Current situation of amarok, and of latex tools

John McCabe-Dansted gmatht at
Thu May 14 11:55:57 UTC 2009

On Thu, May 14, 2009 at 2:39 AM, Daniel Chen <seven.steps at> wrote:
> Grave for whom? For you? For what common use cases? These are things
> that are factors to consider when affecting an entire release.

Quite. I haven't noticed any problems with LaTeX. This may be because
I use LyX+xdvi. LyX+Okular seems to be fine too, although Okular is
rather sluggish compared to xdvi, it is usable unlike e.g. Acroread
(on either Linux or Windows). Forward and backward search "works for
me" in Okular.
LyX also has all the features the OP mentioned, though it is more of a
GUI than an text editor

For me the biggest problem with LaTeX is printing. Creating the dvi,
pdf is fine. When I go to print, half the time nothing happens, with
no indication of why. I have come across a number of causes: It could
be that I am out of paper; that the paper is the wrong size; that
cupsd has crashed; that the printer has a hardware failure and needs
to be restarted; or that AppArmor has decided that printing is
dangerous and shouldn't be allowed. In none of these cases has Ubuntu
ever given me any GUI notification of what was wrong.

I agree with Vincenzo Ciancia. We really need a survey. Without
statistics all we really know is that it works for some people and not
for others. With 8 million users this doesn't really tell us much.

> > I messed up my ph.d.
> > thesis with it today, then in complete frustration reinstalled kile
> > 2.0.1 from intrepid, which works like a charm.
> I understand your frustration. I, too, have a day job. Are you
> spending your free time fixing kile (and/or kdvi)?

AFAICT Amarok didn't just have a couple of annoying bugs, it was never
really ready for widespread use. According to Jeff Mitchel "We've
maintained that until 2.1, most users should stick with 1.4.
Unfortunately, just as Intrepid shipped with the
it's-not-meant-to-be-a-user-release KDE 4.1, Jaunty shipped with
Amarok 2.0."

Ubuntu introduces regressions far faster than any mortal could be
expect to fix them. More unpaid bug fixers would help slightly, but we
can't solve the problem without limiting the number of regressions and
severity of regressions. Here are some ways this could be achieved:

1) Clear communication with upstream. If we could agree on a way of
clearly marking  (e.g. Early Adopter Release) releases that are not
meant for widespread consumption, then Ubuntu could made a policy of
not making EAR releases the default except in exceptional

Windows has the advantage in this case that it is up to the user which
versions of applications they install, thus a regression in an
application is rarely a regression in windows. There are a number of
avenues to reduce the impact of application regressions on Ubuntu.

2) Make it easier to chose the version of the application you want.
This has become easier, with PPAs and multiple versions of
contraversial applications packaged. There is still some way to go in
making these options more easily available to the user. Perhaps there
should be a standard and easy way to "revert this application", and
the user could be informed of this option during upgrade.

3) Make it easier to revert to an old version of Ubuntu. There is some
work on this using aufs, but currently you can't reboot into the new
version so you can't really tell how well it works, all you know is
whether the upgrade itself is smooth. If you could keep the old
version of Ubuntu around in the same way you can keep old kernels
around this would really help. Btrfs may help here, and the
reflink/cowlink systcalls they are proposing for ext4 may also help.

John C. McCabe-Dansted
PhD Student
University of Western Australia

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