[conspire] Ubuntu 6.10

Edmund J. Biow biow at sbcglobal.net
Thu Dec 28 16:28:35 PST 2006

Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 17:28:59 -0800
> From: Daniel Gimpelevich <daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us>
> Subject: Re: [conspire] Fwd:  Ubuntu 6.10
> To: conspire at linuxmafia.com
> Message-ID:
> 	<pan.2006. at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> On Wed, 27 Dec 2006 15:25:34 -0800, Edmund J. Biow wrote:
>> You guys are far too kind.  Quit it.
> OK. You suck! Happy?
Ah, that feels much more familiar, thank you.
>> Forget about compositing 
>> windows managers altogether if you have an Via Unichrome or an old Rage
> Are you sure? There are two different drivers for Unichrome, and to get
> the good one, you have to recompile X.org, because no distro ships it, and
> both drivers are still being worked on. Unichrome typically has 64MB VRAM,
> and Rage can have up to 32MB, but current ATI cards are typically half a
> gig. How much is enough?
Well, good, I'm glad they are making progress towards supporting 
Unichrome.  From my brief look on the net it looks like there is still a 
ways to go.  But reportedly there is no hardware reason there shouldn't 
be compositing support for the VIA driver.  From a Wikipedia article on 
the S3 Savage: "As an interesting note this old card can do Direct 
Rendering in Unix and Linux Operating Systems using the savage driver, 
opening the possibility of composite rendering using Aiglx or Xgl and, 
Compiz, Beryl or other composite managers." 

Apparently VIA's commitment to open source is somewhat problematic, as 
well, not unlike Intel's and others. 

In my limited experience the stock VIA driver is still pretty raw for 
xorg 7.1.  In Arklinux 2006.1 on a KM400 using VIA whenever I try to 
start Stellarium or Celestia I get booted out of X rather quickly.  I'm 
sure it will be worked out.  Compiz is still very much beta technology 
and is developing very rapidly.  Heck, the community has gone from 
X11R6.8.2 in February of last year to 7.2 and Compiz was just released 
by Novell this year.  I'm not a technical person (as is abundantly clear 
from my posts), but I'm a little worried about criticisms of X itself 
that I've read, e.g.:

What I do know is that I can scroll through a directory of photos much 
faster on my box using Windows and ACDSee than I can on the same box 
using Linux and GQView or showimg or gtksee.  I always attributed it to 
the fact that Windows is able to use display adapter hardware 
acceleration better because the manufacturers have such snuggly 
relationships with Microsoft.  It still isn't enough to get me to use 
Windows but has caused me to consider laying out serious amount of bread 
to snap in a nice GPU to replace the onboard Unichrome in my living room 
SFF box so I don't feel so embarrassed by the lag between images when 
I'm showing friends vacation photos on the TV over S-Video.

Speaking of cheapskates, Unichrome  and Linux, today Fry's has a 
complete computer for $100, no rebate, running Linspire. 
128 MB DDR
40 GB hard drive
10/100 ethernet
AMD Geode NX 1750 CPU
 From Wikipedia: The Geode processor core is derived from the Cyrix 
MediaGX processor and optimized for low power consumption and low cost.  
It is targeted at the embedded market and will be used for the $100 
laptop.  The NX version of the Geode is based on the Athlon Thoroughbred 
core with 256kb of level 2 cache and can run without a fan to 1 GHz. 
(1.4 GHz) NX 1750 at 14W: Clock speed: 1.4 GHz, power consumption: 25 watts.
For more: http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS7590630230.html

I'm not advocating that anyone rush out and buy a "GQ" computer, I just 
thought it was interesting.
> That said, because of Intel's modest efforts I am shopping for an Intel 
> motherboard and CPU for the first time since my Celeron 333 circa 1998.
> The Core 2 is apparently a great CPU (after Intel was very much behind
> the price/performance curve since the introduction of the Duron/Athlon
> line IMO) but I don't need top of the line oomph and the AMD X2 uses
> less energy with the right motherboard.
> If you're a fan of DRM/TPM, by all means, get all the Intel hardware you
> want. If not, contribute to improving the Linux situation on AMD-based
> motherboards.
You'd think Intel would have learned their lesson with Pentium III and 
how poorly the Processor Serial Number was received.  They quietly 
discontinued PSN in 2000.  I have read that all the big hardware makers 
were getting on board the DRM train, though of course Intel was in the 
engine, as usual.  Microsoft and AMD are both members of the Trusted 
Computing Group. 
I guess AMD's Presidio is not quite as offensive as Intel's Palladium, 
though.  When privacy is made illegal only outlaws will have privacy.
>> virii
> No such word.
Next you're gonna tell me boxen and mouses are not proper words.
>> if you don't run Windows Update and keep forking over ducats to McAfee 
>> or Norton.
> When M$ dumped both McAfee and Norton as certified development partners,
> they lost the access to the Windows internals they relied upon to keep
> their databases up to date, and stopped catching new malware in a timely
> manner. The anti-virus purveyors who never had that status, and thus never
> relied on it, including both free-as-in-beer and free-as-in-speech ones,
> suddenly started intercepting things left and right that Norton and McAfee
> couldn't see.
The theory I read to explain why the small players did better was that 
the malware makers were keying in to McAfee and Norton because they what 
came preinstalled on most computers.  Most people don't bother to keep 
paying for the services once their 3 month trial subscription lapses, 
but assume they are still protected despite the nag screens that they 
dismiss every time their boot up.  Plus, folks who use the alternative & 
often free AV screeners like AVG, Grisoft, AntiVir, etc., tend to be 
more experienced and more likely to actually update their definitions & 
use other products to scan for trojans & bots.  McAfee & Norton are the 
biggest, weakest targets. 

