Arch Linux and the Dell Mini 9

I bought a Dell Mini 9 a few years ago because I was wishy-washy about buying a laptop. It was on sale, and could be shipped with Ubuntu already installed. This was right when I decided to dedicate all of my hobby time to learning C, and I wanted a portable machine to work with.

I’ve had it since summer 2010, and it’s served me quite well. I updated it from Ubuntu 8 to 10.10 last summer, but unfortunately I can’t find any evidence that support a newer version working tolerably. Furthermore, after all the updates, the 7GB solid-state drive (it’s 8, but there’s some slop and the swap space) was squeezed to capacity. I filled it up just to get to bare minimum of what I needed. I decided to start over with a lightweight distro.

After some research I settled on Arch. Arch was on my mind because it’s the Linux distro most commonly used with Raspberry Pi (or maybe the only one that works on it, I’m not sure). It’s hard to read about the RPi without reading a bit about Arch. Before I committed to wiping the Mini 9 I ran through the install instructions in a VirtualBox session. The install instructions are super intimidating, even to me. I got super spoiled by Ubuntu doing everything automatically. Arch reminds me of my Slackware days, and that’s a good thing.

I’ve been using it to capture time-lapse photos of the birds that visit our feeder. I modified my security camera program to do it. Getting Python, Numpy, and OpenCV to work in Arch is super easy.

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