Archive for the 'Linux on Dell Mini 9 (Netbook)' Category

KDE 4.2.0 on my netbook

It’s just great! Update from 4.1.4 went smoothly, thanks to Gentoo’s KDE maintainers, great work!

Screenshot KDE 4.2.0 on my netbook

Screenshot KDE 4.2.0 on my netbook

(the left and bottom panels are usually set to ‘auto-hide’, and the right one (which currently only contains the System Tray plasmoid) can be covered by windows, so I have the full screen available for applications)

KDE 4.2.0 brought the following features that I missed a lot since KDE 3.5:

  • The Task Manager plasmoid (the taskbar that shows a button
    for each running program) can finally have multiple rows, buttons can be grouped
  • The Digital Clock plasmoid can show other timezones on hovering with the mouse
  • Global keyboard shortcuts work
  • Some dialogue windows have been resized to fit on smaller displays

… and I’m still exploring 🙂

Many thanks to all KDE developers for this great piece of Free Software!

My Dell Mini setup

Jürgen and Michael started this (it seems like everybody is getting a netbook these days), and so I continue by posting my netbook setup as well.

I could get all hardware components except the built-in Bluetooth chip to work with very little trouble. The bluetooth chip is supposed to work in Ubuntu Intrepid, so I guess that should also be solved, soon. I’m using a USB bluetooth dongle for now. For details, please have a look at the page I filled out in the Linux Laptop Wiki or the Dell Mini article in my Wiki.

I’m using Gentoo Linux (~x86) on the netbook just as on my other computers (why would I choose something else?). To help with the compiling, I set up distcc in a VM on my company desktop. Even without that, the small machine is astoundingly fast. The 16 GB SSD’s low access latency kicks ass: for example system startup, where many small files scattered throughout the “disk” need to be read, takes a mere 20 seconds (from grub to KDM being ready to receive the password for login). Suspend to RAM also just works (with gentoo-sources, but probably also with vanilla-sources), and the system resumes automatically when opening the lid. The battery lasts quite long, too (see my small battery consumption test) and the device is completely silent at all times – so all in all, I’m very satisfied with this little device.

Last week I bought two additional no-name el cheapo power supplies for a total of 180¥ (20€ / $26) and put them into the places where I spend most of my time, so I never need to carry the bulky thing around 🙂

Well, and here is the obligatory screenshot:

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 battery consumption test

Last night I ran a quick test on how long my new Dell Inspiron Mini 9‘s battery would last under “normal netbook workload”.


  • OS: Gentoo Linux (what else? 😉 )
  • Running programs: KDE 4, Konqueror, Thunderbird (fetching mail via IMAPS every 5 minutes)
  • Conditions:
    • Wireless connection to Internet, shell script kills and reloads Konqueror with three websites every two minutes (emulating a user who browses the WWW).
    • Display set to lowest brightness level, screensaver / standby / etc. deactivated so that it was switched on all the time

Data capturing:

The ‘remaining capacity’ value from /proc/acpi/battery/BAT1/state and a timestamp were written to a file every minute:

echo "Battery log, started $(date)" >$LOG
while ((1))
  TIME=$(date "+%s")
  REMAINING=$(grep "remaining capacity" /proc/acpi/battery/BAT1/state | cut -b 26- | cut -d' ' -f1)
  echo "$TIME $REMAINING" >> $LOG
  sleep 60


The battery lasted a little longer than 4 hours and 50 minutes which means approx. 6.7 watts average power consumption while browsing the web over WLAN.
This time I decided to use OpenOffice Calc to create the graph – here is a screenshot of it:

(And here is the spreadsheet, if you’re interested: Dell Mini battery consumption log (Spreadsheet))