Ubuntu, Bite My Ass

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The other day I decided to take my iMac-DV with dead harddrive and fix it, and put 10.3.9 on it. It's been sitting around taking up too much space and not doing anything for too long. So I pulled the old dead disk out and put an old, not-dead disk in, and put 10.3 in. 10.3 complained about needing a firmware update before it could install.

At this point, if I was smart, I would have gone to Apple's site and grabbed the update, and learned the horrible truth, however, I'm not that bright. I stuck in my 10.1 disk and installed for an hour or so. THEN I went to Apple's site to get the update, only to find that you have to boot from < OSX to install the firmware update. No classic, no CD boot.

Rather than install 9.2, install the update, then install 10.3, I decided it would be a swell time to try Linux PPC. I have been reading a lot of people saying a lot of really nice things about Ubuntu. I like KDE, so I got Kubuntu.

After install, my mixer wouldn't work right. It had a "master" slider, which was totally ineffective, and no PCM slider, which I would guess would have solved all my problems. I googled for a while and didn't come up with much, so I decided to try again later, and moved on with life.

In browsing a few sites, I found that life without Flash kind of sucks. That is NOT Ubuntu's fault, it's Macromedia's fault, but it still sucks.

MP3 support is abysmal out-of-the-box. Basically google for things and get the packages you need. Amarok has a site for "how to make MP3 work in Ubuntu". They shouldn't need to do that. SuSE has "install non-free stuff now" checkbox in their installer, which you can use to install things like NVidia drivers. Ubuntu/Kubuntu should do something similar. No "average Joe" user is going to want to not be able to play MP3s.

Then all my standard Mac/PPC complaints came up. I couldn't play much video because of CODEC problems. I had kind of figured that would happen. In Linux/x86 it's pretty easy to deal with, since you can just copy MS codecs, if you don't have a problem with that sort of thing.

Then I decided to try and get Mac-On-Linux going. I installed the package, and started going through the setup, and crammed my OSX.3 disc in. MOL failed badly to make it through video setup, and I decided that this was the time to give up, install 9.2 and upgrade my shit. MOL's failure is also, I'm sure, not Ubuntu's fault. But the fact that I COULDN'T EJECT MY FUCKING CD IS. I could not use 'eject' as root, I could not do the happy windowy thing and right-click-eject in KDE, which uses keject. The CD wasn't mounted, wasn't spinning or anything. I killed any task started in the last 15 minutes, which included several copies of mount and several stacked up ejects. Logged out, logged back in, no good. Reboot, log in, sudo eject, done. End of Ubuntu.

I'm not blaming Ubuntu for things which are clearly not their fault, but if this is supposed to be the "easy linux for the average person who doesn't want to know how things work", it's not working out that well, at least on PPC and Kubuntu. I didn't really like the fact that there was no apparant Ubuntu hardware manager or detection utils that I could get at within 5 minutes. SuSE (my distro of choice) has YaST, RedHat/Fedora has whatever they have that works well enough. I'm not new to Linux, and I can find and hand-hack whatever file to make my sound card work, but it's a crappy Mac and I didn't want to have to mess with it much to make it go. The MP3 thing annoyed me, and I just decided I didn't want to mess with this noise for what is really a tertiary machine to me. Maybe I'll use it monthly at best.

10.3 is in, things are ok and updated, and this machine is now going to get turned off again for another month until I decide to mess with it more.

I might try LinuxPPC again later, I might not, with Apple moving to Intel, one of the big PPC platforms going away isn't going to help spur Linux PPC development, which is unfortunate. I may also try Kubuntu again on Intel to see if I can figure out what all the fuss is about. I may not, who knows.

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