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HP Mini 1120NR Mi Edition


My wife surprised me with an HP Mini 1120NR Mi Edition for an anniversary gift!

While it runs Linux, it uses an HP-modified version of Ubuntu, which is a Debian-based Linux. Nothing wrong with that, except that Debian/Ubuntu organizes things differently than Mandriva/RedHat, so it took some getting used to.

The first thing I did was to increase the memory from 1GB of RAM to 2GB of RAM, not that I needed it right now, but RAM is currently very inexpensive. Previous version of Ubuntu for the Mini did not have kernels compiled for >1GB support, but this one recognized it upon re-boot.

The interface is unlike a conventional desktop and is called harbour-launcer. you can see how HP modified the Ubuntu/GNOME desktop by reading how others have modified their desktops to mimic HP.

The first thing that I need to do was install some familiar apps, like mc.

Alt-F2 brings up a RUN dialog, and entering gnome-terminal launches a terminal window. I couldn't become the superuser since I didn't know the password, but HP kindly provides a menu that open a terminal as the superuser, so I did and used passwd to change root's password. HP also provides a menu to launch a software installer, but I just used from the terminal window to update the computer and then to install the Midnight Commander and have a look around the filesystem. HP provides a GUI filesystem browser link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, but my preference is mc. call me old-fashioned.

The default X configuration sucked, so I changed that to employ all the advanced features of the Intel Mobile GM965/GL960. It's no nVidia graphics card, so the Mini won't be much of a game platform. (config details coming)

My biggest problem was configuring the Mini to use my Verizon UM175 USB modem. The provided Network-Manager app will not allow me to configure it as a serial modem, but insists on telling me that is a GMRS device, even insisting to the point of changing my hand-edited configuration file set to read-only! I am told my knowledgeable Debian gurus that the most recent version of network-manager will work fine, it's just that HP has not released the newer of their variant on Debian/Ubuntu and I'm hesitant to update the non-i386 processor-based Mini from i386 repositories. In the meantime, I installed gnome-ppp and that works just fine, it's just not automatic. WIFI does work fine and network-manager easily configured it.

Oh, gnome-terminal doesn't play well with mc because they both use the F10 key. Fixing this is simple: In the gnome terminal, choose the "edit" menu then choose "keyboard shortcuts"; then tick "Disable menu shortcut key (F10 by default)". No more annoyance.

There is a hidden VFAT partition, sda3, that contains the image files and scripts to restore the drive to "factory fresh" condition from a USB drive. That's great except I've changed so much, but It's worth exploring when I find the time just to see how they did it.

I'll document more of my adventures as I get around to it.

Thanks, Bobbie! 1-4-3

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