The Spectre of Math

January 26, 2010

karmic and bugs … and xsplash should die!

Filed under: Hacking,Linux,Technology — jlebl @ 4:20 pm

Karmic is not turning out to be a very successful ubuntu release for me. I am hitting far more bugs than usual that are also not being fixed within the updates. The bugs have been reported but do not seem a priority. One is for example that udev/kernel do something weird and then keep eating cpu/memory. This leads to the computer having swapped everything useful out at some point. So after a while, the computer is slow as hell (unusably slow, especially coming out of screen lock). Restarting udev solves the problem but 1) I always forgot to do that and 2) it makes removable media not work. So I moved to current lucid on my main machine which seems to be working fine with me hitting no bugs yet (that’s rather odd, I generally hit many a landmine going with a development release).

The other bug I’m hitting on my netbook. The standard netbook interface is flashy but 1) slow 2) unusable with the keyboard (there is keyboard navigation, but it is so incredibly buggy it is useless). Standard GNOME is also too much for the small screen and low memory with no swap. So I am using fluxbox on it (actually I almost started using fluxbox on my main machine …) it is spartan, but after you set things up, it is really fast. Though the issue that took me the longest was the long time after login before the desktop would appear. It seems that someone had the bright idea of making the xsplash thing the default for everything with a timeout of 15s. There is no configuration, no way I could find to easily kill the splash save for removing the xsplash binary. It is a hardcoded hack that gets automatically run for EVERY session, regardless of whether the session supports it or not.

Who’s brainless idea was that? That’s why I had gdm sessions have a .desktop file, so that I can put easily readable properties there about what the session can do. So add something like X-GDM-Supports-xsplash=true godddamn it! How hard is it to implement? Far easier than a flashy pointless splashscreen which should not exist in the first place.

And that’s the other thing. What’s wrong with people who add splashscreen to anything. Splashscreen are generally annoying and make startup slower. Especially if they are moving. You are competing for very scarse resources to simply move useless pixels around. Problem is that even if you time things to make sure that resources are not being taken up, you can’t test every configuration (i.e. someone not using GNOME, obviously that configuration was not tested). The boot looks just fine with xsplash removed. I have not done timings with GNOME, but using fluxbox the boot to desktop time goes down by about 10 seconds.

I’m just mad since I wasted so much time trying to solve this mess.

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