Nov 18, 2009

PulseAudio and the sound problems on Ubuntu.

PulseAudio (PA) has its problems, sure. It's relatively new and does some very advanced stuff with audio you usually don't get anywhere else. So sure it has its bugs and problems. But still people tend to blame PA for a lot of stuff its just not responsible for. For example non-working Flash sound. Flash is (on my Ubuntu machine) the last part that still uses ALSA and not PulseAudio. So its the only application that makes problems. Also a lot of people blame PA for stuff that doesn't work with ALSA, like missing or bad drivers for their sound device. PA sits on top of ALSA so it can't do and know more than ALSA does. It even fixes a few known ALSA problems with some custom code.

Also noteworthy is that Ubuntu has a history of using PA wrong. This introduces a lot of problems with end-users. Even the newest version (9.10) has stuff wrong and missing. So how can anyone blame PA for problems if the (Ubuntu) setup is wrong from the start.

From a developers point of view PA is just great. Feature wise and from the way its structured. This is how a sound server should have looked from the start. Its just a thing done right and it will stay like that for a long time. Maybe thats the reason that all jumped so suddenly onto the PA train.

I still hope that Ubuntu gets its PA integration right next time. And yeah, blame the ones responsible for the problem and not something you think is responsible ...

Nov 17, 2009

I'm so excited about the (Linux) World in motion

I follow a lot of "planet" feeds (mainly, I like getting the information on the latest and greatest features of various apps I use daily. I get the feel that Linux (I mostly watch Ubuntu stuff) is getting more and more momentum with each release. I think that Gnome, Debian, Ubuntu are definitely going into the right direction and more and more people start to jump in. Really great to see this.

Also I'm always looking out for the next good improvement. For example each time I see the default Gnome font dialog I hate it. With a few 100 fonts installed its just not usable. I'm glad I recently found this which aims to redesign the old dialog. I like to see work on these problematic but very basic areas of a OS a lot.

There are areas of Linux where I would say its ahead of other OS systems, other areas where its about equal and there are still areas where it's behind the others. The font dialog is such a area which reminds me more of Win95 than anything modern. Gnome this needs a fix badly!

An other thing is Gnome Shell. I'm still not convinced that the Gnome Shell project really brings the usability improvements it aims (or claims) for. I installed it and gave it a short try. Its not bad at all but still I don't see the benefit I get from this. It makes just switching and launching applications more time consuming but easier to follow (good for a newb). What it really achieves is to make the old broken system of virtual-desktops usable for the first time. I just ask myself if that's worth it or not ...

But it's not finished so I wait and hopefully on it's release it will be an improvement to the current Gnome Desktop. It wouldn't be bad especially from the diversification point of view. Gnome (and Linux) should not be too similar to other OS systems as with that people start to think that things should work exactly the same. They just don't understand that Linux is different and works differently. Thats also an issue I see that the new Gnome Shell addresses neatly. But still if there is no benefit from it people will simply not use it.

Oh and btw. I tried Moblin on my netbook as well. It uses a similar concept to Gnome Shell and is very usable for that type of UI. But I still wouldn't use it on a desktop.

Still I'm excited about the future of Linux, great times ahead :) ..

Nov 16, 2009


After a break from blogging, my new blog on blogspot. Let's see how I do around here. :)

still for some time, my old blog on: