updated 12:05 pm EDT, Wed October 25, 2006
Linutop Micro PC
A group of developers has produced an early version of what it says is an ideal computer for Internet cafés, schools, and other environments where Internet access is the primary need. The Linutop is a compact, Linux-based desktop with only the most essential components. Instead of an internal hard disk or optical drive, the Linutop relies on 512MB of flash memory preloaded with Linux and free software such as AbiWord for office work, Firefox for browsing, and GAIM for instant messaging. Expansion is limited to four USB 2.0 ports, audio input and output, Ethernet, and VGA; the computer can also use a WiFi adapter, according to the designers. While performance is modest with only an AMD Geode procesor and 256MB of RAM, the low power and fixed storage of the Linutop ensures completely silent use. The developers haven't yet priced the system, though they anticipate an extremely low cost for individuals and institutions alike.