Friday, October 17, 2008

Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex on the Dell Mini 9

An installation guide can be found here and help creating a LiveUSB drive here.
Intrepid installs without sound working. It's a simple fix that involves adding a line to your alsa base-file. Instructions can be found at the end of the end of the installation guide. All other hardware installs without any problems.

A lot of readers have had problems installing Ubuntu on their netbooks because of incompatible USB flash drives. Please consult our USB Flash Drive Compatibility List if you are having problems installing Ubuntu. Many installation problems are due to incompatible flash drives.

Works out of the box. I decided to enable the proprietary Broadcom STA wireless driver from Hardware Drivers manager (found under System>Administration>Hardware Drivers) and was connecting to various wireless points without any trouble.
*New users are having trouble with enabling wifi. Make sure your wifi is turned on. Turn it on in Windows or in the BIOS.

Netbook Remix
Installs without a problem. Instructions on how to install and configure it can be found here.

The Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950 supports 3D out of the box and Compiz works much better than I expected. I hate that Compiz tries to loads on startup even when using the netbook-laucher. It's an easy fix. You do not want Compiz loading when trying to use Netbook Remix.

To get the most out of Compiz install the advanced configuration tool.
In a terminal:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Media Codecs
Ubuntu will install the proper codec when you try to open an unsupported file. Most codecs can be installed this way. I prefer to install them all at once. A guide for the all major codecs can be found here and encrypted DVD playback and w32codecs here.

No problems with connecting to the web or my router.

Brightness & Volume
Brightness and volume keyboard shortcuts both work with any extra configuration.

Suspend & Hibernate
Suspend works incredibly well. I suspended my computer over and over without a problem.
Hibernate will not work if you do not have a swap partition.

Video Out
Works out of the box, you won't have to edit your xorg.conf file.
Video out while loading Grub has a tendency to jitter, but once the Ubuntu splash screen comes up video corrects itself.

My mouse and headset connected without a problem.

Web Camera
Works out of the box with no setup. To test it I installed Chesse, the Gnome webcam application. When you first run Cheese it might be slow or choppy, turn the resolution down (found under Edit>Preferences).

To install cheese
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install cheese

Card Reader
Works out of the box. Secure Digital High Capacity, SD 2.0 also works.

Ubuntu 8.10 installs without sound working. Instructions can be found at the end of the end of the installation guide to enable sound.

I'm getting around fours hours a charge. I'm surfing the net, watching videos, using Bluetooth and keeping my screen relatively bright.

Installation could not be easier. Once the sound issue was fixed everything simply worked.

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.


Gary said...

I like it so far but wireless did not work right out of the box. It did not detect/use the ESSID for my access point and for some reason there is no choice of "none" for security. So I had to use WEP with a blank password and then it worked.

Anonymous said...

I was unable to use either UNetBootin or usb-creator (i.e. the utility in this post) to get 8.10 beta on my Mini9. Both apps would claim to have successfully copied the iso to my thumbdrive, but about a third of the way through the boot I'd be dropped into a BusyBox shell. The iso was valid as I'd used it previously. Additionally, both utility's put me into a 8.04 Hardy install without issue. I suspect that it has something to do with my thumbdrive - it's only 1GB and most articles I've seen that put an 8.10 iso onto a thumbdrive recommend at least 2GB. Having said that, following the "Create Ubuntu 8.10 flash drive manually" steps in this article got me up and running.

It specifically references using a 1GB thumbdrive...

WolfKeeper said...

The smallest thumbdrive I own is a 4GB. I ended up using a 2GB MicroSD card and a USB adaptor along with UNetBootin and it worked great.

catpsi said...

ditto on the BusyBox shell with my 8gb thumbdrive with 2x4gb partitions.

libercad said...

Good blog
Can you publish the result of this command on terminal
uname -a

thor2002ro said...

red can u give me a contact mail or yahoo id i have some questios realating the site

Anonymous said...

Wonderful thoughts so far on the Dell Mini.
I have had mine for a week and just now tried to use wireless and cannot get it started. Several have commented on how they had to update or something else before it worked, but I cannot see how that was done.. Any help would be appreciated...

redDEAD said...

you have to plug an Ethernet cable into the mini and run in a terminal

sudo apt-get update


sudo apt-get upgrade

your wifi should update and work

Anonymous said...

For me, the wireless works with open access points, but not with my 2WIRE home router using WPA, WPA2, or WEP. The computer tries to connect and then keeps popping up asking for the encryption key, and I know I entering in the right number. This is with the latest updates to the Intrepid beta.

My mini doesn't want to connect in Windows either -- it starts to connect and then it just sits there saying it's acquiring a network address, with WPA, WPA2, and WEP. I've used other machines (XP and mac) with my router without issues, so I'm not sure what the deal is here.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know how the Mini is functioning with an external monitor while running either 8.10 or the dell version of 8.04?

ScottC said...

Thank you for posting this thorough installation guide. I ordered my Mini w/ XP so I wouldn't have to wait as long for it, and soon got frustrated with how Windows ran on it. Your step-by-step guide worked great--even for a relative newbie like me.

One question, though: any idea as to why I don't get any sound when playing Flash content like YouTube videos in Firefox?


redDEAD said...


No idea, I havent had anyone else mention any sound issues with flash in Ubuntu 8.10. Try the ubuntu forums for help. If you are using ubuntu 8.04 try this fix,

ScottC said...


Thanks for the suggestion. It turns out that Flash sound started working after a restart--even though I was not prompted to do so. I'm not complaining, though...


Anonymous said...

