Tag Archives: ubuntu
People say Linux is fast. People say Ubuntu is fast. What are these people talking about exactly?
Well, it’s not the browser performance. Have a look at the performance results from Peacekeeper.
I ran these on a 6 year old laptop, an old centrino 1.7Ghz with a shitty ATI. Just for completeness sake, since it doesn’t really matter. I’m willing to assert that you will have similar results on any machine.
Add to this the shitty graphics drivers to slow the rendering down, and the ubber-shitty flash for the ultimate cherry on top of the cake.
So you see gentlemen, when you say linux is “faster” … well, it’s really not that simple. On the server? sure. On the desktop, on the applications that matter to the desktop user… it’s not faster. At all.
No wonder Ubuntu drains my battery much faster. Not only isn’t powersaving optimal for all my hardware because of inexistent manufacturer support, but the applications themselves burn much more cpu.
BONUS POINTS: Notice the font rendering in XP. Now Ubuntu. Now XP. Holy shit.
PS – A real post in what? Over a year? Holy shitz!
If you were on the internet around august-september last year, you might have heard some of the buzz surrounding Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic “Koala”. Since ubuntu and windows 7 came out on more or less the same time, comparing both operating systems was quite fashionable. And, wow, what do you know, ubuntu always won. If you ask me, linux fanboys have used linux for so long they must’ve forgot what a fully working operating system looks like.
Well, you know what they say, the higher you fly the bigger the fall, or something of the like, and the fall of Karmic Koala was quite severe. Here’s a couple of notes of some the worst of Ubuntu’s latest edition.
1- PulseAudio is still broken
The PulseAudio rush started in late 2007. If I remember correctly, it was Fedora that first shipped with it. Then all the major distros rushed in as well and Ubuntu 8.04 LTS was the first release to include it. And that was the end of linux audio being close to working.
Since then, every ubuntu version suffers from some audio problem or another. In 8.04, flash didn’t work. In 8.10, sound clipped. In 9.04, skype broke. In 9.10 it’s just a mess. Audio in all the emulators don’t work properly: GensGS, PSCX-R, Mupen64, and even Dosbox . Audio in wine will desynchronize periodically, click, hiss etc. Sound clipping in banshee was solved by defaulting the volume to 80% instead of 100% like it should be. etc etc ad absurdum.
2- The radeon driver is broken
I had posted before that ATI dropped support for RV300 chips. I was happy that linux enabled me to use the latest software with my aging hardware. But that’s not really the case. The radeon driver suffers from an infinite number of regressions, bugs, performance issues that make Ubuntu 9.10 unusable with these cards. I’m not even talking about compositing performance, or the 3D acceleration that can’t really be called acceleration, it’s with video, 2D desktop performance and, of course, flash and scrolling performance.
I remember a somewhat old interview of Mark Shuttleworth that finished with mark saying to the interviewer “If you have an old laptop around the house, try the ubuntu live cd”. If this was ever true, it definitely is not true anymore.
3- The update-apt-xapian-index bug
Synaptic Package Manager has a quick search function that works very nicely. It has an optimized database of some sort, and it is populated by this process called update-apt-xapian-index which is scheduled to run weekly. Now, everytime this process decides to run, which obeying the fundamentals of moore’s laws is always on the worst possible time, the OS just freezes. If you have a recent computer, this is barely noticeable. If you have an older computer or say a netbook, this is unbelievably annoying. Some people don’t think it’s a bug, these people are wrong. It is a bug.
4- The system log bug
I only noticed this with my netbook, but I’m willing to infer that it happens on all computers that use the Intel Atom processor or one a line of motherboards that support it. On a completely random basis, the system will start logging hundreds of time per second the reported temperature of operation of the processor. In a couple of minutes your log files can shoot up to the GB numbers, which depending on your machine can be either an enormous disaster, or a gigantic disaster. Take your pick.
5- Probably the most unreliable release ever
There are so many little bugs and issues that this release of Ubuntu is just unreliable. It’s the gnome-do package that provides a broken gnome-do. It’s the doubt that any packaged program that uses audio will work at all. It’s the gnome keyring that requires authentication on every operation if you choose to enable automatic login. It’s the new boot process that hides some messages, but doesn’t hide others. It’s the two finger scrolling emulation that the driver supports, but the ubuntu menu to activate it doesn’t work. It’s firefox 3.5 that doesn’t scroll properly in google reader, and still has that bug that if some element has absolute positioning scrolling is horribly slow. I say no more.
