swestrup: (Default)
Woke up unable to breathe because I thought I was well enough not to take a decongestant before bed. That will teach me.

I've now been awake for a couple of hours as my sinuses drained and the decongestant took effect. I used that time to set the default font in Emacs. This, of course, was almost impossible. Considering you can choose a font for a single session by clicking in a drop-down menu, you would THINK it would be trivial to just say "Yes, that one. Always start with that one."

Of course, I've long known that just about everything having to do with fonts in Linux is broken, and this just reinforced it. Bad enough that Emacs provides no way to an option permanently that it lets you set per session; even worse is that it blames the X system for having a central depository of program configurations. THAT IS NOT AN EXCUSE!

FINE that xrdb holds global parameters for programs. If Emacs depends on these then let Emacs push new values that way! So what if none of the X resources were ever intended for anything but hand editing (like so, so much in Linux).  Invent a new system that DOES allow a program to publish desired settings back to the central server.

I HAVE BEEN COMPLAINING ABOUT THIS FOR TWENTY YEARS, ISN'T IT ABOUT TIME SOMEONE DAMN WELL *FIXED* IT?

And the reason that *I* haven't fixed it, is that up until now Linux has been so terribly terribly broken that it wasn't worth even trying to start. It was better to live in the Microsoft world, that at least paid lip service to the concept of usability.

Now its just mostly broken; just usable enough that I get upset each time I come across another boneheadedness like this.

And now I go to bed (Oh, and you know what else? Every man page talks about setting .Xdefaults to configure things, but it isn't used any more in this distro. Its now .Xresources that you have to set -- and where was that documented? Nowhere. I had to google for other folks complaining that nothing worked to find a single reference to the fact that it was changed.  Grumph!)

Linux Bugs.

Jan. 8th, 2009 12:02 pm
swestrup: (Default)
So, just to let folks know here are the various Debian bugs that I've been tracking down answers to in the last few days. Please note that all of these are things I've had to find out about because my N00B expectations of things "just working" failed. In other words, I didn't go looking for these, they came looking for me:

  1. USB devices don't have their activity lights go out when unmounted. This is an important psychological signal that the unmounting has actually occurred. Nevertheless no one is working on this bug as no one can agree at which point in the unmounting process to handle this.
  2. Konqueror can stall for ages while writing to a USB key. This, again, turns out to be entirely a user interface issue. It turns out that Konqueror has 'stalled' because it is waiting for a slow sync to finish. However to most of the world 'Stalled' indicates that no work is being done, not that the program is waiting for work to finish. Had they said something like 'committing data', folks wouldn't keep thinking the program had hung...
  3. Automounted VFAT and NTFS devices often get mounted with the wrong options set. There are many complaints of this and at least one of them that I found tends to argue that that is what caused my VFAT-related data-corruption of last week. This seems fixable by modifying the appropriate HAL policies, but its not clear if KDE will honor the policy changes. I'm still looking into this. Of course, I should not have to grovel through hal configuration documentation to set up user mounting policies...
  4. dhcpclient fails to send a client hostname while asking for a DHCP lease. This caused DHCP to fail until I got it fixed. Alas, the only fix in Debian is to hard code the hostname into the dhcpclient config file. This bug has been outstanding since at least 2000. (I notice its fixed in Ubuntu though).
  5. KMenuEditor is horribly buggy. It completely corrupted my KMenu, making it unworkable. I had to delete my config files and start over. This too has been a known bug for ages.
  6. KDM themes are broken. This appears deliberate, but I've yet to find any explanation of WHY they were broken.
  7. Because of the above, I'm using GDM to start my KDE sessions. At least the GDM themes work, although I've not found any (GUI) way to specify the screen resolution for the GDM greeter to use. Because of this, my greeter is always in an inappropriate resolution.
  8. Compiz-fusion is in Lenny but requires taskbar-compiz and pager-compiz in order to work correctly. These are only available for KDE 3.5.10 and Debian KDE is 3.5.9. There does not appear to be any fix for this. If I want to use Compiz-fusion, I have to put up with a buggy taskbar and pager. Compiz also appears to mess up where windows open (often they're half-offscreen). This might be a config issue, but I've yet to figure it out.
Oh, and its not really a bug, per se, but I've yet to find any way in KDE to have a panel swallow a running application. If anyone knows how to get this to happen, I'd appreciate hearing about it. I find it hard to believe this isn't doable in KDE but I find there are many things in KDE that are done in a way I find hard to believe.

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