bit-tech.net

HP launches Mini Mi Linux

HP launches Mini Mi Linux

The new Mini Mi software blends well with the styling of the Mini 1000 netbook, and offers a snazzy and still functional interface to Ubuntu Linux.

Linux on netbooks just became a whole lot prettier with a new user interface designed by HP for use with their Mini 1000 Mi Edition device.

As reported over on Download Squad yesterday, Hewlett Packard has been working on a little something to make its netbook offering stand out from an increasingly stagnant crowd. Built on top of Ubuntu 8.04 – chosen over the more recent 8.10 due to its long-term support by Canonical – the new interface will make even the most hardened Windows or Mac OS fan look twice.

The new GUI is drastically different to what you might be used to on a netbook device – or, indeed, a Linux-based system. Built around a 'home' screen which contains various applets – including a customisable mail client, a web search interface, graphical bookmark toolkit, and media gallery – the interface packs a lot of power into a small area without feeling too cluttered.

If you're worried that all this shine and ease of use comes at the cost of power – all too often the case when Linux is made 'user-friendly' – don't panic: all the core features of the OS are readily available, with the UI even offering a direct link to launch a terminal window for command-line access to the underlying system from the home screen.

Software is categorised under the “Start New Program” button into Internet, Media, Utilities, Work, Play, and an overarching All that gives access to every program currently installed. All the usual suspects from a stock Ubuntu install are present, with OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, and Pidgin all making an appearance. HP has also bundled its own custom media player, dubbed MediaStyle, which looks to integrate with the home screen while carrying over the visual aesthetic.

While custom interfaces for netbooks are nothing new – with Ubuntu creator Canonical currently labouring away on its Netbook Remix interface project – this is certainly the most polished version I've seen. Making good use of the smaller resolution of a netbook screen, the Mini Mi software seems to offer everything a netbook user could want.

There is a catch, however: the software is only available for the Mini 1000 netbook. While HP will be releasing a tool that will allow for the creation of a restore disc for those wanting to try out the Mini Mi Linux OS on their Windows XP-preloaded Mini 1000, it's unlikely that the disc will operate correctly on netbook devices from other companies. While there's nothing to stop someone trying, expect to spend a while fiddling around to get various bits of hardware working just so. Still, if you've got the hardware I'd certainly recommend giving the new interface a go – especially if you want something to show off your new gadget with.

Tempted by the new interface – of which there's a nice gallery over on DownloadSquad – or are you still not convinced by Linux as a day-to-day operating system, no matter how shiny the interface might be? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

37 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Xtrafresh 5th February 2009, 11:11 Quote
this could be nice as a multiboot option for my HP tablet. At 12.1" it's not THAT far away from a netbook, and for media use it'd be great :)

I'm sure i'll go through hell befor i get all the peripherals working though, so it'll never be a complete vista-replacement.
perplekks45 5th February 2009, 12:23 Quote
Hmmm...shiny! I might like it, have to see it in action though.

@ Xtra: Why not run 7 on the tablet? Or is it work-related?
Phil Rhodes 5th February 2009, 12:35 Quote
Does it have DVD and mp3 playback, file and print sharing, automatic mounting of USB devices, sane and reliable display configuration, wifi settings that aren't constantly forgotten, dependable support for filesystems supported on any other platform, and any of the wide variety of other things that linux doesn't generally do very well? Hm, didn't think so.

Here is some advice for linux developers:

1) Stop writing pretty interfaces
2) Start writing fixes for any one of the vast number of bugs with which your OS is ravaged
Gareth Halfacree 5th February 2009, 12:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Does it have DVD and mp3 playback, file and print sharing, automatic mounting of USB devices, sane and reliable display configuration, wifi settings that aren't constantly forgotten, dependable support for filesystems supported on any other platform, and any of the wide variety of other things that linux doesn't generally do very well?
Let's see:
DVD and MP3 playback - yes, with the one-click installation of codecs.
File and print sharing - yes, with Mac, Windows, and Linux/Unix clients and servers.
Automatic mounting of USB devices - yes.
Sane and reliable display configuration - yes.
WiFi settings that aren't constantly forgotten - yes.
Dependable support for filesystems supported on any other platform - yes. More so than Windows, in fact.
"Other things" - yes.

