Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Can Ride a Bike With No Handlebars

This post on slashdot blew me away. I'm typing this on a Hardy/Kubunty alpha (maybe beta by now?) installation and it has been more difficult to install than several of my Gentoo installations - that's saying something.

Granted, I went with KDE4 which is simply asking for problems, but really, this was a doozie. Issues of note:

  1. Now famed Ubuntu "Black Screen of Death" - I attribute this to my having some slamming video cards, but seriously, the people's distro should *never* get itself into a place where you can't fall back to the kernel fb. When good ole' Ctl+Shift+Del can't save you from X+driver maddness, something is fundamentally wrong. For the interested, I had to drop to a recovery console and install nvidia-glx-new, then hack xorg.conf to use nv drivers, then "activate" properietary nvidia drviers. Not pleasant.
  2. Java UIs fail - mouse-over for certain Eclipse SWT widgets cores java. That is generally difficult to do - SWT is one of the more stable Java UIs out there and it dies *hard*.
  3. Probably most important, my shell gets into some wierd sound death-trap. Yes, that's right, I said shell and sound are problems. Alarm bells going off for anyone yet? Basically, the DCOP issues on the Ubuntu forums don't seem to be fixed for me anyway, my shell is trying to do something sound related (even with sould off) and hanging until I start a corresponding shell to recover the first. The scenario looks something like - start System -> Konsole -- see DCOP error message, see Konsole hang. Start System -> Konsole 3 -- watch Konsole work while Konsole 3 hangs. The two seem to be fighting for control of the KDM and one but not both work at a time. I spend ~40% of my compute time in a shell. When something that fundamental doesn't work, I freak out.
  4. FF3 widgets look like crap. That's not really Hardy or KDE4's fault, but it's true. Tabs, drop-down decorations both look simply aweful.
In all fariness, Gusty didn't install properly on this hardware. Still, I'm not seeing how things in XORG land have gotten any better, infact they may have gotten worse. Complain all you want about Windows, at least Vista on the same hardware displayed a UI without me dropping to a rescue console.

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