- Big <3 to all the volunteers who have come out to clean. The city looks… better :/ #
- So proud of the patience the VPD is showing! You guys rock! We're sorry #
So after a few failed attempts at installing Ubuntu 11.04 on my parents computer I thought I’d give Fedora 15 a try. It worked.
The install was pretty painless, and no weird unresponsive 10 to 20 minute pauses, so that was nice. Rebooted, logged into Gnome Shell.
It’s ok. It’s not bad. I like it better than Unity, but both of them suffer from the developer “my hands are always on the keyboard, why can’t I launch apps by search” syndrome. That’s cool for you, but sometimes if I have one hand on the mouse I just want to use the mouse to lauch apps and having to fling or click the top left of the screen, then move to the other side to click applications and the find my app in an unsorted list that over fills a screen is not optimal. At least Gnome Shell obviously offers the categories on the side to filter by. But at this point it is way way slower than the old Gnome menu was. Also, not offering an window list for me to easily toggle between apps? Either I again have to fling or click the top left and the select my window from a different display or Alt-Tab it. It’s like these new exciting GUIs are less friendly to traditional graphical interface tools like… a mouse. They are more friendly to keyboard combos.
Still, ranting aside, Gnome Shell was ok, and definatly better than Unity. And it and Fedora were more stable, why, this system has been runing for over an hour, and no random crashes. There are a few visual artifacts but I guess that’s just what I get for runing Linux on a new AMD Radeon 6500. Maybe in half a year there won’t be visual artifacts.
What really got me though was how much worse package management is on Fedora than it is on Ubuntu. It’s a colossal pain. Ubuntu / Debian have really spoiled me. Flash didn’t come with the system, so I followed online advice and downloaded the YUM and then it installed and nothing happened. But then flash was in the package manager, except it just sat there with a “Waiting in queue” message doing nothing for like 10 minuets with no way to fix. Awesome. And searching for apps? *Office also doesn’t come installed, and good luck trying to find it. I search Libre Office all kinds of ways. Among the truly large amount of not Libre Office results, the one that was closest that I usually got was “Libre Office development”… I eventually gave up and found a .doc file and tried to open it and Fedora then asked me if I wanted to install Libre Office Writer. Why yes I would. Then the installer went to work, it looked like it froze on the download, but with so little feed back it was hard to tell so I left it alone for a while and it sorted it self out. It’s just really not remotely helpful.
Finally, one of my mom’s favorite features on the computer is making a screen saver of all her family photos (they had several thousand photos and slides digitized recently) and it appears Gnome Shell has abolished the screen saver…. Really? Also, one of the other winning features of Gnome 2.0 for my Mom was I could place absurdly large icons of her few apps (Web Browser, Office, Picture folder) on her desktop. Not any longer.
All this new “usability” seems to make things more of a nuisance for me and simply remove key features my mom relied on. Critical regressions. I’m pretty sad.
More on Unity and Ubuntu 11.04 from Tom’s Hardware
This is actually a solid in depth and good review of Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity. It actually hilights some functionality I didn’t know about. It’s in someways the missing documentation Unity really needed. Also i politely outlines some of the previously mentioned grievances.
Over all I have a new… understanding of Unity and what it’s trying to bring, even if the current implementation falls a little short, and I also have a better idea of how to make it work. The final verdict from Tom’s Hardware is still that there is no burning need to upgrade from 10.04 however if that’s working for you, wait until 11.10 when more of the issues have been fixed. Also their conclusion contains some alarming comments about Gnome Shell/Fedora 15 which I hope to test soon.
I hope Canonical and the Unity team take some of the recommendations to heart and we see some solid improvements in the next version of Unity, and also some better stability :)
Family got a new computer and Mom wanted Ubuntu on it. A good sign. They’ve won her over. The battle should be done right?
- Time spent waiting while the installer is unresponsive and gives no indication it is working or if it is dead: 30 minutes
- First install booted up with a thin stripe of graphics about 1cm tall at the top of the screen and blank black for the rest. Completely unuseable
- Second install, I chrooted it from the liveCD, updated all the software and installed fglrx
- Second install booted, started using Unity (the new Ubuntu interface):
- Only a few visual artifacts :/
- Software discover-ability is about zero compared the the old well structured Gnome menu :(
- Having to type the names of the apps I want or sort through a giant unstructured alphabetical list of all software installed is not the way I want to launch my programs and is slow and cumbersome
- Also, after typing there is a noticable pause before the search list populates. Live AJAX web services like google search which are remote are/feel more responsive :(
- New sidebar buttons are huge, greatly limiting the number of shortcuts I can pin to it
- No smooth and wobbly windows anymore.
- No applets
- After about 30-45 minutes use the screen blanked. I changed to a shell (alt-f1) and rebooted. It booted up and the monitor got no signal. Repeated with same result. It completely died. (remounting from the liveCD Xorg.0.log reports some problem with the fglrx driver not loading (but it worked from the liveCD and for the first while of the fresh install?). What happened to the good old indestructible bullet proof X Ubuntu touted a few years ago? Do modern graphics cards no longer support fall back graphics modes like VESA?)
- Mom is stuck with Windows 7 because it works
- In Tofino in a sweet beach resort waiting for a wedding to kick off reading O'Reilly's "Canvas Pocket Reference" :) Life's good #
links for 2011-05-21
Simple Manifesto on being productive
On how "helpful" search and social technology is actually isolating us
NSA guide to securing RHEL 5
Cortex and the Cult of Done
Coding, Cortex, git, Life, Productivity
I just stumpled upon the Cult of Done Manifesto on Hacker News yesterday and I like it. It seems like some good advice, and I sure haven’t been too productive as of late with my new job going on, so in the first act I’m releasing what I do have done for Cortex. I set up a github repo for cortex and pushed the latest code. The master branch is a slightly improved version of Cortex from where it was last year for the BCNet presentation and the modular branch is a work in progress to chop it up and make it more modular for better future extensibility. I’ve been stalled on it but as the guide suggests that may be mental and either way I should get what I have out there. Now I can more happily comfortably move on (if it’s been stalling me, which i think a little it has) or even work on it more, now with less “pressure” of some looming release ahead of me :). So there it is, Cortex.
Also, things like Febrice Bellard’s Java Script CPU emulator that can run Linux are amazing, imressive and inspiring, and make me realize I really need to to more hacking.
So here’s to getting stuff out there! I want in on the Cult of Done.