Eee PC is sold by Research Machines as RM Asus miniBook; it has only solid state memory, which is tiny by modern standarts, but a 512MB RAM+ 4GB solid state drive version costs 200 ponds, with good discounts for bulk purchases. It is designed for school market, small, robust. Operating system is a limited version of Xandros (a clone of Debian Linux), pre-installed software is open source (Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, etc.). The trick is that Linux feels itself very comfortable in a tight configuration which suffocates Windows XP.
The graphic user’s interface is designed for use by children, made foolproof and cannot be modified. But the magic combination Ctrl + Alt + T opens a Linux console. If you remember the password which you set in the initial (very short and simple) set-up of the computer, you can login as a superuser. One sad discovery is that the distribution contains no TeX, which is normally a part of most Linux distributions (BTW, Linux purists are very unhappy about licensing policies of Asus). But I managed to install a version of LaTeX following a hint from eeeworm on user’s forum:
Follow Wiki for adding Xandros Repos: http://wiki.eeeuser.com/addingxandrosrepos
in terminal type:
sudo apt-get install lyx
sudo apt-get install texmaker
(texmaker is an editor for TeX, similar in its look and feel to WinEdt).
I may agree with Linux independence fighters that Asus breaks the conditions of GPL. But their mini-notebook opens an era when usable hardware becomes cheaper than a Microsoft license for Windows or any associated software. This is a huge boost to the Open Source and Free Software Movement. Down with Microsoft!