The outer surface of the case has a texture that is almost exactly the same as a dodge ball. The case itself seems well built and sturdy and the hinge for the display looks like one of the sturdiest designs I have seen in a laptop.
For some reason, Dell wanted me to agree to a EULA that they failed to include in a format I could actually read. However, I was able to install Ubuntu via USB flash drive without an issue. Make sure to update the operating system once you connect it to the network otherwise the Netbook Remix is broken in many random places.
All of the hardware works under Ubuntu 9.04 including the touchscreen and wifi. The bluetooth came up and I would assume it works, however I did not test it yet.
Trying to get Dell to sell you the hardware without windows seems to be impossible, as some of it is not officially supported under Ubuntu 8.04, perhaps Dell could sell misconfigured/unsupported systems for Linux users. On the upside, Microsoft probably allows the ram on the Latitude 2100 to be upgradable since you have to remove the keyboard to upgrade it. I blame Steve Ballmer.
The SD Card slot is fairly well designed allowing a normal memory card to protrude only 1-2mm outside of the case. It is as close to flush as it can be and still be easily removed. This allows those of us who like to keep our home directories on a memory card to keep it in at all times without risking damage. I would rather that it was flush but this is a reasonable design compromise for most users.
The Network Activity Light on the lid is semi functional under the Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04. If the network is switched on it is illuminated, if you disable wifi it turns off, it does not blink based on network traffic. The wifi switch appears to act like a USB hub connect/disconnect and the light itself appears at first glance to come up as a separate USB device. If the light can in fact be controlled via USB then it could be used as a visual alarm if you are using the laptop as a ground station.
Overall the Dell Latitude 2100 looks like it will make a great ground station for controlling robots. The only features missing are integrated GPS and cellular data, but based on the pricing for cellular data this is not a huge loss. In the future I'll look into integrating the Canmore GPS when I try to install a solid state drive for extra ruggedness