Friday, May 28, 2010

Ubuntu, The Mute Operating System!!

So far I installed Ubuntu on more laptops than I can count and about half of them needed extra effort in order to make the sound work. Why are they spending time and mony on things like software center and cloud computing without first perfecting the most basic functions of the computer? How can I recommend Ubuntu to the average user without fear of spendings hours in the forums configuring ALSA? Why Ubuntu does not ship with the latest ALSA version? Why is it not easy to upgrade to the latest ALSA version?

It kills me everytime i see a friend with a slow Windows computer, filled with adware and Useless IE tool bars, yet I cant recommend Ubuntu for them. Something will come up; sound may not work, external display won't work, keyboard volume control wont work. And i'll get the usuall request to go back to Windows.

Having said that, Ubuntu is by far my OS of choice and I can't imagin a Linux world without it. I wish that Mark Shuttelworth would just stop wasting time on (ugly) themes and backgrounds and button locations and pour some man-hours and/or funding on the basic functions of the computer, like sound and preferals. Recently I had no problems with wifi and printing but there are problems with graphics, sound, keyboards with Fn key compinations and trackpads with scrolling. These problems seem so basic and ignorable but i have seen them be the reason why users wanted to go back to windows.

I understand that Canonical, people who make Ubuntu, are good people who helped move Linux to the mainstream but i truly believe my suggestions will improve Ubuntu and will encourage us to recommend it for more and more users.

Here is how I got the sound working under these new Sony Vaio laptops (VPCEB15FG and VPCEB15FX)
  1. Update ALSA to the latest version from this PPA (apt-get install linux-alsa-driver-modules-'uname -r')
  2. Remove sudo password prompt (dangerous)
  3. Install hda-verb
  4. Add this line to the startup programs: sudo hda-verb /dev/snd/hwC0D0 0x19 SET_PIN_WIDGET_CONTROL 0x22

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jim Zemlin & The State of Linux

Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation speaks to an invitation-only audience about the current state of Linux. Watch closely when he shows a video of a Steve Jobs keynote.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Finally, Official 64-bit Firfox?

Mozilla Firefox started its life as a fast replacement for Netscape Communicator, which was extremely slow. The light-wight browser-only Firefox was welcomed with open arms due to its speed and its light use of system resources. The idea then was that Mozilla makes the browser as light as possible and if users wanted more functionality they would download add-ons.

However, Mozilla was so successful and generated referral revenue from Google in millions. Which led to the non-profit company to expand and shift their focus away from their main product. Firefox did not become neglected but the main idea behind Firefox was neglected. They started adding more and more features to Firefox, making it heavier and heavier. This led to slowness in the growth rate of firefox and the emergence of other "faster" browsers.

Come Firefox 4. A shift back to the old ideals of faster and lighter browser. Mozilla just announced the alpha release of the web browser and this version includes the usual UI (user interface) update and faster javascript engine, two changes we are used to get with every update. However, the more noticeable new features are multiprocess support for tabs and plug-ins, and official 64-bit version.

Now Firefox will scream on multi-core machines (all new decent computers are multi-core) and will not crash. if a plug-in crashes (Flash for example) it will die by itself leaving Firefox running as if nothing happened.

Do not download the alpha version yet because its still buggy and the new UI is not all there just yet.