Yet Another Blog

June 3, 2008

Things I don’t like about some GNU/Linux distributions

Filed under: computer, Software — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — guilleml @ 12:20 pm

I’ve been trying linux distributions dor a while and there are things I like and things I don’t like. My aim was to use another distribution as my main Linux system.

Now I’m using Kubuntu 8.04 and I’ve been using Kubuntu since version 6.04 or 6.10 I don’t remember.

Some years ago I was a really Linux-geek guy, I used LFS for a while, I loved Gentoo and optimizing my system, to try new gcc flags, etc…but one day I just wanted to have my computer ready for anything I need, I couldn’t wait 6 hours untill my OOo compiles or some hours just if I want to install an IDE like Netbeans or Eclipse, they are binaries but the system require to built some libraries to run them. So that’s when I started to look for a distro with binary packages and…well…I don’t want to edit config files anymore, so the distro I was looking for had to be very user friendly, had to detect all my hardware, config it…I don’t want to spend much time configuring my system.

So I tryied some of the most famous distributions, Debian, of course, I’ve used it a lot of times, I tryied Lenny and I had some problems like a kernel bug with the DMA and my DVD writer, the system spent to boot arround 5 minutes and the writer wasn’t operative, I had to reset the device and set the DMA flag to 1 to use it, I don’t use the wirter too much but this was annoying and I didn’t want to build my own kernel.

Debian worked fine, really well, but it worked like Kubuntu, I didn’t find pretty much differences, I don’t have any stability problems with Kubuntu so I didn’t notice Debian more reliable, the fact was Debian was giving me problems with the writer and with aMule (ed2k p2p client), in the search tab, when I closed the searches I made aMule crashed all the time, it doesn’t do that in Kubuntu and my writer works fine.

Well, I had to build my atheros madwifi driver, that wasn’t much problem, make, gcc, linux-headers, madwifi-source….and all done, Kubuntu detected at first boot.

I didn’t notice any performance difference, Debian was just as fast as Kubuntu so, I already have my Kubuntu configured, the performance is the same and I avoid a pair of bugs using Kubuntu…I didn’t find a reason to change Kubuntu for Debian.

Next I tryied OpenSuse, I like KDE and OpenSuse has a name as a KDE distro, even Linus Torvalds recommends it.

I tryied OpenSuse 10.2 and 10.3, it worked great, it has a “control panel” where you can configure the system, something I liked a lot, Kubuntu doesn’t have it and I think it wont since Canonical gives priority to Gnome and the KDE version is not so nice in wizards or admin tools.

I configured some repositories, I updated the system…not much problem. The thing I don’t like was everytime you run the software install tool, it synchronizes with the repositories, son you have to wait a lot of time because the mirrors were slow, for me. And this happends everytime you run this program, so install something like amsn, close the program and run it again because you forgot to install ktorrent can cost you 15 minutes.

I had to build my atheros driver too…

I’m really comfortable with aptitude and .deb packages, yast didn’t liked me because of that updating process.

After that I installed Mandriva 2008 Spring, I installed it in a virtual machine I liked it and then I tryied in a partition. Well, I have to say Mandriva is a great distribution, really easy, it detected my wifi card, my network, I configured the repositories, updated my system…everything fine.

But there were lot of things, little things and a big thing I didn’t like.

When I updated the software repositories list it spent a lot of time, waiting, not downloading, and the mirror was in my country, I don’t know why but it was slow.

My screen was always set to 60Hz, it’s a LCD monitor that works at 1280×1024 @ 75Hz, using krandr tool I set it to 75Hz, fine, but everytime I rebooted the system, the screen was set to 60Hz again, I even edited xorg.conf but it didn’t work.

That was a little thing, there was other little things, not very important but I didn’t like it neither, there is an applet in the panel that shows you what devices are mounted to extract, mount or dismount them, there appears a floppy disk icon, I have a floppy drive but I never use it, so I disabled it in the config menu, it disappeared but, as before, it was there again when I loaded the system! I like my settings to me saved, I don’t want to spend 3 minutes setting up the environment every time I boot my computer.

Anyway, the big problem I found, the reason I don’t use Mandriva are the fonts. The rendering is so…UGLY and DIRTY that I didn’t feel fine reading them.


Free Image Hosting at


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There you can see the difference between fonts in Kubuntu and Mandriva.

So, I’ll try OpenSuse 11 official release, maybe they have solved the install software problem, until I found other thing I’ll be using Kubuntu, I’m tired for so much publicity ubuntu gets, but it works fine for me…for now.

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