Sunday was the final day at SCALE8x, We had good traffic at our booth,the loco team was bring us people with interesting problems and perspectives. I had this one person come up to me and express his dis-satisfaction about Ubuntu.
“I have a desktop that has an ATI Radeon card, and I can’t get the display to work. There are a lot of reports on the user forums about this card and canonical is not doing anything about it. I have emailed canonical about it but I see no action. Should I tell people to switch to fedora ?”
This person is a journalist, and I did not want him to give Ubuntu bad press because he did not know the correct process to get this problems resolved. Forums are for users to communicate with users, and when a solution is posted to the forum the thread is almost never closed, and users keep adding comments to it making it hard to find any useful information there. If you think you have a problem the correct process is to report a bug in launchpad. As an example, if sound does not work, and you have done some basic troubleshooting and found it to be a bug, reporting this bug is very easy. Open a terminal and run the following command.
$ ubuntu-bug audio
More serious kernel problems are automatically reported by apport. In the end, this journalist seemed less unhappy, but still insisted that the user experience is not what it is supposed to be, and that user experience is the reason that keep Apple Macs and Microsoft Windows in business. Point taken, you should not have to know about a process to report a problem, operating system should treat the user as dumb and do it under the covers, and apport does not to an extend.
One of the more serious issues I am seeing with Lucid is that with Nvidia binary drivers. On certain laptops, on boot, the display comes up fuzzy .
But you can easily fix this, just switch to VT1 and back to VT5, and you display will look almost normal. There are still some issues.
I noticed this problem mostly on Sony Vaio W series notebooks, Compaq Presario V6000, and Toshiba Satellite S402. The Sony Vaio W series is particularly a bad case because it is a new model. Most of these laptops that had problems with Nvidia cards also had problems with suspend/resume working properly, and a bug in plymouth causes the system to freeze if you hit the “enter/return” key.
I made contacts with several of the vendors at the show. I talked to the owner of ZaReason he had all the models of his laptops/netbooks on display. They ships all of their netbooks/laptops with Ubuntu 9.10 preinstalled. I invited him over to our testing booth to test all his netbook/laptop models. He later promised to ship us some hardware to do some enablement and fix issues. I talked to the people from softlayer they use Ubuntu Server Edition on all their offerings. I need to connect them with the Server team people. The other interesting group I talked to was Revolution Linux. They already have partnership with Canonical. From a project perspective, looks like ltsp clusters is something we could use for our Hardware Compatibility Testing effort.
We had no banners saying “Ubuntu Hardware Compatibility Test, please bring your laptops and help us test” so some people could not find us. We should do a better job of making us visible next time. We will do this again at the Texas Linux Fest on 10th April.