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I have been using GNU/Linux pretty much exclusively for about 7 years now. I have used Red Hat, Fedora, Mandriva, Mepis and Debian. In both the KDE and Gnome flavor. Lately I have experienced some problems that make me question the direction the OS is going. I could not use MEPIS on my Toshiba laptop because the sound was stuttering badly and my Atheros wireless card would not work. On Mandriva 2008 all was good, except wireless and sound. On Mandriva 2009 everything worked and I could use KDE 3.5, mostly, except for some obsoleted applications. (I still think KDE 3.5 was the best ever) Along comes 2009.1. I install it. No sound, wireless works. KDE 4, large CPU utilization and frequent application crashes. So I move to Debian Lenny, with Gnome. All is good. (Of course I have to dig up the madwifi stuff and insert the ATH_pci module, but everything thing is, in fact working. (Except for no way to switch to and use an external monitor) At least in Mandriva I had a tool to switch with. It did not work, but at least I had the tool.) Then, all of a sudden one day, after a reinstall, wireless stops working. All of the sudden I have the ATH5k module instead of ATH_pci. No signal reception whatsoever, and I am 3 feet away from the wireless access point. I remove the ATH5k and reinstall madwifi. Now I get a signal, but cannot connect.
If I use Mandriva 2009.1 One, I got wireless. (The distribution is useless to me, however, because sound does not work.)
What is my point in this rant? Well, I guess I had to vent. But also, developers, please stop releasing half-baked, buggy, and incomplete applications. There is a time to say, leave well enough alone. Quality control must improve if we are to "take over the world".
Another aside; Just think of the disaster Pulseaudio is and was!
I hope I don't have to resort to going back to Windows, that would be such a shame.
Update: I did find a distribution that presently works flawlessly for me on my Toshiba laptop. I have KDE 3.5, sound, and wireless. The distribution is Mepis 8, for 64-bit systems. Bravo Mepis!
Last edited by Olle Gladso; 09-14-2009 at 06:07 PM.
Reason: I found a distribution that gives me both sound and wireless on my laptop.
Not that I don't agree with you on some points, but "release early, release often" is a very good OOS practice and OOS works because of it. As for wireless, I can't really say I have the same issues - my laptop (8700w HP) worked like charm out of the box when I installed archlinux with kde4 from chakra and wicd, which is "da shit" if you want a wireless/wired manager that just works.
Your anger is pointed in the wrong direction. Something you need to consider, reverse engineering is difficult and has legal ramifications if not handled properly. If you don't already, please take the time to submit bug reports to the project owners, otherwise these issues will never be resolved. Also contact the manufacturer of your WiFi cards and nicely ask them to release the specifications. Linux is a community, you shouldn't treat it strictly as a commodity.
You are right. GNU/Linux should not be treated as a commodity. That is why I have purchased Mandriva Powerpack, volunteered with translations and submitted several bug reports. I also evangelize quite a bit and I am working on getting my employer (a large college) to adopt OpenOffice.
I am presently running Debian Lenny in the Gnome flavor on all my machines. I believe it to be great. Debian fits me well. It is stable and mature and with very few surprises. This Atheros wifi card issue got my goat though, I have to admit.(Worked on the problem for several days already)
I had the same problem with Atheros drivers, your not alone. I have signal, but can't connect on WPA network, only WEP and unprotected access point. It worked fine before.
ath5/9k should become a better driver than MadWifi was. It is the same team, but backed by Atheros (MadWifi was reverse engineered and mostly proprietary (ath_hal)). But since MadWifi was dropped, I never had luck with it anymore (nor MadWifi, nor ath9k). As for applications crashing in KDE, we are working on it, it is getting better. Transition from KDE3 to KDE4 was painful, but it will pay off. The KDE3 design was dieing, adding more feature was getting hard. Gnome experience similar problems, they are dropping gnome-panel and nautilus-desktop and are currently working on a plasma-like replacement based on clutter. Transition from GTK2 to GTK3 will be easier, but will also introduce less feature than Qt3 to Qt4.
It sounds like MOST of your issues / complaints are driver / configuration concerns. Those don't magically go away if you switch to windows. You might however be more familiar with how to deal with them over there. And the odds are better that the manufacturer supplied an appropriate driver for you (not to imply functional or easily installed). A lot of those particular issues can be easily fixed with an equal understanding of some basics in linux.
