Linux Forums about Linux operating systems on the Dell Inspiron Mini.
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Join Date: Apr 2009
06-09-2010, 02:41 AM
It's relatively easy to upgrade the RAM on the 1012. You need to undo three screws to free the keyboard, then carefully lift the keyboard up (gently pushing through the screw holes can help). Then the RAM is under an access panel. Dismantling and upgrade info w/ pics. Official RAM upgrade procedure info.
As for installation from a USB flash drive, I expect the procedure is similar to Ubuntu's.
As for telling the BIOS to boot from USB, on most Dells, including the 1012, it's as simple as plugging the drive in while the system's off, then powering up and hitting "F12" to bring up the BIOS boot device menu.
As for "mint 9 has had problems with rendering proportions on netbooks.", I dunno. Some GUI programs don't fit well on the 600px tall screen, but you can make it slightly better by rearranging the panels/taskbars and/or using something like Ubuntu's netbook theme. Fullscreen mode in your web browser of choice also helps.
For the most stubborn apps, you can also try setting the resolution higher than the native 1024x600. In a terminal, run "xrandr --output LVDS1 --fb 1536x900 --scale 1.5x1.5" to set the screen to 1536x900, 50% more width and height than actual. It'll be zoomed out to fit, and won't look fantastic, but it'll give you more desktop space. Or you could try something like "xrandr --output LVDS1 --fb 1024x768 --scale 1x1 --panning 0x768" to get a 1024x768 desktop, where only 1024x600 is visible at once (the screen will pan to follow mouse movement).
There are also other RandR utils, in addition to xrandr. Some friendlier to noobs, but they might not be as capable.
These tweaks via the xrandr util won't be persistent. To make them persistent, see here. You basically have to add the commands to a script, so that they're automatically executed. Also, xrandr can sometimes be flaky. When playing with panning settings, I found that I have to reset panning to "0x0" before I can use the "scale" command above. Also, graphical performance sucks at scale levels other than "1x1". But panning a 1024x768 desktop works smoothly, even video playback works perfectly (although I don't think any players are "panning" aware, so it might be awkward getting video to fill the screen perfectly).
As for Compiz, I dunno.
As for tips and tricks, I like the Adblock and NoScript addons to Firefox. They help keep intensive web content from crippling the weak CPU.
Mini 1012 | SSD | Intel 6200 Wifi | Ubuntu 11.10 64bit
Join Date: Jun 2010
06-09-2010, 03:29 PM
Wow!!! Thanks so much for the detailed response reflex. I asked a similar question over at the Linux Mint Forums and here is the reply I got, that might supplement the one you gave me:
I hope this thread helps anyone else looking to build a Mint netbook. Thanks to everyone for their help. Now I'm off to start the build. Will post with my results and experiences in a few days/weeks after I'm done.
All the best,
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Home of Dell, TX
06-13-2010, 05:13 PM
Dell Mini 1012 (Wal-Mart Special)
Dell Inspiron 9200
Dell Inspiron 640m
Dell Studio 540s
Dell Vostro 220s
Join Date: Jun 2010
06-18-2010, 08:02 PM
Besides Linux Mint 9 Isadora (Gnome desktop) I'm in the process of creating live CD's of the following:
The other three (OpenGEU, Elive and MoonOS) I picked specifically because they are very light on resources, have very clean UI's, have a fair amount of eye candy (hey I have to impress the wife who uses an iMac), and most of all are very fast. In other words, they should all be very netbook friendly. They are all based on a solid distro (Debian for Elive and Ubuntu for the other two) with modifed versions Enlighten E17 as the desktop and windows manager. I'm especially excited about trying OpenGEU, since that one is the second lightest of the two, but said to be the most stable, since it replaces some of the unfinished and/or unstable parts of E17, with their Gnome equivalents, adds additional gnome functionality, and adds the massive Ubuntu repositories. It sounds like a very light weight and powerful little distro and if I can get it to work, it just might be what I'm looking for in a netbook.
I'll post reviews after I've had a chance to test some of these.
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