Yes, I finally did it. Installed openSUSE 11 (KDE 4) on my ASUS Eee PC 701 last weekend.
As an aside, the ASUS Eee PC 701 is a nice little laptop that has single-handedly opened a whole new sub-segment in the mobile computing space. Now, almost every major manufacturer is entering this market. This new sub-segment goes by many names like subnotebook, netbook, ultra-mobile PC (UMPC), low-cost PC (LCPC) etc.
I got my Eee PC 701 earlier this year and I just loved it. For me, its the (almost) perfect combination of form factor, price and the fact that its a x86 PC. I know I'm gonna have some fun customizing it for my needs.
Anyway, I've been using the default Linux (Xandros variant) since I mainly use it to surf the web, check my emails, read PDF and MS Office documents. Due to its small keyboard and screen, I will never use it as a 9-to-5 office PC. Lately though, I have been a little frustrated at the patches that ASUS rolls out... big downloads, seeing little improvements and some patches breaks the GUI. Sigh... I guess I shouldn't expect a hardware equipment manufacturer to be good at software... even software giants don't get it right from time to time.
Being more familiar with the SUSE flavour of Linux, I decided to try out openSUSE 11 (KDE 4). I've had some success in the past with openSUSE 10.3 but I found it too much work to get it to a level where I am productive.
This time around, with openSUSE 11 (KDE 4), I am very pleased. First, the installer worked very well with the small screen estate (800x480) and the installation was very smooth. The only extra bit of work is the LAN & Wifi drivers. None of the drivers in the default openSUSE package works with the hardware. Thankfully, these drivers have been packaged by a very kind soul and I just have to download them onto a USB memory stick prior to the installation. [ appleonkel, whoever you are, Thank you! ]
The default openSUSE 11 (KDE 4) UI looks great with its nice Big icons. Turned on 3D desktop effects with a click of a checkbox. Sweeet!
Here are some details of my installation and configurations:
1) Prior to installation, I downloaded a bunch of LAN/Wifi RPMs (atl2*.rpm and madwifi*.rpm) from http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/appleonkel:/EEE/openSUSE_10.3_Update/i586/
2) I used an external USB DVD drive and the standard openSUSE 11 DVD. At boot time, hit the Esc key to choose the boot device (ie DVD drive). If you do not have an external USB DVD drive, you can use USB memory sticks too. Please refer to this openSUSE article at http://en.opensuse.org/OpenSUSE_on_the_EeePC#Installation .
I removed the 2GB SD card. There were reports that the installation did not go well with some SD cards plugged in.
4) After initial installation, noted the kernel (2.6.25...-pae) and applied the relevant atl2 and madwifi (pae) rpms from (1). Reboot and the system can now access the WWW.
Other bits of additional work I did are to enable some of the Hotkeys, the embedded camera for use with Skype and the CPUFreq support. All very well documented at http://en.opensuse.org/OpenSUSE_on_the_EeePC
Nice to have an all SUSE setup at home and at work.