So far I have tried out Ubuntu, eeeBuntu, EasyPeasy Linux and CrunchBang Linux (all of which are Debian based) on the Asus Eee PC.  Ubuntu was a bit of an annoyance to get setup and it was troublesome trying to get all the buttons or the sound and microphone to work so I then tried EasyPeasy.  It was easy to install (it already contains the kernal) and I liked the NBR interface with its easy to use tabbed system not to mention that after using Ubuntu it was nice to be able to see most of the system dialogues on screen (Ubuntu’s dialogues were so long they fell off screen! – Hint: hold down alt and click to move dialogues without titlebars).  The major problem I had with it was that it took way too long to boot and came preloaded with a whole host of applications I will never need.

So after some research I saw a lot of good things being said about eeeBuntu, which again in the version I chose uses the NBR interface.  Also whilst it was very nice to use not everything worked, which was very annoying.  The microphone and some of the shortcut buttons did not work, which is useless if you need to use Skype.  The selection of preloaded applications was also not to my tastes (although better than EasyPeasy) and boot time was also quite painful although not as bad as EasyPeasy.  Speaking of boot times make sure you remove any SD cards from the onboard slot before booting the machine as this will add significantly to the load time of the OS.

After using eeeBuntu for some time I finally grew tired of the lag and decided it was time to do some more research into the available packages for easy installing on the Eee PC.  This is when I came across CrunchBang (#!) Linux, which is a very light weight version of Ubuntu running the Openbox shell.  This distro boots quickly, comes with a nice set of applications that I can easily build upon.  I am really pleased with the OS so far and I am even writing this post from within it.

Installation is very simple just use UNetbootin to transfer the Cruncheee image to a USB key and boot from the USB key to try out the ‘live disc’ version of the OS to see if it is for you.  If you like it then right click on the desktop and choose install from the resultant menu.

Not everything will work right of the box though.  The microphone does not record immediately and requires some tweeking to the Volume Control interface.  You can bring up the interface by pressing the shortcut Super + v (in my case the Super key is emblazoned with the Windows logo).  Now click the preferences button at the bottom of the dialogue and check the boxes beside Front Mic Boost, Capture and Input Source.  Now in the playback tab unmute Front Mic and raise the volume, on the recording tab unmute the microphone icon and raise the volume and finally on the options tab choose Front Mic from the drop down.

Unfortunately there is one further annoyance.  The volume buttons do not bring up the on screen display but Super + v will bring up the mixer which is fine for me at the moment.