Linux on the HP 2133 Mini-Note, Part 2

After having written the first part of this series, and being quite happy with the way SimplyMEPIS Linux was working on the HP 2133, I moved on to the last couple of items on the test list... and I got even happier!

After having written the first part of this series, and being quite happy with the way SimplyMEPIS Linux was working on the HP 2133, I moved on to the last couple of items on the test list... and I got even happier!

Vector Linux came out with a new Release Candidate, RC4, so I gave that a try. This time, the wireless adapter worked! I honestly don't know if they fixed it in this release, or if I just overlooked that fact that it actually was working, but was disabled, when I tried RC3. Either way, it works now, hooray!

With the wireless working now, Vector Linux looks very, VERY good on this Mini-Note. With the exception of the screen resolution being 1024x768, rather than the maximum 1280x768, as far as I can tell everything works - and I really mean everything. I just watched Dialog Box 5.5 on it, and Rupert and Charles were looking and sounding wonderful, as always.

The screen resolution is really a minor issue right now, especially because it is still using the VESA driver, not the Chrome9 specific driver. So I will probably look into getting that before I worry too much about the resolution. Anyway, if anything, the screen is a bit more easily readable at 1024 than 1280.

So, the situation as it stands now is, I have the HP 2133 configured to multi-boot the following:

Windows XP Professional openSuSE 11.1 SimplyMEPIS 8.0 RC2 Vector Linux 6.0 RC4

Speaking of multi-booting, the one thing that I had to deal with when I installed Vector was the fact that they use LILO rather than GRUB for a bootloader. However, at least with these never releases they have all of the bits of GRUB in the right places except for the actual configuration file (menu.lst), so I just let it install LILO, then I copied the GRUB configuration file from the openSuSE partition to Vector, made the necessary (trivial) changes, and restored GRUB from the openSuSE partition to the MBR of the disk as I described a week or so ago. No sweat.

Vector Linux is a derivative of Slackware, rather than Debian or one of the more common "desktop" distributions. That means that it does not have the RPM, DEB, Synaptic or whatever package management system that almost all of the other have. Which, in turn, means that finding and installing additional packages is a new and different experience. It comes with the most important things I need preloaded, such as Firefox and Sun Java so I was able to install the Citrix ICA client without any problem. But there are other things that I still need or want to figure out how to install, so I will be occupied with that for a while. Also, is uses the Xfce desktop, rather than Gnome, which I am accustomed to, or KDE, which I am still baffled by. But so far I haven't had any trouble figuring out and using Xfce, so I have no complaints there.

Overall, after about a week of use and a fair bit of testing and experimentation, I am very pleased with the HP 2133. The best part of it, without a doubt, is the keyboard, it is really excellent for a netbook. But the rest of the hardware is right up there too - the display is very nice; having a Gigabit wired network adapter is also a bit unusual for a netbook, and although it would be nice to have a Wireless-N adapter, the Wireless-G seems to connect consistently and quickly, and the throughput is good.

jw 29/1/2009

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