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You though NVidia was bad, don't try AMD

Remember when Linus Torvalds lambasted NVidia for not supporting their Optimus technology in their Linux drivers for half a decade and counting? Well, I went out and bought an AMD/ATi video card as mu upgrade. And you know what? Its Linux drivers are far, far worse than NVidia.
1. Most of the games I had working fine on NVidia, do not work on AMD. And those that do suffer far more visual corruption, synchronization bugs (like bottom 40% of the screen rendering half a second after the top 60%), strange visual artifacts (weird triangles popping out of everywhere) and crashes, lots of crashes.
2. There were crashes with NVidia too, but NVidia never managed to crash Compiz along with it or crash the whole X server or lock up the system so far that only SysRq works or even lock up the system so far that only powering it off manually works.
3. And then there is the configuration atrocity. Apparently AMD is too good to store its configuration in /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Or even to document the supported options there. Instead they have their own (also undocumented) configuration file in /etc/ati folder. And it is undocumented because it is a cryptic mess and the only supported way to change it is to use their tools - aticonfig and amdccccle. The command line tool is almost reasonable, except it is also barely documented. For example, one of my screens somehow was always stared at 1920x1080@30Hz. There were 3 different ways to specify default resolution, but none of them used or saved the refresh rate. And when I changed it in the GUI tool - the refresh rate did change, but it was never saved. Oh there nowhere is a save button. It 'just works', except when it doesn't. Like: both of my screens for some reason started with huge black borders around the screen, I finally narrowed it down to the GUI setting "overscan" which defaulted to 10%. Ok, so I change it, it works, but next time I reboot, the overscan is back! I had to find an undocumented invocation of the aticonfig that would change the default value to 0%. Why did this one setting not save? Oh and fun note - the refresh rate of that second screen was correct on the login screen, but it then swiched back as I logged in. Fun, huh?
4. Even at basic desktop tasks fglrx if inferior to not only the free driver, but also to the nvidia driver - even simple scrolling of a large folder in nautilus seems to tax the 200$ card to its limits - the bottom row blinks into place almost half a second after I stop scrolling. Another example - with NVidia when I switch my TV to the HDMI input from the card, the sound starts at the same moment as the picture, however with AMD the sound only decides to show up 10-15 seconds later. And sometime it does not show up at all, unless I start the AMD Control GUI tool and only then the sound shows up 15 seconds later (without doing anything in the GUI).

Ubuntu 10.04 and NTFS filesystems

subj. don't mix - just upgraded a simple Ubuntu 9.10 to Ubuntu 10.04 and it failed to boot. After careful examination, it looks that something replaced the munt line of my NTFS partition in the /etc/fstab and claimed that it is a VFAT partition and 'mountall' that is run during boot gets very, very confused if presented with such dillema, so mach in fact that it hangs and stops the whole boot sequence.

Latvijas pavasara Ubuntu Bug Jam un Installest - 27.03.2010

The following is an invitation to the Latvian Ubuntu Bug Jam (in Latvian) sent for a bit of a wider circulation to catch people that monitor Planet Debian, but not Planet

USB 3D Sound

Want a sound card? Want a cleared sound that is not contaminated by electromagnetic interference in you computer's case? Want that all to work in Linux?

Gnome typing break has no way to lock the screen

Want a definition of a paper cut bug? Here it is. And here and here are two more side effects of the same bug. The original bug report will be 6 years old in a month. Can we do something to prevent this bug surviving that long?

Ubuntu removing XML from Python?


Webmin alternatives

Everyone knows that Webmin is nasty - it does things in wrong way on a pure and nice Debian (and Ubuntu) systems and for some reason is not included in Debian (post-sarge) or Ubuntu. That does not inspire confidence in a root-running web based software to say the least.
I have a need to have a Linux server and give an administrator the ability to add/remove users, configure some LAMP settings, some email settings (SMTP, POP, IMAP, Spam/Virus protection), Samba and those kinds of everyday system administration tasks on a SOHO Linux server without having to know much about Linux.

Wow 2.1.3 on Wine 0.9.40

If you are playing World of Warcraft on a Debian or Ubuntu system with newest Wine packages from WineHQ, then you might run into a problem - WoW- files will crash on Wine 0.9.40 with some nastygrams sent in the direction of its mshtml implementation. Downgrade to 0.9.33 (like the version in feisty) and the patching will work just fine.

SBackup new beta - test and translate please!

With great help from Ouattara Oumar Aziz an new version of SBackup is shaping up in the svn repo and a day ago I created a public beta version - 0.10.4~beta10 which can be downloaded here.
Please report any bugs or regressions to Sourceforge bug tracker. Also an update for translations and new translations can be added. You can either translate in Launchpad or download the template file from the SVN. But beware that there are more translations in Launchpad then in the SVN at the moment, so check there first.
If no blocker bugs are found, we could see a new stable release of SBackup in a weeks time. I am sure that a lot of people will be happy to hear that :).

Eternal unstable?

More and more early adopters choose to use Ubuntu instead of Debian. Ubuntu has newer versions of the software that matters (XOrg, FF, OOO, Gnome,...) than the stable Debian or, sometimes than even the unstable Debian. Early adopters are the users that are most eager to try new shiny things, do not scream too much if those things break and seem to make good bug reporters. They are the key second level - just below the developers and above most users in the pyramid of software development and use. They are also the people that have a tendency to become developers. That is why I have this feeling that capturing early adopters is essential to development of a thriving free software community. How can that be done? I do not know, but I have an idea that might just work.

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