Left-to-right: serial, 3xnetwork, USB, power. Note no graphics.
I bought an Alix 2D3 from LinITX. These are interesting little single board computers, featuring a slow AMD Geode processor, VIA chipset, no graphics, three 100 Mbps network ports, and a serial port. They boot from a CF card and cost around £100 including VAT and delivery.
I’ve installed Debian on the CF card, and had to deal with a Connector Conspiracy which has prevented me from mating my laptop with the serial console. Why Debian? Fedora is too bloated because of all the desktop/Python/*Kit crap that comes by default, whereas Debian can boot comfortably in 256 MB of RAM. Or indeed much less — in my previous job I used to install Debian virtual servers by default with 64 MB of RAM, and sometimes 32 MB. That’s more than an order of magnitude smaller than the minimal Fedora install. Second choice was FreeBSD which has a much more streamlined and visibly faster kernel than Linux, but Debian seems to be working out so far.
More to follow …