French vendor Linutop has unveiled a mini-desktop computer.
The Linutop is a pocket size desktop PC, the size of a paperback book. It does not have an internal hard disk drive; its open-source operating system resides on a USB key.
The tiny machine uses an AMD Geode LX700 (x86) processor, and comes with 256MB of RAM. There are four USB 2.0 ports, which allow for external storage to be plugged in, and there is a 10/100baseT Ethernet connection, a VGA output, and audio in and out connections.
The aluminium case measures just 9.3 x 2.7 x 15 cm and weights 280g. And it consumes just five watts of power, making it "one of the most energy efficient on the market", according to Linutop.
The machine's green credentials, according to Linutop, include its low power consumption, coupled with reduced maintenance costs and added robustness due to its lack of hard drive and absence of moving parts. The company also states, somewhat tenuously, that the small size of the Linutop makes the computer easier to recycle and its light weight reduces the environmental cost of shipping.
The Linutop comes with the open source operating system xubuntu, which is customised for the Linutop. However, it is compatible with other Linux distributions including Mandriva key, Slackware, DSL (damn small Linux), and Puppy Linux.
Web browsing is provided by a Firefox browser, and instant messaging is provided by Gaim, now known as Pidgin, which supports a lot of protocols including AIM, Google Talk, MSN, and Yahoo etc.
An open source word processor is also provided (Abiword), as is a simple calendar and tasks manager, a PDF viewer, and various other multimedia applications.