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Linux Annoyances For Geeks 445

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-hates-it dept.
Taran Rampersad writes "Every now and then, someone comes up with a fun title. 'Linux Annoyances for Geeks' is a definitely fun - and accurate - title for this book. While some people have been fiddling with Linux since it first came out, the majority of Linux users haven't been. I started using Linux in the late 90s, and my work schedule didn't allow me to go to meetings, or track down people who knew things. And the first time you do an install on a machine, you may be disconnected from the very information that gets you connected. Been there, done that. So this book attracted me because despite being an advocate of Free Software and Open Source, there are times when I still type very naughty things on the command line. Read the rest of Taran's review.
Linux Annoyances For Geeks
author Michael Jang
pages 484
publisher O'Reilly
rating 8/10
reviewer Taran Rampersad
ISBN 0-596-00801-5
summary Answers to intermediate questions for Linux users.


Most of the time, I had fiddled with a previous install and gotten it the way I wanted it to work — when I had to do it again with a different install, I'd forgotten how I did it in the first place. There have been times, honestly, where I didn't even know. Fortunately, life has become better. There are books now. Some even come with Linux distributions, and there's plenty of documentation online that you can print out in advance when you go install things on your only connection to the Internet.

But there aren't that many books that really deal with the things that are annoyances, because the annoyances usually come from the late phone calls or the unanswered emails on a list. That's what this book is supposed to be for.

In reading this book, I caught myself nodding a lot. Not to sleep, mind you, but the, "I've seen that before" nod. The descriptions of the desktop environments, GNOME and KDE, started me nodding. Here's an idea of what the book covers:

Configuring a Desktop Environment: There's a great section on KDE and GNOME in here that starts the book off with a bang. Custom login menus, configuring standard backgrounds, desktop icons, oversized desktops and undersized monitors, Naughty mouse syndrome, Naughty users mess up the desktops, the infamous 'broken CD/DVD' problem, No GUI Syndrome, user downloads causing problems and ... sound. This chapter isn't one that I really had personal use for, but when people start asking questions — this is where they start. Great reference material here for desktop-finicky users.

Configuring User Workstations: Backing up data with rsynch and cron explained (where was this in 1999?), 'lost' files, 'lost' data... this chapter is one of my favorites, because people keep asking me about stuff like this. And dealing with Windows folks who complain that there's no ZIP — well, I wish I heard more of that.

Optimizing Internet Applications: I think that optimizing Internet applications is probably one of the largest problems out there, but I haven't really heard anyone ask about any of this. It's very strange. I think the world would be a better place if people read this chapter — from getting Firefox to work properly, sorting email into folders (yes, you can do that...), this covers a lot of ground in a very short space. My personal favorite was converting data from Outlook, which I have never done. Hidden in there are some tips on dealing with Microsoft Exchange Servers.

Setting Up Local Applications: This chapter focuses a lot on getting that irate I-am-new-to-Linux-and-I-want-my-toys person happy. It's filled with converting goodness, PDF inoculations and points you at the cure. And for those users who want movie players, there's something in here for them as well.

Installation Annoyances: This is probably the part of the book that will see the most use. There's a quote in here that I love: "Any A+ certified technician can list the hardware components on a computer. A Linux geek can cite the compatible components, such as the chipsets associated with a specific wireless card. He can use this information to compile the most efficient kernel for his system." So true. This chapter points you at the right resources and walks you through planning an installation. Which is priceless, even as a reminder for geeks.

Basic Start Configuration: Long boot times, bootloader issues, the ever-present dual-booting problems, the 'boot reboot repeat' problem, and my personal favorites, "I lost the password for Root!" and "My Server is So Secure that I can't log in as root". This chapter is pure gold.

Kernel Itches and Other Configuration Annoyances: Kernel upgrades, recompiles, kernel panic, 'file not found' boot error, NFS and Samba directory walkthroughs, and the infamous 'regular users can't mount the CD/DVD. Let's not forget dealing with Microsoft formatted partitions.

System Maintenance: Corrupted Partitions, emergency backups when the hard drive is knocking, small /home directories, slow hard drives, Update Repositories (not to be confused with User Suppositories), Dependency Hell solutions with yum and apt... platinum chapter for the troubleshooters out there.

