Re: Universal sound card?

Aragorn wrote:
bobbie sellers wrote:

Big snip of what appears to be Trollery and troll feeding but
maybe I am too harsh.

What constitutes "troll feeding" to one person may actually be "sane and
justified rebuttal" to another. There are plenty of newbies and lurkers
out there already who are being misled by the propaganda and Microsoft's
"Get the FUD" campaign.
Neither of you guys have tried Mandriva 2008.1, have you?

Not yet, no. However, I've always used Mandrake Linux - the predecessor to
Mandriva - on my own machines, and this very machine I'm typing this from
still has an old Mandrake 10.0 PowerPack on it.

My main machine however is still in the process of being set up, due to the
fact that it is a very complex set-up and the delay of the new release of
its chosen distribution, i.e. Gentoo. The complexity lies in the fact that
it's a machine intended to run virtual machines using the Xen hypervisor,
and that one of those unprivileged virtual machines will actually be an X11

As soon as that machine is set up and fully functional, I intend to install
Mandriva 2008.1 on this one here. Up until then, I cannot afford the
downtime yet, so I'm stuck with this older release - which actually works
quite well, mind you.

It replaces Windows very well.

Sure it does, and so does everything else. However, that doesn't mean that
GNU/Linux as an operating system was meant as a Windows replacement. The
rivalry between Windows and GNU/Linux - not to use the word "war" - was
invoked by Microsoft, because of everything Microsoft stands for - i.e.
monopolists and megalomaniacs.

Sure, modern day desktop GNU/Linux distributors do intend to bring over some
Windows users to the GNU/Linux camp, but that's simply because most of
those distributors are now commercial entities and thus have to
obtain/maintain a market share to further their existence.

This does however not change anything to the premise of GNU/Linux as being a
UNIX-like operating system, with UNIX as the chosen system's architecture
because of the fact that UNIX was developed with logic, portability,
scalability, flexibility, security and robustness in mind, and totally void
of any commercial intentions.

Back in those days, and with UNIX actually originating as a hobby project by
Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson at AT&T Bell Labs, this was still possible,
and this approach was actually the best one. These days, technological
progress is totally dictated by economy and consumerism - just like almost
everything else in our civilization, unfortunately - instead of being
driven by a real strive for advancement.

GNU/Linux continues that tradition - and perhaps more so even for the Linux
kernel itself than for the GNU userland - and being a UNIX-style operating
system, it should not have to attempt to mimic Microsoft Windows. The fact
that most GNU/Linux distributors are attempting to compete with Microsoft
(and Apple) in the consumergrade OS market has nothing to do with the
operating system itself.

And it uses similar metaphors as did Zerox PARC, Mac, and Amiga before MS
Windows got to a usable state. *Yes, Even Before MS copyrighted Windows*
as a trademark.

AFAIK Mandriva is not the only distribution that is this
good and it is not assembled by boys working on college projects.

Indeed not, but other than some configuration, branding and putting the
pieces of the puzzle together, Mandriva doesn't do all that much. Let's
not forget that all the software in a Mandriva distribution was already
written by other people long before that.

It is not as cheap as pirated Windows either but you can get it
as simply FOSS which is free for the downloading. I used the free
version for several years.

Of all Mandrake distributions I have used so far, only one was actually
downloaded - that was the Mandrake 7.2 release. I've purchased all others,
simply because they contained all the proprietary plugins and drivers, and
because I wanted to financially contribute to the community.

See, with Windows, people want to use it but they don't want to pay for it,
so they will often go for pirated copies, cracked versions or whatever
other illegal thing. GNU/Linux on the other hand is given away for free,
and people actually *want* to pay for it. I guess that says enough about
how good it is. ;-)

The only problem I had with it was the WinModems that are so widespread
but I have plenty of external modems from Amiga days.

Some of those winmodems can be made to work, albeit that the number still is

The good part about the paid versions is that they come with the codecs
need for entertainment media.

Indeed so, and this is why I personally recommend buying a shrinkwrapped
distro for the newbie rather than downloading one. In addition, you also
get the official support from the distributor in the event of difficulties,
as well as - in Mandriva's case, and only if you buy the version on CDs,
because the DVD comes "as is" - a printed installation manual.

Other than Mandriva there are Red Hat Enterprise, and SuSe
versions of fully supported GNU/Linux distributions. Xandros is
even allied with, "shock and horror" Microsoft?

SuSE is the property of Novell, and they too have signed a deal with
Microsoft. Their initial idea was not so bad, but they should have known
not to get between the sheets with the devil, because Microsoft has
conveniently re-interpreted their "cooperation" before the eyes of the
media as a "patent deal", feeding the FUD ("Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt")
machine even more and scaring away the newbies over (im)possible Microsoft
patent infringements by the Linux kernel.

By the way I have run GNU/Linux on 3 x86 machines, one 1.8 GHz Celeron
laptop which stopped working and a 2.4 GB Celeron obsolete Dell. On my
other obsolete Dell a 700 MHz Pentium 3 Coppermine, Inspiron 4000, I have
a Knoppix install as a dual boot. Will get a DVD Reader and put Mandriva
on it ASAP if some hardware repairs can be done.

I use GNU/Linux on all of my machines, and in our organization we also run
GNU/Linux on all of our servers; some of the workstations run Windows, but
that's the call of the owner of the machines, who has to work on them -
we're a not-for-profit and the computers we use are all our own property.

We've had Dell - we still have one - but now we're also using a Tyan-based
dual Opteron machine as a server, alongside an AMD Phenom server. My own
main machine is also a Tyan/Opteron machine (twin dualcore) with an Adaptec
SAS RAID controller and 32 GB of RAM. This one here is a simple AMD
AthlonXP 2800+ with only 512 MB and a single PATA hard disk.

