I finally got tired of the frustration of trying to learn Ubuntu on the Mini and also annoyed that HP failed to update their version of it so that I could use my EVDO modem (which quit working after their most recent update). It's not that Ubuntu is bad, I'm just used to doing things on Mandriva/Fedora/RedHat systems.
What prompted me to make the change was the realization that I was not using the Mini because I disliked the default OS. And it was slow, slow, slow.
The Mini I have is the 1120NR with the following hardware:
I was unable to install Mandriva 2010.0 from a USB-CDROM drive (after beginning, it reported that there was no CDROM drive!), so I created a bootable flash drive with the appropriate files from the install DVD and did a "hard disk" install.
The only problems were the wireless device and sound.
The wireless device, a Broadcom, BCM4312 needed a special kernel module that was not available on the install DVD, so I used a wired ethernet connection to install the full Mandriva repository and then enabling the wireless device was no problem.
Sound worked after subsequent OS updates were made.
The built-in camera and my USB EVDO modem work as expected.
Booting with acpi_osi="Windows 2006" eliminated ACPI errors.
I used tmpfs for /tmp (16GB SanDisk drive) and eliminated all syslog
writes. I do have syslog info sent to vt12, but is it possible to
increase the buffer? Once the info scrolls off the screen, it is gone.
I'm using the icewm desktop and added the PLF version of freetype (it has
the patented rendering stuff enabled); X looks great-- I get about 250fps from the Intel video chip . The system now boots faster and responds faster, so I'm very happy.
NOTE: Mandriva had been updated to 2010.2 adding support for the soundcard and a special -netbook kernel version, but Mandriva 2011.0 was a disaster and consumer versions of Mandriva have been supplanted by Mageia. Now that Mandriva 2010.2 has gotten a little old, I'll be updating to Mageia3 since Mageia has matured enough.