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.