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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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