So..... I like the idea. When I was a new Falcon owner I was curious about a lot of this too. You can do a lot of searching but in many cases, some of that stuff isn't produced, or has been replaced by newer versions, etc. etc. etc. Since I'm guessing you don't want to just talk to the crickets....
Currently my Falcons are both out of commission and I miss them (but my TT can keep me happy for now).
But here is my $0.02 so far. Mind you, I'm really old school
Consider upgrading to 14mb a top priority. If you want to get the most out of the Falcon (or even just run Mint without issues).... You won't find it hard to install.
I haven't used an SSD drive (really haven't used one on any of my machines, vintage or PC). I like old hard drives. That said, my first Falcon did come with an IDE/CF card adapter. Fairly quick. It also had the benefit that I could pull the card and read the first partition on my PC. (Of course, there are ways to improve on that which brings me to....)
Uwe Seimet's HDDDriver http://hddriver.seimet.de/
I consider this the best piece of software for my vintage system. If his driver doesn't handle your storage device, send him an email and it will soon (and then question your life and whether you really need that particular device). I believe in supporting people who still support Atari by writing software. That said, it's still the best thing out there. There are those who will tell you all about the free stuff, (but my philosophy is that if you're a cheapskate, you have no business owning a Falcon or driving a Ferrari). Seriously though, I think you'll find a lot of your problems go away if you invest in that.
You'll hear a lot about UltraSatan. Frankly, I prefer CosmosEx. Not only does it not invoke images of the prince of darkness, but it provides a lot of functionality that UltraSatan doesn't. (Like file sharing with your PC directly over the network in TOS, floppy emulation, SD cards as partitions, the ability to use USB keyboards and mice and thumb drives, the ability to set the clock from a time server and more). Plus it's controlled by a Raspberry Pi, so you could probably use it for anything you'd want to use a Pi and your Falcon for. (It also has experimental STing stack so you can use the internet on your Atari.
The ability to set your system clock from a time server?
Yeah...... Unless that Falcon was owned by someone who replaced the NVRAM battery in the past decade or so, it's probably dead.
Uwe (I think I mentioned him above) has some utilities which will help with that. Check his free utilities section.
The only thing about the CosmosEx I would caution against, is that in my experience it didn't play well when I mixed it in with real external drives on my Mega STE (My BBS machine as I was going to use it to make backups). It seemed to work just fine on it's own, and generally ok with the TT's internal drive. But when I'd put it on the TT (on the ASCI), with the internal drive (internal SCSI) and the BBS "external" drive (connected directly to the SCSI) it would often miss the internal drive (50% of the time). In short, it doesn't always play nice with others.
NVDI is a must in my opinion. It will increase the screen update routines in a massive way. (Not that you're probably into BBSing, but just running BinkleyTerm (an all text Fidonet mailer) with and without VDI is a huge night and day difference, you'll wonder how Atari thought it was acceptable to release the machines with the VDI routines so broken.
Replacement desktops, AES's, etc... a lot of that is going to be specific based on personal taste and what you're actually going to do with it.
Of course, we may be getting ahead of ourselves.... do you have a monitor you plan to use with it yet? Not all monitors out there will give you a good picture. Maybe you should start there.