Many of the lightweight Linux distros on offer are based on more popular desktop variants such as Debian, but this one's grown completely from scratch since 2007. It's one of the few that includes languages other than English (Spanish, French, German and Portuguese).
The base install is competent enough for a variety of tasks. The browser is Firefox 3.5, which may not be the most lightweight app you could think of installing, but it does give Slitaz the ability to run pretty much any web app, which is what many people will want to do with such a diminutive distro that doesn't have a lot of its own software.
That said, there's a cluster of useful tools included as part of the minimal install, including a MTPaint, a PDF reader, music player and a couple of editors (Leafpad and Nano). For lightweight and embedded projects, it rather unbelievably includes a fully functional webserver (Lighttpd) with PHP/CGI support, and various other standard network tools as well (such as SSH and FTP).
If you feel the need to bloat out the system, there are over a thousand packages available in the online repository. Package management is via a tool called Tazpkg, which is tiny, but straightforward and easy to use.
The packages themselves are custom archives with included information and dependencies, so you won't get caught up in a whole world of install pain (though you are limited to the packages available from the Slitaz repository, unless you want to make your own).
The desktop uses the nippy but low overhead Openbox window manager, combined with LXDE desktop, which should be pretty intuitive to most users (it's most akin to a KDE 3.x desktop).
Slitaz achieves the objective of cramming a lot into a small space. It doesn't have an overwhelming selection of default packages, but they do the job, and they do it very fast.
Verdict: Slitaz www.slitaz.org Price: FreeVersion: 2.0 Cooking Website: