The Eee PC is a real pleasure to use, but switching windows and hunting sub-menus to launch a program is inconvenient. The (very) small touchpad does not help.

Eee PC

Enter the application launchers. An application launcher pops up when hitting a keyboard shortcut like alt+space. In the application launcher window, you type the name of the application you want. While you type, the tool displays the applications which match. As soon as your program appears, hit enter and the application launcher disappears and starts the requested program. Very often, you just need to type a few letters to get the application you're looking for, like "fi" for Firefox. Starting a program this way goes fast, much faster than going to the menus, finding the menu entry and clicking on it. Best of all, application launchers do not require to break your fingers on the small touchpad.

Many application launchers exist. On Mac OS X, Quicksilver is very popular. In the Linux world, you have Katapult which works a lot like Quicksilver. Windows has a whole bunch too, including the open source Launchy.

As the Eee PC uses a Linux distribution, Katapult is the first choice. Unfortunately, Katapult has a lot of dependencies which makes it hard to install on on the Eee PC.

As an easy to install alternative, Martin Davis created Mercury. Mercury is a simple application launcher written with the Eee PC in mind. Mercury has very few dependencies (mainly the SDL library) and is very easy to install.

Mercury Application Launcher Screenshot