3 min read

How I stopped being a desktop linux enthusiast

It’s actually about “how I’m stopping to be a desktop linux enthusiast”, because I’m still using linux on my desktop/laptop, and I still think it’s a much better solution than any Windows OS. It’s just that I’ve been using various linux distributions for many many years (since 1998 I guess) on every computer I’ve owned and thought it is a nearly flawless system. It’s not, and in fact it’s getting on my nerves.

It’s all about hardware, you know. I’ve never had any problems with a desktop computer running linux, but on all the laptops I’ve owned (all two of them), there’s always been some issues. When I was a teenager in high school, I could spend months recompiling the kernel, optimizing, patching, searching for solutions. But I’m an old man now, and I get really mad when something simply doesn’t work.

I gave up on getting quite a basic feature of a modern laptop computer to work, namely on suspend/resume (I’ve tried really hard to get it working, but I just couldn’t manage). It works 9 out of 10 times, but when I open the lid up it’s always a lottery: will it work this time or will I see a kernel panic message? I also got used to the inefficient power saving, but what the heck – I’m not flying over the Atlantic ocean every week, so I guess I don’t need 6 hours of battery life.

What I can’t get used to is the fact that my graphics card (00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 03)) works slower and slower. After updating to the newest Ubuntu 9.10, Xorg keeps eating up to 5060% of CPU, I can’t watch a movie without frame dropping (or wait, I can, but then I have to plug in the headphones, otherwise the fan gets so loud it drowns the sound of the speaker), and if I run _too many _applications at once (emacs, opera browser, email client, IM and one terminal instance open), the system slows down so much that it’s hardly usable.

A linux enthusiast’s argument right now would either be, that I’m using cheap, unsupported hardware, and that I can’t blame anyone for that, or that I haven’t searched any forums/mailing lists for help. Well, unfortunately it’s not true. I’ve chosen my current laptop very carefully, precisely because I didn’t want to have any compatibility problems, and I’ve looked for help – I just couldn’t find it.

Hopefully Ubuntu team will fix the issues with intel graphics with 10.04 Lucid Lynx release. Or hopefully I’ll soon get a job that will enable me to replace my current hardware with the one that has an apple logo on it (yes, I’m aware of the fact that I’m betting my soul here). Suddenly the highly glossy display of the new 13” Macbook Pro doesn’t seem so glossy anymore…


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