Is there a real reason the Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Linux Mint & Fedora have to be so bloated? The Debian distribution is very fast and usable compared to the Ubuntu distribution that has moved from the Gnome 2.32.1 desktop environment to the Unity desktop that has created some controversy of late. The Ubuntu 11.10 release features the same Unity desktop as the 11.04 release, but it has dumbed down the user interface too much, the ability to configure font appearance has been removed and this is not good unless the font appearance is automatically set for either a Liquid Crystal Display screen or a Cathode Ray Tube. There is a screenshot of the System Settings panel here: http://iloveubuntu.net/software-sources-are-now-integrated-system-settings-oneiric-ocelot. Hopefully they will restore this in the last 11.10 Ubuntu release. Linux really needs just one unified and attractive desktop for every distribution, possibly just one quality Linux distribution that can bring all the quality of Linux to users without the heavy load on system resources that Unity and KDE 4.5 bring with them. The Mageia Linux distribution has the KDE 4.6 desktop, but implements it in a way that makes it feel like KDE 3.5, and not like Windows Vista. I do not understand why Ubuntu wants to copy the MacOS X desktop so much, and KDE wants to copy the Windows Vista look. The Linux developers need to create a proper Linux desktop that someone unfamiliar with Linux can sit down at and use without much tutoring beforehand. As expressed in this excellent posting here: http://www.jonbirge.net/2008/02/why-linux-may-fail-on-the-desktop/comment-page-1/, the Linux operating system needs to standardise one one sound system, either Alsa or Pulseaudio, not have two on the same system that are sometimes competing with each other.
There are examples online of software like Skype that will not play sound, when other software such as Banshee and Totem will play sound just fine. There is a fix here: http://funwithlinux.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/fixing-skype-audio-problem-on-ubuntu-904/, but this should not happen in the first place, if Skype could automatically detect the sound system and save the settings in ~/.config/ but it takes some fiddling to get this right. the fix for the microphone problem here: http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=346401, this should help out those who are having problems with sound in this application. I am running Debian 6.0 after trying out Linux Mint 11, that is not as fast as the Debian distribution when using the Gnome 2.30.2 desktop in Debian stable. As long as I am not using the Debian Unstable branch, I will not have any problems.
This is my /etc/apt/sources.list. Debian Stable is the best.
root@Shothoth:/home/lovecraft# cat /etc/apt/sources.list
deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 6.0.0 _Squeeze_ - Official amd64 DVD Binary-1 20110205-18:15]/ squeeze contrib main
# deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib
# deb-src http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib
# deb ://volatile.debian.org squeeze-updates main contrib
deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main
deb http://ftp.au.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main
# deb-src ://volatile.debian.org squeeze-updates main contrib
Setting console fonts in Debian.
I have also set up my console font to be larger and easier to read.
root@Shothoth:/home/lovecraft# cat /etc/default/console-setup
# Change to "yes" and setupcon will explain what is being doing
# Setup these consoles. Most people do not need to change this.
# Put here your encoding. Valid charmaps are: UTF-8 ARMSCII-8 CP1251
# CP1255 CP1256 GEORGIAN-ACADEMY GEORGIAN-PS IBM1133 ISIRI-3342
# ISO-8859-1 ISO-8859-2 ISO-8859-3 ISO-8859-4 ISO-8859-5 ISO-8859-6
# ISO-8859-7 ISO-8859-8 ISO-8859-9 ISO-8859-10 ISO-8859-11 ISO-8859-13
# ISO-8859-14 ISO-8859-15 ISO-8859-16 KOI8-R KOI8-U TIS-620 VISCII
# The codeset determines which symbols are supported by the font.
# Valid codesets are: Arabic Armenian CyrAsia CyrKoi CyrSlav Ethiopian
# Georgian Greek Hebrew Lao Lat15 Lat2 Lat38 Lat7 Thai Uni1 Uni2 Uni3
# Vietnamese. Read README.fonts for explanation.
# Valid font faces are: VGA (sizes 8, 14 and 16), Terminus (sizes
# 12x6, 14, 16, 20x10, 24x12, 28x14 and 32x16), TerminusBold (sizes
# 14, 16, 20x10, 24x12, 28x14 and 32x16), TerminusBoldVGA (sizes 14
# and 16) and Fixed (sizes 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18). Only when
# CODESET=Ethiopian: Goha (sizes 12, 14 and 16) and
# GohaClassic (sizes 12, 14 and 16).
# Set FONTFACE and FONTSIZE to empty strings if you want setupcon to
# set up the keyboard but to leave the console font unchanged.
# You can also directly specify nonstandard font or console map to load.
# Use space as separator if you want to load more than one font.
# You can use FONT_MAP in order to specify the Unicode map of the font
# in case the font doesn't have it embedded.
# FONT='lat9w-08.psf.gz /usr/local/share/braillefonts/brl-08.psf'
# You can also specify a screen size that setupcon will enforce. This can not
# exceed what the current screen resolution can display according to the size of
# the loaded font.
if [ -f /etc/default/keyboard ]; then
Just edit the /etc/default/console-setup file to match this example then install the kbd package thusly: apt-get install kbd to install the console-setup utilities. Then type /etc/init.d/console-setup restart on the text console as root to reload the new settings. The default font on my screen was way too small and this fixed this easily.