Funnily enough, everything you've just mentioned is handled out-the-box with Ubuntu, with the sole exception of DVD and MP3 playback. DVD and MP3 playback is only not enabled by default because the rights holders want Canonical to pay a licensing fee - which isn't a very good business plan when you're giving your product away for free. When you charge large quantities of money like Microsoft does, then you can pay the fee - although note that Windows doesn't come with DVD playback functionality by default either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Hm, didn't think so.
Are you sure you've actually tried a desktop Linux distribution any time in the last five or so years?

Also, I'd be very interested to see a cite for the "vast number of bugs" in the OS - especially one which compares and contrasts the bugs found in Linux to those found in Windows or MacOS.
Xtrafresh 5th February 2009, 14:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Hmmm...shiny! I might like it, have to see it in action though.

@ Xtra: Why not run 7 on the tablet? Or is it work-related?
I'm gunna switch to 7, yes. It's a personal/work thingy, but i do all my work on a stick, so that's fine :)

I have 7 installed on my main rig atm, and I just haven't gotten around to puttig it on my lappy too. However, i'd really like to explore the Linux realm, if only to know what's out there. This Mini-Mi might be just the thing :)
War-Rasta 5th February 2009, 14:43 Quote
Looks pretty good. I'd definitely like to have this if I had a netbook.
Phil Rhodes 5th February 2009, 14:43 Quote
Quote:
DVD and MP3 playback - yes, with the one-click installation of codecs.

One click? The version of mplayer that comes with ubuntu doesn't even support h.264 playback, for crying out loud, and if you try and install a new one, you'll end up with exactly the same thing again unless you hack complex code strings into random text files. It's dismal, it's almost as if they're going out of their way to make it needlessly complicated and techy just to make a point.
Quote:
File and print sharing - yes, with Mac, Windows, and Linux/Unix clients and servers.

Doesn't seem to work over wifi at all, and is strictly windows-to-linux otherwise; I have never known sharing a windows-hosted printer to a linux client to work, ever. The Samba people on Freenode tell me all these things are due to known bugs, most of which have been extant for years. Nobody seems worried about it.
Quote:
Automatic mounting of USB devices - yes.

Doesn't work for me. Won't automount USB hard disks, won't mount USB compactflash dongles under any circumstances. Doesn't even seem to appreciate that PCMCIA-to-compactflash adaptors exist.
Quote:
Sane and reliable display configuration - yes.

Perhaps for one display. For more than one display, or for any circumstance where you want to do something even vaguely hardware-related like cloning or spanning over multiple displays, fugheddaboudit. It's not even that clever under Ubuntu Eee, which is supposed to have been specifically engineered for the hardware!
Quote:
WiFi settings that aren't constantly forgotten - yes.

All I can say is try it. Fire up a wifi connection and then reboot. It'll have forgotten all the settings. Again, well known bug. Again, no apparent intention to fix it.
Quote:
Dependable support for filesystems supported on any other platform - yes. More so than Windows, in fact.

Deliberately refuses to mount FAT32 volumes that are marked in-use, which may be strictly correct, but is completely boneheaded behaviour - the only way to mark a FAT32 volume out of use on windows is to stop the device manually and shut down. Doesn't even pop up a requester telling you what's going on. Hopeless. I had to go in via a terminal to even find out what the fault was. And it shows the "recycled" folder on both NTFS and FAT32 volumes, a hopeless beginner's mistake since the folder is intended to be hidden in both cases.

It winds me up because I am frontline tech support to about four of my mates, who have gone out and bought fashionable lovely little netbooks with linux operating systems, and only then found out what a comprehensively unusable train wreck linux actually is. I honestly don't care what Canonical's business model is. If they choose to give it away, that's not my problem. I'd gladly pay for the proper licensing. Anything but the grim slog linux currently is.
Gareth Halfacree 5th February 2009, 14:58 Quote
We're getting dangerously off-topic here, but:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
[MP3/DVD playback]One click? The version of mplayer that comes with ubuntu doesn't even support h.264 playback, for crying out loud, and if you try and install a new one, you'll end up with exactly the same thing again unless you hack complex code strings into random text files. It's dismal, it's almost as if they're going out of their way to make it needlessly complicated and techy just to make a point.
My version does. Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10 - when I first tried to play a H.264 video it asked if I wanted it to install the "restricted" codecs, when I said yes it played the video. No "hacking" required.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
[File and print sharing]Doesn't seem to work over wifi at all, and is strictly windows-to-linux otherwise; I have never known sharing a windows-hosted printer to a linux client to work, ever. The Samba people on Freenode tell me all these things are due to known bugs, most of which have been extant for years. Nobody seems worried about it.
I run Windows XP on my desktop, which happily shares a HP Deskjet 970 printer to an Ubuntu 7.04 laptop and an Ubuntu 8.10 netbook. No issues encountered. I've also shared directories on the laptops to the Windows machines with no issues at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
[Auto-mount USB]Doesn't work for me. Won't automount USB hard disks, won't mount USB compactflash dongles under any circumstances. Doesn't even seem to appreciate that PCMCIA-to-compactflash adaptors exist.
I can't honestly say I've tried a PCMCIA-to-CompactFlash adaptor, but all my USB memory sticks and my Belkin USB card reader work fine in Ubuntu 7.04, 7.10, 8.04, and 8.10. I've never had to manually mount any USB mass storage device in any of these versions.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
[Display management]Perhaps for one display. For more than one display, or for any circumstance where you want to do something even vaguely hardware-related like cloning or spanning over multiple displays, fugheddaboudit. It's not even that clever under Ubuntu Eee, which is supposed to have been specifically engineered for the hardware!
Again, works for me - I've used my TV as an extended display from my Eee PC (Ubuntu 8.04 at the time, I think) with no issues at all - all configured via the GUI.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
[Forgetting wireless settings]All I can say is try it. Fire up a wifi connection and then reboot. It'll have forgotten all the settings. Again, well known bug. Again, no apparent intention to fix it.
Mate, no offence, but you try it. I've got two laptops that have been running Ubuntu for quite a while now and have never had it forget the wireless settings. In fact, I just fired up my Eee PC to check - while at work - and it's remembered both my home and work WiFI settings, and connected automatically to the appropriate connection. I use these devices daily via wireless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
[Using other file systems]Deliberately refuses to mount FAT32 volumes that are marked in-use, which may be strictly correct, but is completely boneheaded behaviour - the only way to mark a FAT32 volume out of use on windows is to stop the device manually and shut down. Doesn't even pop up a requester telling you what's going on. Hopeless. I had to go in via a terminal to even find out what the fault was. And it shows the "recycled" folder on both NTFS and FAT32 volumes, a hopeless beginner's mistake since the folder is intended to be hidden in both cases.
Actually, the correct - Microsoft approved - way to unmount a FAT32 device cleanly is via the Safely Remove Hardware option in the system tray. If you do that, Ubuntu will mount it with no problems. Even if it is marked unclean, you can force a mount - it just avoids doing so by default in order to protect your file systems. Also, it's not Ubuntu's responsibility to hide Windows' system files. Finally, at least Ubuntu can mount other file systems - ever tried to mount EXT2/3 in Windows? HFS? Anything, in fact, that isn't FAT or NTFS?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
It winds me up because I am frontline tech support to about four of my mates, who have gone out and bought fashionable lovely little netbooks with linux operating systems, and only then found out what a comprehensively unusable train wreck linux actually is. I honestly don't care what Canonical's business model is. If they choose to give it away, that's not my problem. I'd gladly pay for the proper licensing. Anything but the grim slog linux currently is.
A bad workman blames his tools, that's all I'm saying.
Phil Rhodes 5th February 2009, 16:19 Quote
I think you're an idiot too, if you really want to get personal.

I've had this conversation time after time, and in each case, the linux user typically goes "yeah but, no but, but, but, no..." and simply denies any of the problems exist. I have a machine not two feet away from me which demonstrates all of these issues and more.

