If there is one lesson that everyone should learn about computers, the title of this post is it. I do not really want to leave Linux again, but I feel that it is the right thing to do at this point in time. I may very well return to Ubuntu at a later point (I had to restrain myself from installing a development snapshot of the next Ubuntu release earlier tonight), but a number of things would have to change:
- New packages. One of the reasons I was first attracted to Linux was the rapid development of much of its software. Despite the fact that Ubuntu puts out new releases every six months, there are not many interim updates, other than for secure security problems. There is the Backports project, but there are not enough packages there to satisfy me (not to mention HTTP errors because the website was previously pimping the wrong URL for the package repository). I suspect all of this is because Ubuntu is still a new distribution, and not many people use it yet.
- CD burning. The Nautilus integrated CD burning works fine, but standalone applications like gnomebaker and graveman do not automatically have access to the CD burner. This should be relatively simple to fix (change the permissions for /dev/sg0), but I have not managed to fix it yet. I suspect it is related to:
- The relative lack of support for the T43's hardware. This is more of a Debian problem than with Ubuntu. In an ill-fated attempt to fix my concerns with the problem of not having new enough packages, I attempted to installed Debian "Testing," codenamed "sarge." The 2.6 kernel in the installer (2.6.8) could not detect my hard drive (as far as I can tell, the Thinkpad T43 uses the Linux SATA libraries to access the hard drive (which is not working in kernel 2.6.8), which meant I had to install using a 2.4 kernel. Even more annoying, Debian still uses XFree86 instead of X.org.
- Unlike Gentoo, the previous distribution of Linux I used, Ubuntu detected almost all of the T43's hardware correctly. While this made it relatively easy to get things like the Centrino 2915abg wireless and Bluetooth working, battery life is about 2 hours. Since the machine's configuration was advertised as having a battery life of almost 5 hours, I was less than enthused. I could fix this by disabling devices I will probably never use (infrared, for example), but have not had the time.
- One thing I am not used to with Linux is my computer freezing. I would normally suspect that it would just be some kind of kernel panic, which would be easily fixed by downgrading from kernel 2.6.10 to 2.6.8...oh, wait.... Even more annoyingly, everything on the computer freezes about once every 24 hours. dmesg does not display any errors, but still displays the manual reboot when I press the power button for more than 10 seconds.
- m4a audio - every player except totem (how far it has come since last summer!) refuses to play these files. Each player has a different bug preventing playback from occurring, but together with the difficulties I was having properly syncing my iPod (which, incidentally, is worth a post in itself), I decided it just was not worth it.