Servicing Servers: Service Options, enabling downloading of files and , email issues when it is down, 'lost-printer syndrome', the BIND and growing network issue and the 'Windows Computers aren't on the network' issue. All rolled up here in Chapter 9.

User Management: Just about everything you would need to know about administering users, from special groups to keeping former employees from accessing the server, to securing the user (without duct tape).

Administration Tips: A lot of good things here for administrators; my personal favorite being configuring the Linux Gateway. Lots of great stuff in here.

For the life of me, I don't know why Chapter 5, Installation Annoyances, isn't Chapter 1. That seems to be where I've spent the most time helping other people out. The good news is that because it is where it is, the book stays open by itself here. Still, I think that might scare someone walking in while you're troubleshooting an installation. They might wonder what the 173 pages before installation problems was about. In fact, that could be funny... That's about the only thing that I could say I think is a bit off about the book, but perhaps that's by design. It's not a bug, it's a feature!

One of the things I liked most about this book was the fact that the chapters aren't named for the solutions; they are named by the problems. So when you're having a problem, you can find the solution.

Overall, this book meets the criteria for being next to my monitor, for quick reference in helping people out (including the worst one, me!). I haven't had the opportunity to use it's contents yet for Ubuntu, but since the book's solutions include Debian, they should work fine. As the author says in the preface, "The solutions are designed for three of the more prominent Linux distributions: Fedora Core, SUSE, and Debian." It would be interesting to see how it does with the Mandriva distribution.

In the Linux world, there are those that read and there are those that bleed. Those that bleed write what others read. This book was written in blood. It allows the leaders, the bleeders and the readers a means of finding their way around some of the annoyances that crop up. It does so in a well written manner which is well thought out, and amusing when you'll need to be amused.

( Original review on KnowProSE.com.)


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Linux Annoyances For Geeks

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  • #1 solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by DaSenator (915940) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @03:14PM (#15534804)
    "RTFM n00b" Possibly one of the single biggest reasons that more people don't make an effective full switch to Linux.
  • I'd have to agree (Score:4, Informative)

    by phorm (591458) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @03:47PM (#15535064) Journal
    One of the first things I do on a new debian system is:

    apt-get install vim links-ssl curl-ssl wget finger bzip2 tar aptitude ssh

    Hopefully you weren't stirring the old Vi/Emacs debate, because though plain ol "vi" is a real pain, "vim" is much nicer than "vi"
    (oh, and for those using Debian, the newer versions come with aptitude already installed, which is generally preferable to 'apt-get' and can be used with the same syntaxes, except there is no 'aptitude moo' command)

    For others, what are the first apps you install on a fresh linux distro?
  • by ShibaInu (694434) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @03:59PM (#15535140)
    Switch to Ubuntu. No bullshit with the video drivers and with automatix getting all your codecs/media players is easy as pie. Faster too.
  • Re:Copy (Score:5, Informative)

    by MerlynEmrys67 (583469) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @04:06PM (#15535182)
    >Nothing wrong with copy & paste. My system has three different ways to do it. ... all incompatible

    You must be a Windows user.

    Strange - I am only aware of three cut and paste mechanisms on Windows and they are all compatable with each other. Nothing drives me nuts in Linux like trying to cut something out of a KDE window and paste it into a Gnome window. At least on Windows it is:
    Ctrl-C Ctrl-V
    Right click - Cut Right click - Paste
    menu->edit->mark menu->edit->cut menu->edit->paste
    Which one of those is incompatable?

    Now show me how the different clipboards that exist on a single Linux Desktop can even cut from one and paste to another.

  • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @04:06PM (#15535184) Journal
    It's really hard to seperate Linux from KDE/Gnome and "various programs" on the desktop level. Linux alone isn't exactly viable for much. You need Apache to make it a web server. Samba to make it a file server. XWindows to make it a desktop system. EXPECT people to lump them all as "Linux" because in all reality, Linux isn't anything without them.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @04:11PM (#15535212) Homepage Journal
    Yes and yes.

