Re: Universal sound card?

Aragorn wrote:
mike wrote:

<big snip - please learn to trim your posts>

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.

Although this is an option, it is definitely one I do not recommend, because
installing it into a Windows filesystem requires that an emulation layer is
used in between the Linux-native filesystem used by Ubuntu -
presumably /ext3/ - and the Windows filesystem.

Believe it or not, but this kind of approach really bogs down your
performance as it keeps the kernel busy translating the filesystem I/O all
the time.

I believe it, but that's not the issue. I've used Virtual PC running on
an XP host to run Windows 2000 in which I run a tor-enabled browser
inside a sandbox. I did it just to see if I could and it ran surprisingly well.

Stuck in the Cd and clicked install. Sorry, charlie,you need 256MB of ram...but I HAVE 256 MB of ram.

I don't really know the technicalities of an install to a file in a Windows
partition, but as I wrote higher up, this step requires an extra
translation layer which may eat up some of the memory seen by the kernel.

On the other hand, the kernel may even presume that there is less memory in
the system than there physically is, due to some memory addresses possibly
being mapped out as bad pages - in this case, the kernel will mark them as
"in use" by a dummy process, so that none of the real processes can use
those addresses.

You're shooting the messenger. Users don't want conjecture about why
linux is not working, they just want it to work.

Mind you that Windows will not report any bad memory addresses until it
tries to use them, because Windows does not perform any hardware indexing
or hardware sanity checks.
Yes, but memtest86 does...or doesn't in this case. Two computers, tested're deflecting.

Tried another computer... same problem.

Did you also install it inside a Windows partition there? This is
Yes I did. And I've done it many times with earlier distributions.

Fortunately, I had another computer and could google for the answer.
Need to use a magic incantation that ignores the memory limit.

This "magic incantation" simply comprises of a kernel boot parameter that
tells the kernel how much RAM you have, so that it doesn't try to compute
the amount of RAM by itself. Basically, you're overriding the boottime
memory detection routine in the kernel.

This is contradictory. I didn't tell it how much memory, if it didn't
compute it, it had to just igonore the limit...which is what I expect it did, and what the commandline option implied through it's name.

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.

The main arbitrary decision in this case would be your decision to install
GNU/Linux in a file in a Windows partition, which does work as a "test run
working environment" but is not the intended use of the system and can thus
also not be expected to perform fully.

This is BS. The opening screen gives me two options. I chose one.
If it doesn't work under those circumstances, don't have the option.

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?

See my above explanation. (1) You are not installing it as it should, but
instead you are forcing it to be installed in a Windows partition. (2)
You /may/ (or may not) have bad memory in your machine.

I'm not forcing anything. I picked an option supplied by the developer.
I've tested the RAM, it's not bad.

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

I own a second-hand Toshiba Satellite laptop with a 1.0 GHz Celeron
processor, a 10 GB hard disk and 128 MB of RAM, of which 16 MB is shared as
video memory. It runs Mandrake 8.2 PowerPack with KDE 2.x - which is
several years old already - and despite that it's slow, it runs pretty

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

That's one of the reasons why I'm not upgrading that laptop either. I don't
even use it all that much - maybe once a year.

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.

Ehm... What else did you understand as the meaning of "try again?"

this is the FIRST time I've experienced "start over". every other time,
try again means, "attempt to re-read the failed sector." You can often
remove the CD, clean off the fingerprints, put it back in and continue
right where you left off.

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.

Of course that wouldn't work. What were you thinking?

"Of course" assumes you know something. It's OFTEN possible to install
stuff by copying the CD contents to the drive and installing from there.
Copying the .iso file and installing from the HD worked. Why would you
expect that to work instead???

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.

Perhaps if you had started with a *proper* install instead of with a
scenario full of potential problems?

Again, shooting the messenger. If there's a box to check and a
install button, I expect, no DEMAND, that it work.

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.

