Seeing as how I've never used it, I decided to download Arch Linux and see what it's all about. My test subject machine for Arch is an Asus Eee PC 2G Surf, with an 800 MHz Celeron CPU (underclocked to 571 MHz), 512MB RAM, and 2GB SSD.
I downloaded the netinst ISO of the latest release (2010.05 at the time of this writing), burned to CD, and installed with minimal effort. The SSD was divvied up into a 50MB /boot partition, with the rest going to / and no swap setup; as this is an SSD a swap would be rather unnecessary. Gave / the ext2 filesystem and installed a base install with a few extra tools. Total install with just the core install was ~420MB.
I decided to forego installing X and went completely CLI-only. Not to say that X is bad, but I want to see how useful the machine can be without a GUI as part of an experiment. Here's a quick list of some of the tools and apps I have installed:
* lynx & elinks for web browsers
* mutt for email
* irssi for IRC
* frotz for games
* mc for file management
* cURL for file downloads
* htop for system monitoring
* python & perl for development
Most of the other tools and apps installed are the standard set of Linux tools, and I also installed the developer tools so I can compile some things from source. With kernel 2.6.34 and bash 4.0, the entire setup takes up a grand total of just over 1.1GB now.
Here's a picture of my Eee PC running irssi and communicating on #rockbox-community on freenode: