Why I quit using Kubuntu and where I found my refuge

June 17, 2009

I has recently spoken of my experiences with kubuntu 9.04

Today I removed it from my system, due to several reasons, most on the functionality side.

  1. KDE4 would not remember the settings. My desktop widgets would get reset on every boot. (this alone is a deal breaker)
  2. Sound wouldn’t work fine. multiple sources of sound/flash problem (I needed it! youtube and media player)
  3. Microphone wouldn’t work out-of-the-box (need Skype)
  4. Hard disk drives would not auto mount. had to be mounted by typing the password each time.
  5. The themes weren’t really appealing. The plasma desktop, however was.
  6. General appeal. To quote Srik, “I always have this weird feeling that everything in Ubuntu is oversized.” I share the feeling.

Anyway, I truly couldn’t make myself try anything that did not have wubi to set it up. (separate partitions just aren’t necessary) Ubuntu, Kubuntu – tried both this month. The next release is in August, I think.
So here was my saviour… (drumroll…) LinuxMint

  1. Cool looks (yeah, its important to me)
  2. Things work out of the box (yea, Sabayon style on debian platform :P)
  3. They have a good story behind it. I liked the story (the {clem} paragraph in the About page)
  4. Everything I expect to work works (yea- graphics, flash, wireless, apt-get, drivers, codecs – you name it!)
  5. Zero post-install customization necessary (installing apps, drivers, fixing things.. )

I have further more respect for Ubuntu now, seeing that things like Linux Mint can be built on it.
Linux Mint 7 will surely stand high in the rankings of my experiences with linux distributions, and will be my current recommended distro for new users.

Windows vs Ubuntu (again)

February 26, 2008

Anyway, what brings me back here is to report my experience with Linux (again..) and contrast with windows. Btw, nowadays i have no clear preferences. I switch to the ‘other’ OS when i get some reason to, and stay there until i get a reason to get back. I don’t mind, my mail client now being online ( Gmail) , synchronization is no problem. After a long time and back after one switch to windows, suddenly a 640 x 480 resolution screen welcomes me with the login box. Fine, i was busy then and couldn’t spend time to fix it back then, went back to windows. Today, the the time was right, back to ubuntu again, actually with no specific tangible initiative. anyway, i set out to get things back right and use Ubuntu.

What had happened the last time i was using Linux (Ubuntu) was that i had wanted to write in kannada script. Baraha style. There is something called SCIM that would let me do exactly that i wanted. Baraha style! Fine. I installed that and got things going. was not as happy as with Baraha(some subtle difficiencies, will come to that in another post), but working and integration was absolutely fine.

I come and see, the text box is displaying font of half it’s height ( like that of kannada. Btw, kannada fonts are physically smaller than their English counterparts for some reason that beats me. to get the vattus and dheergas in the given space ? there must be other arrangements!! ) . Looked like a problem in the integration of the SCIM stuff onto X-server. So, i first tried to remove the link between Xorg and SCIM by removing the contents of /etc/X11/Xsession.d/75scim. No luck. then tried to remove SCIM from the system with apt-get remove scim but for some odd reason, it left behind the /etc/scim and other stuff. tried restarting the computer 😉 . didn’t help. manually performed a locate scim; and moved them all to a backup location(you never know!!). then removed kannada from System-> Administration -> Language support. things just remained as-is and it got kinda frustrating.

Only then did it occur to me that maybe i have to try a straight-forward editing of xorg.conf to set things right. opened the backup file ( on a neat GUI text editor, gedit probably and NOT vim)and looked into the screen block. things have changed. to the worse. a simple copy of the block from the backup and a Ctrl+Alt+Backspace did the trick.\

My Ubuntu is running again. and does seem a little extra responsive. Applications are opening fast and stuff. console seems all-powerful. maybe the windows-linux switch is still to get through. in a day. this may probably seem slow too and (maybe) inefficient. It’ll stay like this for sometime, until it becomes unattractive for some reason. will definitely come back and let you know..

what had happened –
xorg.conf was modified, mysteriously. with these two lines showing up in the “Screen” section
Virtual 640 480
Modes “640×480@60″

how it happened is something to think about. and the lack of something that does not let the user know about this precise cause.
okay xorg was doing its job fine. then what didn’t do it’s job fine ?

“this was the obvious thing to attempt. you should have done this first thing you saw the problem. it was a 10 s solution”
– ok. not for me and ‘then’.

another case i came across today –

K3B was giving as error “Burn Failed” for my friend here, Dilip, next door. and there was not a clue to figure things out. turned out space in /tmp was the problem. but why the hell does it need space on /tmp . and how much does it need ? i was writing from the local machine , hard disk, to the dvd. 4.5 GBs of free space in / is not quite reasonable for merely burning DVD’s in my opinion.

Again, There might be tweaks that bypass it, but ..

also maybe the space reqd was much lesser and for buffers and that was not available either.

Anyway, usability is improving day by day, release by release. Next release of Ubuntu, can be installed and un-installed from within Windows like any other software. Things look bright. More comparisons, another day. This has turned out to be a long post again..