HP Mini Mi Linux Netbook Released

Jan 10, 2009

Hardware provider Hewlett-Packard has released a Linux version for its mini-laptop. HP wants to be clear from the outset that disabling the Linux command line interface in the product is not an act of heresy.

End of October 2008 HP began confirming rumors about their own Linux netbook variant, and have now followed up with release of their Mini Mi 1000 series. The netbook has 2 GByte system memory and an Intel Atom CPU, with the choice of an 8.9 or 10.1 inch display, and costs around $330. HP describes the mobile internet software as "a user-friendly, all-inclusive interface built on Linux." In fact, "Mi" stands for mobile internet, a clear message that HP wants to put the mini-laptop square into the netbook market.

HP's Linux Mini Laptop Mini Mi 1000

With a homegrown Linux based on Ubuntu, HP promises that the Mini Mi "offers everything you want with just one click" for e-mail, Internet, photos, music and video. Basic configuration includes wireless-G, webcam and microphone for social networking.

A caveat for CLI aficionados: "Please note, the Linux command line interface is disabled on this edition." Having stumbled across this in the HP announcement, developer and author Erica Sadun wanted to know why in her blog. Jonathan Kaye, HP's director of consumer notebooks promptly responded: "HP is focused on the user experience and developed the HP Mini 1000 with Mi for the mass consumer market that wants a complete mobile Internet experience and not just a Linux computer." He continues, "As this is HP’s first product with a custom user interface built on Linux, HP is very open to customer feedback that could help improve the experience."

For those concerned with making a fashion statement, a Vivienne Tam Windows XP edition of the HP Mini 1000 is available for about $700. It's touted as the "world's first digital clutch," although currently clutchable in Windows XP only.

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  • Linux whiners unite!

    I always that Linux users were creative, intelligent computer users, you sure couldn't tell that from this blast of comments. If you people are such hot **** behind the keyboard buy this computer and tweak it to your heart's content.
  • definition

    definition of "mass consumer market" :
    idiotic stupid morons.

    it is unbelievable how the IT industry continues to treat people like idiots and commodities and even more unbelievable how these idiots allow themselves to be treated as such.

    hey everybody, we are focused on bringing you a targeted just for you, more robust, more relative, easier to use, better, fabulous experience. just send us your money. people fall for this bull.
  • to Leenie

    Your TiVo doesn't have a keyboard silly, so of course you don't miss the CLI.
  • C'mon

    Poppycock. The supposed target customer who is only interested in email, browsing, etc will not bother opening the command line, and if they do they wouldn't know what to do with it anyway. It's not like the CLI jumps out and hits you in the face when you turn on a linux machine. The spokespersons argument is totally invalid rhetoric.

    The only thing they have done is to stop me from buying one. An icon that leads to the CLI will not in any way cut them off from their target audience. Instead it simply widens their audience.

    I don't believe a word of what they are saying. I think the real reason is they are afraid of people messing up their computers and sending them back to the support center. But they are too afraid to say this so they feed us a line of BS instead.

  • Nuke -N-Pave

    It's a computer! Duh! If you like Breezy Badger, Dapper Drake, Suzie, Debian, Fedora, or XP just install it and be happy! All of them are free except XP and even then it's not that hard to find a pirated copy that'll pass Genuine Advantage checks. Stop whining Geeks. I'm only concerned with how hard it is to file and printer share with XP. I find having to find command line functions for crap to work right a big waste of time. Also, the new vernacular you have to learn to know what your'e doing on a command line is not at all easy to acquire. A well designed GUI is a great thing! >=`P
  • It DOES have a command line

    Brad Linder even has pics of it at Liliputing:


  • Command Line?

    Does my Tivo have a command line? No. Do I still love it? Yes.

    Does my PC (Ubuntu user since 4.10) have a command line? Yes.

    Am I happy with Linux devices that have and do not have command lines? Yes. If the apps just work, and the device 'just works', it is fine with me. If they want to add it back in, that is fine too. I am just saying that it is not a 'big deal' for me...or for most people who are "just users".
  • public perception that it is broken

    One issue is will the target audience see discussions where people are saying but the CLI is such a fundamental how can they have ditched it and then perceive the product as broken because the serious people can't believe the CLI (what ever it is) is missing.

    In short all the talk of the Linux version is that essentials have been left out. So if things are missing does that mean it is something to avoid. A hint of the negative can make the thing smell bad.
  • What about the GPL

    Is hidding the CLI in compliance with the GPL? Sounds to me like they are violating the user's rights under the GPL.
  • I want my Linux open

    If HP don't want to put it in the menu structure - thus saving the non-geek for "command line misery", at least make it available through a key sequence for power users. Between removing it completely and making it completely open, there are options. Linux is open by nature. Make it so.

    --> I will not buy this netbook.

    Here is my frustration with large companies: Large companies rely too much on CRM and marketing, not enough on common sense. They forget their customer and act as if they know better. Look at the big three car manufacturers. Without serious changes at the helm, large clunky dinosaurs eventually disappear.

