The HP Mini 2133 Mini-Note was my second netbook. I picked one up in early 2008, after being drawn in by the attractive case, keyboard, and high resolution 1280 x 768 pixel display. But I quickly found that the VIA C7-M processor and Chrome graphics in the netbook caused a little bit of a speedbump. That’s because the model I purchased came with SUSE Linux 10 instead of Windows, but I wasn’t a big fan of that particular Linux distro and it took me a while to find an alternate operating system that would run properly on the netbook’s hardware.

I eventually settled on MinBuntu, a custom version of Ubuntu 8.04 that had been tweaked to support the HP Mini 2133. But a funny thing happened over the past few years — a number of other Linux distributions have been updated to add support for most netbooks, including those with VIA processors.

I don’t have that netbook anymore, but ZDNet’s JA Watson recently spent some time testing different Linux distributions on his HP Mini 2133. While none worked flawlessly out of the box, he found that Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Edition, Linux Mini 9, and Fedora 13 all supported everything but the WiFi hardware out of the box — and enabling WiFi simply required installing some proprietary Broadcom drivers.

Other Linux distributions struggled with the graphics drivers, but if you’re not afraid of doing a little digging, odds are you can get most popular Linux-based operating systems to run on this 2 year old netbook.

It’s worth noting that Watson didn’t try Jolicloud, an Ubuntu-based operating system customized for netbooks. I know that the folks at Jolicloud have made an effort to support as many netbooks as possible, including the HP 2133 Mini-Note and other netbooks with VIA C7-M processors.

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4 replies on “Roundup of Linux distributions that play (mostly) well with the HP 2133”

  1. HP 2133 with Lubuntu 12.04, is just perfect.
    Everything worked out of the box, only exception the wifi driver that had to be installed using a wired network (very easy, though). It reacts like a real computer now for the first time!After trying many OS (various Windows and Linuxes) I can affirm that this is the very best combination for this machine.

  2. Antix also works well, even better than Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04. Jolicloud is what I have been running the past couple of months, no complaints, it is quite quick.

  3. Use CrunchBang Linux (or try Lubuntu as that is light and fast too). But, CrunchBang saved the 2133, however HP used a very slow SSD and if you speed that up, then you do have a faster unit too.
    That 2133 is gone now, using a 2140 that is better with RunCore SSD and it is fast. Using various Linux distros, again Lubuntu is the fastest, and I like it because I can add applications such as the non-forked version of OpenOffice.org (meaning we have no MONO on the system).

    Fact is this – SPEEDY OS saves battery.

  4. I’ve had good luck with Crunchbang Linux 9.04, a lightweight Ubuntu derivative using Openbox instead of Gnome. It feels fast on my 2133’s lowly 1GHz CPU, and supported everything out of the box, except for the 3D acceleration, which I was able to compile from the source provided by VIA. Crunchbang isn’t for everyone, but it seems like a reasonable fit for the 2133’s hardware.

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