Dell Mini 9 and Kubuntu Intrepid: A review

When the Dell Mini 9 was first announced I knew this was the next machine I wanted for my personal use.  I have a work laptop, a Dell Latitude D830 with 4 Gigs of RAM that I must keep in a working state.  I use VM a ton on it to test the different builds of Intrepid and work on other projects for work.  However this machine must work day in and day out and I must be able to use various programs such as One Note, Outllook, Visio, MS SQL Studio Manager that requires me to run Windows.  I’ve tried running Linux natively but more times then not have found it silly to fire up a VM just to be able to work.

So  I ordered my Dell Mini 9 to give me a second machine to play around with and to hack around on.  And let me just say I love it.

I got it last week (due to being gone to a conference when it arrived and noticed right away I didn’t have all 16 gigs that I ordered in my SSD card.  So I did some exploring and found a couple of blogs about the mini not being formatted correctly.  And so I started looking for a solution to that….

I downloaded the beta release for Kubuntu 8.10 and booted up via a Live USB drive.  The only concern in the LIveCD was the application launcher does not scale very well. In fact there are several applications that do not scale down to the 1000 x 600 resolution the mini 9 has.  Having desktop effects out of the box is pretty awesome.

One problem I do have is that suspend/hibernate does not work if I just close the lid, I hafve to use the power manager applet in order to suspend/hibernate.  Everything else works.  any ideas on how to get that setup would be greatly appreciated

The other question, is there a better kernel for the Atom processor then the standard Kubuntu/Ubuntu kernel?  Should I download a different package or something?

The one thing I do miss is that in the Dell load of the Mini, the Windows key set applications to full screen, how do I do that in Kubuntu?

Anyways great job Dell Dudes!!!! I get all these crazy looks when I pull it out in the airport or take it to lunch with me.  And I get to show them it runs Linux.  Another win


5 thoughts on “Dell Mini 9 and Kubuntu Intrepid: A review

  1. Jonathan,

    You can set a keyboard shortcut to maximise windows from System Settings.

    System settings > Keyboard & mouse > Keyboard shortcuts

    Choose KDE component = Kwin from the drop down. Find the option for maximise window and choose your shortcut. I couldn’t get it to accept the windows key only so I mapped mine to win + F

    hope that’s what you meant.

  2. “The only concern in the LIveCD was the application launcher does not scale very well. In fact there are several applications that do not scale down to the 1000 x 600 resolution the mini 9 has.”

    Johnathan, you can also fix this by forcing your DPI settings to 96. KDE is very nice and tries to keep a 12 point font the size it actually should be, but this doesn’t work very well on small (or large) screens. The easiest way to do this is:

    KMenu > System Settings > Appearance > Fonts > Force fonts DPI > Enabled

    You can also edit your KDM or GDM configuration to enforce any DPI size system wide, but if you are sticking to KDE apps only, the above is sufficient.

    BTW, everything is BEAUTIFUL on my mini9 with a DPI of 96.

  3. meeas,

    Thanks for the comment. I have found using the Kubuntu-KDE4 members ppa which contains the beta of KDE 4.2 and found thatt KDE scales a lot better automatically for me know.

    I will have to check what DPI I am using to make sure things work correctly.

    Thanks again,


  4. I’ve been looking for someone who has tried KDE on a Mini 9. I”m looking to jump back to KDE now that 4.2 is out. How well does it run?
    My Mini 9 has 2gigs ram and a 32gig SSD

  5. It runs great on my Dell Mini 9 I love it. Follow the ubuntumini blog and you should be all set.
    Drop me a note if you still have problems and I’ll try and help.


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