I am downloading the latest ISOs of Debian and I see there is 7 ISO files for it...are all 7 needed or can you just use the first ISO and build a boot disc from it and get the base OS installed and then use apt-get to update the rest?
I'm not sure about Debian, but certain distributions have their source code as ISO images too. For example, Slackware 9.1 has 2 binary ISOs and 2 source ISOs. You only need the first two binary ISOs for installation purposes.
JJB6486 has been using Debian for a while. He might be able to give you more info.