Yes, due to the fact that you're not installing it on a native filesystem
but in a file inside another filesystem of a hostile (excuse for an)
operating system, of which the specifications are not free and change all
the time in order to sabotage interoperability.
This is crap. Typically, anti-piracy issues have to do with the thing
you're installing, not the host. I've had MUCH grief with M$'s attempts
to prevent installs, but never do to the MS host I'm installing on.

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.

There usually is a key combination to override the progress bar and get some
real output of what is happening. In fact, it is the same during boot
time, but Windows addicts don't like that; they need to see something
graphical or they get a heartattack. <grin>

Agian, developer decisions that significantly impact the user experience
based on (aparently) complete ignorance of that usere expereince.

No, more like a user decision not to Read The /Fine/ Manual and look for
trouble where there was none to begin with.

I don't care whether it's an operating system or a lawnmower. You should be
able to get basic functionality without reading ANY manual.

Try this...
Average Joe or Jane goes down to the car dealer to buy a new car.
Big sign says, "BEST car you ever had...can't be beat, Better than FORD..." so they stop in.
They open the door and get in. The steering wheel is off to the side.
The footpedals are backwards for better ergonomics. They can't make the radio work.
The go back inside to ask the salesman some questions.
He gives them a stern look and points to a big sign on the wall that
says, "RTFM".
Wanna bet the salesman doesn't work on commission? At least not for long.

Haven't linux developers ever heard of alpha testing or focus groups?

Yes they have. However, installing GNU/Linux in a file inside a Windows
partition is not an intended focus, and manuals are made to be read.

One more time, if there are two check boxes on the installation page,
they're BOTH an intended focus.

Haven't Windows users ever heard of reading manuals? <grin>

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

Yeah, I don't know where the Debian/Ubuntu guys keep getting those names
either. :p

I gotta say, I was impressed. Different user interface than I'm used to
with other linuxes, [...

Ubuntu comes with Gnome as its default desktop environment. You've
mentioned having used Knoppix before, and Knoppix uses KDE as the default
desktop environment.

...] 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.

Possibly there wasn't a driver for it in Ubuntu because the driver for your
adapter may have been proprietary only. You then have the choice of either
fetching such a proprietary driver for that adapter in Linux, or of using
the Windows driver with the /ndiswrapper/ kernel module.

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.

Probably not without looking around and reading manuals, no.

Networking is a thorny issue, cause you can't look around if you can't
connect to look around for how to connect.
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

All of what you describe above leads me to believe you've got some process
hogging away on CPU cycles, and my guess is that it's the I/O translation
layer in the kernel, due to the fact that you've installed it in an
emulated filesystem environment. Do not underestimate this factor.

I'm not buying that argument.
If I run virtual PC on XP and load linux on top of that, linux
is running on EMULATED HARDWARE and will run much slower...although
it's pretty snappy in that mode.

The way Ubuntu is loading, it's booting/running native code on native hardware.
The hard drive is embedded into the Windows OS file system, but all
Windows has to do is mark a bunch of sectors used, unmovable and stay out of it.
Linux has the option to create anything it wants inside those disk sectors. There's no reason it HAS to be significantly slower.
Yes, there's some overhead, but it shouldn't have to be a lot.

Now, if I were lazy, I might do it differently and suffer the slowdown.
But linux guys are typically anything but lazy.

A second problem may be that - or so I believe - Ubuntu comes with the
Compiz Fusion window manager, which uses 3D hardware videoacceleration, and
if the 3D acceleration of your video adapter is not supported by the driver - possibly you may need to install the proprietary driver first - then this
will be emulated in software (and in RAM, rather than in video memory) and
will also yield a very slow user experience similar to what you're
describing. 256 MB may then even be a bit too little.

I shoulda been more clear. The system I eventually got it loaded on has
320MB of ram. I've installed many linux variants on many different hardwares
over the years. Compared to the contemporary windows version, linux
has always "felt" slower. Benchmarks don't mean nothin' if it "feels"

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.

Yes, all of that agrees with what I wrote above.

The problem with typing should have nothing to do with this.
If I need to access anything more than a ram buffer to enter
text into a box, something is seriously wrong with the program,
or the underlying OS.

