On 23rd of April 2015, Mihai Șucan passed away due to metastatic
cancer caused by RDEB.
My name is Mihai and I work on the Firefox developer tools.
When it comes to web development, I like both server-side and
client-side work. I am mainly interested in web browsers, web
standards and related technologies.
5 November 2008, 19:44
Sunday I upgraded my Ubuntu
installation to the new version: Ubuntu 8.10. Almost three years
ago I switched to using Linux exclusively. I haven't reinstalled
Ubuntu since then. I always upgrade my system every 6 months, and
then I spend a few days fixing post-upgrade issues. It's a
I am working on a new painting Web application. The greatest
surprise to me was that the new Konqueror 4 implements
<canvas>, and it does this theoretically better
than Opera. I will make my Web
application public and you will see this. Amazing and very quick
work done by the Konqueror developers. Congratulations, guys!
Note: I initially thought that the Konqueror
implementation of Canvas is just a copy of the code from Webkit, but it's not. They wrote their own
code, which is great.
On a related note, I have published a new page with some of
9 February 2008, 15:23
Recently I had the chance to observe how someone learns to use a
computer, without having any prior experience. She doesn't even
have experience with using mobile phones or any technology - except
TV remote controls.
Since she has no experience with computers I gave her a Linux-based
system to learn with: Ubuntu
7.10. This is a vanilla installation, in Romanian language (she
knows only Romanian). The Web browser of choice is Opera with an unofficial Romanian
For experienced computer users the whole WIMP metaphor of
today's GUIs might seem very easy, but it's not for newcomers. For
example, the windows concept is too abstract: she doesn't know when
a window has focus. That's even after explaining to her when a
window is focused and when not, several times. She once believed
the window is the title bar itself.
Focusing windows, text fields and various interface elements is not
intuitive at all. It's hard to know where the text you type will
show - in which field, in which window. Generally, she moved the
pointer on top of the field she wanted to write to - without caring
if the window was active, or if the field was active. Moving the
pointer on top the field was her intuitive solution to the problem:
"I want to write here". She quickly forgot that a field is focused
if she sees a blinking cursor in the given field. As such, when she
remembers about the field focus, she always clicks the field, just
to be sure it's focused.
Her attention span is very problematic. If a dialog or a
notification pops-up, she won't notice it at all. If you tell her
something new showed-up on screen, she believes it was always
there, or ... she asks "when did it show up?". Computers, and
technology in general, make us multi-task a lot, they force us to
be always alert to any change on screen. When you use computers,
you can't focus on one issue at a time as good as people normally
do. Not to mention the fact she didn't have automatic system
updates poping up, antivirus updates, dreadful Java updates and
tons of annoying Windows-only crap. That would make computers a lot
harder to use.
I did not yet explain her the differences between lots of interface
widgets and concepts. It's too hard to keep up with the tons of
concepts and interface widgets, how each work. She eventually needs
to learn the difference between combo-boxes, radio buttons, menus,
icons, buttons, task bar buttons (and the association with the
"windows" concept), notification tray and the associated icons of
running applications, tab bars, scroll bars, and multiple desktops
A special note about workspaces: among the first things she did,
was to switch to a different workspace without knowing what
happened. She was very confused: "where did my windows go? I closed
them all?". I immediately disabled workspaces.
The whole mouse concept is also hard. She doesn't know when to
click, double-click, triple-click, middle click, right click and
drag. It's confusing to be required to hold the button down for
longer or shorter periods of time. She believes all three buttons
do the same thing. I believe mice have too many buttons. This is
one reason I agree with Apple's one-button mouse. There's something
she learned really quick: the mouse wheel is easy and intuitive -
just spin the wheel to scroll the Web page.
The keyboard is generally intuitive, but she always keeps the
buttons pressed for a longer time than necessary (thus she gets
duplicated keys). I could configure keyboard delays to be longer,
so she would not be affected by the issue, but still, the defaults
should probably more suited to beginners. Additionally, the concept
of modifier keys, like Control, Alternate, Logo, Caps Lock,
Shift, Scroll Lock and Number Lock are, again,
counter-intuitive. I haven't yet explained her keyboard shortcuts.
