Feedback on an install of Intrepid

Scott.R.Lemke at Scott.R.Lemke at
Sun Jan 11 21:14:49 UTC 2009

I just wanted to give feedback to developers/testers on my latest attempt  
to install and use the Intrepid release.

First, some of my background. I am a developer, have been for 5 years. My  
day to day work OS is RHEL 5.1. I've been using Linux on and off since 95.  
I'm comfortable in Linux, I prefer to work there. My home PC has been  
running Vista for about a year, but I moved that install to a HTPC, and  
didn't want to purchase another license, so I thought I would give Ubuntu a  
try on the desktop. I have also installed and run for some period of time  
other versions of Ubuntu.

Machine specs:
Intel Q6600 2.4Ghz quad core cpu
Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H Motherboard
NVidia 260GTX (Old one, not the updated one)
Dell 30 inch LCD monitor

Install Media Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex 64bit Desktop Edition.

Some of these cases are probably already fixable, but the discoverability  
of those fixes is low. Some are also application problems, but present  
themselves to integrators more, which is you guys.

Now on to the specifics:

Kubuntu quickie:
Since I prefer KDE, I attempted to install Kubuntu first. First boot of the  
disk I got the Language menu, hit English, then Install to Hard disk. A  
progress bar comes up, screen goes blank, and the DVD drive and hard disk  
still have activity. I wait 10 minutes and nothing, so I reboot. Next  
reboot, I hit English, F4 Safe Graphics mode, then Install to Hard disk,  
and installer comes up.

I wont go into the Kubuntu stuff here, but I ultimately got rid of that  
install because of repeated crashes. I only put the first part in because  
it also happens in the Ubuntu Install.

Ubuntu install:
A repeat of the blank screen with Kubuntu happens with Ubuntu. After I get  
safe graphics mode everything works. The Ubuntu installer is much more  
refined and straight forward than the Kubuntu one, my suggestion is to  
merge then into a single tool.

Install goes off without anymore problems, I reboot and I am in my Ubuntu  

 From here on out, I will go through use cases:

Case 1 - Initial Update:
I get the notice that software updates are available, so I start to  
download them. I get the notice that I can use the Nvidia drivers as well  
from the Hardware tool. I attempt to download those, but I can't because  
adept is already working. I would suggest either suppressing the Hardware  
dialog until after the update (or do a first to the line mutexish thing),  
or combine the two together.

Case 2 - Removing Cruft:
I am obsessive compulsive about having software I don't use on my machine  
still on it. Yes I know hard drive space is cheap, but my sanity isn't. So  
I open up the Add/Remove Software tool and proceed to remove software.  
First thing I remove is one of the games that are included. I then get a  
dialog warning me that if I remove this game, I also remove a few other  
entirely unrelated games because they are in the same package. This is a  
fundamental flaw, in my eyes, in this tool. It is attempting to provide an  
application view, but also reconcile package view, which do not always have  
a 1 to 1 relationship. My suggestion is to put the package as the entry in  
the tool, that expands to show the applications.

The second part of this is demonstrated by trying to remove Palm utilities.  
I don't have a PDA or a Palm device, so I want to get rid of this. But I  
can't, because it is a part of a package that is not removable by the  
Add/Remove Software tool, but by Synaptic. This again goes to the flaw of  
trying to reconcile Applications with Packages when there is no 1 to 1, but  
is compounded by the fact that the package isn't composed entirely of  
applications, but has libraries. My suggestion, remove the ability to  
deselect any Application that can't be removed by the Add/Remove tool, or  
better yet, just don't show it.

Case 3 - Opening Windows (any application or browser):
Being that I have a 30 inch screen, I like things to open in the center  
first, then work its way out. The default for Ubuntu is the smart  
placement, which opens in the upper left corner, and then does a best fit  
from there. The center scheme seemed to always open things in the middle,  
regardless if there was another window there. I'd like smart placement,  
with preference to the center.

Case 4 - Reopening a Window:
If I move a window, and then close it, I'd like it to remember where it was  
when it was closed, so when I reopen it, it goes right back there first,  
then tries the smart placement. Current is just smart placement.

Case 5 - Playing music stored on an external file server:
This one is the last case I will go over, and the one that broke me and  
caused me to reinstall to my now Windows 7 beta. I have a home media server  
with all my music/movies and what not on it served out via Samba. I wanted  
to be able to mount my Music share, load those files into a playlist and  
start playing without having to copy all the files to the local disk.  
Ubuntu saw my server and mounted my share for me easily through Gnomes file  
browser. I now showed Music mounted, and had an Icon on the deskop that I  
could open and browse through.

I started out with Exaile. I open up the menu to add media to my playlist,  
and no Music share is visible. I can clearly see it, I can browse it, I can  
even copy a file over. I open a terminal do a df, and no mount point. I  
remember this is probably all hidden behind GnomeVFS. So I figure that  
Exaile didn't use it, or use it correctly. So I move on to the next media  
player. I install Beep Media Player, load it up, hit add to playlist, and  
sweet! It can see Music, I highlight Music and hit open thinking it would  
open and parse that directory and all the subdirectories there, and it  
doesn't, it opens the directory. So I highlight Music again and hit add,  
nothing. I go ok, I highlight all the subdirectories and hit Add. Crap, I  
now have every subdirectory listed in the left hand shortcut pane of the  
file browser and no files in my playlist. So I attempt to clean up my mess,  
I try to shift click highlight all the subdirectories in the left hand  
shortcut panel, and I can't. I am expected to click remove on each and  
every single one of those directories. I give up, download Windows 7 Beta,  
along with Fedora and Suse, and leave Ubuntu.

And that is my experience. I may go back to Ubuntu with another release, or  
I may even reinstall it and try and fix some of these problems. But for the  
most part, I found it quite frustrating to use. And it for the most part is  
not the Ubuntu developers fault, it is just a lack of attention to detail  
and proper testing from most of the upstream applications.

Thank you for listening,
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