The Acer Aspire One is a great alternative to a full size laptop. It is small and light enough (< 1kg) to put into my backpack. The external power supply is also small and light. It comes preconfigured with OpenOffice suite, Firefox, Mail Client, Games, Media Player, Photo Viewer, and so on.
The operating system is 'Linpus Linux' which is based on Redhat Fedora 6 distribution. One of the first things you are probably going to want to do is to enable the advanced menu. Google for "acer aspire one advanced menu" and select a suitable link for instructions.
There is an "Add/Remove Software" application in the advanced menu, and an enormous amount of free software is available. Quake 3 Arena is available for download (shareware maps), and plays at impressive speeds. GIMP photo editor, Skype (the AA1 works great as a Skype video phone with onboard mic, webcam, and speakers), Audicity audio software, GPS Drive navigation, Wine (windows emulator), the list goes on.
For those that want to use a different distribution of Linux on it, the device works well with Ubuntu (google for "ubuntu unr wiki") or Debian. After I tried these distributions I returned the machine to Linpus via a separate computer, the Linpus install cd, and an usb stick (1Gb+). The install cd gives the option to build a bootable usb stick.
Linpus' networking (wireless and wired) works out-of-the-box with typical DHCP networks (i.e. your router provides an ip address). The network manager tool makes it easy to choose which wireless network to join. I found the AA1 had good wireless range and performed well.
The 512Mb ram (soldered) onboard is perfectly adequate for typical netbook usage. I altered the desktop to standard XFCE using "Desktop Switcher" application, and ran Compiz '3D' desktop, Firefox, OpenOffice, and Quake 3 Arena with no problems on 512mb ram. For upgraders, it is possible to add an extra 1Gb sodimm (for 1.5Gb total). I've done this, following Tnkgrl's video tutorial, but do not recommend it unless you are suitably skilled. Haven't noticed much improvement (to typical applications) following the upgrade, but it will allow me to load up lots of apps into memory without slow-down.
I like the fact that the Acer is very cheap, looks good (the screen is great), well built, has 2 SD card slots, is very light, runs ~ 2.5 hours on standard battery (light use), has a lot of applications available (easy to install from internet), runs responsively (Atom processor) and is good for tweaking.
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