About scroll bars I can say people see a photo, and they want to
move it to the left. To do so, they press the left key to
scroll/move the image to the left. Actually, with scroll bars you
have to press the right key to the see right side of the image.
While I understand both expectations, I do believe computer user
interfaces should follow the "default thinking". Why not reverse
scroll bars? They would work as people expect naturally. I saw this
is expected by other people as well, people who don't use
computers, not only her.
Menus are annoying because they show up out of "nowhere" and they
disappear too soon. She's always confused when using menus. People
do not expect, intuitively, that things change on screen based on
the mouse position. Another issue with menus, but more with
linguistics is best explained by an example: in Opera, I told her
"go to Bookmarks menu" which she did, "then Bookmark page". Her
reply was: "how to bookmark the page?". This linguistic issue is
amusing: she just had to click the menu item "bookmark page" -
easy, but it wasn't obvious. This problem happens quite often.
Context-based hovers pose an important problem. It's not intuitive
to move your mouse on top of something, for context information.
This even disturbs her usual computer usage. She doesn't care where
she leaves the mouse. For example, in Opera she sometimes leaves
the mouse on top of a tab title. After a second or two, the tab
thumbnail shows up, which begs the question "what happened?". She
is no longer able to read the Web page. The problem with hovers is
even greater when they provide options, like Web-based hover menus.
I know our Web site exhibits this very issue, but ... we have to
live with that decision for now. :)
Tool tips for context-based information are more like a hack for
forcing the user to read/see what the author wanted. Newcomers
don't expect to get any help by moving the mouse on top of an
option, nor do they want it. I believe users would benefit a lot
more from a general approach, easy to use, for getting help in any
moment - something like
man on Unix systems (in
Having accounts for Web mail, instant messaging, and for every
service is quite confusing. She would expect she has only one
account which allows her to boot the system, and get every service
I would add that the whole concept of having different applications
for different purposes started manually, is not very intuitive.
Finding a good and intuitive reason for a newcomer as to
why you must start Pidgin for instant messaging, or Opera for Web
browsing, is not really easy. Users expect the computer "does" the
things they want - not applications running in an OS. When she clicks on the Opera icon she
doesn't see the Opera window instantly, as such she clicks it
several times more. This can seem amusing, but ... actually, why
does everything have to startup? It would be interesting if we
could have a reachitectured OS which would provide every
application/functionality instantly. People like the fact their TV
doesn't have to boot, it doesn't have to prebuffer streaming data,
nothing. They just work.™ Having more than one media player, more
than one Web browser, and in general more applications for the same
purpose, complicates everything a lot more. While I believe choice
is good, I also believe choice should be available to those
informed, not forced onto everybody, from day one. This is where I
agree with Ubuntu, Mac OS X and
Windows: they do not initially provide tons of options - you just
go ahead and use the system. Unfortunately, Microsoft and Apple try
to limit the choices for experts, unlike Ubuntu.
From the perspective of a newcomer, the separation between Web
applications and software applications is confusing, again. Even
computer users who are not experts today, mistake Meebo as being a software application.
In the minds of average Joe computer users, the two concepts are
fuzzy. People don't know Web sites/applications do not have the
same priviledges as, say, Pidgin. A new system which would allow a
complete merger between software and Web applications would help
newcomers. Fortunately, this is already happening.
I was very tempted to teach the newcomer how to use computers in
Ubuntu's virtual terminal, only with the command line. She wouldn't
have to learn so many things. She wouldn't have to focus on so many
things which do not matter. She would be able to play music,
videos, chat and browse the Web with greater ease once she learns
the commands. This is what I like about the CLI: the system is
multi-tasking, yet it does allow you focus on one application at a
time. You always know where your text shows up when you type.
People like to know where to look, to focus, all the time. GUIs are
too dynamic with respect to "where should I look now?". In CLI
mode, you just follow the "dialog" with the machine.
There's one thing I didn't expect: she was able to navigate Web
pages a lot easier than she could use the OS. She didn't need any
training, apart from "you click on links, on images, on texts which
are underlined, usually they are blue". Yet, things got worse once
she stumbled on Web sites with menus, or with "complex" actions.
Web pages which use the anchor target=_blank attribute value break
the back button - which is very annoying actually.
The OLPC project aims to improve user
interfaces, among other things. I like about this project that the
Sugar interface is
about activities, not applications. Automatic updates and
installations are a lot simpler. The user focuses only on one
application/activity at a time, with no overlapping windows.
Newer interface concepts like Sugar and the
ZUI want to give focus to a single application, a single
activity, without giving up any multi-tasking capabilities. The
user should be given the power to be uninterrupted, to focus on any
One idea I have for an user interface would be to present the user
all windows full screen, no toolbars, no menus, no desktop. Imagine
your word processor showing only the rulers, scroll bars and your
document. The OS provides only a command line, always visible at
the bottom of the screen when you press a certain key to toggle it
on/off. When it's on, you always write a command you want, with
automatic complete, as good as possible. The command line would
allow for system commands (such as switch to another window, "play
song", "do whatever", "set whatever", etc), and
application-specific commands. Say you are in a word processor, you
can use the command "save". With this approach, the command line
could become internationalized, available in multiple languages -
making it a lot easier for newcomers. APIs would allow any
developer to build software and Web applications which hook into
the command line.
This system would allow the user to do as much as possible in a
single way. Multiple ways to do the same should be allowed for
those interested, for "experts". Newcomers should be able to learn
something as simple and intuitive as the keyboard and a simpler
pointing device than the mouse. Let the user be able type "play
song song-name", "open www.google.com", "search ...". Something
like an universal command line which is context aware in GUIs as
well. A command line which allows users to build better habits,
without any notifications, without any task bar, without multiple
windows. Allow the user to manually check for notifications from
the command line, allow the user to switch to other tasks instantly
- don't require application startup. Users don't have to start
Opera to open a page. Just "open www.google.com". Allow users to
define which application is associated. Users would focus much
better on their work.
The Enso Launcher is a
promising free product which tries to be an universal command line,
bridging GUIs with CLI. I would wish such efforts would be brought
onto Linux, in a unified desktop environment. Currently, Enso
Launcher and similar applications are awesome "toys" - however they
are not yet The System itself.
The new Microsoft Office 2007 package is a bold release by
Microsoft - I was glad to see such big changes. While some people
blame the GUI choices, and others blame the changes are too
drastic, I like it - they did something. They gave up
stagnation, to try new things. Based on my experience with
Word I can say I like to use it a lot more than previous versions,
and yes, I discover new features a lot quicker.
In spite of all the efforts of the Office team I was disappointed
by only one major flaw: they did not add a quick
search field in Word, always visible, at the top of window (maybe
on the right would be best). This "quick search" field would be
brilliant if they would allow users to: search for all the help,
and apply any of the available commands. For
example allow me to type "help file formats", "save", "save as
new.docx", "open old.docx", "insert image", "bold", "go to page
10", "insert equation" and a lot more. No matter what, no matter
how brilliant people are, they will not be able to squeeze tons of
options into an easy-to-use GUI, and easy-to-learn GUI. You are
always thrown back to the command-line, or to a perfect Voice
recognition system (which doesn't exist yet).
Some say Vim is too hard to use
compared to any other editor. I dare to say it's easier to use
compared to today's modern IDEs, simply because
you do not have to learn tons of concepts which are completely
unrelated to the given task: file editing. If you take a complete
computer beginner, I'm certain he would learn how to use Vim
faster, when compared to any IDE. Before you can teach anyone how
to use the modern editor itself, you have to teach the person all
the GUI concepts. In Vim you can just go ahead and explain how to
do basic editing, then allow him/her to discover new capabilities.
