Ok, so I really do like this laptop. You saw the outside in a recent blog post. Nice, shiny red, which many commenters said would scratch. Well, yes, it might, but so far so good. I take care to put it back in its sleeve when not in use, and do not let it hang around. The touchpad audio player work well. You have play/pause, stop, previous and next track, low volume, high volume, and mute. These are found up near the top of the keyboard, and yes, the WORK WITH UBUNTU! So you tap one to increase the volume, and it lights up blue, and turns up the volume. Pretty handy.
So yes, I did partition the hard drive to allow for it to dual boot to Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10. I began with a live cd to make sure it would boot and most functionality would work with the hardware in the Vostro 1320. For those new to Linux, a Live CD will allow you to try Linux without making permanent changes to your harddrive. In other words, you run the OS from the CD. Pretty handy when looking at a distro (I have tried out many flavors of Linux: Fedora, Suse, Ubuntu, Mint, etc using this method) without making it permanent. So I went ahead and installed Ubuntu. No problems with the install. Went pretty smoothly. Upon completion, everything worked so far. I have yet to try the webcam, and the fingerprint reader will probably not work yet, but that would be a cherry on top. Wireless did not work without a proprietary driver being used, but once I activated that, no problem.
So now I continue to add the necessary functionality. I added Google Chrome as my main browser, just like on all my Ubuntu and Windows machines. You see I added Gimp and Gnome-Do as well. Gnome-Do gives me the dock functionality. Flash video works now with a little tweak. I must point out at this time I configured this laptop to be a 64 bit OS with 8 GB of RAM. Because of that, I lose some applications, but sure enough, I found a Flash plugin to work with 64 bit Linux. W00t!
So now I will continue to personalize my Vostro. Again, dualbooting now with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10. At this point, I am pretty happy with it. I went through Dell and many other sites reading complaints about it, but I really, really like this laptop. Not quite a netbook, but still with the high speed I needed, in a smaller size.