[xubuntu-users] Now this I disagree with

George F. Nemeyer tigerwolf at tigerden.com
Thu Jun 19 22:18:32 UTC 2014

On Thu, 19 Jun 2014, Peter Flynn wrote:

> Both arguments strike me as coming from a philosophical point of view
> (mustn't pollute XYZ system's cleanliness). Both are wrong to some extent.

> I mix libraries because I *need* to. There are certain programs I need
> to use because Xubuntu is my production platform. I personally don't
> give a tinker's spit whether they come from the KDE camp, the Unity
> camp, or somewhere else. If I need that application, I need that
> application and a substitute will not do.

It's not just philosopical.  There's very practical reasons.

Having mixed libraries may not be an issue if a librarary file is *only*
used by programs from the same distro and release.  But if the file names
are the same, and one that has been working gets replaced by some other
one as part of a different package, there can be issues.  Like a
newer/older version, or one compiled with different options.  Or ldconfig
pointing to the wrong one.

That can cause real breakage and lots of hair tearing trying to figure out
what's happening and even more to try to find some middle ground that all
installed programs can live with.

Likewise, we see in Xubuntu, it's not just libraries, but utilities.  For
example, some indicator plugins are installed by LightDM that monitor
things like wireless interfaces can conflict with XFCE plugins installed
that do the same thing.  Each separately may work fine, but when they try
to do their thing at the same time, havoc ensues.

> So in effect I should be suffering...but I'm not. It's all as stable as
> can be expected (modulo the odd timing problem causing a window manager
> crash because I'm actually using Enlightenment, but it recovers
> perfectly and hasn't dropped a bit so far).

I'd say you've been lucky.  Don't look over your shoulder!

> But then I pick my applications very carefully, and test them on a
> sacrificial machine before I come to rely on them. I'm not bothered by
> the oddity of the interface differences, really. But I use Ubuntu for
> work, not recreation, so my requirements are different.

> Maybe my machines are hopelessly polluted mess, but they work just fine,
> and so far I haven't had any serious problems.
> That said, sure there are some crass stupidities:
> 1. File>Open dialogs that either scroll sideways or vertically depending
> on the libraries, and in both cases IGNORE my default setting of
> single-click to select. This is what happens when you allow programmers
> to play around with the UI without proper supervision, alas. Not a big deal.

You mean like the volume control in Xubuntu that lowers the volume as you
move the mouse/toucpad down, while the Sound Settings INCREASING the
volume/sliders when you do the same?

Sometimes I wonder if anybody really *tests* things before they release.

> 2. Print functions which lock up (CUPS timing problems) and require a
> complete reboot (not a library problem, just stupid manufacturers who
> won't open their drivers).
> 3. Video (webcam and DVD movies) which plainly do not work at all under
> any form of Linux whatsoever, on any platform. (I'll be in the market
> for a new machine soon, so I am offering a pint to anyone who can
> recommend a webcam that is GUARANTEED to work out of the box with
> Xubuntu/Enlightenment in Flash and similar web chat environments, Skype,
> and SIP clients.)

I'd settle for BlueTooth that actually works.  I've yet to see even the
latest one talk to my phone beyond a one time file directory listing
followed by 'can't access filesystem' that persists until reboot,
keyboards that routinely just quit, earphones that never work at all, and
other things that work fine with my HP (cyanogenmod) tablet, but won't
even pair under Ubuntu.  (And the controling BT manager(s) being used not
conflicting...see above.)  BlueTooth seems to be the bastard child that
wireless support was for years.

I agree completely that the origin of the program should be irrelevant,
but as things get more complex, problems get hack patches rather than
in-depth fixing, and the pervading philosophy is to 'make it new and
different', there's much better luck keeping within the distro and for X,
with the same environment.

With machines having lots more storage and ram, it seems the statically
linked programs are more likely stable since they bring all the baggage
they need with them.  Firefox, for example, runs on just about any linux,
though it's a very HUGE program.

So, like with everything, there's trade-offs.

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