Yes, when you first install Ubuntu, you will notice that the touchpad (the mouse) is not working. Never fear though – there is an easy fix!
When it first boots up, login and start a terminal. You may need an external mouse, or press alt+F2 and type “gnome-terminal” into the box, to get the terminal window up.
In the terminal:
sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
At the end of the file are three kernel boot options. The first boot option will look something like:
title Ubuntu 9.04, kernel 2.6.28-11-generic
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=UUID=8fd4r505-1372-4s39-8r3fd3-a4fr56ygdf6063 ro quiet splash
You need to add i8042.nomux to the end of the kernel line:
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=UUID=8fd4r505-1372-4s39-8r3fd3-a4fr56ygdf6063 ro quiet splash i8042.nomux
Now just save and close the file, and reboot the netbook. When it comes back, your touchpad should work.
Thanks to Rob and others who helped me debugging this problem.