I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the last few days waxing poetic about how I think the HP Mini 1000 Mi Edition has one of the best thought out Linux user interfaces I’ve ever seen. But that’s not to say there aren’t some problems. First and foremost, my Mini 1000 crashed on Friday. Big time. Like I was using it, put it to sleep, and when I tried to wake it up, I was greeted with a black screen and a blinking cursor. At first I couldn’t even reinstall the operating system from scratch, and ultimately had to reinstall Windows first, (to reformat the hard drive) and then reload the Mi Edition software.
It’s very possible that this crash had something to do with the fact that my HP Mini 1000 originally shipped with Windows, not Linux. So I’m not sure that this is a problem that users who purchase a Mi Edition netbook directly from HP will experience. But I know I’m not the only one who’s had this problem after installing Mi Edition using a disc image and USB stick. I’ll let you know if I have another catastrophic crash in the future.
Update: The crash was caused by a BIOS issue. I haven’t had any problems since upgrading to the most recent BIOS version, which is the version that HP is shipping all computer preloaded with the Mi Edition Software with.
But there are a few other minor annoyances too:
- The HP Mini 1000 Mi Edition uses the LPIA architecture, which is similar to the i386 architecture. But it means that programs need to be compiled for LPIA before you can install them on a computer with the Mi Edition operating system. In other words, if it’s in the Ubuntu LPIA repositories, you should be good to go. But don’t expect to download an app you find on the web that’s supposed to work with Ubuntu and expect it to work without some tweaking.
- If all you want to do is fire up the web browser and read one or two pages at a time, the computer’s pretty responsive. But it slows down a bit if you have more than three or four browser tabs open or when you have several applications running. The computer feels much more responsive when running Windows XP.
- When you’re on the home screen, there’s a list of running applications at the bottom of the screen. But when you’re using another application, that list disappears, meaning you have to click Alt+Tab to see a list of running applications. Sure, Windows-like taskbars can take up a lot of space. But they also come in handy for alerting you to incoming IMs and other notifications.
But one of my biggest complaints is this: HP added some customizations to Firefox that make absolutely no sense. On the one hand, there’s an icon you can hit to make the browser full screen (as if you had pressed F11), which is nice. But for some reason there’s also a tabbed browsing customization that means you will always see the tabs. Normally if you have just one window open in Firefox, there’s no tab bar. When you open a second window, the tab bar appears.
And that’s fine if you have a 1280 x 1024 pixel display. Or even 1024 x 768. But the HP Mini 1000 has a 1024 x 600 pixel display and the models that ship with Mi Edition software have an even lower resolution 1024 x 576 display. So why would you add a customization to the web browser that takes away some of that space. Fortunately you can disable this customization from the Firefox add-ons window. But I have no idea what the toolbar customization is doing there in the first place.