Should I use a netbook as my main development platform?

Last week my MacBook died of a premature death at age 2. Out of necessity, I have been forced to borrow my wife’s netbook for a while and to use it as my main development platform. The unexpected thing is that it just works perfectly.

So far I have been using my wife’s degee netbook as my main platform for four or five days. I have installed on it a lot of software I use for writing my articles, including

Model DEGEE I8B11D4
Operating System Windows2000/XP/Windows7
Processor Intel Atom D425 1.8GHZ
Display 10.2’’ Wide-screen
1280*600 WXGA
Graphic Processor Intel GMA X3150
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Integrated Camera 1.3M Webcam
keyboard Enlish 83 Keys
Battery 6-Cell
AC Adapter Input: 100-240V ~ 50-60 Hz Output: 18-19V 2.0- 2.5A
Battery / Run Time (up to) About 3 hours
Input/Output Connectors
Ports 1×MIC Port
2×USB 2.0 Ports
1×Audio output port
1×VGA Port
System Memory DDRII 1G
Max Memory Maximun to 2G
Memory Slot 1×So-DIMM
Hard Drive SATA 160G (250G/320G)
Max Storage Maximun to 320G
Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n (WIFI)
Wired Ethernet LAN 10/100M
and many any other things. I have compiled from source most stuff, without any issue.

Right now I am preparing my talk for the Italian PyCon, when I want to demonstrate, running live from the netbook, matplotlib and sphinx.

What can I say? The degee is not fast as the MacBook, but perfectly usable anyway, and everything works. I did try to use my old Compaq laptop first, but I could not use Ikarus on it, because its Athlon process was too old and had no support for the SSE3 instructions required by Ikarus. The degee instead works just fine and it actually much faster than the old laptop (FWIW, compiling Larceny took less than half the time) which costed something like 1500 Euros.

Now I am thinking if it makes sense for me to buy another “serious” laptop and to spend something like 800 Euros or if I can just buy another netbook for 300 Euros and be done with it.

The netbooks have really revolutioned the market and they are certainly not good only for surfing the Internet.

The main issue with heavy usage of a netbook is the small screen, keyboard and mouse; the CPU and RAM are usually adequate these days. Get an external monitor, keyboard and mouse and it will be solved.