More and more ubuntu has converged into this notion: everything kind of works, but at the same time, it doesn’t. A few years back, installing ubuntu was a pain in the ass but in the end you had a reliable system. Today, the installation procedure is easier, but the bar has been raised. Even if your hardware is 100% supported with the best drivers, the system will not be 100% reliable. Be it the bad packaging or the pulseaudio mess, ubuntu has reached a point where it can’t be trusted. So the obvious question is: why use it at all?
All eyes on lucid lynx.
P.S. I haven’t written anything on this blog for quite some time. I’ve just been busy, and honestly, my motto for creating this blog was “because it’s relevant”. With every ubuntu release, I feel like it’s becoming progressively less true. And I still use ubuntu on all my computers. Go figure.
I’ve been trying a lot of distros on the aa1 recently, I’ve tried all Ubuntus from 8.04 till 9.04, sidux, slitaz, madbox, and now Kuki Linux.
Kuki linux is made specifically for the AA1, so I was expecting something nice. I only tried it live from usb, so this is what I got.
On hardware performance and recognition, everything kinda works. Webcam, audio, baterry recognition, wireless (good performance btw) no problem whatsoever. Wired I didn’ try but it should be working.
In terms of graphics I was initially very disappointed with the streaming flash video performance. Then I read the release announcement more closely and it seems they have a “special” xorg configuration that boosts the performance tremendously. I was skeptical, but stupidily so. The xorg configuration they made is great, I mean it’s as good as it gets. I had just tried Ubuntu 9.04 before and flash video was terrible. With their conf you can get daily show with no problem whatsoever, facebook videos with normal quality rolling beautifully, youtube not even worth mentioning. Fullscreen works great too. Glxgears outputs ~570fps. Gentlemen, they did it, hat’s off!
Card recognition depends on which one you’re looking at. The left one works great. Hot plugging working by default, and it’s really fast, wait where’s the bold, oh, really fast. You plug the card in and dare I say in less than one second Thunar pops up. My balls dropped. The right one isn’t working out of the box, but according to this post on the forums they have a solution, so it’s just a matter of making it to the distro. Strange bug though, after I tried the right card reader and then put the card back in the left reader, it stopped working. Not too worried honestly.
Software wise, you get the general assortment of xfce (4.6) apps. You know, mousepad, the ex xarchiver and shit. Then I think they made weird choices on programs. Ok, I take that back, it just comes with programs I don’t like. Audacious for audio playing, Mplayer for video. Ever heard of vlc? Bah. Also comes with this thing called “Zim Desktop Wiki” I have no idea why. A lame looking ebook reader. No office apps as of yet, not even abi word. But I’ll confess my ignorance, i don’t know what are the plans for the future on this end and I didn’t bother to look up. Either way, if you install this, you’re on your own, but this is ubuntu running underneath so installing anything I’m sure is dead basic.
Oh, almost forgot. Networking done by wicd which is awesome. I fucking hate network manager and this was really good to see. Works wonders.
Now the visuals. I was really happy when I saw that the login screen. I don’t have a screenshot but it looks really nice. The color looks really good on the screen, the fonts are beautifull. Then you login, and the background doesn’t flicker or anything, it goes straight to the desktop in this really awesome integrated experience. Sad part is, you walk beautifull to reach this sad thing
No I don’t know if it’s just me, but I hate xfce. Seriously. Thunar (the file manager) aside, it’s horrible. Look at the font on the clock. Doesn’t it break your heart? Virtual desktops are vertical instead of horizontal, no option to change it. Bah. The icons on the desktop have no reason to be uncool, but for some reason they just look terrible. Maybe it’s because of the color background behind the name of the file. Maybe it’s because they look realistic and the rest of the desktop looks like ugly cartoons. Now look at this
Window border is horrific. Default gray makes me so sad I wanna cry. It’s this kind of prison gray, innit? Oh man it’s just awfull. You know, after coming from Ubuntu 9.04 using the awesome dust theme I look at this and just make a sad face. And really after trying madbox my standards in terms of looks just exploded thru the roof, just look at this
So ok, let’s make a conclusion. I couldn’t test suspend and hibernation, but I think that’s working out of the box in Ubuntu 9.04 so I guess it’s working, but anyway. In terms of what really matters, kuki wins big time. Performance is great, hardware recognition getting very close to perfect, boot time is good too. I didn’t try it, but I used the same kernel in ubuntu and it was good then, since kuki uses even less services and shit it can only be faster. Where it loses is in using xfce which i hate, they should have sticked to lxde godamnit!, and on the desktop appearance. But this can be worked out, although I never saw any good looking xfce desktop to be honest. It’s one of those things you can leave for last, but guys, aim for the top, for the ubber distro, and do something about it. After that you can all demand preferential treatment from us, the idiots, because you godamn deserve it. Gentlemen, it took a long time but we’re getting very close. Hat’s off!