In my experience Norton in particular might as well be a virus.  It bogs 
down computers more than any similar product I've ever seen.  My 
experience from using a wide range of Norton products in my Windows days 
was that they were as likely to trash your system as to be helpful.  
Just last month I "fixed" someone's computer by removing the Norton 
stuff that had come preinstalled and had locked down the Internet (and 
of course, she had a bit of malware as well, which I hopefully cleaned 
up with Defender, Spybot and Antivir). 

I didn't particularly like the woman.  She called me back a few days ago 
asking me to put Windows on a laptop a relative had bought from work 
after they'd wiped the OS.  When I said I'd be happy to if she bought a 
copy of Windows and paid me for my time she said that she thought 
Windows was free and tried playing the 'school child going off to 
college' card (I get that regularly from Windows users who refuse to 
follow my advice).  Later it came out that when the company sold the 
relative the laptop they told him that he'd have to buy a copy of 
Windows for about $100, so she was just caging me to load a pirated 
version, I guess. 

Most laptops I've seen have a license key taped to them.  I guess if I 
could locate the version of Windows that the computer came with I could 
legally install it and get through product activation and WGA.  I've got 
a copy of Windows 2000 and a copy of XP Pro that I got for $15 after MIR 
with a bunch of hardware when it was first released.  If the laptop has 
a license for XP I believe it is legal to install an older version 
instead (at least that's what a network administrator friend told me who 
blows W2K on boxes that have XP licenses).  Personally, I prefer W2K to 
XP anyway.

But like I said, this woman rubbed me the wrong way, maybe because she 
parked her huge white Explorer SUV in my neighbor's drive way instead of 
parking it half a block down the street when she dropped off her 
machine.  Next time she borks her system maybe I'll just install 
SpamThru, a Trojan that automatically installs a pirated version of 
Kaspersky AV that cleans up any rival infections.  At least it will 
update itself and she'll only have one piece of malware.
>> But we are kidding ourselves if we think that Linux doesn't have a 
>> steeper learning curve than Windows, even if you only compare properly 
>> set-up systems.
> I don't just think that Windows's learning curve is steeper, I _know_ it
> is. Your Fedora sound example is merely an example of why Fedora isn't
> really suited to anyone. Fedora is a bigger obstacle to displacing Windows
> as a dominant OS than pre-installation.
That's one opinion.  I use Fedora and Blag (a Fedora based distro from 
Brixton) and can't honestly say that it is any buggier than other 
distros (Sarge excepted). 
>> I've installed Ubuntu specifically because of those tools because I 
>> thought they'd make my life easier.
> No wonder you were disappointed. Those tools aren't what make Ubuntu make
> your life easier; not dealing with the kinds of problems you had under
> Fedora are what make Ubuntu make your life easier.
Dunno.  I've had plenty of weird random problems with Ubuntu. 

To stick to issues with listening to music the Edgy version of XMMS, for 
instance, freezes if you enable the Double Size option unless you beckon 
it using 'export XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS=1 && xmms'; it doesn't have 
ID3v2 support (unlike Sarge, which I'm listening to at the moment), and 
for some reason, all the fonts look like crap on XMMS (and certain other 
GTK programs) on every version of Ubuntu I've seen.  I like a 
Winamp-like interface that starts quickly by double-clicking a file and 
that can read a relative playlist.  As far as I know except XMMS no 
other Linux audio player does that.  I downloaded a lot of media players 
and none of them did what I wanted.  BMP, BMPx and Audacious are not in 
the repositories, not that I think they would fit the bill.  I tried 
downloading ZINF, which I remember from Windows.  It crapped out 
(<unknown>:8943): Gdk-WARNING **: Attempt to draw a drawable with depth 
24 to a drawable with depth 32

