Vakkotaur (vakkotaur) wrote,

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Running Xubuntu, of all things

I am not a fan of the Debian family of distributions, and it's not just because of the idiotic GNU/ prefixing. I had found that *buntu tended to "help" me too much by getting in the way. Even so, I am now running Xubuntu 10.04[1] on the laptop (palomino on the rare occasion I boot it into Windows, andalusian for Linux). Why? Salix had video issues I could not get around and Xubuntu is the lighter of the *buntu family (While I don't mind KDE, it is heavy and Kubuntu has long been the "red-headed stepchild" of *buntu. Gnome? The less said of it the better.) and it's available in 64-bit right now, it boots, it installs, and it doesn't have any video weirdness - although despite the Hardware Driver tool saying it might help, one must not install the fglrx ATI/AMD video driver. It actually makes things worse.

It hasn't been all automatic. I am really glad I had previous Linux experience before this. Getting the wireless working was an adventure. Realtek seems to only acknowledge Windows when one goes driver hunting, though they do have a linux driver. Finding it is a challenge. Downloading it is another challenge. I had to resort to much Google searching to find the right page to find the driver's exact name, then Google search for that and download it from a third party. Once installed, the only real trouble I had was at my folks' place and that was solved by re-setting the wireless router. There are a few wireless networks in the neighborhood here, but only one is wide open.

The Synaptic touchpad had the intensely annoying "tap-to-click" (which means, "bump to screw up focus") that has no simple GUI means of being shut off. Eventually I found someone else had the same issue and there was a post about how to disable tap-to-click. That bit of script saves much cussing.

Getting Phoenix running meant getting the 32-bit libraries (easy enough, ia32 in Synaptic) and disabling the hardware warning since it doesn't know the video is good enough without the lousy fglrx driver installed. Getting streaming audio involved editing the startup script since it disabled gstreamer if it found itself on a 64-bit platform and evidently doesn't play nice with Fmod OpenAL on 64-bit Xubuntu.

The rest, so far, has been installing the programs I expect to be around or finding things close enough in the Xubuntu repository, and tweaking the XFCE setup to also be what I've come to expect. There is more setup to do. This time, I am NOT simply copying over Opera config files, but slowly rebuilding the bookmarks and settings so they're clean. I might copy the config files back from the laptop once that is done.

I still need to figure out to get the internal microphone and camera to work (and how to be sure the camera is disabled when I don't want it on... there's always the surefire method: a bit of tape). I think those are the last of the hardware type issues.

And just as all that is going on, PCLinuxOS's Texstar announces that PCLinuxOS will be getting a 64-bit version, which had it happen earlier would have been the right answer, or at least a better one than *buntu. When it finally is released, I will be trying it. I will be surprised (and disappointed) if it doesn't work better than Xubuntu.

All that said, it's nice having having new hardware. Things are, as expected, fast. While running two sessions of Phoenix does push things (I think one needs at least n+1 cores to properly run n sessions of Phoenix), it doesn't bog down badly, though the CPU usage goes up to near if not quite 100%. The 'desktop' machine (now 7+ years old!) bogs down badly if I try that. And even though I am running Linux, I usually end up needing to reboot (not just restart X) after that.

[1] Yes, I know 10.10 is out. But 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" is Long Term Support and, unlike, 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat", runs and installs cleanly. I agree with ESR, "Ubuntu 10.10 is fucked up."

Tags: computers, laptop, linux, ubuntu, xubuntu
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