Lots of stuff to cover here - this post comes with a TL;DR warning.
It-Alien - I do appreciate your concern, but this is a highly subjective issue on the sliding scale of relative processing capacity. My old AMD 2600+ didn’t run Renoise smoothly when I was kicking out 30+ channels of heavily DSP’d audio but ran it smoothly the rest of the time.
I don’t say this just to be pedantic, but you’re effectively laying down a disingenuous caveat which suggests to people that running Renoise on the Eee is some sort of unreliable hack effort. It’s not. I can sit and program eight channels of polyphonous softsynth audio quite happily, which I then render to wav and use in Milkytracker compositions. In truth, I don’t know when the glitches would begin, and it’s probably not far off - but if I ran enough resource-heavy stuff through my 2.66Ghz Quad Core, I daresay I could get the playback to fall apart
Lots of people use relatively lower-spec machines, but they rarely need to be warned about the rather obvious spec-to-performance ratio - why beat Eee users over the head with it? No matter what the computer, every user with half a clue works to the limitations of their hardware.
Like I say, though, I appreciate the concern and I’m not just having a go
rkn13 - I’d strongly suggest you ditched the partially-proprietary Xandros in favour of the MUCH less flaky EeeXubuntu distrobution, which is perfect and will free up a vast proportion of your 4GB (hopefully?) storage. It’s Ubuntu, but with the lightweight XFCE desktop manager (much more appropriate to the Eee than Gnome or KDE) and without most of the unnecessary Ubuntu bullshit. It also includes very reliable ACPI scripts and stuff, so that hotkeys and things like that work happily. Check out www.eeeuser.com’s forums and wiki, where this is all covered in detail.
(Oh, it takes a little bit longer to boot, but when you realise that the Xandros install is basically saved on the disk TWICE on a UnionFS filesystem - once for your ‘live’, day to day OS and once as a clean backup - you appreciate the value of making the most of your 4GB… Assuming you don’t have the 2GB version. I guess you’ve also got some sort of semi-permanent SD storage in the slot too)
“The last thing that I wanna do is install Windows XP” - that’s a shame to hear, because although I too have various ideological problems with XP (and with OSX and Linux, come to that - Workbench for ever!), a musician has to forget that rubbbish and simply use the best tool for the job. Honest truth? Dual-booting Linux and XP on the Eee is the best tool for the job in this case: the Intel XP drivers for the Eee’s graphics card are VERY slick, and enable you to switch back and forward to and from a scrolling 1024x768 display. Even better, you can save a profile preset that changes the screen res to 1024x768 when you run Renoise…and back to 800x480 when Renoise closes. That’s aside from the obvious fact that you don’t have to mess around with VST emulation and all that. Obviously there are some Linux solutions, as It-Alien kindly pointed out, but much as I love Linux, it’s not above messing up all your hacky solutions when the X-server gets automatically updated, or whatever. That’s when you have to stop expecting things to run smoothly
Bear that in mind. My Xubuntu install takes about 1.1GB and my nLited XP install takes about 500MB.
Transcender - it’s been said, but yes, the Eee would do you fine. Running an Apache server from it sounds like a bold and reckless battery-gobbling endeavour, but whatever floats your boat Also watch out for Apache’s potentially voracious disk-writes on your finite SSD (although I’m not too worried about that; I reckon the lifespan’s probably quite reasonable - do some research and see what you think).
Milky seems to run fine on the Eee now, since Deltafire and I spent almost a month battling segfaults and bemusing SDL errors in order to stop it from clicking on the default Xandros OS However, you still need to tweak some advanced audio options in Xandros’ crappy control panel thing. Again, best to get Xubuntu, adjust your latency to something sensible, and sit back to enjoy click-free playback of even the biggest 32-chan XMs.
Fiiiiiiinally, I doubt it would be a good use of dev time to squash the Renoise GUI down just for the sake of Eee users It breaks my heart a tiny bit to say it, but there it is. It-Alien is absolutely right (and I hope he doesn’t take my criticism the wrong way) - Eee isn’t the right tool for the job, in the conventional sense, but that hasn’t stopped me using it for specific purposes. But as long as your expectations are realistic, there’s no worry. The Eee is EXCELLENT for Milkytracker, and that’s basically all I use mine for. In fact I prepared for its release by holding long, tedious discussions with pailes and Deltafire (he does the Linux port) to see if they thought it’d run fine - thanks to the already-implemented custom resolution SDL design of Milky, there weren’t too many problems to iron out. By the time Xubuntu went on the Eee, there were no problems AT ALL - it’s only Xandros that misbehaved.
I hear from its author that LPGT now runs click-free on the Eee too - he and Deltafire pooled some intelligence to overcome the obstacles
Fiiiiinally fiiiiiiinally, a word about clock speeds. Although I’m happy to mess with my FSB under Linux, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to anyone who wasn’t 100% au fait with the OS. Under XP, it’s as simple as running a tray app with low/med/high options for FSB, enabling you to run at the full 900mHz whenever you boot. I use this for live performances where I run Milkytracker with Pure Data in the background - not because the 630mHz default underclocked speed can’t cope, but just in case things get frisky. At 900mHz your battery life drops, obviously, but there you go. Also, you could fry an egg on the keyboard…but look on the bright side: you could fry an egg on the keyboard!
Right, no more caffeine for me. Night all.