So I've been trying to find a really small form factor desktop to use in place of my full-sized desktop for certain projects. Initially, I was going for something like an ASUS Eeebox EB1503. These have a 7.6"x7.6" cross section, which I believe corresponds closely to a Mini-ITX form factor...if not slightly larger.

Can anyone recommend a small form factor desktop that works well with free distros like Ubuntu, Debian, or Slax?

For reference: other models that seem to be in the right size range are the Dell Optiplex 3020 micro or Dell Wyse 5000 series.
Might I suggest the Raspberry Pi 2?
Interestingly enough, I did receive one and just haven't unboxed it yet. The Pi1 was slightly underpowered for what I had in mind. This faster Pi2 might be just enough of a boost to fit the bill. I'll need to try this out over the weekend.
If you don't need to plug extension cards into the computer, the 32 GB version of the Ugoos UT3 is one of the most powerful ARMv7-based platforms I know of (4 x Cortex-A17 @ 1.7 GHz, up to 4 GB of RAM !), at a low price tag. AArch64 platforms are too expensive right now.

In the x86(_64) family, computers based on Intel's NUC specification has a small form factor (smaller than an eeeBox I've used in my previous job, several years ago), but likewise, pretty limited expansion capabilities.
Have you looked at a Mac Mini? Pretty reliable hardware, small form-factor. I haven't used one as a Linux box, but I have good luck on my Apple laptops which likely have more finicky hardware.
Yeah, Mac Minis can usually be used with Linux. Apple products are not quite a cheap option, usually, though Smile is more powerful and cheaper than the RPi 2.
It would be better with an eMMC slot (twice faster than micro-SD) / a Gigabit Ethernet NIC / etc., but at this price tag...
Alright. I think I'll start with the Raspberry Pi 2 since I already have one ready to use. I ran into a slight cabling snafu due to my HDMI to DVI converter not fitting the Pi case I had. No big deal though. Hopefully, I'll have some pics to send.
Virtual Machine
I'm also working on the virtual machine option. Will probably try out VirtualMachine or something similar.

So I finally tried out the Raspberry Pi 2 running the latest version of Raspbian and it worked surprisingly well. And by well, I mean also much faster than the Pi1 version B. I've barely gotten into using it, but I was able to run GNU Radio and watch a full FFT display while also running the default web browser in the background. I haven't tried this yet, but the small form factor seems especially handy if used with a wireless keyboard+mouse and wifi. ...Just mount it to the back of a monitor and run 2 power cables out.
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