I was the one with the wireless problems above (with WEP, WPA, and WPA2). Turns out I was entering the wrong password. I'm dumb. Everything works, now that I have the right password.

Joel Pomales said...

Can't you just run apt-get update & upgrade to jump to Ibex instead of wiping and reinstalling 8.10?

Anonymous said...

How do you reduce the webcam resolution?

redDEAD said...

to change the webcam resolution in Chesse simply go to Edit>Preferences.

ScottC said...

Another question (actually, two):

Any idea as to why I wouldn't be able to send VGA output to a projector or monitor? It "sees" another video output, but won't send anything to it, for some reason. Any suggestions would be appreciated...

Also... 8.10 is running great on my Mini, but I keep seeing the prompt to install updates--and I've been wary to do so because I don't want to screw anything up (if it ain't broke, don't fix it). Should I even bother installing the updates? Has anyone else experienced problems after doing so?

And thanks again for such a helpful site...

Mya said...

(Warning! Highly untechnical noob question follows!)

I just upgraded to Intrepid and everything seems to work fine, except the Network Manager applet. When I am connected to a wi-fi network, the Network Manager applet usually has those little blue bars (very technical term) depicting network strength, and displays the network name when I hover my mouse over the blue bars. But after upgrading to Intrepid, there are no little blue bars, just little grey bars and the mouse-over reads "Wireless connection to '(none)'" even though I am connected. Any ideas?

Patrick said...

first, thank you very much for this wonderful blog! It's so helpful! I really appreciate this!
One question: Didn't you have any problems using Skype on your Mini? I installed the newest version but the mic doesn't work or is at least very low.
Any ideas how to fix this? Which version of Skype do you use?


jontsai said...

hello, my internal mic is also not working with skype or any recording programs like audacity. i think it is a ubuntu configuration issue

all of my other audio works, including internal speakers, microphone, headphone jacks.

if there are solutions for this, please post!

redDEAD said...


Increase the internal mic volume

Anonymous said...

I've upgraded from 8.4 to 8.10 UMPC, but now I have some problem with network manger.
My netgear is using a Wpa-Psk security key.
And network manager has only wpa e wpa-tls.
But it doesn't work.
Any suggest?
Many thanks

Massimo said...

Hi, first of all: thanks for the blog! a much appreciate resource for Mini 9 owners! ;)
I followed your guide to get ubuntu 8.10 working on my mini 9, I've found a few lacks: first, the Fn+2, Fn+3 keys, that switch on-off the wireless connection and the very useful switches of wifi,bt and airplane mode.
the second one I don't know if it's my fault, a lack of 8.10 or what: I have a Mighty Mouse Wireless, witch works fine with the Mini 9, except for the fact that every time I reboot, I have to delete it from the known devices and reconnect it again, since it doesn't auto-connect! O_O
have you got some advices on these? thanks again a keep going! I just followed your how-to for speeding firefox up: GREAT!!!

Anonymous said...

How do you lower the resolution in Cheese?

redDEAD said...

To lower the resolution in Cheese go to Edit>Preferences

It's the bottom box with the two numbers separated by an x.

jc cheloven said...

My warmest thanks for this useful blog :-)

I'm wondering how to use the drivers CD that come with the mini9, when installing Ubuntu 8.10.

Also wondering how to keep the "Dell video chat" program which comes in the preinstalled 8.04.

Perhaps isn't worth after all... any thoughts?

redDEAD said...

jc cheloven,

The drivers CD that come with the mini9, makes an excellent coaster for your beverage when installing Ubuntu 8.10.

For the Dell video chat, I don't know maybe you should post the question on the mini 9 google group.

jc whats wrong with skype? Video and voice work with it and the mini 9.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the great info, all works great except the video input in skype, before i installed the notebook tools i had signal in skype but no audio, now cheese works, sounds works but i cannot enable video in skype, it detects no camera.

Please advice how can i get it back under skype.

Many thanks, great job !

Anonymous said...

Just FYI for those having wireless troubles with the Dell mini 9 & 8.10: I upgrade to 8.10, and while my wireless worked with the proprietary Broadcom drivers my system wouldn't connect to my wireless router.

I played around with the settings for both and found out the problem seems to be negotiating auto WPA/WPA2 connections (TKIP). When I turned off security my system connects fine. When I set my router from Auto to either WPA or WPA2 only the system connects fine.

dan_h said...

followed this tutorial all the way and was working well for a couple days...after a bad lock up and ugly shutdown, no more wifi...wifi still shows as enabled in bios...try to reload broadcom restricted drivers to no longer have eth1 device....advice?

Geeksquad said...

How do you set up Evolution. The screen resolution is to small so you can not see the forward buttons.

Anonymous said...

Created a live usb of 8.10 using unetboon on windows and moved both CD/DVD and USB drive above the Hard Drive in the boot sequence. When I reboot, I'm getting some non-ubuntu gui about keyboard and language functions and then it goes into trying to boot off the network, configuring DNS etc. Any thoughts??

Anonymous said...

Hello, I was having a lot of problems getting sound and wired eth to work but with the help of this site, everything's now nice and pretty. well almost. can anyone tell me how do I get the interface to look like the one posted here, (theme DarkRoom). I have Netbook Remix installed and working (I turned off maximum, I couldnt get used to it). I'm basically looking for having Applications and Places as open task bars on the sides of the screen as posted here. Please advise. Thank you.

Dany Harrison said...

Try to get french accents from my keyboard... I don't see DELL Inspiron 910 in the keyboard layout menu?

I'm neu with Ubuntu (lynux)


redDEAD said...

Dany Harrison,

Thats because its not there. Try Selecting French as the language.