Having run Lubuntu 11.04 on the netbook for sometime I rejected it. It's a very fine lightweight desktop, it's a just a little too much for the One. I was always impressed with the pioneering simpleMEPIS live distro, I was about to deploy it when I stumbled across antiX. antiX is a fast, lightweight and easy to install distribution based on Debian Testing and MEPIS according to the homepage. Being a Debian derivative is good, why not stick to what you know? I don't have to think about how to install software or whether there is a wide selection in the repos. Plus it's pretty and pretty is a feature.
AntiX M11 uses the MEPIS 2.6.36-4 kernel, so it's quite up-to-date, X.org is at 7.5 . The DE is a fusion of icewm and fluxbox (1.3.1) so it's light and robust. Pcmanfm is jettisoned in favour of Thunar for this release and I welcome the new file manager, I have some issues with pcmanfm that are better suited to review of a distro that uses it.
One of the best things about antiX is it's wireless support. There are a wealth of configuration tools but I sighed with relief when I found wicd 1.7, nicely integrated into the Control Center, I like simple, so sue me.
Once you're connected Iceape Navigator (or Links2), Iceape Chatzilla IRC client, Iceape Mail & Newsreader, Transmission and Pidgin 2.7.11 should meet your immediate needs. I resorted to Iceweasel and found that it outperformed Chromium in this resource challenged environment. Gnome Media Player is installed and the music player of choice is the very satisfactory Qmmp, I predictably opted to install VLC. Geeqie is my photo management app of choice, it and mtPaint are here.
Conky adorns or clutters up the desktop depending on your persuasion personally I kept Conky and lost the Desktop icons. The menu is a mess, but if you want text based and terminal apps there is a selection. I don't know whether they are a disappointment or not, they certainly were for me as I had no use for them whatsoever. If I need to drop to the command line either nano or vi(m) will suffice and they are both here.
Flash and mp3s play out of the box as you'd expect from a distro that places ease of use high in it's list of priorities. The Lame codec and Adobe's non free plug-in deliver this functionality. AntiX also includes some small surprises. One nice touch is that DOSBox is installed and ready to play, no doubt this is appalling to some. Adblock is an installed app available to configure through Accessories and even more impressive is the very sound inclusion of the Flashblock addon, giving you control over what flash applets are actually executed as you browse.
Users with more than one hard disk and another Operating System already installed that they wish to preserve probably aren't complete novices. If they are they will simply have to go away and Google the basics of disk partitioning. Thankfully Gparted is not a complicated tool and it works excellently well.
The second installation step is also refreshingly simple. 2a. Choose partitions or accept the auto-population again, 2b. includes options to preserve (i.e. don't format) /home (if upgrading, for example,) and check disks for bad blocks which it advises 'takes longer'. Step three formats the partitions and installs the system. There is a pop-up dialog to check your wishes to format and destroy all data on each partition... double checking you haven't opted to format /home when you meant to preserve it. Select Yes for formatting your one to three partitions and the system deploys.
Overall, using antiX is pleasure. Being svelte and lightweight the performance is snappy and it will cope cope with most of what the Internet can throw at it in terms of flash gaming and multimedia (out of the box), even on the little Aspire One. If you're looking for a Linux distribution that is all things to all men and will be ideal for your workhorse PC, modern laptop and portable netbook then this won't meet your requirements. Frankly nothing will.
This distro will run fine and deploys with a useful set of default starter apps and will quickly build into a perfectly usable workhorse OS for Desktop PC or laptop. However, other distros like Debian, openSUSE or Mint do a far better job at this. Where antiX really shines is low powered netbooks or old/recycled machines. For this application antiX can be built up or trimmed down into an eminently suitable distro that is flexible, fast and usable.