How many threats do we get from ranters in a year to quit Linux and go back to Windows? Anybody know? I wonder how many of these ranters have actually tried to get involved in improving Linux rather than throwing a pointless public hissy fit?
Linux is what it is. BTW, there's no "we" in "we're going to take over the world" unless you are one of the developers; in which case you should be ranting to whatever team you're on. It's not even a criterion that Linux "take over the world", anyway.
It may be possible that you did not read my post all the way through.
Anyhow, you can have all the developers in the world, but if you do not have any users, what is the point? I am not one of those "whine whine, I am going home to Mommy (windows)" people. But I am seriously frustrated with the present state of affairs and I do know a little something about computers.
Distribution: Debian Wheezy/Jessie/Sid, Linux Mint DE
I have to second the OP a big deal on his original post.
I am running two laptops at the moment, a HP Compaq NC6000 and a Lenovo T61.
The NC6000 makes reliable connections, but I have to unload/reload the driver module before it starts working.
With the Lenovo I never can be sure if and when I get a connection. Often I have to pull out a whole bunch of tricks using about all iwlist's commands and option and several networking restarts. True, I am using an outdated kernel 2.6.24. But that was because when I upgraded to 2.6.26 the wireless stopped working. Maybe that is fixed now, but hey, sometimes I just have to work instead of trying out things. Notoriously is the problem when I have to connect to a Cisco AP in my office. There is nothing wring with the Cisco, but often I find myself trying for 10 minutes before I am connected. It connects without any apparent reason, I can get any correlation between the action I do and the connection I get or not. Oh and the "wireless active" light is still broken after I upgraded from kernel 2.6.22 to 2.6.24. And I have to check /proc/what/was/that/directory/again/network/rf-kill to see whether the RF is active or not.
I am sure like myself the OP understands that many people work very hard on development, reverse engineering and debugging. Sometimes it is frustrating to see that it is not always completely succesful. Many drivers have to be developed, many times it is useful to start from scratch again if the original implementation of a driver doesn't lead to maintanable or expandable sofwtare. This should not be regarded as adding features, but seriously trying to put something good for once and for all.
Going back to Windows is a nice soundbite, but we all know the are some small but sometimes hugely annoying problems in Linux. But so there are in Windows, even more annoying, and you can be sure they are not taken seriously or solved as opposed to Linux.
It is understandable to one gets frustrated, but let's all try to use our frustration in a positive way. If it is not for developing, it can also be in general Linux support, helping newbies, finding workarounds and dissimenate the results.
But also, developers, please stop releasing half-baked, buggy, and incomplete applications. There is a time to say, leave well enough alone. Quality control must improve if we are to "take over the world".
I can still live with half-baked and incomplete applications. But I can not live with buggy applications or os's. I indeed think it's time to freeze whatever there is and start stabilizing it before adding new functionalities.
And no distro should have a fixed release cycle. Don't release for the sake of releasing when it's not ready, simple and clear. Ubuntu did that for 6.06 (should have been 6.04) and in my opinion they should have done it for 9.04 with its Intel video performance issues.
It may be possible that you did not read my post all the way through.
Probably not. Rants are a dime a dozen, though, and they all say more or less the same thing - wah wah wah. One big reason I have no sympathy for you is that THIS IS THE WRONG FORUM. LQ is not the Linux Developers Forum. Here at LQ, we have a bunch of volunteers who are trying to help people who actually have questions about how to get something to work in Linux or even the occasional Window's problem. Screaming or whining at us accomplishes absolutely nothing positive. What it does do is insult and annoy the volunteers here who would try to help you if you'd state your problem.
I'll say it again: if you don't like the state of affairs in Linux, Do Something About It. That most certainly does not mean crying about it on LQ. What it means is deciding which package(s) annoy you the most and get personally involved in the future of that package(s). Really, if it's not worth your time to actually help, then what makes you think it's worth OUR time to listen to you cry about it?
There have been a few changes in the API / kernel modules that do bug me. But you can generally work around them with a little research. Like that wireless thing, the API changed the function syntax. ndiswrapper was a little slow adopting an official release with the fix. Although an svn version that worked was up fairly quickly. And other such changes broke my martian-dev modem driver, which I had to revert to a much earlier kernel to keep using. And ATIs drop of some cards make that older driver that supports those cards only run on 126.96.36.199 or earlier kernels. It can be frustrating that such fundamental changes seem to be made for no readily apparent reason IMO. Is it some sort of deprecation process? Break it, if no one complains, then it's officially deprecated. Gotta love java, err linux.