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Re: [LONG] [REVIEW] Fedora 11 and Amarok2

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____/ Homer on Saturday 12 Sep 2009 04:04 : \____

> This is a review of two projects, the latest incarnation of the Fedora
> distro, and the new branch of Amarok.
> The executive summary is: It's all good news for Fedora, and terrible
> news for Amarok, but read on...
> ###########
> #Fedora 11#
> ###########
> I installed the 64 bit version of Fedora 11 from the install DVD, onto
> my Acer Ferrari 4000 laptop. The process was fast and completely
> uneventful, resulting in one 200MB boot partition, and a LUKS-encrypted
> LVM partition with three filesystems (swap, /, and /home). This is
> perfectly adequate for a client system, although I did consider having a
> separate "/usr/local" for simple backup and restore purposes. I usually
> have so little custom installed software (unpackaged) that it really
> isn't worth it. This partition layout was slightly modified by me from
> the installer's default selection. I've bravely decided to try the ext4
> filesystem, despite experiencing a fatal problem in an earlier test
> (delayed allocation causing data loss - circumvented with the
> data=ordered mount flag, and finally fixed with recent patches).
> I opted for both the Gnome and KDE4 desktops, with a view to reviewing
> both, and subsequently added LXDE out of curiosity.
> Installation took around 30 minutes on this relatively slow (5400RPM)
> laptop HDD, which is a little faster than previous versions of Fedora
> (anything up to one hour for a "full" install, looking back at Fedora 5
> and 6). By comparison, my recent failed attempt to test Windows 7 took
> over an hour to install on the same machine.
> Boot times have improved *dramatically*. I timed it at 15 seconds to the
> GDM login prompt!
> Kernel mode setting, and the animated Plymouth boot logo, worked without
> issue. The default "Solar" theme is impressive.
> Fedora's KDE 4.3.1 setup is gorgeous, rock solid, and unbelievably fast
> for such a full featured DE. In comparison, it was just as responsive as
> LXDE - which is already incredibly fast. I'm not an experience KDE user,
> so I'm still working my way around the system, but so far I can't fault
> anything at all. Once you get over the new desktop abstraction paradigm
> that sets KDE4 apart, it's actually a very clean, pleasant, intuitive
> working environment. Quite a few KDE applications still need updated to
> use Qt4, however, but this only affected their appearance (and access to
> new KDE4 technologies like the Nepomuk metadata search framework).
> Never satisfied with the defaults, I set off to "hack" the system to
> make it more personal, and this is where I encountered my first, and
> only, problem. Apparently I need something called "qtcurve" to add a
> particular set of custom widgets to the theme, which is no longer
> supported in KDE4. This is not a critical issue, and I'll figure it out
> soon enough, I'm sure.
> Gnome was aesthetically unchanged (that I could see), but now includes a
> disc burning application called brasero (wasn't there a commercial app
> with that name years ago?), which looks simple and clean, but isn't
> really that interesting in comparison to K3B. My overall impression of
> Gnome is it increasingly has this tendency to sacrifice far too much in
> the questionable name of simplicity. I don't want simplicity, I want
> functionality, flexibility and control. I also went through the
> perfunctory dance of removing mono-core and its dependants, hopefully
> for the last time ever (Fedora 12 will not install Mono by default,
> thanks mainly to Gnote, and a little help from TomTom ;) ).
> Since I intend to switch completely to KDE, I would very much like to
> completely wipe all traces of Gnome from this system (purely for reasons
> of efficiency, if nothing else), but that is a non-trivial task, since
> every system configuration GUI (helper) application shipped by Red Hat
> absolutely requires Gnome libraries. I could (and probably will) resort
> to either just command line access for such things, or find alternatives
> (perhaps native to the KDE project), but in the interim the transition
> will not be smooth. I am determined to make this break, though, so
> hopefully it'll all work out in the end, and be a good learning
> experience as well.
> I have /two/ sound systems in this laptop, one internal (ATI IXP) and
> one external (Audigy 2 ZS), which has up to now caused me headaches WRT
> pulse audio, to the point that I simply removed PA altogether, and
> reverted to ALSA. With Fedora 11, /finally/ PulseAudio works properly
> with multiple cards, without requiring fiddling around with cryptic
> configuration files (yes they even confused a seasoned GNU/Linux user
> like me). I was especially pleased to see someone on the mailing list
> was actually listening to my complaints about bass/treble controls being
> missing from the over-simplistic "Sound Preferences", as there is now
> something called "Advanced Volume Control" in the preferences menu
> (gnome-volume-control vs gst-mixer). Again, Gnome's "simple" approach
> proved insufficient for me.
> SELinux is an important development in Linux security, but some feel
> it's a bit of overkill for client systems, especially in a domestic
> environment. It's been criticised for bloating the system and causing
> problems (AVC denials), and like Vista's ill-fated UAC, most people I
> know just turn it off. I've persevered with it, but must admit I do
> sometimes find it a pain ... I just keep reminding myself why it's
> there, and resolve to fix the underlying problem, instead of ignoring it
> for the sake of "convenience". But with this latest release of Fedora, I
> think they may have finally cracked it. I've already reinstalled all my
> usual software (easy with yum), and used most of it at least once, and
> so far I've seen no AVC denials or other weird behaviour at all, so
> SELinux is /staying/ on "enforced" mode from now on. At long last.
> Finally, if you haven't tried LXDE then I suggest you do so now ... it's
> everything XFCE promised to be, and more. The first time I booted into
> LXDE I had to double check I hadn't accidentally launched Gnome, with
> the exception of the incredible speed and responsiveness. Of course,
> like every other DE shipped by Fedora, it's been themed to be consistent
> with the other DEs, so it could easily be mistaken for Gnome at first
> glance. If you're looking for a Gnome-like DE without all the bloat
> (ironic considering the top layer is so simplistic), then you need LXDE.
> Conclusion: Fedora 11 is the best distro yet, by a mile, and certainly
> the best ever from the Red Hat camp. For those old enough to remember
> the classic Red Hat 7.3 release that won so much praise, Fedora 11 is at
> /least/ that good in terms of QA. Seriously.
> ######
> And now, the not so good...
> #########
> #Amarok2#
> #########
> Those averse to foul language should stop reading now.
> You have been warned.
> I'm not going to mince my words, and I make no apologies for my
> language, since IMHO it is fully warranted ... Amarok2 is a total
> clusterfuck, an embarrassment to the world of software engineering, a
> stillborn mutant bastard child of something which once held so much
> promise - in short, the biggest failure in the history of Free Software,
> or any software, ever.
> In fact Amarok2 is so bad, that at first I genuinely believed it was a
> prank. I even double checked my calendar to see if I was the victim of
> an April Fools joke. No such luck. I was so convinced that the pitiful
> state of this once great software was some kind of mis-perception, that
> I even briefly considered checking myself into the local rehab clinic,
> to see if I'd accidentally consumed some kind of hallucinogenic drug,
> and was just imagining the whole nightmarish episode. But once I
> realised that I was in fact fully compos mentis on a dull September
> morning, I suddenly wished I wasn't, and that I could be magically
> transported to some alternate universe where this screaming advert for
> self-termination for software engineers didn't exist.
> Yes, Amarok2 really is that bad.
> Here's a shortlist of failures:
> 1. It doesn't work with iPods any more. In fact it doesn't even have an
>    interface to connect to any devices at all. This may be a "beta"
>    problem, or something unique to the Fedora build, but frankly in its
>    current state I fail to see the point of unleashing this garbage on
>    an unsuspecting userbase at all
> 2. Expanding on the above issue ... where the fuck is the interface?
>    Where's the options? Where is *anything*? It's all just ... *gone*!
> 3. Fetching album art from Amazon is broken (error). Again
> 4. Fetching lyrics is broken (error)
> 5. The scripting/plugin interface has disappeared
> 6. The TunePimp feature to fill in missing metadata is broken (error)
> 7. The HTML rendering of the Wikipedia artist page is completely screwed
>    up. This ain't rocket science ... how hard can it be to render some
>    simple HTML? Too hard for the Amarok2 devs, apparently. I can't show
>    you a screenshot, as I've wiped that steaming pile of stinking
>    biomatter from my system permanently, but just to give you an idea
>    ... it looked like some demented child had thrown all the letters
>    from a game of scrabble onto a wall covered with honey. I.e. fucked

