Raspberry Pi

Start at http://www.raspberrypi.org, for downloadable disk (or rather SD card) images of unix installations, manuals, and so on. http://www.engadget.com/tag/RaspberryPi/ has lots of cool things done with 'Pis.

So far we've installed 'wheezy' and 'archlinux' on Raspberry Pis - of the two, 'wheezy' (Debian-based) was the easier to get running -- the 'archlinux' (arm-v6h) distribution comes without a number of items, notably X. This can be installed via the net (ASK BEFORE HOOKING YOUR DEVICES TO THE WALL), using 'pacman', rather than apt-get or yum.

More recent images of 'wheezy' include drivers for most wireless networking devices available. There's a "WiFi" icon on the X desktop that will allow you to select the SSID you want to talk to and generally set up things right. If you want to use command line commands for configuring the wireless device, the magic command is "iwconfig", which works a lot like "ifconfig".

Tired of the weird keyboard? Wheezy, and some other distributions, come with 'uk' keyboard defaults, which turn out to be different than keyboards over here. (This is also known as the "Where the &!&? is the '|' key?" problem.)

Edit /etc/defaults/keyboard, and change the layout thus:

XKBLAYOUT="us"

Restarting X should now give you a rational keyboard. For alternative ways of doing the same thing, see this article