Xubuntu issues

March 23rd, 2007 by sjan

While I am, for the most part, enjoying Xubuntu, I have run into what is a major snag for me. Sound seems to be an issue. While the startup sound plays (via the command line with aplay) the process hangs after playing and has to be manually killed in the terminal before any other sound can play. While that’s annoying, it’s not a show stopper.

The real issue here is getting anything else to play. While it is obvious that ALSA is recognizing my sound card and the proper drivers are loaded (as evidenced by the startup sound playing), there seems to be something wrong with either the drivers installed or the ALSA version installed. The only multimedia player I can get to make any sound is Rhythmbox, and then it only plays the first half-second or so of the sound and then freezes. The others I have tried (gxine, xmms, Amarok, Mplayer) all either freeze immediately (with sound files) or play the first 6 seconds of video (with no sound) and then freeze. Since I rely on my system for music composition and such, and was looking forward to the upcoming release of Ubuntu Studio next month, this will not do.

This is odd, considering that I have never before now had any issues at all getting sound to work properly on this machine, with Gentoo, Sabayon, Vector or DesktopBSD.

I may end up waiting until I am somewhere wired that I can reinstall Gentoo and then add the Atheros drivers and build the studio based on the packages that Ubuntu Studio promises. The only way I won’t go back is if I find a fix before next week when I can plug in and do a wired install.

Xubuntu / XFCE / Beryl 0.2.0

March 20th, 2007 by sjan

While I have been a Gentoo fan for a while (Portage hooked me) I have been trying out Xubuntu Edgy Eft 6.10 with Beryl 0.2.0. Here’s my take:

I have always like the XFCE environment almost as much as I like KDE, for opposite reasons (my tastes are nothing if not eclectic.) XFCE 4.4 is smooth, as always the response is quick, its lightweight nature makes it the perfect desktop layer for Beryl. Even with Beryl running, and Emerald Themes, the desktop is still quicker on my laptop than KDE 3.5 alone, and much faster than KDE on Beryl.

Under Beryl 0.2.0 my ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 actually runs with AIGLX without any glitches. With Beryl 0.1.4 I was only able to run under XGL. (I am not sure whether that was due to the drivers included with Sabayon 3.2 compared to the Xubuntu drivers, or if it is entirely the changes in Beryl.) Even with modifying Emerald themes and running with transparencies, and all the animation bells and whistles, it is a very nimble, usable system.

As far as the base desktop system installed, I am actually quite pleased with the default applications installed. While some may find the choices of programs rather limited, I prefer to have the basics and install the other things I want as I want them.

Installing was simple – in fact, this is the first distro that I have been able to install using my Atheros wireless card. (Thanks for including the ath_pci module guys!) I did run into one glitch – immediately after installing and rebooting my wireless card wasn’t found. Checked lsmod – no ath_pci. So , I tried to modprobe ath_pci but no luck. It turns out this is a know bug and I found the fix at ubuntuforums: put the install cd in tray, run sudo apt-get install linux-restricted-modules-`uname -r` and then sudo modprobe ath_pci. Once that was taken care of it was a complete breeze. I hate to admit it, but I think I am starting to really enjoy a Debian derivation. We’ll see over the next few weeks how system administration shakes out before I make my final decision regarding whether I will stick to this as my primary OS or not. Obligatory screenshots follow.

sshot-1 sshot-3 sshot-2

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