The whole of last night was spent installing Debian on the slug - and yes, it worked great!
There was nothing much to do, other than ssh over to the box; a menu based installer started automatically. There is an option within the installer to drop into a shell. I first verified that I could access the net from the slug - this was a bit of a nuisance as `ping' was not available; had to be satisfied with `wget' for testing connectivity. Two things had to be done on the laptop - enable IP forwarding and masquerading:
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth1 -j MASQUERADE
The Slug was connected to eth0 and eth1 was the wifi connection to a Linksys WRT54G via which I access BSNL DataOne.
Once net connectivity was established, everything went smoothly ... though it was *real* slow. Haven't got the courage to overclock, yet!