    FYI, Windows can actually be configured to support case sensitivity, at the expense of some backward compatibility. Installing Services for Unix can enable this functionality automagically when you install it (it's one of the options) or you can enable it manually through a registry hack or three.
  • by Nimey (114278) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @04:16PM (#15535241) Homepage Journal
    If you try Ubuntu, make sure to grab and install EasyUbuntu. It installs all the proprietary/nonfree codecs like MP3 and DVD, plus stuff like Java and Flash. Ubuntu is also very good at detecting your monitor, so you shouldn't have to worry about setting X modes. Further, nVidia and ATI drivers are included in the base install and are kept synced with the installed kernel, so (to coin a phrase) It Just Works. I can't say if its mouse-detection routines work better -- mine is just a 3-button w/scroll, but that was detected immediately & works fine. Synaptic is a pretty good package manager, but I can't compare it to yum since I haven't used it.

    Have you tried KDE? It has a more Windows-y interface than Gnome, which IMO is closer to Mac OS X. There's an Ubuntu distro called Kubuntu that uses KDE instead of Gnome, and EasyUbuntu works with it as well.
  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @04:25PM (#15535284) Homepage Journal
    2. Why the hell do I have to install a new kernel? Why? I've never had to on Windows - why is Linux different? Is it so buggy? I installed with a factory version something ending 054. Now I have something ending 122 I believe. I did it ok, but that's not the point I'm making; were there really 68 cock-ups so great in the kernel build from release-time until that now they had to re-release 68 times? I'm guessing probablly not, but still.

    Of course you have, why do you think some Windows updates require reboots? (Beyond those that require reboots because of file locking issues.) The reason the Linux kernel bumps revisions so frequently is mostly due to driver work, since most drivers are built into the kernel. Which I personally think is stupid, but, see the response to point 3 below.

    3. Point 2 also breaks my nvidia drivers. I don't want to re-compile new drivers everytime there's a new 'patch'. For the love of god, why?!

    Because Linux doesn't have a binary driver interface. Instead drivers are written for a specific kernel, and have to be recompiled every time to ensure everything matches up. Attempts at adding a binary driver interface have met huge resistance with the kernel developers, too, so expect to have to recompile third-party drivers for the forseeable future. Why? To force the source to be open, to ensure the flexibility of the kernel, or something like that. Whatever the reason, it's still annoying as a user.

    4. X-Windows. What a mess. Why do I have to tell it my x & y refresh rates for my monitor? Windows just 'knows'. Many more things here I feel that X-Windows should just 'know' - the number of buttons on my USB mouse for-instance. If Windows can do it, there's no reason why Linux can't. Also, X-Windows 'feels' slower than Windows. I'm sure there's good reasons for this, but I don't care; Windows is snappier.

    I'd love to know the answer to this one. I remember going through hell trying to get a USB mouse to work. Installation under Windows: Plug it in. Installation under Linux: edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf. It doesn't work. Google. Try other options. Still doesn't work. Give up and go back to Windows.

    I recently installed Debian Etch, and it still wanted to know the refresh rate for my monitor. Plug-and-play monitors have existed for how long, now? Why do I need to know this?!

    5. Lack of decent file-browser. The best I've come across is Nautilus in a mode that resembles Windows Explorer. It'll do for now, but as far as I'm aware, offers no context-sensitive menus for applications (like the Winamp "Play in Winamp" right-click menu on folders.

    I keep on thinking "some day, I should write a file browser for GNOME that doesn't suck" but I've yet to get around to it...

  • by wrook (134116) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @04:27PM (#15535293) Homepage
    I'll bite for no particular reason...

    1. Dunno about MP3 on XMMS on RedHat, works on those out of the box on Debian. But wrt to the others... Well the answer (as you probably know) is that the developers of those codecs would rather I not be able to use them on a system that isn't completely under their control. Ridiculous I agree. There are plenty of good codecs that can be implemented and used by anyone. Why don't content distributors use those codecs? Beats the hell out of me. Anyway, out of respect for the aforementioned developers most Free Software developers don't include support for their stupid codecs. You can hack around it (and it isn't hard) if you wish to show your disrespect...

    2. You don't have to upgrade your kernel. Ever. Feel free to use a 10 year old kernel if you want. You've got source code. You can back port your own security fixes if you want. It's up to you. If you want the leading edge you can have that too. Somewhere in the middle -- suit yourself. That's why it's call "Free" software. You're "free" to do whatever the hell you want.

    3. Well, you see there's these developers at NVidia who don't want you to use your graphics card in a system they can't completely control. Ridiculous I agree. There are plenty of good graphics cards that can be used by anyone. Why don't more people use those graphics cards? Beats the hell out of me. Anyway, out of respect for those aforementioned developers most Free Software developers don't include support for their stupid graphics cards. You can hack around it (and it isn't hard) if you wish to show your disrespect...

