Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ubuntu Natty Narwhal: Epic Fail

I saw it coming, and now I can safely say "I told you so" and so can a lot of other people who were expecting the new Ubuntu release to be unstable. 11.04 was released today to much hoopla from many news sites. Never have I been more disappointed by the stability of a release. Ever. Even Karmic Koala -- with which I had a terrible experience -- wasn't as horrific. I'm not even talking about the speed of the repository servers, which have been bombarded and are, thus slow. It would seem that at least on some machines, system stability rests on the edge of a knife. One of my machines would number among that lot.

I have a secondary machine at home which my children usually use to play games on Windows 7. It also runs the Linux distro flavor-of-the-week. During my vacation time this week I've toyed with Kubuntu 10.10, which was unacceptably slow, and Xubuntu 10.10, which had some notable issues. I was underwhelmed by both.

What has been my experience so far? Not good, I'm afraid. I grabbed a copy of Natty this morning, burned it, and started a clean install. The installer has a few minor annnoyances which have been introduced, such as not being able to type in the mount point for a specified partition. Irritating, but I can live with it. It also allows you to skip downloading certain parts. Seeing that the download speeds weren't as good as I liked, I hit the skip button to pass on downloading updates. My clicking was met with a hung installer. Luckily, I had passed the point where I could reboot without hosing the install, so I hard rebooted the thing, which at this point was my only option.

The first official boot didn't go any better. The GRUB screen was distorted, which didn't bode well. Once Ubuntu started booting, the terminal display was an utter mess and completely unreadable. X started and I was informed that I would have to use the classic desktop. The message was completely expected, but it was accompanied by portions of the screen which needed redrawn -- this would be disturbing to a newbie. Next stop: getting the proprietary Nvidia drivers. Ho-hum. They installed without a hitch (surprisingly), but after rebooting into the new shiny Unity environment I was met with yet another surprise: a totally unresponsive desktop. The only thing that it would do is let me move the pointer. The only session option I had which actually works is the Classic desktop with effects disabled. This is actually a step backward considering that it worked very well under Maverick.

I've heard quite a few good things about 11.04, so it can't all be as terrible as my experience has been. I'm sure in the next couple of weeks a lot of things will shake out. Personally speaking, Natty Narwhal should have been a little less ambitious because this release will not reflect well on Ubuntu as a community or on Canonical. Perhaps Oneiric will be better. It certainly can't do much worse.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lesson 19: Deeper in Application Scripting

When we last looked at application scripting in Haiku, we merely scratched the surface. Using the hey command and the basic concepts behind the Haiku scripting model, we were able manipulate running applications to do our bidding. Now we will delve into the C++ code which can do the same thing with much greater flexibility and even implement scripting support in our own GUI controls.

Programming with Haiku, Lesson 19

Monday, April 11, 2011

More Code and Another Lesson Soon

Yeesh. Almost a month since the last post, but I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out where it went. Workload at school went through the roof until last week, so I think that's what happened. Life will hopefully return to some semblance of abnormal. Lesson 19 is almost ready for publication -- look for it hopefully later this week.

I've also been writing some code, too, when I've had a moment. Paladin received a few fixes and tweaks. For example, adding a file to a repository from within the project window also adds its partner file. Same goes for removing it. The Lua scripts that I've written to automatically generate the code for different objects in libcharlemagne received some significant refactoring and the spec files used to create them are simpler now, too. All of the GUI control objects which were complete before are now generated, fixing at least a couple bugs that I discovered while writing the spec files, probably along with some others that I didn't know about. I'm in the process of implementing a couple of objects which were just skeleton files before. More progress is good. :-)