Ps: I wonder what happens if I stick that xorg conf on ubuntu 9.04 running lxde or something.hm
Can be edited with gedit for instance, not sure if you need root permissions.
If you’re only interested in changing the hostname that is sent, or rahter seen by, the network, you can change the dhcp settings.
In /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf you can see right after the initial comments this:
send host-name "<hostname>";
You edit it to something like
#send host-name "<hostname>";
send host-name "m4m";
You’re good to go.
Chromium is getting ported to linux, so why not give it a spin?
The project in hosted on launchpad, and normaly no one would need instructions to add a repository or PPAs or whatever but since they started using PGP keys, it’s not as straightforward. You can see instructions on the Launchpad Blog but I’m putting them here for future reference.
The PPAs (for ubuntu 9.04, check the launchpad page for other versions) are:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/chromium-daily/ppa/ubuntu jaunty main
And the key file is this, but save yourselve the trouble and download it already on a file from my mirror
Now go to System->Admnistration->Software Sources and under Third Party Software add the PPAs. Don’t update just yet because you’ll need the key. Under Authentication hit Import Key File and choose the file you downloaded. Now you’re good to go, update away.
The package is chromium-browser . It already has tabs but will crash on you without hesitation.
It’s in pre-alpha stage, read the warning, so don’t bitch about it.
I have temporarely defected to using windows xp since I’m having a lot of problems with ubuntu’s performance.
Everything was going sweet, blazing fast performance, but since I haven’t used windows seriously in like a year and a half I kinda lost sensitivity for it. I had no antivirus whatsoever and naturally I downloaded a crack that turned out not be a crack and now windows is completely fucked. *sigh* good old times.
Surprisingly enough, the antivirus I was familiar with in windows, Avast! and AVG, all have linux versions. There’s also this linux antivirus called ClamAV.It’s a command line antivirus. Can you see my boner? Right, you know why? Because it’s not there. There’s this other thing called clamtk in the repositories which is a graphical frontend for clamav. It has a lot of talk about signatures which I suspect is maybe the antivirus database, and starts with a warning saying your distro may or may not have them preconfigured. By them I mean two configuration files. You know, the ones that end in .conf and need to be handwritten. Right. Anyway, I tried to update the signatures and what do you know?, everything is up to date. Then I notice this
Think I’m gonna waste another second of my life with this just because it’s released under the GPL? Think again.
To install avast!, just go to the website and download and install the deb. Don’t forget you need to register with them to have a valid key. You will find it in the accessories menu and it kinda looks like this:
AVG you can get here. Nothing to point out, also appears in accessories. Now when you try to update it says “No permission to run whatever”. For a while there I thought they didn’t really mean permission, but turns out they do. You need to run it as root to update. Damn fine work AVG, real good. Fuckin assholes. Run sudo avggui in the console, or, alternatevely, right click the applications menu and go to “edit menus”. There, find avg, right click properties. Then on the command instead of “avggui” put “gksu avggui” and you’ll never have to think about this again. Here’s the screen.
What’s the conclusion? I’m dying to go back to linux and get away from 2h30m worth of throughout anti virus and spyware scans, but I need hired geeks to make my laptop run sweet again.
Follow-up: Linux Format recommends BitDefender. Looks ok, probably worth a shot.
If you want to tune your guitar in linux, you’re in for some trouble. Compiling code, problems with audio etc etc. There are millions of guitar tuners for windows, why does it have to be so complicated in linux? The solution? Use one of those millions using wine.
On Ubuntu 8.10, it just works. Double click the installer, install, access program from menu. There is some tweaking you can do in the options to control the expected noise level, I’m using something close to 30. There is no extra configuration needed, not in the tuner itself, not in the audio options in wine. If it doesn’t work, you probably have problems with the audio set-up.