I have been trying, off and on, for nearly a week now to get Ubuntu 8.10 to install on this HP 2133 Mini-Note, with absolutely no success. I tried every combination and permutation I could find to try to force the LiveCD to start up using the vesa display driver. Nothing worked.. It invariably came up to an unusable desktop state.
This afternoon I finally decided to go back a step, and tried the same thing with the Ubuntu 8.04 LiveCD. It worked on the first try. Sigh. A bit more investigation, and it finally made sense - there is nothing wrong with what I was doing to try to boot the vesa driver, it was working pretty much every time - including when I simply pressed F4 and chose SafeVideoMode. The problem has to do with something they are doing during the 8.10 boot, it is somehow getting into a mode where the vesa driver doesn't work on the HP Mini-Note.
The good news is that this is apparently not a problem with 9.04, because the default boot of the Alpha 4 LiveCD works for me. There are sufficient other problems with the Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 4 release that I can't use it for my default OS yet, but I'm pretty sure they'll get worked out along the way, as usual.
In the meantime, I'm waiting anxiously for the Mandriva 2009.1 Beta release...