Vim has tons of options and features - the same goes for IDEs, but
Vim looks very simple.
It's like with kids: parents don't explain to kids
everything on the first day they ask something. Who in
his/her right mind would explain in details why the sky is blue?
Or... the usual question: where do kids come from? :) You allow
them to evolve, to grow up, to understand, to find the answers
With this being said, I look forward to new interface metaphors,
new ways to interact with computers and technology in general.
6 October 2007, 17:01
Given the fact I'm constantly checking new Opera builds, I repeat
lots of things. I decided to write my own BASH script which does the
To better understand how the script works, and what it needs to do
for me, here's an explanation of my usual testing setup.
First, I run Ubuntu Linux. I
always keep and use the latest official stable release of Opera. I don't use the Debian
package, because I want to upgrade more often than the repos. As
such, I use the official tar.gz/tar.bz2 packages: I unpack them
myself and I upgrade the files manually.
My stable Opera installation is self-contained within a single
folder: ~/bin/opera. My profile is self-contained as well, within
~/bin/opera/usersettings (the default profile folder). I don't risk
using ~/.opera. This way, I can make sure I always backup my entire
Opera nicely - just the usersettings folder. That's where I keep
all the Opera files, including plugins and emails.
I keep the weeklies in a completely separate folder:
~/opera-dev/linux. Here I manually unpack tar.gz/tar.bz2 archives.
The nice thing about the Opera archives is you can immediately run
them, since they create their own profile subfolders. This way I
can have as many Opera "installations" running simultaneously
without any problems.
By now, you can tell I have to manually move the archives I
download to a predefined location where I store them. Also, if I
want to test an experimental build with my stable profile, I
generally don't have time to do it. That's because I would have to
manually modify the INI files to point to the location of the
experimental build, after I copy the entire stable profile folder.
That's boring. :)
As such, here's how to use the Opera2 script:
This removes the profile of your latest Opera build. You can
configure where experimental builds are located using the
The same as above, but Opera will be started afterwards.
opera2 unpack opera-*.tar.bz2/gz
This unpacks the Opera build you want designated by the second
argument. The build must be provided as a tar.gz or tar.bz2 file -
as the official ones are. The package will moved to the configured
DIR_OP_PACK, and the content of the archive will be
extracted to your DIR_OP_DEV.
opera2 unpack-run opera-*.tar.bz2/gz
The same as above, but the script will also start Opera from the
opera2 upgrade opera-*
This will "upgrade" the Opera build you want designated by the
second argument - a folder name starting with "opera-" followed by
the major and minor version (this is the default naming of Opera
builds). If the second argument is not specified, the current
working directory will be used.
The script will copy files from your stable profile folder (defined
by DIR_OP_STABLE) to the profile of the build you
specified. The script will also make some changes to several copied
files (will replace all paths pointing to the stable Opera
installation folder to the new build).
Warning: Doing this will DELETE the profile of the target Opera
build. The script does NOT try to detect if the destination folder
is REALLY an experimental build. Do NOT run this on your Opera
stable installation folder.
opera2 any thing else (or no arguments)
This will start the latest Opera build from the configured
DIR_OP_DEV with the provided arguments. You can
configure other applications to automatically open links with this
script - the latest Opera build.
You should check the script source ... to be sure it will not break
your stable installation. :) Always check the result of running
this script before starting Opera.
As you can see, the script is tailored to my needs. Care should be
taken when using the script. I am sure it does not work if your
stable installation is configured with "exotic" file paths. The
script was only tested with Opera 9.x builds, on Ubuntu 7.04.
Download the Opera2
1 August 2007, 12:31
Someone contacted me several months ago asking for my KDE color
scheme, after he read my blog post about the Kubuntu
Now I had the time to do so. Download my KDE Human color
Note: The color scheme was made for personal use.