I think I understand the psychological need to evangelise this stuff, even if I don't necessarily agree with it, but by simply point-blank denying problems that really do exist all you're actually doing is promulgating the issue. Believe me, I'd like nothing more than to be able to use linux, but until the problems are fixed, I can't, and while people live in a safe little fantasy world where everything's lovely and perfect and there are no problems, those fixes are never going to go in.

But to get back to the point: the last problem ubuntu has is its interface. This eee has compiz going nineteen to the dozen and leaves Aero users slack-jawed in the eye candy stakes. This state of affairs persists until they try to plug in, say, an mp3 player, and have to go through a forty-five minute charade of hacking text files, being talked down to by arrogant developers on IRC, attempting to google for massively abbreviated non-words, and, this being ubuntu, typing the word "sudo" eight dozen times. It's dire, and until we stop pretending it isn't, it will remain so.
steveo_mcg 5th February 2009, 16:28 Quote
You know if some one is telling you they don't have a problem over and over again odds are good they don't.

For the record, i have no problem with many of the things listed. Wifi was a problem a few years back but i've not had bother recently. Typing sudo can get irritating but then its easy to set up su, on that note UAC can get annoying also... Horses for courses.

Although since you've been told that the problems you harp on about haven't been an issue for years and you continue to harp i guess you'll never actually get the message.
Phil Rhodes 5th February 2009, 16:57 Quote
Never get the message? I could say the same to you. I mean, honestly, words fail me.

I am sitting here right this very moment actually watching these problems unfold on a computer not two feet from me. Right now, at this very moment, as I type, on a system installed from a freshly downloaded file not six weeks ago. Reboot? Oh yes, wifi settings gone and USB devices not mounted.

I'm not sure how I can make it any clearer. Under any other circumstances, your dedication would be impressive; as it is, I just don't know what to say.
steveo_mcg 5th February 2009, 18:05 Quote
So what were saying is that many users don't have the problems your describing and you do.... hmmm
B3CK 5th February 2009, 18:16 Quote
I hate to post off-topic as well, but I am using ubuntu, and pc-bsd on my dell 1720 laptop,, installed clean and easy, not a single problem, I use it multi booted with vista, xp and server 2008. I have never had any problems as listed above.

As to the mini 1000 mi hp ,,, i would like to get an install of that just to see what it's like, and check out the power consumption on my laptop.
Glider 5th February 2009, 18:21 Quote
I see Phil Rodes is trolling once again... I love Ignore lists...

Anyway, Nice to see that Linux is being recognised as a true alternative more and more, even if it's through Ubuntu ;)
Phil Rhodes 5th February 2009, 18:43 Quote
Quote:
I love Ignore lists...

Well, yes, that's the usual linux response to bugs.
Glider 5th February 2009, 20:08 Quote
Why Oh why did I click "View post"?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Well, yes, that's the usual linux response to bugs.

Well, there is a difference between a bug and a message posted by a troll... Bugs are submitted by people who know what they are talking about... You don't, and your 'I have the proof sitting 2m away from me' sentence is getting old. I'm 99% sure the problem with your system is situated between the keyboard and the chair...

EDIT: That, or Linux just hates your guts (which I understand)...
13eightyfour 5th February 2009, 20:28 Quote
This thread has got waaaay of topic! but it makes amusing reading. on topic it looks good to me, it would be nice if there was an easy way to get it to work on other brands though.
War-Rasta 5th February 2009, 20:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
A bad workman blames his tools, that's all I'm saying.

My thoughts exactly.

I don't have any of these problems and I made the switch to Ubuntu from Vista over a year ago. At first I had no clue what it was going to be like since I hadn't ever had any kind of contact with anything Linux, but I booted up the live CD just to get a feeling of how things were and decided to install it the very next day and dual boot. I ended up not going to Windows ever again (i thought I would need to go to it occasionally).

