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Ubuntu, Slackware and ...pulseaudio

Posted 06-07-2018 at 10:50 AM by anestis89

Before saying anything else, I want to thank Jeremy and all the people in this site
for maintaining such a wonderful space on the net. I've been a member of this forum
since 2016, not posting too much, but I learned many things about Linux here from
very knowledgeable people and I want to thank them. As I am completely self-taught
about Linux and currently searching for a job in the field as a junior admin, I hope
to contribute more in the future in the forum with my knowledge in order to help
other folks who start this amazing journey in the GNU/Linux and UNIX world.

Meeting an old friend

So, my first meeting with Ubuntu was done many years ago. I think it was the
time Unity DE was first introduced. I have to say it was a system I liked a
lot. A little different from the classic desktop paradigm, but smart and slick.
So the years passed, I went for some distrohopping and met all the basic
distros that run the linux kernel. But I had always been coming back to Ubuntu
for the different experience. My last stop was Slackware. I loved this operating
system at first sight. The simplicity and stability of this OS is beyond hilarious.

Recently, my hdd crashed. Fortunately, I had already backed up my data. I bought
a Seagate 1TB hdd to install my new system. I had two choices: the old good
Slackware or Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. The truth is when I heard about the LTS release,
I wanted to give the new Ubuntu a try. Besides, that instead of installing
Slackware 14.2 now, I could wait for version 15.0 when it was out. So, Ubuntu it is.

Unfortunately, the experience was bad. While the new GNOME 3 DE gives some
modernity and difference in user perspective, you can feel that the whole
system was in permanent state of ...lagging. I have a memory of 6.2 GiB (the other
1.8 of the whole 8 GiB goes to graphics as I have an AMD A6-7460 APU system) but
when I checked the memory, after a short time of usage, the command free -h gave me
250 MiB(!!) of available memory. I know about linux memory management (buffers, cache)
but I think that's a little too extreme. So the system felt a little slow.

Another drawback for my perspective, was the famous snap packages. I don't really
understand what is the advantage of using such packages in the first time. But I
was surprised to see that in the default installation there were four snap packages
installed instead of their counterparts from the official repos. Two of the
packages were the gnome-calculator and the gnome-system-monitor. The thing about
them was that I couldn't launch them. The system monitor snap app made about 40 secs
to launch and calculator(!) 30 secs. Of course, I purge the snap packages and installed
the repo ones. And something about system monitor: I find it a complete joke to
check your system resources with this application and at the same time being the most
resource hungry app when it is opened.

Back to slack

After trying the disappointing GNOME 3, I decided to install only slack in my
hard drive. Classic dos partition table (no need for gpt), four partitions (/boot,
swap, /, /home) and the friendly slack installer. I avoid to install the kde
packages due to lots of dependencies. In the past years I used extensively openbox
but I decided to give XFCE a go this time. Great DE. Smooth installation and ready
to slack one more time! :):)

Actually, I am planning of trying the fluxbox WM for a faster experience, but I
suppose that I have to do some reading before that because the closest touch with
a similar WM was openbox, and I know that they are a little different.

Pulseaudio problem

In my previous slack system, I always had problem with setting up sound correctly.
In the end sound worked, but after booting I had to establish the correct channel
and device in order to control the sound. In the new installation of slack, I once
more had the same experience. I couldn't control the sound with the sound indicator
in the xfce panel. I tried setting up the channel and device in a .asoundrc file but
that didn't work. And finally, I made it. The correct solution was very simple. Just
add the username in the audio group in the /etc/group file. I found the solution on the
net. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to read the manuals concerning pulseaudio
and sound settings. So, my system sound now works as expected.

Be healthy and see you in the next post. :)
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