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Ubuntu 6.06 criticisms from a programmer

Started by CBFalconer October 14, 2006
I have just mounted this on an IBM Thinkpad T30.  It is driving me
up the wall.  Problems:

1.  Lack of keyboard alternatives for routine operations.  I can't
get to the master menus without using the mouse equivalent.

2.  Nothing is mounted for program development.  No gcc, no make,
etc.  No diff.

3.  While info is mounted, the proper .inf files are not.  For
example, for dd it simply accesses the obsolete man pages.

4.  On a Thinkpad, at least, it is excessively easy to touch the
mouse movement area during typing, and this seems to generate
either unwanted mouse movements or unwanted clicks.  There seems to
be no way to reduce the sensitivity.  Nothing appeared in the bios
configuration area.

5.  All sorts of things just don't work without a network
connection.  When and if I allow such a machine to network, it will
be via dial-up.

The Thinkpad is probably going back under the 7 day no questions
asked return policy.  It came with absolutely no written manual,
and no restoration CDs or OS installation CDs.  It came with
Micky$oft XP, which is now exterminated and which never ran,
because it took about two hours to install itself, and then it
wanted me to accede to the EULA.  No thanks.

There is no doubt that Linux is a superior OS to any version of
Windoze.  However, it must also be admitted that the GUI interface
on Windoze is generally better than the equivalent under Gnome.  I
can almost always operate Windoze from the keyboard.  This does not
apply to this version of Ubuntu.  I will concede that my versions
of Windoze use 4dos as their shell, which is much superior to
COMMAND or CMD.  My rodents sleep peacefully in a corner 99% of the
time.

Both systems are excessively lacking in showing immediate response
to user input.  After a click, something on the display should
always change immediately to show reception.

While there may be suitable answers to my complaints, the 7 day
return period will prevent my investigating them.

As a result I am still in the market for a reasonably priced
laptop, which MUST include real serial and parallel ports, CD/DVD
reader, CD writer, and should include ECC memory capabilty.  I also
suspect that Ubuntu is not going to be the right distribution for
me.  I don't want to suffer long downloading sessions tieing up my
phone line.  All this stuff should be on the CD(s).  Maybe it is
time to see what cheapbytes has available.

Some time ago I mounted Mandrake 8.0 locally, and it seemed quite
satisfactory.  The major problem is that dual booting just doesn't
cut it.  I need a separate machine for the Linux installation.

-- 
Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net)
   Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
   <http://cbfalconer.home.att.net>


In comp.os.linux.misc CBFalconer <cbfalconer@yahoo.com>:
> I have just mounted this on an IBM Thinkpad T30. It is driving me > up the wall. Problems:
> 1. Lack of keyboard alternatives for routine operations. I can't > get to the master menus without using the mouse equivalent.
Strange, [ALT][F1] works for me (KDE).
> 2. Nothing is mounted for program development. No gcc, no make, > etc. No diff.
Mounted == Installed? Perhaps Ubuntu is more targeted to desktop users then people who want to compile stuff? [..]
> 5. All sorts of things just don't work without a network > connection. When and if I allow such a machine to network, it will > be via dial-up.
Yeah, it can be irritating if you just can't access the internet...
> The Thinkpad is probably going back under the 7 day no questions > asked return policy. It came with absolutely no written manual, > and no restoration CDs or OS installation CDs. It came with > Micky$oft XP, which is now exterminated and which never ran, > because it took about two hours to install itself, and then it > wanted me to accede to the EULA. No thanks.
What did you expect? [..]
> As a result I am still in the market for a reasonably priced > laptop, which MUST include real serial and parallel ports, CD/DVD > reader, CD writer, and should include ECC memory capabilty. I also > suspect that Ubuntu is not going to be the right distribution for > me. I don't want to suffer long downloading sessions tieing up my > phone line. All this stuff should be on the CD(s). Maybe it is > time to see what cheapbytes has available.
Get better internet access, even installing patches can be a nightmare on dial-up these days. Quite a few sites expect you to have broadband just for surfing, likely because the "designer" just tested their stuff on LAN and have no clue... [..] -- Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94) mail: echo zvpunry@urvzvat.qr | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/' #bofh excuse 288: Hard drive sleeping. Let it wake up on it's own...
On Sat, 14 Oct 2006 22:29:59 -0400, CBFalconer wrote:

