Debian Etch network install worked perfectly on the ASmobile S62FM. (Asustek new brand).
ASmobile S62FM, and many similar configurations
Intel HD Sound - After install the external device in alsamixer must be muted by launching alsamixer, navigating to the external device with the arrow keys, and pressing the "m" key.
*Intel 945GM and ICH7-M chipset
*Intel GMA950 Video-chipset - Must install Debian Etch 915resolution
package for 1280x800 resolution
Debian Etch Stable, released April 8, 2007 installs without a hitch, with almost complete functionality on the Centrino Core 2 duo laptops with 900 series Vchipsets, 900 series motherboard chipsets, and ICH7 or ICH8 disk controllers. These are very inexpensive, very good, and abundant laptops you can pick up for as low as $419.00 in the USA. The only thing wrong with the install was the video mode (1024x768 instead of 1280x800)
and Sound (Sound system defaults to external device, which allows a signal low enough for the headphone jack to be rigged to an external amplifier, but mutes the speakers on the lappy itself.). I literally did not need to fix anything else, nor did I do anything fancy during the install. I just hit enter at the boot prompt, a little later selected laptop install, and all the other stuff with an automatic Debian install and I didn't have a single problem. Debian is lean, mean, and powerful on a lappy.
I run KDE on mine, and it performs better than a Pentium 4 3.2 Ghz. One might consider getting 1 GB ram, or get the lowest amount possible, and buy a 1GB kit from Crucial.com. Wireless networking is an option on these lappys, so don't forget to say you want it. Even if you don't now, you will want wireless sometime. The wireless driver is ipw3645, and must be installed. It is not in the kernel.
Asustek makes ASmobile. If you want Linux preconfigured goto http://www.linuxcertified.com
and look at the LC2100 series. I would also not recommend the Celeron CPU, but Core 2 Duo T5500 or T5600. Once you go beyond these upgrades you might as well just look at more expensive laptop.
One footnote: This configuration uses shared graphics memory. This is not a gaming machine. Stellarium and gets about 1 frame per second off the GMA950 video.
I have compiled several kernels.
Kernel compilation: Install QT, kernel package, and whichever kernel sources you want. Compiling your own kernel makes a huge difference in memory usage. Expand the kernel sources in /usr/src. Make a link to linux: ln -s linux-2.6.20 linux. cd to linux. Copy the config file: cp /boot/config-2.6.18-4<space>.config. Edit Makefile: nano Mak* and change Extraversion to something with a "-" in front of it. This will give you a more unique kernel name. If you change Makefile>Extraversion = -04-23-07 the 2.6.20 kernel will be called 2.6.20-04-23-07 in /lib/modules. Make the config: make xconfig. The only trap I know of is software suspend. The is a subentry for resume partition that must be left blank for suspend to work. Other than that you just need to know the info above, and possibly the output of lspci. It took me a few tries on the kernel compile. After you get done making the config do: make-kpkg --revision=duo1 (or something unique) Kernel_image. If the sources were compiled previously you need to do: make-kpkg clean before make-kpkg kernel_image. You can grab more recent kernel sources from the debian site in packages>unstable>development>search for 'linux' on that page.