I tried installing a different music player. That went without a hitch,
although I thought 40MB of stuff downloaded was excessive for a music

Perhaps you needed more than just the player, i.e. dependencies, such as
video/audio codecs or other shared libraries.

Yep, I understand. But Windows requires the same stuff. Also, there's
already codecs on the system, cause the other player worked.

Years ago, I bitched a LOT when the registry replaced win.ini and it's cousins. It was darn difficult to figure out how to fix stuff when
it was all jumbled together. I'm shifting back the other way
because the registry allows a lot of sharing that would otherwise
reaquire multiple instances of basically the same DLL code.
If I understand what I'm reading, windows is shifting away from the
registry again. It's always something.

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 have already commented on this higher up, so I'm not going to make my
reply any longer than it needs to be. ;-)

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.

Then why are you putting yourself through so much trouble by deliberately
blocking your knowledge of how a computer is supposed to work and
deliberately choosing non-standard install procedures that hold a recipe
for disaster?
Two check boxes, I guess they're actually mutually exclusive radio
buttons, one install button == disaster??? The disaster is making it
an option if it doesn't work.

Typical reaction from linux users is, "you're an idiot."
That may be, but it's symptomatic of linux.

No, it is not.

"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.

From what you write higher up, you're not exactly a computer novice. Yet a
lot of what perspires through your attitude is telling me that you are
deliberately _playing_ dumb, without _being_ dumb.

One talent I have is to be able to step outside the box and view the world from the perspective of a novice user.
If I thought linux had anything I really needed and couldn't get anywhere
else, I'd figure out how to make it work.
I write this crap to expose the linux
zealots to problems mere mortals are having when trying to use linux.
Blaming the user is a practice best left to the customer support center
for your favorite company.

A few changes to make it palateable to the novice user would be
a VAST improvement in the user experience. Never push a rock up hill
when you can get to the same place going downhill.

Make it user friendly and they will come...

I consider myself a very good driver, and I've done some pretty wild stuff
with my very first car. I am now a more careful driver, and other people
also consider me a very good driver. My late father, who used to be a
professional driver himself, did not feel quite comfortable being in the
passenger's seat of the cars of a lot of people that he himself had taught
how to drive, or of his colleagues - all professional drivers as well - but
he did feel comfortable with me behind the wheel.

Yet, if I suddenly decide to turn left when on my immediate left there isn't
a road but a house, then I will wreck my car and induce some domestic
disturbance to the inhabitants of that house. The bottom line: I could
drive my car the way I'm supposed to, or I could do something irrational
and smack into a house on purpose.

It would be my choice. And you're acting like you're just aching to smack
into a house while at the wheel of a very fine car, and then blame it on
the car.

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.

Still better yet is to use the system for what it was designed.

Like it or not, the way Windows works is the way all computers have to

You mean they all have to use backwards concepts from single-user personal
computers that only had floppy drives, have you running all processes with
administrator privileges, be open to any kind of virus infection by the way
execute permission is handled, with the concepts of "security", "memory
management", "filesystem organization", "interprocess communication" and
"stability" all being implemented with the same slack jaw as is expected
from the drooling click-addicts looking at the 5000 USD names of simple
operating system components and menu items?

I'm gonna say, "EXACTLY"! When are you guys gonna get your heads outa
the sand and pay attention to customers.
Customers don't give a damn about interprocess communication. They
want youtube, myspace, letters to grandma, webcams, voip, etc.
The less they know about what's under the hood, the better.
If I could figure out how to turn off the password, I would.
And yes, I wanna be administrator.
And that damned popup everytime I want to do something is reminiscent
of Vista...but vista at least makes it easy to turn off.
If I can't make it do what I want, it don't
matter how great the interprocess communication.
Calling windows users names is not helpful.

Windows surely ain't perfect, but I can stick in the CD,
click install, have coffee, input my user name, have some more
coffee...when I come back, I'm writing letters to grandma.

Now, if you want to run a webserver, that's a whole other
paradigm. Hire yourself a linux guru and get 'er done.

You don't get to change that until AFTER you have significant market

The above comment is totally absurd and non sequitur.

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