Friday, September 17, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Remix On An HP Mini 2140 Netbook - Part One

It was 5 months ago when Canonical announced the release of the Ubuntu 10.04 (codenamed Lucid Lynx) Linux OS - which also carried the LTS (Long Term Support) moniker. The Netbook Remix version was also released at the same time. At that time I was using the 9.10 Netbook Remix version (Karmic Kaola) on my Lenovo S10-2 Ideapad netbook and was very satisfied with it. Needless to say, I was tempted to upgrade to the 10.04 version - however, from experience, I decided to hold off for a few months until all the bugs have been ironed out from the OS.

Recently, I obtained a Hewlett-Packard Mini 2140 - a netbook similar to the Lenovo S10-2. My sister had purchased it because it was relatively cheap but was very disappointed with its small sized screen. After using it for a short while, she gave up and offered it to me. I now own 2 netbooks - one already running the Ubuntu 9.10 (the Lenovo) and the other running Windows XP (the HP). This situation presented me the opportunity to try out the Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Remix OS on the HP Mini.

The HP Mini 2140 is an Intel Atom based netbook and it uses a 1.6 Ghz N270 CPU. It also use the Intel 945GSE chipset with the GMA950 mobile graphics. For wireless connectivity, it utilize the Broadcom chipset. As you can see, these specifications are the same as for the Lenovo S10-2 with one major exception. The exception is the number of USB ports - only 2 is present on the HP while the Lenovo has 3. The space that would be required for the extra USB port on the HP is occupied by an ExpressCard/54 slot (with an SD cardslot immediately below it). Note that the Lenovo does not have an ExpressCard slot. It looks as if a USB hub is a must for the HP - or if a 54mm wide ExpressCard card with 4 USB ports is available, it would meet the need for extra USB ports.

In order to try out Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Remix on the HP Mini 2140, I purchased a brand new WD Scorpio Blue 500GB hard disk to replace the existing disk (which I carefully stored it just in case I need to use Windows XP again) in the HP netbook. I also replaced the 1GB memory stick in the HP with a 2GB stick. I also discovered that I simply could not locate a 54mm wide ExpressCard card with 4 USB ports anywhere here in Malaysia - only a 34mm wide version is available. Anyway I had a spare 4-port USB hub for use during the trial if needed. Thus armed with all the items mentioned, I then proceeded to download the ISO image of the Netbook Remix from the Ubuntu web site and a CDROM was created using Brasero (a CDROM burning software) on the Lenovo with an external CD burner attached. Instructions was also available on the download web site on how to create a USB drive for installing UNR from it. Just in case something happens to the external CDROM drive for the netbook, I also created the install USB drive.

I then proceeded to install the Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Remix on the HP Mini 2140 netbook. Happily, it was a success. The installation will be described in the next part of this blog ... stay tuned.

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