> I have just mounted this on an IBM Thinkpad T30. It is driving me > up the wall. Problems: > > 1. Lack of keyboard alternatives for routine operations. I can't > get to the master menus without using the mouse equivalent.
List of GNOME shortcuts: http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/tip/2289.html Also see System->Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts
> 2. Nothing is mounted for program development. No gcc, no make, etc. > No diff.
Ubuntu is a consumer-oriented distro and on top of that needs to squeeze as much functionality as possible onto the LiveCD. Users don't generally need build tools so they're left off the default install to leave room on the CD for applications. The build-essentials package will install gcc, make, gdb, etc. Whatever else you need is easily installed via Synaptic.
> 3. While info is mounted, the proper .inf files are not. For > example, for dd it simply accesses the obsolete man pages.
I agree here. Linux and OSS documentation tends to be poorly organized and poorly written. Also it would help to have a single unified documentation system instead of manpages, the 'info' system, the miscellaneous documentation in /usr/share/doc, the GNOME help system, the KDE help system, and of course google. However this is all easily overcome with the purchase of a good book. Also the Ubuntu support site is really excellent.
> 4. On a Thinkpad, at least, it is excessively easy to touch the > mouse movement area during typing, and this seems to generate > either unwanted mouse movements or unwanted clicks. There seems to > be no way to reduce the sensitivity. Nothing appeared in the bios > configuration area.
Sounds like a touchpad problem. Whatever OEM moron decided that "tap-to-click" should be the default behavior on touchpads shut be drawn, quartered, hung, shot, and electrocuted. Anyway this problem can be fixed by turning off tap-to-click. How you do that depends on which version of Ubuntu you have (6.06 or the 6.10 beta) and the maker of your touchpad electronics. Usually that'll be Alps or Synaptics. A google search for "Ubuntu tap-to-click" and the manufacturer name should turn up plenty of solutions. You might also want to investigate tpclient because it lets you manipulate other settings (like something called 'palm detection') that may help with accidental mouse movements.
> 5. All sorts of things just don't work without a network > connection. When and if I allow such a machine to network, it will > be via dial-up.
What sorts of things? Ubuntu works fine for me without a network connection.
> The Thinkpad is probably going back under the 7 day no questions > asked return policy. It came with absolutely no written manual, > and no restoration CDs or OS installation CDs. It came with > Micky$oft XP, which is now exterminated and which never ran, > because it took about two hours to install itself, and then it > wanted me to accede to the EULA. No thanks.
Better hurry or you next laptop will come with Vista. :o)
> There is no doubt that Linux is a superior OS to any version of > Windoze. However, it must also be admitted that the GUI interface > on Windoze is generally better than the equivalent under Gnome. I > can almost always operate Windoze from the keyboard.
You can also operate GNOME from the keyboard. If that doesn't give you the control you seek, you can install other window managers. For the ultimate no-mouse window manager, Look up ratpoison in Synaptic.
> This does not apply to this version of Ubuntu. I will concede that my > versions of Windoze use 4dos as their shell, which is much superior to > COMMAND or CMD. My rodents sleep peacefully in a corner 99% of the time.
You're definitely a prime candidate for ratpoison.
> Both systems are excessively lacking in showing immediate response to > user input. After a click, something on the display should always > change immediately to show reception.
IMO GNOME and KDE are both terminally bloated. I much prefer leaner window managers, except on my current laptop which is fast enough not to have to worry about it. For more responsiveness you might install xfce, icewm, or ratpoison. They're free, give them all a try and see which one you like. BTW if you like xfce, xubuntu is just ubuntu with xfce as its default window manager.
> While there may be suitable answers to my complaints, the 7 day > return period will prevent my investigating them. > > As a result I am still in the market for a reasonably priced > laptop, which MUST include real serial and parallel ports, CD/DVD > reader, CD writer, and should include ECC memory capabilty. I also
I was looking for ECC myself. However the few laptops that had it cost a whole lot more than it was worth to me. To be honest, I haven't really missed it.
> suspect that Ubuntu is not going to be the right distribution for > me. I don't want to suffer long downloading sessions tieing up my > phone line. All this stuff should be on the CD(s). Maybe it is > time to see what cheapbytes has available.
Try the DVD instead of the cd, it comes with a whole lot more applications. Also I've long since lost the URL but someone used to sell Ubuntu plus the current package archives on 4 DVD's. Maybe someone here knows the URL. BTW you might also check out http://www.osdisc.com. They sometimes have better prices and more up-to-date discs than cheapbytes.
> Some time ago I mounted Mandrake 8.0 locally, and it seemed quite > satisfactory. The major problem is that dual booting just doesn't cut > it. I need a separate machine for the Linux installation.
Have you played around with virtual machines yet? VMWare Server (http://www.vmware.com) is free and works beautifully with Ubuntu as the host. As guests, it will run Windows, Linux, and the BSD's. And unlike dual booting, you can run your host OS and any guest OS's all at once on the very same machine. As far as which distro, I'd say Debian if you want something more technical than Ubuntu. One of the things I like about Ubuntu is that it's based on Debian. That gives me Debian as a technical OS and Ubuntu as the very same thing but with some user-friendly wrappers.
CBFalconer <cbfalconer@yahoo.com> writes:

> I have just mounted this on an IBM Thinkpad T30. It is driving me > up the wall. Problems: > > 1. Lack of keyboard alternatives for routine operations. I can't > get to the master menus without using the mouse equivalent.
Huh? All window operations are available via keyboard. Look for keyboard shortcuts in your preferences.
> > 2. Nothing is mounted for program development. No gcc, no make, > etc. No diff. >
never was. "sudo apt-get install build-essential"
> 3. While info is mounted, the proper .inf files are not. For > example, for dd it simply accesses the obsolete man pages. >
What is "mounted" meaning here? Why are the man pages obsolete?
> 4. On a Thinkpad, at least, it is excessively easy to touch the > mouse movement area during typing, and this seems to generate > either unwanted mouse movements or unwanted clicks. There seems to > be no way to reduce the sensitivity. Nothing appeared in the bios > configuration area. > > 5. All sorts of things just don't work without a network > connection. When and if I allow such a machine to network, it will > be via dial-up.
I cant imagine installing any form of linux without a wireless/broadband net connection at least for initial update. But you could always dowload the packages on another machine and burn to cd/dvd.
> > The Thinkpad is probably going back under the 7 day no questions > asked return policy. It came with absolutely no written manual, > and no restoration CDs or OS installation CDs. It came with > Micky$oft XP, which is now exterminated and which never ran, > because it took about two hours to install itself, and then it > wanted me to accede to the EULA. No thanks.
Silly. You could dual partition for free.
> > There is no doubt that Linux is a superior OS to any version of > Windoze. However, it must also be admitted that the GUI interface > on Windoze is generally better than the equivalent under Gnome. I > can almost always operate Windoze from the keyboard. This does not
You can gnome too.
> apply to this version of Ubuntu. I will concede that my versions > of Windoze use 4dos as their shell, which is much superior to > COMMAND or CMD. My rodents sleep peacefully in a corner 99% of the > time.
Huh? So you dont use the windows gui?
> > Both systems are excessively lacking in showing immediate response > to user input. After a click, something on the display should > always change immediately to show reception.
They do. Was there some HW issue?
> > While there may be suitable answers to my complaints, the 7 day > return period will prevent my investigating them.
No : you sending it back prevents you "investigating" them.
> > As a result I am still in the market for a reasonably priced > laptop, which MUST include real serial and parallel ports, CD/DVD > reader, CD writer, and should include ECC memory capabilty. I also > suspect that Ubuntu is not going to be the right distribution for > me. I don't want to suffer long downloading sessions tieing up my > phone line. All this stuff should be on the CD(s). Maybe it is > time to see what cheapbytes has available. > > Some time ago I mounted Mandrake 8.0 locally, and it seemed quite > satisfactory. The major problem is that dual booting just doesn't > cut it. I need a separate machine for the Linux installation.
Why doesnt it cut it? Dual partitions effectively hide the other OS if you dont mount the windows partition in the fstab. There is zero physical impediment other than reduced hard disk space. -- Obey all traffic laws.
Hadron Quark wrote:
> CBFalconer <cbfalconer@yahoo.com> writes: > >> I have just mounted this on an IBM Thinkpad T30. It is driving me >> up the wall. Problems: >> >> 1. Lack of keyboard alternatives for routine operations. I can't >> get to the master menus without using the mouse equivalent. > > Huh? All window operations are available via keyboard. Look for > keyboard shortcuts in your preferences.
Remember I only have this week-end to look for and decide these things, due to the return policy.
>> >> 2. Nothing is mounted for program development. No gcc, no make, >> etc. No diff. > > never was. "sudo apt-get install build-essential"
That seems to work. Much better.
> > 3. While info is mounted, the proper .inf files are not. For > > example, for dd it simply accesses the obsolete man pages. > > What is "mounted" meaning here? > > Why are the man pages obsolete?
Because they say they are. From "man dd" on another system (same content): SEE ALSO The full documentation for dd is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and dd programs are properly installed at your site, the command info dd should give you access to the complete manual. ... snip ...
>> >> 5. All sorts of things just don't work without a network >> connection. When and if I allow such a machine to network, it will >> be via dial-up. > > I cant imagine installing any form of linux without a > wireless/broadband net connection at least for initial update. > But you could always dowload the packages on another machine and > burn to cd/dvd.
I don't even have a broadband system available to me here, and even if it was why should I pay for it, when for 99% of the time 50 odd k is good enough for me. Besides, I like being disconnected from the web - it is a great relief to know that no script-kiddies can possibly get at me.
>> The Thinkpad is probably going back under the 7 day no questions >> asked return policy. It came with absolutely no written manual, >> and no restoration CDs or OS installation CDs. It came with >> Micky$oft XP, which is now exterminated and which never ran, >> because it took about two hours to install itself, and then it >> wanted me to accede to the EULA. No thanks. > > Silly. You could dual partition for free.
Do you want to accede to Microsoft snooping in your system and give them license to destroy anything they don't like? No thanks.
>> There is no doubt that Linux is a superior OS to any version of >> Windoze. However, it must also be admitted that the GUI interface >> on Windoze is generally better than the equivalent under Gnome. I >> can almost always operate Windoze from the keyboard. This does not >> apply to this version of Ubuntu. I will concede that my versions >> of Windoze use 4dos as their shell, which is much superior to >> COMMAND or CMD. My rodents sleep peacefully in a corner 99% of the >> time. > > Huh? So you dont use the windows gui?
I don't use mice at every opportunity. Any such use often results in my fingers being on the wrong home keys.
>> Both systems are excessively lacking in showing immediate response >> to user input. After a click, something on the display should >> always change immediately to show reception. > > They do. Was there some HW issue?
Only after delays. When running from the CD the delays are excessive.
>> While there may be suitable answers to my complaints, the 7 day >> return period will prevent my investigating them. > > No : you sending it back prevents you "investigating" them.
If I don't send it back I lose the opportunity. ... snip ...
> Why doesnt it cut it? > > Dual partitions effectively hide the other OS if you dont mount > the windows partition in the fstab. There is zero physical > impediment other than reduced hard disk space.
It doesn't cut it because of the delays in interminable booting/rebooting etc. -- Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net) Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems. <http://cbfalconer.home.att.net>
CBFalconer <cbfalconer@yahoo.com> writes:

