Yesterday, our Asus EEE PC 8G came in. Wow. The original idea was to spend most of the evening/weekend reinstalling it with Windows XP so the wife's got something to write reports and run SPSS on when she heads back to school in spring. But honestly, we're keeping Windows off of it for now. The included Asus-modified Xandros (which is itself a modified Debian) OS appears to be pretty bulletproof. It's already got Firefox, Adobe Reader, and OpenOffice on it, which she was going to need anyway. After a bit of fiddling around, I got GNU R loaded on it, so that should suffice for some of the SPSS needs (the rest can be handled in a university lab).
The good: $500 base price for a laptop with 1GB RAM, a 900MHz Celeron CPU, and 8GB of solid-state disk. Plug in a flash drive, it works. Plug in a USB keyboard, it works. Hook it up to the wireless network, notice after several hours that you're entering a WEP key as a WPA key, and it works. Connected to a printer shared from my Windows desktop, it works. 2 lb weight, no moving parts. It's not ruggedized per se, but there's just not a whole lot to break. Tiny:
The not as good: for me, at least, the keyboard is too small. And the Adobe Reader print dialog is taller than 480 pixels, making it difficult to find the actual Print button at the bottom.