    There are 3 pillars to a business (By order of importance): Your customers, your people and management. If your business doesn't work, blame it on management. If a project management has little clue about the technology, and only relies on marketing folks to get their pointers, blame it also on management.

  • Disabling the CLI

    How about disabling CMD (a.k.a DOS prompt) in WinXP. It's one thing to try your best to achieve "ease of use" but to assume the whole world is as dump as you is utterly beyond me. It saddens me to see it done by a company that carries the Hewlett-Packard name. What a sham/shame.
  • Disabling the CLI

    You nailed the monster's head foobar!

    Anyway, I like CLI when there are detailed CLs available in some forum. But as an ubuntu user, for example, when installing a program, it is so sweet not to use CLI but to just go to Synaptic or Add/Remove program or just download the deb files and use the GDebi. So damn easy.

    I try to find a GUI first, but when the forum starts with APPLICATIONS/ACCESSORIES/TERMINAL.......oh my, here we go again.

    Unfortunately, I love linux so much that I just accepted the "cut and paste" ritual.

    What can you do geeks? Any better idea than CLI other than making it semi-transparent or wobbling?

  • I saw one of these today

    I saw one of these today at a brick and mortar store, except it was the XP edition. I like the keyboard very much, compared to other small laptops. I have fat fingers and cannot use many of the other keyboards, say for instance, the EEE PC.

    *IF* I find some evidence that there is a "real" GNU/Linux distro that can be used on this machine -- that is, with the CLI utilites, ssh, wget, vim, and so on, I may purchase one of these. If was very nice when I typed some characters into "Wordpad".

    But it boggles my mind why HP would intentionally disable the command line. The drives have 8 GB of space -- this is more than enough space to fit all of these GNU utilities on there. The user can have the usb thumb drive for extra storage of files and so forth.

    There is no need to disable this cli, as far as I can tell. Mind boggling.
  • Disabling the CLI

    I see several aspects of the decision of disabling the CLI, some of which have already been mentioned here:
    - Hiding the CLI from the average user may be beneficial for Linux adoption. I know so many people who simply stop to be reasonable as soon as they see "these tiny little characters".
    - Having the CLI at hand is good if you need help from a Linux geek or a forum. Therefore, completely disabling it (how that?!) seems like an overreaction.
    - For a geek, are you really that concerned about that the default distribution is crippled beyond use? Would you ever use the pre-installed Linux distribution with all its added crapware on your own computer? Seriously, I wouldn't.

    That said, I hope HP chose the hardware wisely so that other distributions won't get into driver problems.
  • Breathe a little...

    Remember this is a netbook - HP is marketing this machine for web browsing, messaging, and light media for those of us who don't have a clue about how to use Linux. I bought the HP Mini 1000 XP version and I love it. But I use it for all of the above reasons and I would be willing to try something other than Windows for the very first time. I don't want to deal with a command line any more that I wan't to go back to the old days of MS-DOS.
  • re: disabling the CLI


    As the above comments ask: how does _removing_ access to (key) functionality improve the experience?

    Especially in a somewhat underpowered machine like a nettop, the CLI can give easy access to any functionality.

    Having an CLI available, does not give an excuse to skimp on the GUI. The CLI really _is_ a feature, not a bug.

    You could compare it to leaving the browser out, to improve user experience. After all, imagine people getting confused when they want to open a photo on their hard disk (or other local storage device): they might open a browser and think their device is broken because it does not open their photo at once!

    While we're at it, the email client is also a confusing bunch of bits, and the same goes for the instant messenger and all those other programs, that do not show the right photo at once.

    Anyway, my point is: having a CLI available does not mean that you must need to learn to use it. The fact that the CLI is still highly regarded even though all daily functionality is available via GUI, shows that users see added value in the CLI over the GUI.

  • Cli

    Having everything done through GUI is fine but as said before disabling the CLI just shuts down options. There is no benifit.

    And it's a lot easier to help out someone on a forum giving out a command line he will just have to copy paste then trying to explain what button to toggle in what hiddent window of what hidden menu...
  • Disabling the CLI

    I don't think HP is targeting Linux geeks with its Mini Mi 1000. I think the target audience is someone like me who wants to use Linux without having to learn the intricacies of CLI; a Windows experience without using Windows. To hardbitten, hardcore Linux users that is heresy of the highest order but the days of having to learn CLI to use Linux have passed, or at least are quickly passing. Besides, there are quite a few disgruntled/disenchanted Windows users who would like to try Linux without tripping over the CLI.
  • Disabling the CLI

    I hope that HP's explanation came from someone in the public communications office. If HP is open to suggestions that have nothing to do with the "User Experience" then I offer this: "Put the CLI back" or at least make it an option. On the other hand, it won't take long before someone posts how to get the CLI back.
  • how do big companies survive

    How does disabling a key bit of functionality improve the user experience? Honest to gosh, does working for big corporation mean leaving your brain at home?
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