As distributions, we've tried SuSE, we've actually used Mandrake 9.0
ProSuite for about two years, and now we're running CentOS on our servers. And like I said, my main machine will have a Xen/Gentoo set-up.

I would not recommend any of the *buntus as a distribution for newbies
because of the "dedicated desktop support" concept.

Shoulda read this first, cause Ubuntu 8.04 is what I was downloading.
Here's what happened:

Decided to install within windows on a laptop. Seemed to be the lowest risk
solution. Stuck in the Cd and clicked install. Sorry, charlie,you
need 256MB of ram...but I HAVE 256 MB of ram. Tried another computer...
same problem. Fortunately, I had another computer and could google for
the answer. Need to use a magic incantation that ignores the memory limit.
Now, this is symptomatic of my experiences with linux. Somebody made
some arbitrary decision and didn't fully consider the impact of that
decision on users. If it REQUIRES 256MB, why won't it install on a system with 256MB of memory and why can I tell it NOT
to require 256MB? My lptop does NOT have shared video ram, but I expect
that many do and that should have been considered. FWIW, I routinely run win2k in 128MB of ram. My preferred course was to install on
a 1GHZ laptop with 128MB of ram. Ram expansion costs many times the
cost of the laptop, so that ain't gonna happen.

Ok, so use the magic incantation and wait almost an hour for Ubuntu to checksum files and load 'em...error, can't read disk, do you want to try again? Well, yes...but Ubuntu's idea of "trying again" is to START OVER.
An hour later, same errror. Burned a new CD. An hour later, same error.
Replaced the CD drive. An hour later, same error.
Copied the cd to the hard drive and tried to install from there.
Windows didn't have any problems reading the cd and copying it.
Sorry, Charlie, can't install from hard drive.

Had it not been for the encouragement in this thread, I'd have
said (expletive deleted)-it and gone out to do something more
fun than pulling out my hair.

More googling.
Gotta copy the .iso file to the hard drive and install.
An hour later, it's installed...well it reboots. Turns out it takes
much longer to actually install. I can't complain about the time
to install, but I sure can complain about the lack of feedback.
Ubuntu gives no clues about what's happening and how long it will take. Something that looks like a progress bar halts for ten minutes at a time, most of that with no disk activity. And when the "progress bar"
gets to the other end, it starts moving backwards. Not a clue as to when it might be done. Agian, developer decisions that significantly
impact the user experience based on (aparently) complete ignorance of
that usere expereince. Haven't linux developers ever heard of alpha testing or focus groups?

About 14 hours into the project, I finally had
linux booted. Horny heron...I thought I was being original with the
chicken-egg thing...

I gotta say, I was impressed. Different user interface
than I'm used to with other linuxes, but after poking around, I got some
of it to work. It recognized my thumb drive. I could play an mp3.
Wireless network wouldn't work and I couldn't figure out how to configure it. I pulled out the card and stuffed in an old Prism 16-bit card. The network came up and I could surf the web. Cool. Good thing
that it came up automatically, cause I couldn't have configured it.

So, after all that fuss and muss, I'm pretty impressed with the improvements in the last year. One nagging problem that hasn't been
fixed is lack of user feedback. Some programs have the linux equivalent
of the windows hourglass to tell you it's busy doing something. But many
actions don't give any feedback at all. I tend to get impatient and click it again. A minute later, several instances pop up. Lack of
feedback is unacceptable for actions that take more than a second or so.
In general, I find linux feels much slower than windows on the same machine.

A related issue is the system not keeping up with typing speed.
You bang on the keys and entry into the text box just stops for seconds
at a time. Even when it doesn't halt, I can often type faster than the text
shows up on the screen. Very disconcerting, 'cause I don't type all
that fast.

I tried installing a different music player. That went without a hitch,
although I thought 40MB of stuff downloaded was excessive for a music player.
I tried installing a basic programming environment. Worked fine until
I tried to run the program. Bunch of stuff missing. So much for
dependency checking.
Haven't tried plugging in a usb webcam.

Bottom line is that the core is getting better. I'm not talking about
performance. I'm talking about ability to get something, anything, running.
But there are a few
implementation decisions made by geeks for geeks that significantly
impede adoption by those of us who are not geeks.

I wrote my first computer program in 1967. I've got advanced engineering degrees. I've managed hardware designs for unix workstations. I don't claim to be an ubergeek, but
I oughta be able to do this.
Typical reaction from linux users is, "you're an idiot."
That may be, but it's symptomatic of linux. "If you can't
make it work, it's because you're a windows idiot." A more productive
reaction might be to consider that everybody is not a geek and
improve the user experience. Quirks that you "work around" every day
can be show stoppers for the uninitiated. How simple the solution is
not nearly as important as how widely known the solution. Better yet
is NOT to need a solution.

Like it or not, the way Windows works is
the way all computers have to work. You don't get to change that until
AFTER you have significant market share.

Ubuntu does not come
with KDE/Qt applications, and Kubuntu does not come with Gnome/GTK

This can be confusing for the newbie, so I would recommend a distribution
that supports both. Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, SuSE, Fedora Core - although I
personally don't like RH/FC/CentOS over their boycot of anything other
than /ext3/ for the filesystem - or Debian.

Slackware if you want to get your hands dirty. Gentoo if you want to get
them really, really, really dirty - I'm talking real Gentoo here, not
Sabayon - and LFS if you like crawling through the mud of the battlefield
first and then go basejumping next. :-)

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