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HDD Killers

Fedora Core 6

Posted on Sunday 20 May 2007

So I’m giving Linux a try again. Of course, I still need Windows for some things, games being a primary example. Other things I currently need Windows for, that you might not expect, include playing MP3s (and therefore also watching any TV series) and sanity.

So far, I guess it’s going OK, but I do have a (growing) number of complaints. Everything takes noticably longer and the PC just seems to be running slower, but I’m not entirely sure why. For example, scrolling up or down in GMail, Mint and the WordPress admin panel is very jerky, and looking at the system monitor shows the CPU usage spiking to 100% … 100% CPU usage for SCROLLING. Also, a pretty simple and low resolution visualisation in Totem Movie Player (which I’m using to play a CD), completely rapes the CPU and only has a very low framerate, I’d estimate 10 – 15 fps, slow enough to actually see the individual frames instead of seeing a smooth flowing vis.

Another gripe is that although I have many media players, Fedora has seen fit to remove the capability to play MP3s from them all, something about royalties, but it’s strange how no Windows MP3 players have that issue. Speaking of music, the sound quality seems to be very hit and miss based on which player I use, for example Totem sounds just fine, but there was another player (I can’t remember which) that just sounded awful, very crackly, like someone turned the volume up too high and the headphones couldn’t handle it, except that the sound was only on low volume.

Also, part of Fedora seems to have crashed, there are three menus at the top left of the screen “Applications”, “Places” and “System” and a few icons next to them. They just stopped working. I can’t use them. I have no idea why. I would restart to fix the problem (assuming I can figure out how to restart without using the System menu), but I am currently in the process of downloading updates, about half way through now and it’s been running for HOURS. If the system monitor is to be believed I’ve downloaded about 600-700 MB so far. At least Windows update tells you how much you have to download and gives you a time estimate, all I know is that there are ~250 package updates and it seems that they all weigh in at several meg.

So yeah, I guess my main complaints could be simplified to, “Fedora doesn’t tell me enough about what’s going on,” and “Fedora is gay for music.” Oh yeah, and there are only shit fonts, have to try and move the fonts from Windows over.

Now, it’s not all been bad, leaning very heavily that way, but not completely. For example, installing things is PISS easy. I absolutely love RPMs, they’re basically like EXEs but for Linux and they just … work. That’s good. I like that.

Fedora also comes with so many fantastic games. I particularly like Atomix, you have to build target molecules from individual atoms, it’s not as easy as it sounds though ’cause there are a couple of things that make it harder and I don’t know how to describe them, GOOD game anyway. It really has nothing to do with chemistry, and everything to do with logic and planning. Kinda want to play on it now, SHAME THE APPLICATIONS MENU ISN’T WORKING.

So yeah, that’s my experience so far, and I hope that most of the issues are fixed in Fedora 7 which gets released at the end of this month. I think I’ll be installing it soon and keeping my fingers crossed. Though one issue that I know won’t be fixed is that my very expensive and very good sound card doesn’t work. I place the blame 60/40 on Creative and Microsoft for that. Microsoft because they REALLY fucked up Vista so it’s taking Creative longer than they thought to come up with a Vista driver and software for the X-Fi series. Creative because they simply haven’t got round to it yet, having been busy with Vista (although they released the X-Fi series almost 2 years ago), but the reason they get more of the blame is because they simply refuse to help out the open source community, because they haven’t released any data on the X-Fi cards so that work on a driver can begin. All that Creative have said is this:

The X-Fi series of products are not supported under Linux. (Yet)
Closed-source drivers will be available for the X-Fi series of sound cards.
It looks like the first public Beta will be available end calendar Q3 or early calendar Q4. It has taken more resources than expect to redesign our software and drivers for Vista.
It is planned that the drivers will have full support for ALSA (playback, recording, mixer, MIDI, synthesis) and OpenAL 1.1 (with EAX effects).

Ugh, very bad form Creative. So for sound at the moment I’ve hooked up a pair of headphones to the motherboards onboard sound card and it woks flawlessly. Hooray for nForce 3! Creative could take a page out of nVidia’s book, nVidia play nice with Linux.

    Ben Rogers
    Sunday 20th May 2007 | 5:22 pm
    Ben Rogers's Globally Recognised Avatar

    LOLnix. Suse only gave me trouble with media, everything else worked fine (eg: it ran faster than windows, for me). Ahh, foreign domain and thence found ineptitude: good times.

    Monday 21st May 2007 | 1:55 am
    David's Globally Recognised Avatar

    I think it may be running slow because I haven’t installed the graphics card driver, not really sure. I’m running at the correct resolution and true colour (which it detected and set automatically, gotta love DVI), but maybe it’s just running on a generic driver or making the CPU do all the graphics work, or both.

    The problem is, to install the graphics card driver I can’t do it while X is running, which isn’t such a bad thing because I can get around OKish without a GUI, it’s just that I have no idea how to close X. I’ll have to find a tutorial somewhere.

    I have a vague recollection of installing a graphics card driver in Mandriva once, to do it I had to go to init 3 or something, then back to init 5 when I was done. And I think init 6 restarts the PC. I dunno. Blah blah blah.

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