I like it better as it is. Simple and clean.. fits the theme.

> 8. SQL database. In three words: WHAT ... THE ... FUCK? Apparently the
>    drooling fuckwits who dare to claim responsibility for this useless
>    truckload of horseshit that passes for software, decided in a drugs
>    and alcohol-fuelled binge one evening, that connecting to an external
>    SQL database was no longer something worth doing, and that SQLite and
>    Postgresql should be unceremoniously dumped like a bag of unwanted
>    kittens into the river. /Now/ Amarok2 has a shiny new MySQL server
>    built /in/ to its core system, which means that for those who already
>    run an *SQL server, you will now have the redundancy of running /two/
>    *SQL servers, for absolutely no good reason whatsoever. Fuckwits. Oh,
>    but it gets worse, because Amarok2 allows running multiple instances
>    of itself, and *each instance runs its own MySQL server*! Jesus
>    crapped bricks! And /what/ was the motivation for this brainfart?
>    Windows users can't use MySQL, Postgresql and SQLite, apparently.
>    *Fuck Windows users* ... give us back a working version of Amarok!
>    (Note: see what "multi-platform development" gets you, /Matt/?)
> As it stands, Amarok2 is a simple song player, like Gnome MPlayer, only
> less useful. It has support for some new internet radio sites. Oh whoopy
> doo. It does bugger-all else, except perhaps make you wish you'd never
> heard the name "Amarok", only to have your guts ripped out once you
> realise what a maggot infested rotting pile of rats' corpses it's
> become. I pray to God that if and when the revolution comes, the very
> /first/ people some future Che Guevara wannabe props up against the wall
> and shoots, is those responsible for this embodiment of all that could
> possibly ever go wrong in software development. My one remaining hope is
> that those responsible for this mess, transport their sorry arses over
> to the world of Windows la-la land, and stay there, where they clearly
> belong. May they enjoy many euphoria-filled years of contributing to the
> bloated, Malware-infested, clusterfuck that is the Windows platform, and
> which this sorry excuse for software typifies so completely.
> ######
> (Note to the COLA trolls: was that "balanced" enough for you?)

I really like Amarok2, more so than Amarok 1.4. I guess it's a matter of taste.

- -- 
		~~ Best of wishes

"I am convinced we have to use Windows â this is the one thing they donât have. We have to be competitive with features, but we need something more â Windows integration."
		--Jim Allchin, Microsoft
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