Was having a devil of a time getting 10.04 LTS Unbuntu (Lucid Lynx) to install via USB flash key. It would boot off the key fine, then during installation step 3, choose your keyboard layout, it would hang, no matter what I selected. A couple of people suggested it was the maker of the USB key, so not having a spare key, I tried the “Alternate” text based installer, which also failed while recognizing disk partitions at 43%. Someone else had this exact problem, which leads me back to this post, and the USB key as culprit:
Apparently partition size of the USB key can effect installation, so I’m going to try a 1GB partition and see if that works. Otherwise, most users were able to either install 9.10 Netbook version or 11.10 with no problems, so I’m going to try that next, because as it stands I tried three different USB boot key creators (Pendrivelinux, Unetbootin, and LinuxLive USB) and three different versions of 10.04 LTS, no joy. So hopefully this 1GB partition gets the installation flowing. For the record, the machine is an old Dell Inspiron XPS 15″ 1st generation, Pentium 4 3.4GHz.
Update 30.Jan.2012: I got this working, as of a couple of days ago. I ended up booting from an old 8.04 or 8.10 CD-ROM I’d burned and the did an upgrade over the internet tubes to 10.04 LTS. It works, the Broadcom wireless adapter required a non-open driver but that auto updated as well, which is nice. And, I will say this, that 1920×1600 15″ LCD is massive on this thing. Ubuntu seems to really handle display settings much better than XP did, and Windows 7 would never be able to run on this thing, especially considering the poor performance I’ve seen from Windows 7 on Netbooks, I’d say 10.04 LTS or 9.10 Netbook is a safe bet for older machines.