[SOLVED] I hate linux sometimes, because of my video card. Getting a new one.
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The radeon hd 3870 has long suffered from poor drivers. I would switch to another card and driver and start checking different Distros on Live CDs until you find one or two you like more than the rest and start working out everything to suit.
Interestingly enough, one user commented on Firefox not rendering correctly until an update and so did the OP (maybe if I understood that correctly)... After a recent install on my Windows 7 desktop, Firefox was doing some disturbing rendering, but Chrome or even IE (oh the shame) wouldn't. So I'm not sure one of your issues is entirely caused by Linux - always remember if your not on supported hardware - your going to have to tinker and curse.
Pick a GUI that you like, pick a distro that does what you want or create your own once you have your issues fixed or nailed down. I use Fedora for my POS work laptop because its new and buggy as hell, but due to the quick pace of updates, most of my issues have been resolved over time. For stable development, I use Debian, but I could just as easily use another distro.
I can offer some suggestions. I've used Linux off and on since the 90's. It has never become my main computing environment, and never will, because it will never do what I need it to, or run the software I need to use. I've simply come to accept that as reality. I figure if I have to run Windows in an emulator to get things done, it's really not worth the effort at that point.
The bugs you complain about exist in Linux because most distros are basically a few guys hacking around in their spare time. There will always be bugs like that for that simple reason. You don't see bugs like that in Windows or MacOS because Microsoft and Apple have literally thousands of people working to make sure that they don't exist. Every pixel is in place because a lot of effort and money is put into making it that way. The Linux community is much more diffuse, and effort is expended in every direction. Distros and apps are forked every day and diluted even more. People get tired of working for nothing and move on to something else. Teams have disputes and fragment. That's the reality. That being said, there are a lot of good, solid, well-supported distributions out there. Some are free, some aren't. CentOS is rock solid. So is OpenSuse. Fedora and Mageia are well-polished, up-to-date distributions. So are Mint, Ubuntu and it's official derivatives (some of the wildcat ones, not so much). Debian stable is another distro that should just work. I haven't really seen all the issues you describe, but I've seen a few, it just goes with the territory. I tend to stick with the bigger, well-supported distros, and ones I don't have to do a lot of configuration on. I don't run cutting-edge hardware, so I've rarely had any hardware compatibility issues. It sounds like you might just need to try a different video card. I use a Radeon HD5770, and I've never had a single issue with it.
Firefox seems to have a number of bugs in recent versions, even in Windows...that's really a Firefox issue, not a Linux issue. My Firefox in Windows 8 crashes pretty regularly, on my desktop.
Last edited by guyonearth; 04-22-2013 at 03:49 PM.
You don't see bugs like that in Windows or MacOS because Microsoft and Apple have literally thousands of people working to make sure that they don't exist.
A little off-topic regarding the OP's post, but . . .
Despite all those paid people developing the system, it was a few bugs in Windows that annoyed me enough to switch to Linux.
Windows is not free of bugs. Most Windows users accept bugs as part of computing reality, but many people regard the tiniest bug in a Linux system as evidence of open source's inferiority. (Not a stab at guyonearth. Just a general observation.)
I have screen tearing because I have an ati card that is on the legacy drivers ...
If you can afford it purchase a cheap (i.e., GForce 8400 GS Nvidia card). Nvidia cards work much better in Linux from what I have read. I have been using a Nvidia GForce 8400GS for a while now with the Nvidia driver without problems.
Originally Posted by Pale
Everything I want to do It seems like I have to jump through hoops to make it work. ...
Being on the steep end of the learning curve is never fun. I have been there.
There is no magic distro that has been custom designed to suit all of your needs. You just have to find something that you like and learn how to optimize it to suit your needs.
Originally Posted by Pale
Recommend a distro for me please. Offer some words of hope perhaps. Thank you.
As other have said, I would recommend Slackware, or Salix, which is essentially the same as Slackware with some beginner friendly tools thrown in as well as a more simplified installer.
The way that I avoid many issues with Linux is by not updating software frequently. It still takes time to solve problems, but once they are solved I don't get new problems.
Stick to the stable releases of distros and resist the temptation to install updates. Avoid KDE desktop effects, or at least install an older version such as 4.9.5.
I can recommend Slackware because the releases tend to be stable and the emphasis is on using proven versions of software rather than having the absolutely newest versions. Slackware doesn't automatically update anything, and I consider that a good thing.
The reality of Linux is that one must choose some of the hardware carefully to avoid problems. Graphics cards, fake RAID, software modems, scanners, wifi chips and printers are usually the problem areas. I've found that building my own hardware or buying off-the-shelf Linux compatible PCs is the best way to get a solid Linux system. When buying a retail computer with Windows it is necessary to look carefully at the hardware to see if it works well with Linux. A very new graphics card or motherboard chip-set might not be as well tested with Linux.
I've used both nVidia and AMD/ATI graphics cards. I've had some Linux driver installation and bug issues with both kinds. The way that I avoid them is by not updating the kernel or the graphics drivers frequently. I also try to avoid updating X Windows. When there is a display problem, one of the first things that I do is disable frame-buffer support. The second thing that I usually do is test with a previous driver version that was working well for me in the past.
Even when building a kernel, it is a good idea to test for a while with one of the pre-built kernels. When there are problems, test kernel options individually instead of making a lot of changes at one time. Also, decide what kernel options are needed and then don't keep changing them.
Looks like I need to get a new graphics card. I was already using the FOSS drivers, so I tried installing the proprietary drivers from amd's website. I could have installed them but my package manager lacks the headers needed for my kernel, and I don't want to downgrade.
The graphics problem is the biggest annoyance.
Looks like I'll get a new graphics card and I'll check it out for linux before buying. I wanted one anyway. With steam gaining more linux support I think I'll go with Nvidia.
Sorry for getting frustrated... :/ Thanks for all the input. Linux is still fun! :P