In Windows you double click on Winamp.exe, install it, and sure, it 
phones home all the time, but it does 'just work'.  I don't need to 
Google, browse forums, then plug in some arcane code when I'm 
associating file types with XMMS.
>> I've installed every release of Ubuntu since 4.10 & I just 
>> don't see what everyone else apparently does in the distribution.  
>> Particularly Edgy has been much buggier & more annoying than the 
>> competition in my opinion.
> When I saw 4.10, I thought, "Well, here's another distro I'll never use."
> But gradually, I started noticing more and more hype about 5.04, so I
> figured I'd give 5.10 a try (in July 2005), and it immediately exceeded
> all the buzz about 5.04, without even being released. Eleven months later,
> when I saw 6.06, I immediately realized all sorts of things wrong with
> 5.10 that were now right. That set the bar rather high for 6.10, so a
> disappointment was already in the making, and it turned out to be worse
> than I ever imagined. Edgy Eft is to be avoided.
I installed Kubuntu 5.04 and it is still working in some incarnation.  
At some point an upgrade borked X, but luckily it did the same to 
thousands of other people, so a work-around was available and I was able 
to boot to the command line and fix it.    At some point I got some file 
table corruption and had to do a 'e2fsck -v -y /dev/x' after using the 
boot CD. I've never had to do that with any other distro. Probably just 
a fluke, but again, it apparently happened to many others, so I found a 
solution easily.  I was reasonably happy with 5.04 and really looking 
forward to the next version. Then I upgraded to 5.10.  It took going 
back to the command line, screwing around in the forums, multiple 
'apt-get dist-upgrade -f' and maybe 2-3 GB of downloads, but eventually 
I got a working operating system.  When 6.04 came along I decided that 
5.10 was good enough.  But I installed Breezy & Badger on a friends' 
boxes, and I guess it went OK, but I didn't find them compelling and 
didn't set them up at home.  However I did put Edgy Xubuntu on my laptop 
and Kubuntu on a box in the attic.  Both of those installs provided an 
above average amount of aggravation, so I guess that colors my opinion 
of Ubuntu.

By comparison, Sarge has been largely trouble free running 24x7 (except 
for shutting off a couple of times in the middle of the night, which is 
probably a hardware glitch).  I think maybe Ubuntu's commitment to 
releases every 6 months may be a factor.  No wine (or for that matter 
any other emulator) before its time.  I'm really looking forward to Etch 
being released as stable, but every time I hear that there is a delay I 
think 'Take your time, guys.'  But I think there may be something else 
going on with Ubuntu, as well.  For a couple of years I ran Kanotix, an 
installable live CD based on Sid Vicious,  and didn't have as many 
upgrade Gotchas as I had with Kubuntu.  (BTW, Kanotix still runs, it is 
just on an older machine I don't boot anymore, waiting for a good home.)
> The incentive is stronger for hardware makers; if 
> suddenly 20% of desktop users were using an open source operating system 
> companies like Broadcom might be more forthcoming providing 
> documentation and being less insistent upon non disclosure agreements so 
> they don't find themselves excluded from purchasing decisions.
> Broadcom would be idiots to open anything up even if 80% of desktop users
> were using a free-as-in-speech OS. They get included in purchasing
> decisions more by keeping stuff to themselves so that software has to be
> fully reverse-engineered than their competitors who fumble along trying to
> appease a community that they don't really understand. You may find what
> Broadcom has done to be distasteful, but in the end, it has resulted in
> freer software for their hardware. 
I'm not sure I follow this.  Don't we still have to use ndiswrapper to 
use Broadcom wifi?
> While some may say this was in spite of
> them, I say it was because of them. You compare them to Sun, but when was
> the last time Sun made hardware that wasn't open? Clearly, Sun is far
> closer to being a part of the community than any 802.11 manufacturer will
> ever be. Also, nobody cares about what Real does anymore.
Sun makes server hardware and Linux is a dominant player in serverland. 
They'd be nuts not to support Linux & release technical specifications.  
One of the reasons Linux has pretty good laptop support is that laptops 
share a lot of components with blade servers.  
> ------------------------------
> Message: 3
> Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 19:05:48 -0800
> From: "David E. Fox" <dfox at m206-157.dsl.tsoft.com>
> Subject: Re: [conspire] Fwd:  Ubuntu 6.10
> To: conspire at linuxmafia.com
> Message-ID: <20061227190548.590da546.dfox at m206-157.dsl.tsoft.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
> On Wed, 27 Dec 2006 15:25:34 -0800
> "Edmund J. Biow" <biow at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>> A few distros currently support Compiz for the reverse engineered open 
>> source ATI driver, but until very recently if you wanted wobbly windows 
>> with your Radeon you needed the proprietary FGLRX driver.  And 
> Hmm. Is there much of a chance of getting this to work on a somewhat
> underpowered Athlon 1000 with a Matrox G450? 
I hope you can make it work.  Matrox makes such a nice card if you are 
not a gamer.   I've read no one has ever improved upon their 2D 
quality.  And I love dual head cards.
>> By the way, I've heard it bruited about that Compiz doesn't require much 
>> pop from a video card to get all the pretty effects, but I've got to 
> I got that idea, but also had been initially discouraged from trying it
> because of a perception that it needed much more recent video cards of
> the supercomputer variety (think about it -- does anyone really *need*
> 256 megs on a video card?) :)
640KB should be enough for anyone.

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