going, etc......
I should also mention that Macpup Foxy 3 also worked pretty good on My Asus 900 as a External Flash SD full install also.
Here is one install on a EEEpc 1000 HA
Just for grins. My older How to for AntiX 8.2. I will be doing some others for AntiX 8.5 Later when it goes final. Good Luck and Happy Trails, Rok