Some of the cheapest netbooks on the market are also the most frustrating for power users. Sure, you can pick up a 3K Razorbook 400, or one of a few dozen netbooks based on the same design for under $200. But not only do these machines have small 7 inch, 800 x 480 pixel displays and tiny keyboards. They also have slow 400MHz Xburst processors and a custom version of Linux that makes it very difficult to add or remove programs or do much of anything else with your netbook.
A few months ago we saw the first third party Linux distribution for these machines. And now there’s a new distro called 3MX Linux.
3MX comes with Firefox 3, Dillo, VLC, Transmission BitTorrent Client, Pidgin, XChat, Abiword, and a bunch of other programs, many of which you won’t find on the standard Linux distribution. 3MX can be installed using an SD card on some Xburst netbooks, including the 3K Razorbook 400, and the Trendtac 400.
The operating system is still a work in progress, and some things don’t work perfectly. For instance, you can’t automatically connect to wireless networks yet, you have to initiate connections manually. The same goes for mounting USB drives. But 3MX shows a lot of promise for anyone looking to get more out of these cheap and tiny laptops.
Update: While the latest release candidate does indeed still have some issures with WiFi connections and mounting USB devices, there’s an earlier stable build that works just fine. thanks wicknix!