14 Jul

Distrohopping like a Motherfucker

Category:Hacking, Hardware, random

Like the topic sez. I’ve been trying out different distros over the past weeks, and landed right back where i started. Basically. I’ve gone through Arch, Archbang, Xubuntu, Debian 6, and finally Ubuntu. This is sad to admit, but in all other distros, i had some deal breaker problems that i was unable to solve in a decent amount of time, and ended up valuing the fact that most things work pretty much out of the box on Ubuntu. I can’t believe that i’m actually giving Unity a try as well! It’s probably going out of the window pretty soon, because i just can’t get a hang of how to use this most effectively. Things are sliding in and out of view.. i can’t see what i’m running, i can’t see the menu bar until i hover over it, and.. oh god. It’s just not Gnome 2, y’know?

Arch i like. I like pacman, it feels right. It feels like 10 years ago, in a good way. But i ran into some stupid audio problems. And automounting usb sticks and the likes didn’t work as well as i hoped it would. Now, I’m not saying the issues are unsolvable, they are not. But i gave them a reasonable amount of effort, and if it didn’t work, then it was out of the game. For instance, Archbang, which is a bleeding edge rolling distro, like Arch, had massive problems with audio. Alsa lost my cards, or some mixer element, and i’m talking lost the entire /dev devices that were supposed to be there. The excellent Alsa Troubleshooting page was not able to save me, at least not as far as i could deduce. I was going to download Alsa and compile from source, but i said fuck that noise.

So here I am, typing away on Ubuntu 11.04, with Unity (shrug), and waiting for something to break so i can say “Aha! Told you so!”. Deep down i know it won’t break, not that badly anyway. Sure it’s not a rolling distro. Sure it’s for “noobs” but whatever. I mean i like to have a tool that gets the job done. Ubuntu has done a bad thing by taking in Unity, at least that’s what i feel now. I guess I’m just getting too old. But it is *still* a pretty good out-of-the-box experience. No matter how you turn it. You can still do the Gnome Classic thing, and run with what you’re used to. Xubuntu worked quite well too, but there were some issues there too. XFCE4 is pretty damn brilliant. KDE is just something i haven’t touched for so many years.. It hurt me back then. Left me creepy voicemails. I’m not taking her back.

I’ve also been giving Google+ a whirl, mainly because it is not Facebook. I hopped off that wagon over a year ago, and i haven’t looked back. Look, i don’t care how many fucking melons your Farmville farm grows. I don’t. Twitter is opt-in which i like, and you can easily grasp the concept, and with a short glance, see what people are saying. That’s the main reason for using Twitter. Brevity. Now,  Google+ is a new thing from Google. So naturally i had to try it. I got an invite from an old boss of mine, and soon i was typing away at something that is kind of like.. Facebook way back. Or an unbloated Facebook. But also not. It has some novel concepts, like the Circles, as a way to limit the distribution of whatever it is you are sharing. It’s much more multimedia oriented, which i like. It has the whole Hangout thing. It has no Farmville.

But still I’m not sure what it gives me over using Twitter. It’s status messages. It’s people’s doings and goings. It’s Google. I dunno. I probably won’t stick around, but I’ll give it a run for it’s money, that’s for sure.

At home, we’re still putting the finishing touches on the place. We’re having some people over tomorrow, god knows what that’ll be like. Tomorrow also marks the day i start my summer vacation. It could be in more relaxed circumstances, as I’ve been dealing with some nightmarish problems at work this past week. Somehow, even though i know i shouldn’t bring my work home, i end up doing that anyway. Because i feel that it’s somehow my duty. I want to do a good job, even if it means long hours. I want to make sure things are running smoothly. But i also know i desperately need a vacation. And the following four weeks are just what the doctor ordered.

Some Android bits and bobs: I’ve been running GingerReal 7.1.3 for the better part of a week now, and fucking hell it is a good ROM! My Galaxy S has longer battery life than ever, and the UI is snappy as hell. I’ll probably do a proper writeup once I’ve played around with it some more. I’ve now had my Galaxy S for a year, and the only complaint i really have is the lack of a physical QWERTY keyboard. My next phone will have that, for sure, but I might go with the Galaxy S for as long as it goes. It’s a solid phone, with a great community around it.


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