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Gnome/Ubuntu NIH syndrome?

with 2 comments

There are at least 3 times when Ubuntu/Gnome teams* bit my user experience by:

– pushing alpha-quality technology

– taking a year to deliver a stable one

– just so that it can match a previous offer.

First: Totem

When I first tried it, it didn’t manage to play anything. When it did, it didn’t had subtitles. Or sound. Or it crashed. Or it crashed Nautilus. Or the browser.
However the Gnome Desktop kept on shipping it, even if 90% of people were using mplayer or xine or vlc. It doesn’t even matches these today, but I can call it stable. Why did they spent that much resources when they could have taken an existing, proven, technology?

Second: Network Manager

Ok, this is sad. Network manager started as an wifi deamon with a usermode icon panel. It didn’t even “speak” wpa_supplicant. Because of the deamon you cannot use wifi-radar an other decent solution. Even hamachi choked with it, because every new connection it sees, it tries to manage.

After one year of NM 0.6, the next version seems a little bit better. It even knows ppp and stuff. But the year with the network-manager 0.6 deamon, with prays for connections, I will never forget..:(

Third: Pulseaudio

First, I don’t even understand what’s that. From my point of view, it’s the thing that stops Audacity from working. And you cannot disable it (I mean, it was hard to find out it existed..)

Basically it locks your soundcard so that anybody should play through pulseaudio. Why the hell would something like that be pushed, along with programs known not to work with it??

I am beginning the wait for another year for a mature pulseaudio or a Gnome/Ubuntu Audacity replacement. “Not invented here” its the oposite of collaboration and hurts other OSs projects.

All these (3) technologies exist because of the Gnome desktop and the way it pushed them. With that “one-year-to-get-decent” policy, they would have failed in infancy.

Is this a bad thing?

update 05/07/2009: i reinstalled PulseAudio while trying to get my bluetooth headset to work (it didn’t). And now I am exposed to a ‘new’ bug, from 2008: I only hear static.

*Ubuntu/Gnome teams: what’s the relation between them?

Written by vlad

March 16, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Posted in morons

2 Responses

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  1. totel and network manager are application that *MUST* be uninstalled once your desktop is put.

    pulsaudio is the first sound server with some decent functions that can *really* rival with the windows sound server. without it we would still wait for one application to finish using /dev/dsp or something like that and after that to “grab” de sound device (/dev/dsp) and to use it.

    so without pulseaudio we would be playing one sound at a time, which is not very cool these days.

    of course there are other solutions similar to pulseaudio … but pulseaudio has, by far, a better design.

    About audacity … yes … it is sad but since audacity uses poraudio library for sounds in linux … and portaudio doesn’t know about pulseaudio … it ain’t gonna work fine.

    the story is very very long …

    sound support in linux is something similar to the sound in windows some 15-20 years ago (yes, it is sad).


    March 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm

  2. Hmm.. I remember playing several sounds just through ALSA, and audacity played while recording, too. (/dev/dsp was from the free oss from kernel)

    It was either alsa’s dmix, or my soundcard’s hardware mixer, but that I didn’t know.

    That’s what I don’t get from pulseaudio’s “superior” design – I already had that, please let it the way it was.

    (edit: I do see the features of jackd though:


    March 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm

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