Friday, 12 June 2009

In search of Feduntu

I've been a happy Ubuntu user for a while on my HP Compaq 8510p laptop, but a few things recently really started annoying me.

1) regular ubuntu system upgrades don't include openafs-modules for that kernel, which means I have to recompile and install them before I can access AFS space.

2) it *really* doesn't work well with the ATI chipset in my laptop - full screen of a video hangs the machine with fglrx (not checked launchpad for bug no)

3) since the last update it takes 2 *seconds* to minimise / maximise / alt-tab with windows. c'mon, this is a dual core machine..... (see bug #351186

4) The fingerprint reader didn't work.

5) ... neither did userfriendly xinerama.

OK, so most of these problems are caused by the video driver (closed source fglrx) but since Fedora 11 came out I thought I'd compare and see what the opposition had (especially useful since I use RHEL clones at work - scientific linux 5 or 4)

Installer -- worked wonderfully *once I'd managed to get the iso onto a USB stick -- I was using unetbootin (on Jaunty) but I hadn't formatted the stick as fat32 -- didn't work with an ext3 formatted stick. The LVM selection was a bit fiddly (I have /boot(sda1) and linuxvg(sda2) and within the VG I have homelv,rootlv and afscachelv (was ext2 as I used XFS for / and /home)

F11 wanted me to migrate from xfs to ext4 for / -- OK not an issue, but its SElinux policy seems screwy wrt the /home

I get home directory does not exist, logging in with HOME=/
but then can immeadiatly cd to $HOME. harumph.

also the Fan runs constantly, so battery life is low, Especially since it suspends as soon as *one* of the batteries goes flat (see bug 220962)

in short, Fedora 11 fixes some of my issues. looks really nice, but just doesn't do what I want (*decent* laptop distro that lets me work for a long time). So I'm afraid I shall revert to Ubuntu over the weekend - it's still buggy for me, but in less critical ways (hopefully a fresh install of 9.04 will blow away any issues of the video driver rather than the upgrades.

Maybe again in Fedora 11.1 ?
Why not windows? well, I *like* using the CLI for most of my work, Putty + gvim + development languages are good but I'd need a virtual machine to test any linux stuff out on laptop. I don't actually have a need of any windows-only software, so why pay the licence.

[OK - tomtom home is the only thing, but thats another story...]


samtygier said...

in ubuntu you can install openafs-modules-dkms so that the afs modules get rebuilt each time you get a new kernel

Ewan said...

Picking out a few of those:

2) That chipset should be reasonably supported by the free driver in F11; do you really need fglrx still?

4) Should be fine in Fedora, provided you're using Gnome, it's rather less integrated in KDE:

I get home directory does not exist, logging in with HOME=/ but then can immeadiatly cd to $HOME. harumph.
That's probably SElinux; home directories have to be labelled as such. A recursive restorecon would probably sort it out.

also the Fan runs constantly, so battery life is low
That's just weird. I think there's a fair chance of getting it fixed in Fedora with a bug report though, Fedora's power management is pretty good (thanks in part to Matthew Garrett now working for Red Hat), and there's a general keenness to not have anything in Fedora work less well than it does in Ubuntu.

Maybe again in Fedora 11.1
Fedora doesn't do point releases, it just drops updates straight into the release when they're ready. It also tends to update a lot more stuff than Ubuntu does, which is nice.

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