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10:01 am, 25 Oct 07

ubuntu gutsy on a thinkpad x60

Each new release of Ubuntu gets a little more impressive but also a little more sad.

The installer apparently detected everything -- display resolution, video driver, even the wireless card. When it booted the first time I got a little balloon note informing me that the wireless driver is non-free and explaining why that matters. I notice there are even trackpad-related kernel modules loaded which means something noticed my hardware.

They enabled compiz by default, which means every operation you do on windows involve them flying around and fading in and out. It's impressive that they got it working well enough to consider putting in their released software, but it's still clunky. Clearly some people have had fun writing crazy plugins but haven't really considered the basics, like how the common case of hitting alt-tab causes a bunch of windows to flash. And the taskbar/menu widgets have shadows, darkening the title bars of windows.

After a shameful amount of digging on my part -- including using Google's code search -- it appears the best way to turn it off is "echo 'export WINDOW_MANAGER=metacity' > ~/.gnomerc" (see man gnome-wm and tell me if you can figure out how to change the default; there's a gconf setting that is marked as deprecated; how all this stuff works, of course, changes every time you upgrade).

Poor derat has been looking for a keyboard-driven window manager that's not written by a nutcase and not finding much success. I briefly suggested xmonad but it's all one-letter-variable names ("p <- getWindowProperty32 dpy a w" -- what?).

Suspend to RAM still doesn't work. At this point I mostly just find this kind of amusing. I can either have Windows brokenness (which inexplicably started taking an hour to "apply machine settings" when I logged in, causing me to finally abandon it) or this brokenness, and I guess this is less bad.