No changes were made for this release. I did not intend to make it
look very good/professional. Actually, I believe it looks pretty
bad in KDE. I use GNOME and the colors are picked such that the KDE
applications look good enough in GNOME.
I use the Polyester
KDE Style. You might want to try the Klearlook KDE
style as well. Both styles are available in the Ubuntu
For making your KDE applications even more ... Human, make sure you
pick the Human icons in KControl.
Good luck. :)
12 November 2006, 15:49
Some time ago I upgraded to Ubuntu Edgy. Due to many complaints
about failed upgrades, I've decided to upgrade as safely as
My definition of safe upgrade meant doing it "sandboxed" once, and
if there no serious problems, I do it on my live/real system.
Therefore, I copied all my current system to a secondary HDD, I
created a new virtual machine in VMWare Server which
uses the physical HDD to boot. Once the system booted I ran the
normal upgrade procedure. Doing this I've learned that the same
Linux installation can boot on completely different machines
(different drives/hardware, same architecture).
Of course this didn't work as easy & quick as wanted.
I used the Damn Small
Linux distribution (LiveDistro) to
install GRUB within
the virtual machine. I didn't use Ubuntu itself as a LiveDistro -
too graphical for administration purposes, and rather slow in VM.
I used tar to create a big uncompressed file of the entire root.
From /home I excluded some big files & folders
Before booting the snapshot of my system in VMWare I had to edit
/boot/grub/menu.lst to manually remap the mount
The system booted properly without any problems. I just had to run
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg because VMWare
has a different video card. Then xorg also worked. It's really
interesting to see your entire system running sandboxed, in the
same system. :)
As a measure of protection I edited /etc/hostname
and /etc/hosts. In the first file I changed the
host name of the virtual machine, to avoid conflicts with mine. In
the second file I made the host name of the host system to point to
localhost (127.0.0.1). I didn't need network access to the host
from the guest. Also, this change still allowed me to access the
host, by IP.
I mounted the alternate CD image of Ubuntu 6.10 and I started the
upgrade. I had very bad luck since for no specific reasons xorg
crashed in the host OS, taking VMWare down. That was my first xorg
crash :). I rebooted the host, I rebooted the guest and resumed the
upgrade. Xorg crashed again. And again. And again. After several
restarts, after several crashes upgrade finished. WOW.:)
I edited the /boot/grub/menu.lst on the host
system, and I edited /etc/fstab on the guest
system for the purpose of booting the newly upgraded system
natively. It worked properly - after reconfiguring xorg, of course.
Due to the crashes keyboard layouts were completely damaged (almost
unusable keyboard in Xorg). Other than this and several small
issues, not worth reminding, everything was "fine".
I was pretty much surprised Xorg crashed due to VMWare. I have used
VMWare with Windows in my Ubuntu installation for quite long. I had
no problems. I noticed my xorg crashes when I start xorg in the
I have tested Beryl+XGL. Quite nice, but slow :). I couldn't
install compiz (problems with their packages in that day), neither
AIXGL (my Nvidia Geforce 4 is too old).
Being glad the upgrade went "smooth" overall, given Xorg crashes, I
decided to upgrade my real system.
So I did. No crashes. Everything went rather well. No keyboard
layout problems, maybe because I did switch my system back to
english, english keyboard, before I started, so the upgrade tool
won't be confused. I also did set LC_ALL environment variable
manually (in VMware dpkg complained about missing LC_ALL for many
First thing I didn't like about Edgy was the boot splash. It looks
good, but it hides all information - quite annoying. The solution
was to uninstall usplash, and remove "quiet" from the kernel
arguments list in my GRUB menu.lst.
Another problem I had was Firefox 2: no extension wanted to
install. The solution was to remove my profile folder, eh. Then the
DOM Inspector disappeared :). I had to manually add the extension
to some INI files.
Another thing I disliked is that GRUB menu.lst now uses UUIDs
instead of the human-readable /dev/hd*. Why?...
