Asus have released a free SDK for their popular EEE PC. The SDK also includes a facilty to generate a VMWare image of an EEE from the support DVD supplied with the machine or with an image of that DVD. The SDK and an image of the support DVD can be downloaded from: http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=215613. As the Asus EEE PC uses the Linux operating system an SDK is not absolutely necessary for software development as everything you need could probably be obtained within your favourite distribution, so the emphasis in this SDK might be a little bit different to what you are used to. What Asus have supplied is a complete environment to create applications, so the SDK DVD is an installer disk for Xandros Open Circulation Edition (a free version of their product) which has the Eclipse IDE built into it, some tools for developing with Qt, and a Xandros produced package maker. So the idea is you can burn the image to a DVD and boot your computer with that and then you can get straight on with some development. You can also run the SDK in a virtual machine as well.
When you download the SDK you get a DVD image that is about 1.2GB in size (so it might take a while to download it!). I've set up my copy to work under VirtualBox with a guest machine set up with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of disk space and using the ALSA driver for audio. Once you start the new guest machine you can boot with the DVD image and you will be presented with a screen welcoming you to the Xandros installation wizard:
Installation was quite straight forward, just follow the steps in the wizard. The only things I noticed were that the list of keyboards did not seem to be in alphabetical order and toward the end was a message that said (in red) "Warning! Take over disk will delete all data on the selected disk". This isn't an error, it just means it is going to use all of the 8GB virtual hard disk. Once you have finished the installation, you will have a fully functioning desktop with all of the development tools installed, configured and ready to go:
You might also want to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions to make it easier to share files between you host and guest systems and to avoid having the guest machine grab your mouse and have to press the host key to release it. From the "Devices" menu pick "Install Guest Addditions" and the Xandros image will pick this up as a DVD-ROM, it may also launch Crossover (a commericial enhancement to the Wine project which aims to make it possible to run Windows(tm) programs on Linux without the need for emulation). Close this down and instead open up the DVD Rom in the Xandros file manager. Xandros seems to mount DVDs in a different place to Ubuntu, on the title bar of the file manager you should find out where the mount point for the DVD is. I found it under: /var/autofs/cdrom.1/cdrom.1/.
Now you need to open up a console, switch to the root user, go to the directory for the VirtualBox software and install the guest additions. Do this with the commands:
The installer script should now run and after it finished you will have to reboot the guest virtual machine.
The SDK might be useful for such things as developing utilities aimed at the EEE, or packaging software to work with the Easy Mode. Unfortunately I don't know anything about C or C++ so the tools are of limited benefit to me, but if you do know about these languages and technologies such as Qt you can be up and running with your new development in very little time. Have fun!