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Dell Inspiron Mini 12

Introduction

This is a compatibility guide to running Linux with the Dell Inspiron Mini 12 laptop.

This page is just for discussing using Linux on the Dell Inspiron Mini 12. For a general discussion about this laptop you can visit the Dell Inspiron Mini 12 page on LapWik.

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Specifications

For full specifications see the Dell Inspiron Mini 12 specifications page.

NameDell Inspiron Mini 12
ProcessorIntel® AtomTM Z520 Processor (1.33GHz, 512KB L2 Cache, 533MHz FSB)
Intel® AtomTM Z530 Processor (1.60GHz, 512KB L2 Cache, 533MHz FSB)
Screen12.1” WXGA Widescreen
RAMUp to 1GB
HDD40GB to 80GB
Optical DriveNone
GraphicsIntel® Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 500
Network10/100 Ethernet
Dell Wireless 802.11b/g Mini Card

Linux Compatibility

DeviceCompatibilityComments
ProcessorYes
ScreenYes
HDDYes
GraphicsWith Difficulty
SoundYes
EthernetYes
WirelessYes
BluetoothNot Tested
ModemNot Tested
USBYes
Card ReaderNot Tested
WebcamNot Tested

Notes

Tested with Ubuntu 9.04. Pouslbo drivers added from PPA https://launchpad.net/~albertomilone/+archive/poulsbo-graphics

Graphics work with 2.6.28-14, but not 2.6.28-15 (manually edit grub menu.list to put 14 at the top). Needs a lot of manual fiddling to make graphics functional, but can be done. Needs an entry in the device section of xorg.conf to stop random freezes. Add Option “DRI” “off”

The trick with kernels is to only have one installed at a time. I have it working with Karmic and a 2.6.31 kernel.
When a kernel update comes along you need to uninstall, then switch to the new kernel using VESA. Then delete the old kernel, then reinstall. Tedious but it works.

Dell do supply an Ubuntu 9.04 install image on the US site, but it is a big download.

Summary

Ubuntu 9.04 gives you a netbook for web surfing and wordprocessing and can be used as a personal music player with headphones. Anything beyond that and it struggles.


Discussion

jimmyrapper, 2014/04/23 08:44

I am also thinking about trying Mandriva 2010, it claims to have out of the box support for ppa drivers. This link http://www.thereought2bealaw.com

GregE, 2014/04/23 11:20

jimmywrapper, my Dell Mini 12 has long since gone, but I know you can install Xubuntu (latest version) and it will work. There is a basic 2d driver that will set the screen res correctly and allow you to do wordprocessing and email. Xubuntu will automatically configure the system. It will setup 3D using Llvmpipe, but it strangles the cpu. Do not enable composting and it will be good enough for basic tasks. The old drivers cannot be made to work on a modern distro due to dependencies. Even with a working driver it was not much of a system for video playback. As much as it pains me to say, this is one notebook where perhaps you are better off running XP.

jimmyrapper, 2014/04/07 10:33

I don't know if this is a Intel Graphics driver issue or not. Maybe it can be solved by modifying the Xorg.conf, but I couldn't. http://www.heuback.com/?attachment_id=4

jimmyrapper, 2014/04/03 10:30

Certain models of the Dell Inspiron E1505 use the ATI Mobility Radeon x1400. There shouldn't be any difference to this compared to the X1300.http://xygfcs.com

Justin, 2009/12/04 07:36

I am also thinking about trying Mandriva 2010, it claims to have out of the box support for ppa drivers. This link: http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/other-distributions/15340-mandriva-2010-gma-500-drivers-work.html indicates that the final version does have out of the box support for Intel GMA-500 graphics. I'll let you know if I do.

Rob, 2010/06/22 06:46

I have successfully installed mandriva 2010 on my dell mini 12 with few problems. (dual booting between it and XP) Graphics work better than they did with the 8.04 that came pre-installed from dell. Compiz works well with some occasional freezes.

Justin, 2009/12/04 07:29

I have successful gotten Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix and Linux Mint 8 working using the scripts posted on http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1253406&page=9. It is post #87.

GregE, 2009/08/25 06:03

I just updated the chart. You do not need ndiswrapper, the wireless works out of the box with Ubuntu 9.04.

I got 3d desktop effects to work, then turned them off. The system is OK for Web surfing and Word Processing. You can play back standard def video full screen smoothly, but it is not as smooth in a window.

I tried Stellarium (astronomy program) and the cpu would not cope. YouTube works OK in a window, I have not tried it fullscreen. Music playback via the stereo output sounds OK, but the onboard speaker is next to useless.

So - Ubuntu 9.04 gives you a netbook for web surfing and wordprocessing and can be used as a personal music player with headphones. Anything beyond that and it struggles. XP on this hardware is pretty much the same, it does not have enough grunt for hard computer work.

Bobr, 2009/08/21 01:54

If you have mini 12 and tried to install any modern linux distro, then you know already that there is a problem with poulsbo video driver, without it you will have just vesa mode, and even with it probably no 3d effects and no compiz.

I've managed to install poulsbo video driver under Ubuntu, everything else is also working fine, except skype audio. Now struggling with wireless on Suse.

Don, 2009/04/17 09:50

Can't believe this is the 1st post on the dell mini 12. Anyway, Successfully installed openSUSE and have run Debian “Lenny” Live CD, didn't care to install it and Ubuntu 8.04→9.04 works with ndiswrapper (Dell OEM Ubuntu comes with the drivers). SUSE needs ndiswrapper-or-ndisgtk for wireless network connection and Video could be sharper but good enough for me, sound is not the greatest either.

Unsuccessful with Fedora 10 install (just my experience)

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dell_inspiron_mini_12.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/13 15:21 (external edit)
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