I don't know why, but Xorg in Ubuntu Edgy is less stable. I got
several crashes - I didn't notice what's causing them.
Quanta doesn't want to start in French. It's always English, and I
have all the French language support packages. I've been told I
should have quanta.mo somewhere in my root - I don't. Yet, I have
kdewebdev.mo which contains the Quanta French language strings.
The new apt-index-watcher package used 100% of my CPU every 10
seconds, until I removed it. :)
Was the upgrade worth it? The answer is almost no. I don't like
they don't include the latest gaim 2 beta. There's beta 5 now and
they still have beta 3.1 (you can't convince me beta 3.1 is somehow
better than beta 5).
Maybe I'll do a clean install next time. Debian...
6 September 2006, 18:54
One of the first steps, and most likely the easiest, in making KDE
and GNOME seem consistent is getting both of them have the same
I simply don't understand (somebody explain to me please) why is
Kubuntu required to have a completely different theme than Ubuntu?
Seriously, guys, if you really want that, then no problem: Kubuntu
blue and Ubuntu orange. BUT at least take the time and provide both
of the themes so we can select the one we want in the theme
managers of both DEs.
I personally favour Ubuntu's theme. I can't get get KDE apps to
look exactly as those in GNOME. I switched to polyester, I applied
my own color theme (the Ubuntu colors available on kde-look suck, and that's nicely said -
I had to make mine). The biggest problem is changing the icons. I
believed this should be easy: in kcontrol I find the icon set named
Human. Yes, it changes most of the icons, but the most obvious ones
are still the blue KDE Crystal: file icons - and some others :).
Again, KDE-Look provides amateurish Human iconsets for KDE which
don't even properly work.
Oh and for those wondering: somebody cannot live in a GNOME-only
box, or KDE-only box. It's not going to happen, not today, not
Hint: this is not a "job" that needs to be done by
neither of the DE teams. It's the "job" of the distro guys.
Making the orange theme the default in Kubuntu would be awesome,
not because of the theme itself - I'd say the same if Ubuntu would
use by default the Kubuntu theme.
Bonus suggestion: while they are at it, they
should configure the default behaviour of KDE to match the one of
GNOME (or vice-versa).
Summary of the post: get the GNOME theme on KDE,
and get the KDE theme on GNOME. It's easy, it's doable, both DEs
are capable of it.
P.S. I don't like the purple theme in Kubuntu Edgy Eft.
13 June 2006, 17:20
I have upgraded to the latest Ubuntu version about a week ago. I
have chosen the "alternate" upgrade method: I downloaded the
ubuntu-6.06-alternate-i386.iso and mounted the image. I also added
the CDROM, as pointed by the Ubuntu Dapper upgrade
guide on their wiki. Of course, I also downloaded all the
upgrades which are not available on the CD, so I won't have any
- Logout procedure crashed: gnome-session had some problems.
- After reboot Xorg failed to start. I found out GLcore module
was removed. To my surprise, no nvidia-glx either. Reason:
nvidia-xconfig and nvidia-settings were previously installed. In
the new Ubuntu Dapper you are not allowed to install those two
packages alongside nvidia-glx. So, the automatic upgrade procedure
picked the "best" option: no nvidia driver at all. LOL. I
reinstalled the nvidia-glx package and removed nvidia-settings and
nvidia-xconfig. Back in business.
- Keyboard preferences were lost. It also lost which keyboard
layouts I have, which accessiblity features I have enabled. Not a
- VMWare Workstation 5.5 fails to start with some errors
regarding libcairo, libpng and libbonobo. Problem not yet solved.
Anyone has some suggestions? I of course recompiled the module for
the new kernel. I even tried complete VMware reinstall.
- Because of the first problem, it also removed the
ubuntu-desktop metapackage, therefore I missed a few new packages
(funny). Problem solved.
For unexperienced users these kinds of problems are a real turn
off. This has been said before.
Overall, the upgrade was worth it. Congrats guys! I like the
updated interface for Gnome, the speed improvements (now I'm back
to Gedit instead of Mousepad, hehe), etc.
