I no longer have much to tell at the moment, and it feels. Done literally since April I have an article in the draft State to talk about Trixbox, an oriented OS running on CentOS and Asterisk PBX/IPBX but I never had the courage to get back. So in the meantime I deliver you my adventures on the world of the free OS.
Previously, on Maniatux…
I have an ATI graphics card on my laptop, and an old. This means that the owner provided by AMD driver no longer supports and need to rely on the free. The “radeon” driver is very good, great even, boredom is lack of performance and that there is interest in having a system that evolves quickly to remedy. I was stabilized on Fedora + Gnome 2, offering to wire versions of excellent support from my machine and correct performance. And then the drama happened.
One day, Gnome 3 was imposed by default on Fedora. And me, I just can’t stand Gnome3. Everything I hate on a graphical environment is the disappearance of many elements that were valuable as a real window list able to Flash when you receive a message… or a shutdown button to me. This pushed me to go elsewhere.
Aware that Gnome 2 was dead and that all distributions migrated to version 3, I decided to test Xfce. I quickly managed to find something more or less similar to Gnome 2, at the price of some hacking.
Pro-Gnome ex I am seems to be fallen very low arriving on KDE, begging the environment to be nice to me and not me knock out with its thousands of notifications per minute, its horrible sounds and its responsible applications of menus just like a face of teenager responsible for buttons. And yet I got used. It has become my reference environment.
There is a sense, probably inherited from the workplace, that tends to make us think that when an environment is designed consistently, all the bricks are made to be assembled, we will have far less problems. KDE is like that.
The separation of Fedora?
There are currently two bones which make me eye: Debian and FreeBSD. A reading of this sentence you say probably ‘Sea it and mad’.
Debian does not seem to match the criteria I mentioned at the beginning of the article, particularly the need for a recent system for graphics performance. Yet a KDE4 with its graphical effects on Debian is very fluid and works very well. Subsequently it is not impossible to install a newer kernel and enjoy a radeon to update driver.
However I have some problems with sound on Debian, and the culprit is… PULSEAUDIO! My archenemy, the layer of complexity added to a simple and functional model. Here are two reasons why I do not like Pulseaudio:
My sound card has 3 channels for the volumes, and pulseaudio can not handle them correctly, unlike Alsa. So, I have to make any changes to pulseaudio whenever I install an OS, for that to work.
When the CPU is loaded, Pulseaudio causes horrible crackling in speakers. It is painful, but truly painful.
And I am often accused of crying for nothing, here are reactions that die hard:
“Pulseaudio is useful, it allows to redirect sound through a network”: so it’s great, I do every day and I’m sure that 3/4 of users of GNU/Linux also. Not without laughter, it must be useful to 1% of the people, so why impose it by default?
“At worst it is always possible to uninstall Pulseaudio it is not mandatory”: but of course only if! And this is what annoys me. Seriously, have you ever tried to uninstall Pulseaudio when a distro integrates it by default? It is almost impossible. Subsequently more nothing works properly. You will have sound on Totem, or so applications that make a mockery of the volume that you have set and will deliver sound to the maximum.
Now for FreeBSD. Installation of version 8.2 on my laptop has proved unsuccessful since KDE4 ramait to death and crashes are are added to it. So I downloaded a version of development of PC-BSD9 for testing. For those who don’t know, PC – BSD is a “FreeBSD distribution”. It provides a simple installer that gives you a nice KDE desktop (or other) ready to use. And we must say that it works pretty well. O surprise, I have sound from the start, without configuring anything. OSS is used and I must say that I had never tested. I have graphics acceleration and activated on KDE4 effects. On the other hand, the system is still incomplete. Many software display empty windows, the text is missing. For this reason I have not managed to connect to wifi even if the card is detected and that the applet is present. The passage of the English system solved nothing. It will take the following versions when they stabilize.
Another disadvantage of FreeBSD: the UFS file system. It is mature, proven, reliable… but slow. It is very old and was never actually replaced or renewed. Thus the use of KDE cold reveals important load times. The OS itself is long to boot off. FreeBSD appears to incorporate ZFS, but as I said in a previous article, it is not really the same goal.
After a good night’s sleep I think tackle me installing/configuring Debian Squeeze in KDE4 version to replace my Fedora 15. My secret goal is to be able to remove Pulseaudio and install a more recent kernel. When PC-BSD9 (and thus FreeBSD9) will be released in stable version, I shall comment very seriously on it.