This post is just to have a bit of a moan after seeing the poor quality of video playback on my installation of SL 4.2 using the open-source Radeon driver. Videos are grainy, audio-video sync is out, there is some screen tearing at times, and it just looks like the sort of thing you would have experienced on Windows 3.1.
I'm feeling a little fed up with Linux at the moment: I can no longer use the fglrx driver and no longer have 3D graphics, so no more Compiz-Fusion and no more beautifully-rendered desktop cube and skydome that I used to proudly show to people. Overall the graphics is not as crisp on my laptop now. I have tried without success to regress to earlier versions of the fglrx driver that worked for me in the past, but I think that the problem is the 2.6.29 kernel and/or X.Org: it does not seem to work with the earlier driver versions.
The functionality and reliability of the KDE 4.2.4 tray icon for networking is poor in comparison to KNetworkManager. It crashed on me today for no good reason, never to return. I decided to install wicd so that I could at least control and monitor my wired and wireless network access. Whilst wicd works with both my wired and my WPA-encoded wireless network, it does not work as well as NetworkManager and KNetworkManager on my laptop. I know many people report good results with wicd, but in my case KNetworkManager/NetworkManager were solid. Wicd has trouble recognising my wireless network and, for some strange reason, either lists it twice (once by name and once as "<hidden>") or just lists it as "<hidden>" or not at all. So my network connection GUI is now kludgy as opposed to the reliable performance I was experiencing previously.
The superseding of net-wireless/bluez-libs and net-wireless/bluez-utils by net-wireless/bluez has also broken Bluetooth on my laptop (and for other SL users too, as threads in the SL forums attest). So, whereas previously I had a functioning, reliable Bluetooth connection between my mobile phone and my laptop, now it is useless.
KDE 4.2.4 is a bit of a curate's egg
, although I recognise that it is much better than KDE 4.1 and is a work in progress (things crash occasionally, just to give one example).
Eventually I was forced to install SL from the SL 4.1 LiveDVD and overwrite my combined KDE 3.5.10 and KDE 4.2.4 installation (on an updated SL 4.0-r1 installation) because, despite being slotted, the two KDE versions were somehow not coexisting totally independently and I found that installing or upgrading some packages was breaking things (I suspect due to badly-written ebuilds).
The only way I can boot the KDE 4.1 LiveDVD is to use the xdriver=radeon boot parameter. The latest incarnation of the ati-drivers-8.593-r10 driver does not work on my laptop despite the AMD Catalyst 9.3 driver working for my GPU and having had the previous version of ati-drivers-8.593-r10 working with a genkernel-generated 2.6.29 kernel on my updated SL 4.0-r1 installation. After installing SL 4.1 I tried using Portage to re-install the 2.6.29 kernel and ati-drivers-8.593-r10, but still ended up with a KDE installation that either resulted in a blank screen or kept logging out (Yes, I did everything correctly: eselect etc.). Then I tried using only Entropy to re-install the 2.6.29 kernel and the ati-drivers-8.593-r10 driver, but the result was the same.
So here I am with a fully Entropy world-updated SL 4.2 installation having mediocre graphics quality in comparison to earlier versions of SL, no 3D/Compiz any more, poor video playback, worse network control and worse wireless access than I used to have, no Bluetooth, and the latest version of KDE that, despite being much better than KDE 4.1, is still less efficient and reliable than KDE 3.5.10 was.
To make matters worse, the Python 2.5/2.6 issue causes problems if you install some packages from Portage that are not in Entropy and try to pull in Python 2.6 dependencies. This even broke Entropy and Portage on my laptop at one point. Fortunately I am experienced enough to know how to solve it, but that does not mean that it was not a waste of my time and a PITA. Heaven help newcomers to Linux: they wouldn't stand a chance.
It's just annoying wasting so much time messing with an OS that is supposedly so much better than Windows. I've lost count of the number of broken installations just from updating or installing a package. I think sometimes we need to take a reality check. There may be many good aspects to Linux, but there are some really bad ones too. Perfect, it certainly ain't. For me, at least, it's getting worse, not better. Linux is nowhere near ready for the mainstream.
Anyway, end of rant; I just needed to vent my frustration.