Ubuntu Linux includes support for most netbook hardware out of the box. But if you happen to have a computer with Intel GMA 500 graphics, you may run into problems using the latest version of Ubuntu, since Ubuntu 10.04 doesn’t include drivers for that hardware. That’s not to say that drivers aren’t available. They just don’t come preloaded, and configuring them can be a pain in the behind if you’re not an experienced user.
Fortunately, one kind soul has taken it upon himself to create a custom Live CD of Ubuntu 10.04 with support for GMA 500 graphics. Basically, you can download this image, burn it to a disc, and use it to either run Ubuntu 10.04 without installing it to your hard drive, or use it to install the operaitng system on your netbook.
Netbooks and notebooks with GMA 500 graphics including the Sony Vaio P, Acer Aspire One 751, Asus Eee PC 1101HA, Asus Eee PC 1201HA, Asus Eee PC T91MT, Dell Inspiron Mini 12, and Fujitsu u820. The live CD has been tested with all of those models.
There are other ways to essentially get Ubuntu up and running on machines with GMA 500 graphics, such as installing Jolicloud, a custom netbook operating system that’s based on Ubuntu. But if you want the full Ubuntu experience, this may be one of the best options available.
What this Live CD won’t let you do is upgrade a netbook from the last version of Ubuntu to support GMA 500 graphics. If you already have Ubuntu 9.04 installed and want to upgrade, you’ll probably have to do some tinkering to get things working properly.