The new Deskbar applet is very cool, I like it much. However it's
unusable due to the fact each time I type an address of a site
starting with www. then continuing to .whatever ... the deskbar
popup. That's silly and annoying. I've disabled the "web" plugin in
the deskbar preferences. I still can't type www.google.com.
Therefore, I won't use the deskbar applet. Otherwise I would've
liked using it.
That's about all.
Update 2006-06-16: Ubuntu team updated the kernel
and many other packages in the repositories. After applying all
updates, VMWare works again! Plus the deskbar does no longer show
when writing web address. Kudos to the Ubuntu team. :)
4 February 2006, 17:33
I decided to try the latest Ubuntu
I have previously tried Fedora Core 2 and before that I had some
very old Red Hat, but that's all very long time ago and ... I
always switched back to Windows for various reasons, such as, but
not limited to: networking with Windows (Samba-fun), TV tuner
configuration (I never got this close to "working"), slow Internet
connection (couldn't download a gazillion of packages), getting
video/audio playback and what-not. With FC 2 there were some really
cool advancements: easier to configure, better package management
and seriously stable Gnome (compared to what I tested on the very
old Red Hat).
Installing Ubuntu was easy, but I have to say it took more time
than Windows XP Professional installation (don't flame me, it's
true on my system).
I had the pleasure of finding the local area connection
almost working properly. I was able to access
shared folders from other Windows machines in just a few minutes.
Configuration wasn't a hassle at all. I said it worked almost
perfect because I still had to manually edit a file, so I can share
my own files on the Windows network.
Ubuntu Wiki is a great
resource of information and documentation. Very easy to follow
I haven't had big problems with Ubuntu. Everything seems to work
just fine. I have removed my Windows installation and now I got
only Ubuntu (one month ago). I am actually writing this blog post
in Gedit :)- it's safer to have a local file.
I've got everything working properly without too much hassle
(actually very little ... if I read Ubuntu Wiki, which I don't
always do, because I sometimes forget :) ).
TV tuner configuration was uhm ... lets say a piece of cake. Yet, I
got my TV tuner working on Ubuntu after a few weeks :P. Why? I was
busy configuring other more important stuff and ... TV tuner
configuration was a bit "hard": I had to search on Yahoo for some
documentation about bttv. The problem: I had v4l and v4l2 working
perfectly from the start, but no TV application was able to search
for the channels. Why? The driver didn't detect the exact tuner
type/card I have (Mentor TV). Solving the problem was a piece of
cake: modprobe bttv card=78.
On Windows I was using DScaler for viewing the TV (I have no
need for PVR software). It was quite a CPU intensive application
(100% constantly), because it has some very good deinterlacing
filters. Gladly, the Linux counter-part is much better :). I use
KDE TV 3.5. It's faster than Dscaler, features-packed and very
The minor annoyances that affected Ubuntu a bit were:
- I had to install gcc-3.4 to be able to install kernel modules.
- Firefox 1.5 was not available in the repositories: manual
install is required (not a big hassle once you read the wiki).
- Ubuntu boots slower than Windows XP. Why? Even after I removed
all the unnecessary boot services. Guess what? The slow part is not
the graphical boot (actually gdm and gnome start-up faster than the
graphical system of Windows). The loading section until gdm starts
takes the most time.
- Opera wasn't available in the repositories. :P
Movie and audio playback wasn't hard to install at all. Movie
playback is actually much faster than on Windows using Mplayer with
XV output. Very fast player and good one. I use VLC only for heavy
duty stuff. :)
The part that I liked the most was installing PHP 5, MySQL 4.1,
PHPMyAdmin and Apache 2. Much faster and easier than on Windows (of
Unexpected goodies of Linux: WINE, accessiblity support (magnifier,
TTS, on-screen keyboard display and screen readers) and more I'm
I've switched to Linux. Nothing more to add.
P.S. I like the Human theme. :D