No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, or more wise when he had - Samuel Johnson
DELL HAS MANAGED to miff the reviewer at Free Software Magazine with the Ubuntu Inspiron Mini 10 it sold him.
Tony Mobily bought the gear himself rather than not blag it from Dell HQ, and he appears to be incandescent with rage about his purchase.
Mobily is a Linux geek and is very impressed with Dell's move to the Open Sauce operating system.
However he is furious that the Inspiron Mini 10 is such a hunk of junk that he has had to return it.
He ordered his Inspiron Mini 10 on the 18th of June. It was scheduled to take three weeks to arrive while Windows XP versions were forecast to be delivered in three days.
It arrived with a slightly elderly 8.04 version of Ubuntu but Mobily didn't care about that either.
What got him miffed was that he turned it on and it didn't work. As soon as the wireless card woke up from its slumber the computer froze.
He thought that it might be faulty so he tried a few more times and discovered that it consistently froze up within three to six minutes.
So Mobily searched online and found that other people had experienced freezes too with the Inspiron Mini 10 computers in their stock installation.
Dell's tech support was advising people to reinstall GNU/Linux using the install disk that came with the computer. He did that. It did not work.
India's finest Dell tech support teams put him on hold for only twenty minutes, but despite being very eager to help had not a clue why his machine was doing this.
In the end Mobily solved the initial problem by installing Ubuntu 9.04. However there was a slight problem, in that the VGA graphics chipset it comes with is only supported in Vesa mode by Ubuntu 9.04.
It has a Poulsbo video controller, which is very new and not recognised by video drivers on the Xorg server.
After consulting Google he found out that there was a special method for installing Ubuntu 9.04 on the Dell Mini 10 by adding the "PPA" packages from the Ubuntu team.
It was a bit tricky because he had to add PPA's public key and know how to install the PPA kernels and learn that the latest Ubuntu kernel update breaks the new PPA xorg drivers.
However even with the new drivers, the system still freezes. It just takes a little longer to freeze, about an hour to an hour and a half. But it freezes.
It seems that the Dell Mini is broken in some way and Michael Dell has the customer from hell, in that he is someone who can complain and make his voice heard. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