May 6, 2009

Dell Mini 10 Netbook with Linux == Graphics FAIL

If you are planning on buying a Dell Mini 10 (or Mini 12) to run Linux, read this...

I used to have the Dell Mini 9 that came with Linux (Ubuntu 8.04). As soon as I got it, I paved it and installed Ubuntu Intrepid instead. It worked like a charm. Then I decided to sell my Mini 9 and upgrade to the Mini 10. The Mini 10 is a better machine in terms of hardware, and is MUCH better in terms of screen resolution and keyboard size (best keyboard on any netbook).

So, the Mini 10 ships with Windows installed. Since I had such good luck with the Mini 9, I figured a Linux install would be a breeze. So with my shiny new Mini 10 netbook, I tried an install Ubuntu Intrepid. It worked great but no compatible graphics driver. OK, so I waited for the Ubuntu Jaunty release and then promptly installed that. Same prob.

Here is the deal: There is no Linux driver for the graphics card it uses (Intel GMA 500). So.. if you want to run Linux on it, your only choice is to run in a non-native resolution using the default driver. This totally sucks.

There appears to be a native Linux driver somewhere (Poulsbo), but it doesn't work right now and is not packaged.

I am just running Windows for now and waiting for a real native driver to be released. Shame on Intel for not providing one.

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