> Hadron Quark wrote: >> CBFalconer <cbfalconer@yahoo.com> writes: >> >>> I have just mounted this on an IBM Thinkpad T30. It is driving me >>> up the wall. Problems: >>> >>> 1. Lack of keyboard alternatives for routine operations. I can't >>> get to the master menus without using the mouse equivalent. >> >> Huh? All window operations are available via keyboard. Look for >> keyboard shortcuts in your preferences. > > Remember I only have this week-end to look for and decide these > things, due to the return policy.
But you concur there is no lack of keyboard alternatives as you stated?
> >>> >>> 2. Nothing is mounted for program development. No gcc, no make, >>> etc. No diff. >> >> never was. "sudo apt-get install build-essential" > > That seems to work. Much better. > >> > 3. While info is mounted, the proper .inf files are not. For >> > example, for dd it simply accesses the obsolete man pages. >> >> What is "mounted" meaning here? >> >> Why are the man pages obsolete? > > Because they say they are. From "man dd" on another system (same > content): > > SEE ALSO > The full documentation for dd is maintained as a Texinfo > manual. If the info and dd programs are properly > installed at your site, the command > > info dd > > should give you access to the complete manual. > > ... snip ...
I dont see any mention of them being obsolete. In fact I use manual-entry in emacs for all my c library browsing. Possibly more cursory :-;
>>> >>> 5. All sorts of things just don't work without a network >>> connection. When and if I allow such a machine to network, it will >>> be via dial-up. >> >> I cant imagine installing any form of linux without a >> wireless/broadband net connection at least for initial update. >> But you could always dowload the packages on another machine and >> burn to cd/dvd. > > I don't even have a broadband system available to me here, and even > if it was why should I pay for it, when for 99% of the time 50 odd > k is good enough for me. Besides, I like being disconnected from > the web - it is a great relief to know that no script-kiddies can > possibly get at me.
Get connected once in a while - plug into someones router using an rj45 - Linux changes a lot unless you choose to stay "stable". And you know Linux is pretty safe - especially when you sit behind a gateway/router.
> >>> The Thinkpad is probably going back under the 7 day no questions >>> asked return policy. It came with absolutely no written manual, >>> and no restoration CDs or OS installation CDs. It came with >>> Micky$oft XP, which is now exterminated and which never ran, >>> because it took about two hours to install itself, and then it >>> wanted me to accede to the EULA. No thanks. >> >> Silly. You could dual partition for free. > > Do you want to accede to Microsoft snooping in your system and give > them license to destroy anything they don't like? No thanks.
Err no. But if you're offline anyway ..... besides there is a lot of SW for Windows not available for Ubuntu - but all to their own.
> >>> There is no doubt that Linux is a superior OS to any version of >>> Windoze. However, it must also be admitted that the GUI interface >>> on Windoze is generally better than the equivalent under Gnome. I >>> can almost always operate Windoze from the keyboard. This does not >>> apply to this version of Ubuntu. I will concede that my versions >>> of Windoze use 4dos as their shell, which is much superior to >>> COMMAND or CMD. My rodents sleep peacefully in a corner 99% of the >>> time. >> >> Huh? So you dont use the windows gui? > > I don't use mice at every opportunity. Any such use often results > in my fingers being on the wrong home keys.
My point is that these key bindings are available and Windows is not better at it.
> >>> Both systems are excessively lacking in showing immediate response >>> to user input. After a click, something on the display should >>> always change immediately to show reception. >> >> They do. Was there some HW issue? > > Only after delays. When running from the CD the delays are > excessive.
Never experienced it. I have run from a live CD once and there were no input delays that I recall. I cant see this being the thinkpad's issue regardless.
> > >>> While there may be suitable answers to my complaints, the 7 day >>> return period will prevent my investigating them. >> >> No : you sending it back prevents you "investigating" them. > > If I don't send it back I lose the opportunity. > > ... snip ... > >> Why doesnt it cut it? >> >> Dual partitions effectively hide the other OS if you dont mount >> the windows partition in the fstab. There is zero physical >> impediment other than reduced hard disk space. > > It doesn't cut it because of the delays in interminable > booting/rebooting etc.
There are no delays of note. You can set up grub timeout after 1 second and default to your Linux installation. If 1 second once a day is important to you then fair enough ...
On Sat, 14 Oct 2006 23:24:20 -0500, arachnid wrote:

