I spent a chunk of the day getting my command line only Linux system going. I started with Slackware mostly because it is a distribution well known for its preference for the command line. However, this afternoon I gave up on it and went with Ubuntu. In a discussion about it online, I was asked why I decided to flip like that. The obvious answer is, I am just more comfortable with Ubuntu, but the reality, is Ubuntu is easier to maintain and administrate.
Slackware really only allows you to do a full install, even when you try to pair down the install, you still end up with a 7GB install and a whole ton of stuff you did not want. Even after I stripped stuff out, I was still over 5GB. Then trying to install things that were not part of the main installation quickly became a serious pain in the ass. Slackware's package management is terrible and lacks any kind of dependency control. Absolutely none of the programs I downloaded and tried to install worked, even after I spent time screwing around with them.
Ubuntu on the other hand, was extremely easy to get what I wanted. I downloaded the 32 bit server install and when it came time run task select, I chose only ssh-server, once done, the install was just over 2GB. Then virtually every package I needed was in the commonly used repositories; Wordgrinder, sc, tpp, mc, Tmux, Cmus. MPlayer, Finch, were all readily available and easy to install. Ubuntu also seemed to boot faster, and recognized my ad-hoc system to system network I was using and set it up properly with no intervention on my part. When I was finished, I was still under 3GB.