Friday, June 19, 2009

Linux Lead Me On, Broke My Heart and Left Me Hanging

My first Linux distro was Debian Sarge. Learning how to get 1024 X 768 video resolution and the sound running was a really geeky challenge but I figured it out and was really proud of myself. Then came Debian Etch and I no longer had to bother with the sound and video, they just worked, the first time, exactly as I wanted them to. Wow, what amazing progress. Now, Etch has become obsolete and Lenny has become the stable version of Linux only now my 16 Meg nVidia TNT cards come up with 800 X 600 video resolution and there's not a darn thing I can do about it. Nor is this 'interesting' phenomena confined to Debian, it's also true of the Ubuntu family (in all its many incarnations, or at least the ones I know about). Yes, I've tried to find a solution but, so far, nothing I've tried has had any affect on the problem (and yes, I'm grateful that the sound, at least, is still working as it should, for whatever that's worth). I'm not hard to please, I don't use Compiz or dual monitors, I don't need super high resolution and I'm not a gaming geek. I just want 1024 X 768 video resolution and I don't care if I'm required to go through some geeky stuff to get it (like I learned to do with Debian Sarge) but I don't like being made to feel like I can't get there from here even though my hardware worked great with an older distro. This makes me very unhappy.

As if this weren't enough to sour me attitude, KDE has, in their incredible wisdom, elected to castrate the finest file manager I've ever used. That's right, the 'new, spiffy' version of Konqueror is a total wimp compared to it's predecessor. Yeah, I know, Konqueror is supposed to be a browser, not a file manager, right? Bull, there are too many browsers out there already and I like all of them better than Konqueror but I've never used a file manager with as much power as Konqueror 3.5.5 (on my Debian Etch system). By comparison, Konqueror 4.2.4 is far prettier (as if all I cared about were cosmetics) while being substantially less user friendly. You want specifics? The home page on my Konqueror 3.5.5 (about:konqueror) offers me instant access to my home folder, storage media, network folders, trash, applications and desktop settings. The same page in Konqueror 4.2.4 offers instant access to the home folder, trash, network folders and bookmarks. Disregarding the bookmarks, since I'd never use Konqueror as a browser, what's left is exactly half the functionality of version 3.5.5. Now that's progress isn't it?

I've been using Debian stable with KDE for about four years now. No way am I ever going back to 'that other OS' (which doesn't deserve the publicity of a negative comment which mentions it by name). Now, suddenly, I'm left hanging. I can continue to use Etch, which currently meets all my expectations but will become steadily more obsolete or upgrade to Lenny which doesn't meet my expectations. Isn't it great to have options?

Yeah, right.
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