I have to come right out and say it, the operating system that comes with the linux Eee PCs is absolutely terrible. Xandros, as it is known, is such a failure in every possible sense of the word. It's clearly intended for either small children or extremely casual PC users (web and email, mayyyyyyybe a document written every once in a rare while). Changing anything about the operating system or it's programs is difficult to say the least. Programs are categorized according to "work", "play", "internet", etc., but the taxonomy is hardly specific enough to be useful, nor generic enough not to get in your way. One example of many questionable choices, the filesystem browser is filed under "work", for some reason (presumably because Xandros's committee of architects have never had to move files around for non-business purposes).
Don't get me wrong. Xandros's simplicity could be its strength. It is based off Ubuntu but uses its own apt repository, which for such a special-purpose computer as an Eee is a great idea. Seriously. Maybe the trouble is that Asus hasn't really put a lot of thought into what should go into that repository. While I recognize that the desktop UI, which looks straight up lifted from something Apple tried back in the bad old times of the mid-nineties, is good for newbies, it leaves a lot to be desired from the power user. The main advantages to Xandros are that it comes with working Flash, sound, and Wifi drivers.
Which brings me to the resolution of my adventure: Xubuntu Eee. Super ridiculously easy. You boot from a liveCD on another computer, use a program included on the liveCD to load the operating system and installers onto a USB drive, then boot the Eee from the USB drive. Amazing. Details courtesy of Ars Technica.
Later, space cadets.