I liked phlak too, still use it every once in a while for forensics/data recovery. It recognizes and configures a lot of hardware others don't, like Mandriva and Knoppix live cds. (but have you tried ubuntu/kubuntu live cds?)
Alas, the phlak team split, and unless someone takes up the torch, it'll slowly fade in to the past as hardware changes over time.
But there's good news, a team has done similar with Knoppix, stripping a lot of the bloat and giving just the forensic tools and a minimal of web functionality, it's called Helix, and I use it on the road with a persistent desktop and my email and web browser configured.
And it's better than phlak at getting up and running, and in the forensics department too. (I could never get phlak to mount usb external storage, Helix gives you uber-root access to everything... so be careful!)
Here's the project site:
My hat's off to the e-fence team.
Phlak, we loved ya... may you rest in peace.