the 10v is back on XP.. maybe linux mint
I wrote a work article on this which will post on Monday or Tuesday, but I wanted to write a personal blog on the subject here.
In July 2009 Microsoft offered Windows 7 for 50 bucks on a special 1-week promotion. So I bought a license of Home Premium and use it regularly on my tower PC.
In August 2009 I bought a Dell mini 10v, well after the $50 Win 7 promotion.
A few weeks after I bought the mini I put Windows 7 RC on it, proudly claiming for sure that yes, I would purchase another Win 7 license when the RC expired.
That's no longer the case. I "degraded" the laptop back to Windows XP and it's going to stay that way. Maybe.
The reason? Cost. I simply can't see putting a full 1/3rd of the price of the netbook into the OS just for 7.
Yes, I tried Linux before going back to XP. And of course, certain things didn't work. The biggest one was the wi-fi. I truly wanted to put Linux Mint 8 on the 10v, but the crap involved to make that work simply isn't worth the bother. For those that wondered if i tried Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10, I did. It sucked. Makes your OS look like a child's plaything. No thanks. The wi-fi on that distro didn't work out-of-the-box on the 10v either, so I wasn't about the use it anyway.
BUT.. butbutbutbutbut.. Linux Mint 7 will supposedly work with the 10v's wi-fi with no problem. As I write this I'm downloading Mint 7, will use Unetbootin to put that on a 2GB stick and give it a go. And if that works, I may swap out the OS from XP to Mint 7. I'm going to have to run some tests in LiveCD mode to see if everything works and moreover if I can get along with it or not.
Mint 7 just finished downloading and I'm "burning" it to a USB right now, so I'll post this, test Mint it and see how it works.
Mint 7 detected the wi-fi instantly. No b.s. involved whatsoever. Connected first try. Awesome. Everything else seemed to work as well. Oh, and the cool part is that I'm able to define a "long" click as a double-click on the touchpad, so cool beans there as well.
Decided to dual-boot it between XP and Mint. I'm keeping XP around because I simply can't give up Windows Live Writer because for a blogger that app is an absolute necessity to have because it is that good.
It is beyond me why Ubuntu Jaunty (which is what Mint 7 is based on) detects the 10v's wi-fi instantly but the support for it is gone in Koala. That's just.. stupid. But whatever. Mint 7 will do the job.
Nope, Linux was a bad idea. Formatting drive and staying with XP on the 10v. See next page to find out why.
Okay, so here's my tale of woe - yet again - with Linux.
Linux Mint 8 would not work with the wi-fi on my 10v, so I used Mint 7 instead. Worked great, so I dual-boot installed it so I could have XP and Mint 7 and switch at whim based on which one I wanted to use at the time.
But on use of Mint 7, I ran into a whole bunch of b.s with the netbook.
Severe touchpad wonkiness
The way in which Mint 7 handled the touchpad was awful, and this is going to be difficult to describe but I'm going to give it a shot.
The 10v has a touchpad with integrated buttons under the pad itself on bottom left and right. In XP, when you click and drag something, you hold the bottom left, then drag with another finger, then let go and you're done.
In Mint 7, what you have to do to click/drag correctly on it is press/hold the bottom left, drag with the other finger, let go of the button first and THEN it moves properly. If you don't do this, the whole frickin' window jumps to the bottom left and almost off the screen. Absolutely infuriating to use like this. Mint 7 bases where you drop things on "last area touched" on the touchpad. On the 10v this is something you could eventually get used to, but it completely goes against how you'd use the thing in the first place.
Yes, I'm sure it can be configured not to do that, but I couldn't find it in the Control Center.
As if that weren't bad enough, touchpad taps did not register half the time. I configured it every single way I knew how to get the @#*&! taps to be recognized. Could not get it to work right.
I'll say right here it was this above all else that prompted me to ditch the OS. The one thing you should never have to deal with is problems with an input device, period.
Update manager kept hosing
I had to force-quit the Update Manager a whole bunch of times (which included several reboots) before the thing even worked correctly. Once it did, sure, everything downloaded and installed correctly. But then after that the little icon for the manager in the panel kept showing as "broken". Essentially what this means is that the auto-update was worthless and I'd have to keep checking manually.
Firefox 3.5 has a seriously weird way of working
You can use FF 3.5 in Mint 7. But the way it works is ridiculous. The install does not replace the old FF 3.0 (installed by default), and on install is called "Shiretoko". I'm not kidding.
FF 3.5.5 Shiretoko runs fine in Mint 7; that's not the issue. The issue was the upgrade process is just plain dumb. I mean, think about it. This is the browser to use in Linux. The upgrade/update process should be seamless. It isn't.
Maybe this is different in Mint 8, I dunno. Probably is. Or at least I hope it is. But I can't use 8 because of the wonky wi-fi use with the 10v.
Brightness of screen decreased dramatically
This blew me away. Something I've always been super-impressed by is how bright the 10v's LCD is. But in Mint 7 it loses at least 30% of it at the brightest setting.
Yes, it does. This made absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Audio volume decreased dramatically
The driver used for the sound at its loudest setting is way too quiet and I could find no way to get it any louder. You have to remember the 10v has a tiny set of speakers to begin with, so you need all the volume you can get. Mint 7's audio just doesn't cut it.
Back to XP.. again
Well, this venture into Linux was a colossal waste of my time.. so it's back to XP. And this time it's going to stay that way on the 10v. At least with XP everything works like it's supposed to. Can't say the same for Linux. Not by a long shot. Unfortunate, but true.