    4. XWindows configuration is potentially hard if you decide to configure it by hand. You don't have to (give Ubuntu a try if you don't want to do it). Specifying the exact parameters for your monitor and mouse allows you to support a more hardware than some "Program Director" decided was important. Got a 20 year old monitor made in Java that noone has ever heard of. Go for it! It's up to you. Don't want to do it? No problem. That's why it's called "Free" software. You're "free" to do whatever the hell you want.

    5. I don't use file browsers. Could never get the hang of them. If I want to open a file in an application (say "fun.txt" in emacs) I just type it in ("emacs fun.txt"). But have fun with your file browser. I find Windows explorer so completely useless that I've had to install a bash shell on Windows to get half of my stuff done. But like I said, whatever floats your boat.

    I hope that answered most of your concerns.
  • Re:Copy (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @04:44PM (#15535414)
    Which one of those is incompatable?

    Try this:

    1. Copy a bit of text.
    2. Open Word 2003 (not sure of other versions).
    3. Paste the text into the Word document.

    It doesn't work. You have to have Word 2003 open at the time you cut or copy in order to paste it into Word.

  • What? Try installing Ubuntu or something desktop-centric. Every mouse I've tried has worked on that without any mucking with the xorg.conf file. Do you just not get all 3 buttons? Are you expecting it to do something special with mice with more than 3 buttons?
  • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @04:50PM (#15535470)

    1. No fecking media support! I get XMMS inform me on first attempt at playing an MP3 that it won't because of licensing conflict. Wtf? Codecs for avi's and DVDs were a simular story; all had to be downloaded via yum (bloody excellent tool!). Seriously; not good, but fixed in the end.

    Alas, blame the law. The US allows software patents. Software patents means that codecs like mp3, mpeg2, ac3 etc etc are patented, and they can only be distributed if licence fees are paid by the distro. Since fedora is distributed free, they can't pay the licence fees, and they don't want to get sued if they distribute the distro in the US, so the only option is to host the codec packages outside the US where the patents don't apply, and you get them yourself. Note, Windows doesn't come with DVD playback out of the box for the same reason. If you want codecs and other patented software out of the box, you need to pay for a distro, and the US codec licence fees will be paid for out of your purchase price. No way round this, short of getting US patent law reformed.

    2. Why the hell do I have to install a new kernel? Why? I've never had to on Windows - why is Linux different? Is it so buggy? ... 68 cock-ups so great in the kernel build from release-time until that now they had to re-release 68 times?

    Two main reasons. First, a lot of the linux drivers are in the kernel, so new kernel versions include improved drivers and ones for new hardware. Second, the linux kernel is adding a lot of extra features and improvements, as well as bugfixes (not even a majority of bugs are security holes, don't forget). Third, windows does indeed get kernel updates [ciac.org], they just get included in Windows Update. Be glad linux is evolving so quickly :)

    3. Point 2 also breaks my nvidia drivers. I don't want to re-compile new drivers everytime there's a new 'patch'. For the love of god, why?!

    Nvidia don't want to release open-source drivers. They have a great big chunk of closed driver, with a 'shim' that links that binary code to a particular kernel. The kernel is updated, the shim needs to be redone for your particular kernel. Admittedly, the linux devs don't exactly make life easy for nvidia to do it this way. Chalk it up to the conflict between the open-source and closed-source world. Still, life isn't exactly rosy in the closed-source world either, I've lost count of the times I've needed to update drivers on windows to fix some bug or conflict, especially when it comes to video card drivers and PC games. Tell nvidia you'd like proper open-source drivers for the hardware you paid for...

    4. X-Windows. What a mess. Why do I have to tell it my x & y refresh rates for my monitor? Windows just 'knows'. Many more things here I feel that X-Windows should just 'know' - the number of buttons on my USB mouse for-instance. If Windows can do it, there's no reason why Linux can't. Also, X-Windows 'feels' slower than Windows. I'm sure there's good reasons for this, but I don't care; Windows is snappier.

    Agreed on the Xorg config problems. Largely a hold-over from a long period of political infighting, now resolved. Xorg is rapidly improving, and many features are coming in now that have been held up for years. The slowness is probably down to a slight problem with the config (possibly the openGL parts) - properly setup, I find Xorg quicker than windows. Still, it should be easier to 'automagically' configure it than it is - too many times I've had to fix an Xorg setup manually.

