I have an Asus EEE PC 701 4G - one of the original ones - and would like to install a new OS on it.
What options are out there?
I'm looking for:
- Easy to use (it's for my parents)
- Office software
- Ideally not abandonware
- Web browsing
The bigger question you'll need to think about is what window manager to use. I use fluxbox, which I find works well. But you might want to find one of the eeepc-optimized distros with their heavily customized UIs. In the early days, I was all over the eeeuser.com forum, and there was quite a bit of discussion there about distros for the eeepc. It's down for maintenance at the moment, but I'm sure they still have a number of threads on suggestions, in the archives if nothing else. I recall trying a couple distros that had a similar setup to the original OS, with big buttons on, basically, a home screen.
You should show them a few options, and watch them use it for a bit.. See which one they like, and which one is easiest for them to use.
That said, if you find they use best a traditional interface, you should consider Arch. I have had Arch Linux on my original Eeepc (preordered, I've had it since the beginning) for several years now, it has been great. With the small HD, you need a small distro with fairly precise control over packages, which it gives. I can get the size down around 600M, and you could probably do better with just what your parents need. Maintenance might be a bit difficult for your parents, but they probably won't be doing much of that themselves anyway (and with the way it's set up, I find it easier to adjust than Ubuntu, which I have to use for work).
I know this is a late reply, but here goes:
Ubuntu 12.04, if you increase RAM to 2GiB & you want an all-singing, all-dancing installation, with a totally integrated DE, & don't keep much data on your machine.
Madbox 12.04: This is a from-the-ground-up custom distro based on Ubuntu with Openbox WM, & great if you want a minimal desktop system with few apps installed, to build upon.
Crunchbang http://crunchbanglinux.org/ This is the best I've tried so far, on any hardware, with an excellent default Openbox set-up, that can use keyboard shortcuts for everything, which is great for a netbook. You WILL write your own shortcuts, & you WILL rewrite your OBMenu & Conky scripts, & learn some XML by accident!
It also idles at about 60MiB RAM, & rarely goes above 200MiB!!! This is what I currently have installed, & I have learned more from using this distro than any other. You may have to get another 701 for yourself - I have 2.
Another useful feature of Crunchbang is the post-installation "cb-welcome" script, which gives you options for which web-browser to install, libreoffice, java support, etc.
ALL the above 3 have instant mobile broadband (dongle) support, all you have to do is configure it.
In all 3, the super/house key is enabled.
In all 3 printer support is good.
I would suggest Ubuntu (or in case it is too slow, go with Lubuntu), it is very popular and have a lot of tutorials with easy steps to do in case they would need to do something (like install software or watch pictures).
here you have a tutorial on how to install it on the specific model you have. but feel free to use any other variant of Ubuntu with the same tutorial.