Linux: Half way there

I don't feel completely at home on my Linux box yet. I'm still installing and playing with different programs and tools. I think I'll finally feel at home after I stop adding new things all the time and start developing in Python again.
Things that worked well:

  • Writing to a CD was very easy and intuitive.

  • Printing was a no brainer.

  • USB devices work flawlessly, it even recognized my digital camera and asked to download the pictures.

  • Maximize, really maximizes. The only thing you see is the menu. Unfortunately, the first time I pressed the key sequence I didn't know what I did and didn't know how to get out of maximized mode, which is probably why you don't see this feature in Windows.

Things that I'm still having problems with:

  • I'm a little less impressed with my sound problems. Some games work, others don't. Some work, but only if I run them from the command line. There appears to be 3 basic sound systems for Linux. Old, newer and newest (OSS, ALSA, ESD). And then sound input is a separate problem.

  • The sound quality doesn't seem to be 100% when I do get it to work.

  • The keyboard. I thought I was happy with the keyboard, but on further inspection there are some issues. I'm used to typing quote, c for รง, now I have to type 'caps lock', comma, c do to the same thing. Caps lock because I told Linux I don't like the caps lock and to use it as a compose key. Other accent's work as I expected.

  • Keyboard 2. I tried to configure the keyboard so that Windows Key, E brings up the home folder, but I couldn't get it to work. My keyboard does have a "My Home" button, and I got it to work instead.

Overall, I'm still very happy with my Ubuntu box, I just need more time to feel truly comfortable with it.


Anonymous said…
The sound situation is a bit more complicated than that. OSS, the Open Sound System, is the old, crusty sound system that is the root of all of your problems. OSS outputs sound to the sound card, which can only handle one sound input at a time. To work around this limitation, people created sound servers mix several streams together into one stream, then actually send it to the sound card. They also do nifty things like allowing you do direct sound from one machine to another over a network. ESD, or the Enlightened Sound Daemon, is one of these sound servers. When it's running, it tells Linux that it's using the sound card, blocking anything else from writing to it. This means that programs that aren't ESD aware will still try to write to the sound card, causing strange problems. ALSA, the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture, is the sound system that has replaced OSS in the Linux kernel recently. It has several advantages to OSS, one of which is the ability to mix several streams together on its own when a plugin called dmix is enabled.

The good news is that dmix is enabled by default in Breezy, the next version of Ubuntu. Hopefully that will fix most of the sound problems you're having.

Just in case you haven't heard, there are many places where you can get help with Ubuntu. There's the Ubuntu wiki, which has several guides and solutions to common problems people encounter, and the #ubuntu IRC channel on You can get to it by firing up X-Chat in the Internet menu, and connecting to the server labeled "Ubuntu Servers". Good luck, and welcome to Ubuntu!
Scott Kirkwood said…
Thanks Niran,
I know about the wiki and browse it nearly constantly. On my most recent blog I discovered my main problem (missing character in a esd.conf file!). Now sound works better, can't wait for the next version of Ubuntu.

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