> I agree here. Linux and OSS documentation tends to be poorly organized and > poorly written. Also it would help to have a single unified documentation > system instead of manpages, the 'info' system, the miscellaneous > documentation in /usr/share/doc, the GNOME help system, the KDE help > system, and of course google.
I especially love the way the Gnome Help System (yelp) _rebuilds_ the help file each time you call it. That delay is just the thing you want while trying to see if there's anything useful there (usually not). It should build the damned file _once_, the first time you call it up, and then _rebuild_ it on demand (eg, after an upgrade). (Then again, maybe, in spite of appearances, it's _not_ rebuilding the thing each time, in which case it should get whatever Nobel there is for slow programs.) -- .sigzip:*
On Sun, 15 Oct 2006 14:28:48 +0200, Hadron Quark wrote:

> CBFalconer <cbfalconer@yahoo.com> writes: > >> I have just mounted this on an IBM Thinkpad T30. It is driving me >> up the wall. Problems: >> >> 1. Lack of keyboard alternatives for routine operations. I can't >> get to the master menus without using the mouse equivalent. > > Huh? All window operations are available via keyboard. Look for > keyboard shortcuts in your preferences.
You can even custom-map 'em; I've got <ctrl><break> set to give me a terminal, for bail-out (soft-kill, sorta) purposes. -- .sigzip:*
CBFalconer wrote:
> > I have just mounted this on an IBM Thinkpad T30. It is driving me > up the wall. Problems: > > 1. Lack of keyboard alternatives for routine operations. I can't > get to the master menus without using the mouse equivalent. > > 2. Nothing is mounted for program development. No gcc, no make, > etc. No diff. > > 3. While info is mounted, the proper .inf files are not. For > example, for dd it simply accesses the obsolete man pages. > > 4. On a Thinkpad, at least, it is excessively easy to touch the > mouse movement area during typing, and this seems to generate > either unwanted mouse movements or unwanted clicks. There seems to > be no way to reduce the sensitivity. Nothing appeared in the bios > configuration area. > > 5. All sorts of things just don't work without a network > connection. When and if I allow such a machine to network, it will > be via dial-up. > > The Thinkpad is probably going back under the 7 day no questions > asked return policy. It came with absolutely no written manual, > and no restoration CDs or OS installation CDs. It came with > Micky$oft XP, which is now exterminated and which never ran, > because it took about two hours to install itself, and then it > wanted me to accede to the EULA. No thanks.
... snip ... The advice I have received so far encourages me to keep this machine. It is not yet resolved. I have found out how to install gcc and friends, and how to locate the keyboard alternatives. I am not worried about how to do bash scripting. The next crucial factors for me are: 1. How to get rid of the infernal touch pad sensitivity problem. A google search was not immediately productive, but at least I am convinced it can be done. 2. How to set up for dial up network access. Here I haven't the foggiest. I took a quick look at ratpoison, and it seems to overdo it from my viewpoint. Thanks to Micheal Heiming, arachnid, Hadron Quark. An important item was: "sudo apt-get install build-essential" which I am recording here so I have someplace to find the fundamental command in future. :-) Incidentally I bought this machine on the used market because it has serial and parallel ports. I expect this to be especially valuable in the embedded field. Blinding speed and gaming displays are not in the least necessary. -- Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net) Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems. <http://cbfalconer.home.att.net>
CBFalconer wrote:
> Incidentally I bought this machine on the used market because it > has serial and parallel ports. I expect this to be especially > valuable in the embedded field. Blinding speed and gaming displays > are not in the least necessary. >
If only you had said 'embedded' in the first place. Different world. Bill Baka