Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mini Dell Ubuntu!

I recently had the pleasure of leading a "lunch & learn" session at my job in which I got to talk about the value of Ubuntu, both for personal/office use and for public libraries, and one of my colleagues brought in her brand new Dell Mini Inspiron 9. I'm finding that I need a laptop nearby for many aspects of my job, and using her lightweight, ultraportable Ubuntu box got me convinced that I wanted one myself. After a few weeks of investigation, another colleague sent me a link to a deal on a Dell Vostro A90 with Ubuntu preinstalled. I haven't had the opportunity to buy a computer since becoming a Linux convert, and the idea of an OEM-installed Ubuntu laptop was too much to pass up. It came installed with a Dell-specific version of Ubuntu Hardy Heron. Restless as I always am, I immediately began investigating ways to hack the out-of-the-box version into something I could love. I downloaded the Ubuntu Netbook Remix version of Jaunty Jackalope and wrote it to a USB drive to try it out live and I was SO impressed with it, except that the sound was not working. In my search for solutions to this, I came across an excellent help site called Ubuntu on the Dell Mini 9, which has many tutorials and guides about running different versions of Ubuntu - what works, what doesn't, how to configure things, etc.

I finally decided to put Intrepid Ibex on and then install Ubuntu Netbook Remix from the special repositories. Here's a screenshot:

I'm very pleased, though the keyboard is going to take some getting used to.

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