Out of the things described by Phil here the only ones I haven't tried are the PCMCIA-to-compactflash, setting up a second display and sharing a printer (I don't even have a printer at home) so I can't comment on those, but everything else I have done and has worked fine for me. I think I could even say I've had less problems with Ubuntu that I had with Windows. USB sticks and portable HDDs mount automatically, I use wireless on a daily basis and I have a FAT32 partition mounted (not done manually) so I seriously don't know where all this is coming from.
zelachang 5th February 2009, 21:27 Quote
Off-topic post but I had to chip in. Installed 8.10 about a month ago on my vista desktop and I was surprised by how easy it is. USB drives were just plug and play and it seemed to do most things alright. Was a little more difficult to install things, but maybe that was because I'm not accustomed to linux. Anyways, I think linux is getting closer to the point of idiot proof and maximum ease of use but it still has a little ways to go. I think the custom linux made by hp is a good step in getting people to becoming more comfortable with the idea of using linux and showing that it isn't just a command line.

Ah yes, I uninstalled ubuntu just a week ago. I feel like Vista is honestly better for what I want to do, but my linux experience was overall pretty positive.
Phil Rhodes 5th February 2009, 21:47 Quote
Quote:
Why Oh why did I click "View post"?

Same reason you like using linux - you're a masochist :)

But seriously - note the tendency of the linux crowd to immediately call me an idiot, having absolutely no knowledge of my background. The Ubuntu install I'm referring to is almost vanilla with the exception of the compiz setup, so any problems are none of my doing.

About the only conclusion I can come to with regard to the difference in experience is simply that the linux crowd is creatively leaving things out. Whereas on windows you'd get point by point instructions, after which things would generally start working, on linux you'd probably get similar point by point instructions, but with a sort of automatic understanding that there's really a bunch more stuff to do. Each instruction will be followed by a couple of hours of random text file hackery, kernel recompilation, tweaking of build environments, downloading source code and a million and one other tasks. All I can assume is that this is now so normal to the linux crowd, they are so used to the inconvenience and pain, that it just goes without saying. One, two, miss a few, ninety-nine...
Phil Rhodes 5th February 2009, 21:55 Quote
Just to put the icing on the cake, my eee-owning friend is sitting next to me right now thrashing the keyboard and using intemperate language because of the following sequence of events:

- Connect USB hard disk (which mounts only because I made manual changes to ensure it does)
- Something called F-spot opens
- If F-spot isn't killed fairly quickly, it makes the computer unusable, forcing a reboot, which is what just happened; the drumbeat of Ubuntu coming back up coincided with my typing that semicolon.

Brilliant, guys. Just brilliant. No bugs. Everything's perfect!
Glider 5th February 2009, 21:55 Quote
Maybe I should create a thread named "Linux" where you can continue trolling Phil? Because you seem to be getting the habit of showing up in every Linux based thread and spill your 'facts'...

Your knowledge or background doesn't matter, my education is totally opposite of ICT, yet I seem to be doing ok in the Linux world. If you just can't accept the fact that you seem to be the only one that is having those problems, then that does indeed say more about you then Linux. Or you could be constructive and open bugreports (decent ones), and see that developers DO fix bugs. Certainly the 'bugs' you claim, since they are kernel related. I've seen bugs of mine being fixed in under 1 hour.

So can you now "plug it" and stop trolling threads?
nicae 5th February 2009, 21:55 Quote
Very pretty GUI by HP. Would have to try to make a final call, though.

My mom got Ubuntu/XP double-boot on her laptop a while ago, so it should be v7 Ubuntu... And I must admit it's very nice! It got me excited up to the point I really want a crotchtop (much better name than netbook) with Ubuntu 8 (9?) and OpenOffice. I'll likely get the next generation, though - Hopefully getting a bit more power and battery time. I wonder if VIA will spit out some products by then...

Oh, and before I forget: Why desire DVD playback on crotchtops if they lack DVD drives in the first place?
perplekks45 5th February 2009, 21:56 Quote
If I sent a link to this discussion to a few of my former fellow students we'd see flame wars started as back in the early 90s on IRC.
I am a Windows user, always was and it'll most likely stay that way until MS or earth explodes. I have some Linux experience (Red Hat, Fedora [I know they're basically the same...], Ubuntu, KDE,...) but I like Windows because it does everything I want while being easy to use. My Linux experience tells me there is something out there that I could use if I ever feel the need and it would work too, with a bit of fiddeling involved.
I just don't get you, Phil. How can you be so arrogant/ignorant at all? I mean, seriously, you don't like it, we got it. But your problems have been solved more or less long ago.

