My Dell Mini 9 netbook had been limping along on the Ubuntu distribution that came with it – 8.04. This specific version put out by Dell had some flaws. Follow on distributions were rumored to be glitchy with the Dell Mini 9; problems with WiFi, the integrated webcam, and other nits. With 9.04, Ubuntu introduced the Netbook Remix. Ubuntu’s website says that, “a remix is a ‘respun’ version of Ubuntu built for a specific purpose. Although Canonical has encouraged community projects to use this terminology for some time, this is the first time that Canonical has used it. We are using it to differentiate from an ‘Edition’ which we consider a complete version with daily builds suitable for the average user with no additional work beyond installing the CD.”
I loaded the remix from a USB flash drive (the Dell Mini does not have a CD drive). Everything worked flawlessly. The initall WiFi connection is quicker, Skype works with the embedded webcam, and the menu driven layout of the remix is intuitive. The initial OS took up only a mere 2GBs worth of space on the Dell Mini’s solid state hard drive.
While I do not enjoy the small keyboard and screen, the Dell Mini is a great little netbook to take notes on in a classroom and makes for a light load when traveling. Perhaps a good companion for a QRP field operation?
I look forward to playing around with my revitalized Dell Mini.