Several customers (notably feranick and aysui on IdeaStorm) and tech websites (Boy Genius Report, Gizmodo, and Mobile Computer Mag) have pointed out that 8GB and 16GB drives on the Inspiron Mini 9 with Ubuntu Linux are not fully formatted. The manufacturing facility has only been partitioning the hard drives up to 4GB, leaving the extra space on the hard drive unformatted. This essentially leaves that space unuseable by customers until it is partitioned and formatted by the operating system. This problem has been corrected in our factory, and future shipments of the Mini 9 with Ubuntu Linux should have fully-formatted hard drives.
Update from Lionel: On Friday last week, John posted details on a fix for this issue.
For customers wishing to be able to use the extra unformatted disk space immediately, if you purchased a USB DVD drive with your Mini, you may use the system restore DVD included with your system to completely reinstall the operating system. The installation process will completely reformat the entire hard drive and reinstall the OS, allowing you access to the entire drive. If you use this method, be sure to back up any data you have on the system, as this process will overwrite all data on the drive.
We're working on a simple method for customers to use to format/reclaim the unused hard drive space without reinstalling the OS. As our expert Linux customers know, there are several methods for doing this. However, we're evaluating which methods are both the easy and safe to use. I'll post that information soon when we have a recommendation.