I still fancy a netbook but I'll wait for 7 Netbook Edition. ;)
Sorry for the rant hijack.
War-Rasta 5th February 2009, 22:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Each instruction will be followed by a couple of hours of random text file hackery, kernel recompilation, tweaking of build environments, downloading source code and a million and one other tasks. All I can assume is that this is now so normal to the linux crowd, they are so used to the inconvenience and pain, that it just goes without saying. One, two, miss a few, ninety-nine...

Not really... It used to be like that but it has changed quite a lot. It's not common for me to have to do any of these things. I've never had to manually edit a config file and specially not recompile a kernel. Installing applications used to be the main problem to me but almost everything the average user needs/wants is in the Ubuntu repositories and installation is as easy as clicking on a checkbox and if you don't find it in the repo there's probably a Deb package for it that you just need to double click on.
Phil Rhodes 6th February 2009, 00:10 Quote
Oh well, silly me - I'm clearly making it all up.

Since the samba networking works so well, I won't have to sneakernet this USB drive over to the XP box that runs the TV.

In fact, since the display management works so well, I'll just plug the eee directly into the TV.

Only I won't, because neither of those things work. Except they do, obviously, because Glider says they do. Except they patently obviously don't. Oh dear, this Linux thing is terribly confusing, isn't it, with all these horrid loops in logic and causality?

P
steveo_mcg 6th February 2009, 00:33 Quote
Indeed you do seem to be having problems with simple logic. Maybe thats your linux's problem.
StooJ 6th February 2009, 01:36 Quote
Samba must be doing something right. Microsoft hired some samba developers during vista's development. Seemingly Microsoft needed someone to teach them how their networking stack worked.

Incidentally, I think Ubuntu's popularity is your fault Guilder - didn't you introduce a large percentage of B-T readers to it? :D
fr500 6th February 2009, 04:09 Quote
Isn't that and Elisa Media Center fork or rebrand? http://elisa.fluendo.com/
FaSMaN 6th February 2009, 08:34 Quote
Phil Rhodes, if your linux pc is giving you so much "hassles" why not format it install xp and move on, instead of sitting on the forum moaning that your the only one with these "problems" or do you enjoy trolling too much to move on to something els?


I'm a linux user for the last 8 years and to be honest I'm very happy with it currently using Fedora 9,but I understand that linux isn't for every one, but In my opinion its better than vista/xp in many areas.
Phil Rhodes 6th February 2009, 13:59 Quote
It's not my linux PC, it belongs to a friend of mine, the poor unfortunate.

And of course I enjoy it, I'm not going to spend my time typing stuff up here if it wasn't a grin! There's nothing quite like watching a linux user go "yeah, but, no, but, yeah, but, no, but..."
perplekks45 6th February 2009, 15:35 Quote
But they don't. They just tell you what has been fixed already or how you could fix it. If only you'd listen...
Phil Rhodes 6th February 2009, 16:48 Quote
Telling me it's fixed doesn't actually make it fixed, though, does it?
nicae 6th February 2009, 17:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
It's not my linux PC, it belongs to a friend of mine, the poor unfortunate.
Oh, maybe that's why you can't manage to fix it.
PS: You have friends?
Phil Rhodes 6th February 2009, 17:40 Quote
Why should I need to fix it? It's not broken, according to Glider!

P
Glider 6th February 2009, 18:04 Quote
Wow, I'm popular... I'll send you an autograph Phil, then you can drewl over it instead of trolling posts...

Because it is fixed, doesn't mean that it is fixed on your system... And even then, with your obvious superiority it will be broken after you touch it, just because Linux hates your guts!

Maybe you should send your 'friend' to someone who actually knows what he's doing? But then again, don't we all have 'friends' that come across things like these... Just like I have 'friends' that have 'friends' who know 'friends' that went to the moon, or something like that...
Phil Rhodes 6th February 2009, 18:18 Quote
Quote:
Because it is fixed, doesn't mean that it is fixed on your system...

Really? Well, I never! Are you sure?!
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums