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Backwards into the future

So, I run Ubuntu on this here laptop. I'd been holding off on the big upgrade to Hardy Heron, but I finally started it last night. It's mostly done now. There were Problems.

* Some language localization thing, localedef, spun forever until killed, and generally messed things up. This seems common or universal, at least for those of us who went with a kernel update from the previous version in the past week. I don't know if things are fully settled now; for a while zsh was segfaulting and init wasn't taking kill commands. Oh,and localedef hadn't been responding to kill -9, only killall, and eventually not even that. Nothing is supposed to be immune to kill -9 in Unix. Bad, very bad.

* Wireless didn't work, per normal for the Compaq Presario C500, barring user intervention. This actually saw an improvement: this time I was asked for permission to go download a driver, then the wireless worked.

* Sound: this had problems in the past too, with headphones not muting the main speakers without black magic intervention. That problem didn't come back. Instead there was a new problem: massive distortion. This is commonly reported, and fixed by turning the volume down and up in software. I have no idea why that works. The volume then was too soft even at mix, but more software fixed that. The final problem is that the volume control buttons on the laptop hardware no longer work.

* The upgrade included moving to Firefox 3, which has shrunk the size of the toolbar buttons -- okay, at least there's more screen available -- done something to the fonts, so now my serif font looks too small and if I fix that, the sans font looks too big (ok, I don't know if that's Firefox or Ubuntu messing up the fonts), and the address bar is now the "Awesome bar" (no, really, that's what the developers call it.) If you type into it, it does a keyword search in your history and bookmarks, presenting a weirdly ordered list which takes up 5x the screen space of the old one, and returns fewer results to boot. Lots of people seem to love this. Other people like me, who were used to our typing serving as a prefix to what we wanted, don't like the change. There's a very obscure toggle to somewhat restore the old functionality; to get the old appearance you need one plug-in, which ignored me, or another plug-in, which is "experimental" so you have to log into mozilla to get it. From what little I've read the devteam decided to make a UI change and wants to force it on everyone, thus the minimal configurability. Also the "show all history" is now a separate window (minor) and lacks some of the sorting options, such as "by site and date". Finally, some pages don't render well -- my own LJ friends page has the text 'buttons' running right up against each other, and another page has text landing right on top of other text.

Offsetting that is the fact that Page Info is more informative, and has controls for cookies and images and such for that page. But I'm still thinking of going back to Firefox 2. Of course that had stability problems when closing tabs with Flash in them.

Once again, I suffer from the quixotic temptation to WRITE EVERYTHING MYSELF starting with an uncrashable kernel.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
Nothing is supposed to be immune to kill -9 in Unix. Bad, very bad

Unix is user friendly, but then, it is very selective who its friends are.
Jul. 26th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
kill -9 is apparently known as kill -KILL (vs. -STOP or -HUP). I hadn't actually known that before today.
Jul. 26th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
learn something new each day, and you will live longer, sounds like you are approaching immortality.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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