Linux Mint 12 on Dell XPS 410

Well, I gave in. I loved Mint 12 with Cinnamon so much on my laptop I decided to install it on my desktop replacing Mint 10. On initial install everything worked, no configurations needed. I still kept the dual boot of Windows 7 for gaming (as explained here) and what was wonderful was the ease of installing Linux Mint and keeping that Windows 7 install in pristine condition. I simply created a bootable USB thumb drive with Mint 12 64-bit using Universal USB Installer, booted into Live Mint 12 from the USB thumb drive, deleted the Mint 10 swap and partition using GParted from within the Live Mint 12 and ran the Mint 12 installer from the Live boot. Mint 12 simply took it from there giving me the option to install side-by-side with Windows 7. Simple.

The only minor problem I am having now with Mint 12 on both my laptop and desktop is with Conky. I was running a custom Conky theme called Conky Lunatico Rings, as explained here, but completing the same setup in Mint 12 running Cinnamon doesn’t produce the same results. I get a bunch of garbage spit out within the terminal and nothing displayed on the desktop. I’ve been in investigative mode for the past couple of days but so far I haven’t found a fix, yet.

I have to say, though, that Linux Mint 12 is far superior to Mint 11. The alternative Cinnamon interface is so much better than Gnome 3. I love it.

Linux Mint 12 on Vostro V130 – Wireless fixed

If you read the last post you will know that I had an issue with the wireless card on my Dell Vostro V130 in Linux Mint 12. After visiting the Linux Mint forums and posting my wireless card information I was able to find the solution. The direct link to the thread can be found here.

To sum up, I found out my integrated wireless card was a Atheros AR9285 using this command in the terminal:

sudo /usr/lib/linuxmint/mintWifi/

When I posted it on the thread someone was kind enough to refer me to a different thread where, apparently, you have to run this command as su:

echo “options ath9k nohwcrypt=1” > /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf

I rebooted my computer and it works perfectly now. Interestingly enough some people have had to run that command in Linux Mint 10 & 11 in which I found that my wireless card worked perfectly under Mint 11 without having to run that command.

Interesting beast is Linux.

Linux Mint 12 on Dell Vostro V130, in the Works

Linux Mint 12, code name ‘Lisa’, was released back in November. I put off trying it because of Gnome 3 that is included in the build. I haven’t been too pleased with the progression of Gnome in the past couple of updates so that is why I scorn the release of Mint 12. I did, however, give Mint 12 a chance in a virtual machine and that is as far as I gave it at that time.

Well the introduction of the Cinnamon interface that was announced back in January peaked my interest and opened the door to me giving Mint 12 another chance. So, at the beginning of the week I cloned my Vostro V130 with Clonezilla that had a dual build of Windows 7 and Mint 11 and decided to try the Mint 12 release on it. I loaded it side by side again with Windows 7, completed the updates as soon as it finished installing and then immediately installed Cinnamon. And, I love it. I love the Cinnamon interface. It is a vast improvement over Gnome 3.

I haven’t had too much time within Mint 12 itself as I am still in the process of troubleshooting a wireless card issue. It works but not well. My assumption is that the driver for my integrated wireless card that comes with Mint 12 is either corrupt or not a good driver. I have extremely slow performance using it. The integrated wired card works fine, no issues there so trying to fix this issue is top priority since I use wireless most of the time. Everything else on the laptop in Mint 12, so far, seems to work just fine.

I’ll post more later if and when I find a solution for the wireless issue.

My New Dell Vostro V130 With Linux Mint 11

It’s been long enough after using it to now blog about it. Recently, I decided to try to buy a thin and lightweight laptop that is more practical than a netbook to use for my technical consulting business (more info found at The Dell Mini 9 netbook I had purchased back in 2008 has been a very useful computer for basic internet browsing but it wasn’t practical for work use. Most of my work functions involve some word processing when composing contracts, invoices and such; network troubleshooting on routers and switches; and other various tools needed for troubleshooting computers and servers. The ideal candidate I had found for the job was, originally, the Dell Vostro V13. However, Dell came out with its successor, the Dell Vostro V130, that is a little more powerful and added functionality with an HDMI port and an additional USB port while still staying within the same price range as the V13. I shopped the Dell outlet store waiting for the perfect price point since my budget wanted me to stay under $450. The only issue with this is that in order to stay under that price I needed to avoid the new i3/i5 processor and stick with the lesser powered Celeron processor. After waiting for several days the Dell outlet never produced what I was looking for. So, instead, I searched eBay and found what I was looking for at an affordable price of $390 in a refurbished model originally purchased from the Dell outlet. Below I decided to post a brief video of the Vostro v130. My apologies ahead of time for the shaky camera.

This is what came with the Vostro:

  • Vostro V130 UltraSleek Laptop 0.65″ at thinnest point (0.78″ at thickest) & 3.5lbs
  • Color: Aberdeen Silver
  • 2 GB Memory (1x2GB), 1333MHz Dual Ranked RDIMM
  • Dell Wireless 1702 802.11n/BT3.0 Networking Combo Card
  • 320 GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
  • 2.0MP Webcam
  • Keyboard on Notebook
  • 6 Cell Primary Battery
  • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Trend Micro 16.6 PC-cillin 30 Day
  • 64BIT Operating System
  • 65W AC Adapter
  • 13.3 inch Widescreen HD (1366×768) with Anti-Glare
  • 125V Power Cord
  • VGA & HDMI Port
  • Processor: Intel Celeron Processor ULV U3600 (2M Cache, 1.2GHz, 800 MHz FSB)
  • Dimensions & Weight:
  • Width: 13″ / 330mm
  • Height: (front/back) 0.65-0.78inches/16.5-19.7mm
  • Depth: 9.06″ / 230mm
  • Starting weight: 3.5lbs/1.59kg (with 6-cell battery)

As mentioned in the video, Linux Mint 11 works really well installed on the Vostro V130. Since Ubuntu moved, a few versions ago, to using Unity as its primary interface, I started using Linux Mint as my preferred Linux distribution. It’s basically a branch of Ubuntu but leaning more toward Debian based without the annoyance of Unity. It’s definitely an operating system I would recommend to anyone especially since it is free to download, install and use without any cost to you. Below is a screenshot of the elegant desktop and menu of Linux Mint 11 Main Edition.

Screenshot-Linux Mint 11.png

Some of you that know me know that I also own a MacBook and are probably wondering why I just don’t use that for my consulting. I was using it for a while but since it is getting a little long in the tooth – I purchased it way back in 2006 – I was afraid of it getting thrown around too much in my duties that it would die sooner than I would like it to (I LOVE my MacBook). Also, if you have ever held the black MacBook from that line you know that those aren’t too lite, especially compared to the Vostro V130.

I have been really impressed, so far, with the performance and mobility of the Vostro V130. And benefiting from the installation of Linux Mint 11 is just an added bonus. Those that may have some apprehension of buying something like this and losing performance will be as surprised as I. The only issue with the Vostro V130 that most reviews have mentioned is the battery life. On average, like others, I’ve gotten about 2 hours worth of battery power. But, in most cases for me, that is enough to work off of onsite when working with my clients before having to plug it in at home to recharge.