    5. Lack of decent file-browser. The best I've come across is Nautilus in a mode that resembles Windows Explorer. It'll do for now, but as far as I'm aware, offers no context-sensitive menus for applications (like the Winamp "Play in Winamp" right-click menu on fo

  • Re:Copy (Score:2, Informative)

    by roscivs (923777) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:10PM (#15535654) Homepage
    These days there are lots of clipboard managers for Linux (Klipper for KDE, Gnome Clipboard Manager for Gnome, IIRC). They synchronize all the different clipboards for you.

    Personally, I prefer having a separate "selection buffer" clipboard and a CTRL-C/CTRL-V clipboard, so I don't use a clipboard manager, but just thought you should know that they do exist.
  • Re:No WYSIWYG (Score:3, Informative)

    by fishybell (516991) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (llebyhsif)> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:41PM (#15535901) Homepage Journal
    If your text editor is typing out ^? instead of doing backspaces, quit, then on the console type "stty erase ^?"

    If your text editor is typing out ^H instead of doing backspaces, quit, then on the console type "stty erase ^H"

    To make the change permanent, add in the stty erase line into your .bash_profile file in your home directory.

    Of course you realize, WYSIWYG text editor is an oxymoron.

  • by pobudz (981986) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:11PM (#15536115)
    So far I see complaints about: recompiling kernel/drivers and windows... and, then there was Arch.

    I introduce you to the 'hwd' package.

    Hmm my ethernet card isnt working.
    > hwd -ec
    (probes lshwd based on tables for usb pcmcia and pci and loads appropriate modules if not already loaded)

    Hmm I can't get xorg to work.
    > hwd -xa
    (probes monitor, writes xorg config)
    > startx ... hey its working now (not ONCE has this failed me on multiple monitors including laptop LCDs and otherwise.

    Anyone who updates their kernel EVERYTIME a new patch or release comes out is retarded. Typically I wait for a new 2.6. before I even touch it. But in the case of those who like it...

    > Pacman -Syu
    (syncs db, downloads files and seeks and downloads dependencies, checks for conflicts, installs packages)
    All done. One command, and.... done. Upgrades the entire system... gcc/kernel/nvidia (or ati),etc in one command. No rebooting just make sure if you run a kernel update to update lilo/grub conf and for precaution... stop all running services that you don't need for just running updates.

    No need to recompile anything... because that's just how life is with Arch.
  • by LihTox (754597) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:12PM (#15536124)
    I only write single-file C programs, so I use program.c for the source code and Program for the executable.

    Ah yes, and try to do "make install" on a case-insensitive filesystem (e.g. OSX) when there is a file called "INSTALL" in the directory; I always have to rename the latter INSTALLATION first.

    Don't know if I've proved anything by posting this; ah well. (And no, I'm not a 133t programmer like y'all; just a fan. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:29PM (#15536231)
    It's a feature :) Having a lower-case character set used to be an expensive option on micros.
  • Re:Copy (Score:5, Informative)

    by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:44PM (#15536331) Homepage Journal

    Nothing drives me nuts in Linux like trying to cut something out of a KDE window and paste it into a Gnome window.

    Works fine for me. There is a distinction between the selection buffer (the currently highlighted text) and the clipboard that occasionally confuses people, but it has nothing to do with toolkits.

    If you want to use the selection buffer, just highlight the text, then middle-click to paste. This is by far the nicest way to copy and paste on any system..

    To use the regular clipboard, use the keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, just like Windows) or use the menu items.

    Note that this only applies to text, though. Cutting and pasting images, sounds, etc., is more hit and miss (and more miss than hit) across apps with different toolkits.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @07:49PM (#15536666)
    Bullshit. Linux filesystems are case-sensitive because they were programmed by lazy bastards... it's a lot easier to program case-sensitive sorts and finds than it is to program case-insensitive sorts and finds. Especially when non-english languages are used.
  • by mvdw (613057) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @08:02PM (#15536731) Homepage
    Well, except for dual-monitor support. That's one place Linux is still catching up on.

    I disagree: dual monitor support in linux is far, far superior to that under Windows.

    Want a taskbar that goes across both monitors? Windows doesn't do it; both gnome and (especially) KDE will give it to you. Gnome lets me have 4 taskbars: one at the top and bottom of each monitor. Under both gnome and kde the taskbar is a much more generalised container than the windows taskbar, which gives much greater flexibility.

    Want to run 2 matrox PCI cards with an ATI AGP card for 3 monitors? Windows won't let you do it (It won't initialise the bios of the ATI card) - linux can do this, and has for more than 5 years.

    Want to run multiple cards for multiple monitors, all different manufacturers? Linux lets you do this, easily. I don't know whether Windows can do this.

    Want to run 4 monitors, in a 2x2 formation? Linux lets you do this easily. I don't know whether Windows can do this.

    In short, multi-monitor support in linux is much more flexible, much more configurable and thus much better than under windows. Windows is certainly playing catchup in this area (thanks both to better multi-driver compatibility in linux and better window managers).

  • by overbored (450853) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @08:18PM (#15536799) Homepage Journal
    If you use bash much, then adding this to your .inputrc should alleviate some of the pain:

    set completion-ignore-case On
  • Re:Copy (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_womble (580291) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:53PM (#15537828) Homepage Journal
    Yes, it is a classic case of FUD, it keeps getting repeated, and the moderators are high enough to mod it +5 insightful.

    I have never had a problem with copy and past in Linux - and Klipper is much better than the Windows equivalent.

    The fact that I use Kipper with Gnome is a pretty convincing demonstration of the compatibility of Linux copy and paste.
  • Re:Copy (Score:2, Informative)

    by WWWWolf (2428) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:57AM (#15538423) Homepage
    Now show me how the different clipboards that exist on a single Linux Desktop can even cut from one and paste to another.

    You don't "cut and paste from one another clipboard".

    You have two different clipboards and you're probably using one to copy, another to paste, thus you're probably confused when the results are wrong.

    Basically: X11 has selection and clipboard. Selection is what gets used when you select stuff. This is what gets used when you, in most cases, try to select stuff with left mouse button and try to paste with middle mouse button. The clipboard gets used when you explicitly use the clipboard, with the application's cut/copy/paste commands.

    So basically: Either use left/middle copypaste, or the Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V things.

    Selecting with mouse, then Ctrl+V'ing just doesn't work as expected. Selecting with mouse, Ctrl+C'ing, and then pasting with middle mouse button kind of works (due to doing selection with mouse); Selecting with keyboard, Ctrl+C'ing, and pasting with middle doesn't.

    Once you learn the distinction, this thing is dead simple and you'll notice how much more useful it is than Windows clipboard. In many cases, I wish Windows had this same system too. Too bad it would be met with, um, resistance.

    Heck, my father isn't a computer expert and even he could copy/paste in Linux once. "Uh, edit, copy... edit, paste. There we go!" =)

  • by WWWWolf (2428) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @04:05AM (#15538445) Homepage
    It seems like at any given time there is at least one segfault-every-couple-hours bug in taglib, amarok, artsdsp, jackd, libxine, or artsd.

    It suddenly drops drastically when you nuke artsdsp and artsd from orbit.

    If you see "artsd" or "esd" in your process list, configure the hell out of the system until you don't see a trace of them. These two were hacks to skirt around limitations of old sound hardware. If you have a modern, full-duplex, hardware-mixing sound card, you simply don't need these things.

    Plus I believe they haven't been maintained for some time either.

  • Re:My #1 annoyance: (Score:3, Informative)

    by nuzak (959558) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @12:28PM (#15541401) Journal
    > apt-get can be a real pain in the ass with dependency hell..

    As is any distribution whatsoever that uses packages. RPM doesn't magically solve this problem, and gentoo tends only to hide it unless you do rebuilds of every affected package -- plus not every site wants compilers on all their production systems.

    Consider using aptitude instead of apt-get: it tracks which packages are automatically installed and "garbage collects" them when they're no longer needed, and more recent versions of aptitude offer a way to select alternative dependency resolutions. You can always manually tweak installations and removals whether you're the main package selection screen or a package detail screen.

    Also consider that if you use Sid or a prerelease Ubuntu, you're always going to run into the occasional dependency hell. Such is the bleeding edge.

    I'm not a big Ubuntu fan, and even Debian only inspires lukewarm support from me (it is what I run), but apt is hardly the problem with it (unless you consider its hoary and byzantine internals and the fact that multi-arch is still not done).

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