Linux Missing the Point

I hear all the time from the various Linux die-hards that I know and read on the various message boards that it is incredible that the various Linux distributions do not see higher adoption rates. They are of course considering it logically given the functional capabilities of the of the distros when combined with the customization that is so easily at hand. Heck, I am sure to the right group of people I come off as one of those ‘die-hards’. I mean, after all, I boot into Linux of some sort everyday – so what is my issue with the Linux folks? What they are missing still though is the ease of getting the system going…

Let me explain that a little bit, as most distros install fairly darn easily these days. I will give an extra nod toward what has been my favorite distro for some time, Ubuntu on just how easy they have actually made the install. I think, honestly, it is easier to install now then Windows XP is. I can’t say in regards to Windows 7.0 or even Vista, as I have not done one of those installs from scratch. Most distributions have some sort of easy upgrade option these days to get the latest flash install, add Java, and pull in the codex information for the various kinds of media that one may run across.

So some of you are still wondering then, what is my complaint exactly? I had Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installed on my laptop in a dual (well, actually triple) boot setup. When I first installed it, as I have pointed out before, the sound worked fine and I could listen to various music while I did work – especially blogging or code monkey (my favorite). However, on one of the updates at some point after the release, it stopped working. At first, it went back and forth from working to not working for a couple of releases. Recently, over the last few months mind you, it has stopped completely.

Last week, I had the opportunity to ask a good friend, who probably knows more Linux then I could dream of knowing if he had any ideas. Interestingly enough, his system has similar issues, but alas he had not had time to go through the issues. Well, that just made me all the more determined to figure out the issue and it seemed to suggest it was widespread enough that with some careful searching I could find a solution.

After a full week of exploring various options that I have come across in searching – as it is a fairly regularly occurring issue I am still left without sound on Linux. Keep in mind, that one my O/S systems on here is Windows XP and the sound works fine there. I have learned more about ALS and how to manually over ride controls of what ‘pin’ is doing what and what it should be set to for the hardware and of course understanding that no two driver sets have the pin configurations the same way and blah, blah, blah… I think you get the idea. I feel pretty confident, borrowing a bit from the work I did with printer drivers way back when that I could code out a sound controlling driver now in a pinch. I have installed every kind of extra control, both in conjunction, singly, and every possible permetation of combinations in between.

I even had one forum suggest that there was a fix in in the 10.10 release that addressed this issue – which I am little slightly shy about on this machine as it is my primary work platform. But I decided to give it a whirl and what? Well, I got the 10.10 install and everything else works just fine, but still no sound.

Here is the bottom line though. I have spent one day shy of a week working on trying to get this figured out and have not been successful. I am a technology professional that uses Linux and Windows of several flavors on a daily basis. If the typical home user had this problem for even one day after a dual boot installation what are the odds of them sticking with the Linux system over Windows? If not dual boot, how many days before they go back to the Windows installer disk?

When I think about it for a bit, I think the Ubuntu folks have a really good product and that for the most part it is as easy and intuative to use as Windows is. I will even go so far to say the basics in Ubuntu 5.04 up through about 9.04 have been there as well. Somewhere along the way to the 10.04 (at least the updates) they forgot to check to make sure some the basic things were working and just when they were starting to gain momentum they turned back and are now heading the wrong direction. Unfortunately, in this world it only takes one big slip up like this to really muck things up. Matter of fact, I am wondering if the issue occurs in other Debian based distros? I have been wanting to revisit Mint for some time now – I feel a five hour energy experiment coming on this evening.

** – Image from

Okay – I admit that image is a bit odd, but usually I think of the geekdom of Linux as being sleek and sexy, despite my complaint today.  When I saw this image as I searched, I had to see what was up and why it was there.  Now you get to do the same.  🙂

2 Replies to “Linux Missing the Point”

  1. Just a thought: have you tried removing PulseAudio? Ubuntu have decided it’s the bee’s knees, but every time I remove it (because Ubuntu release updates always put it back in again) my sound starts working again in Wine, which is what I care about.

  2. I have not tried, and will give that a shot here shortly – thanks for the heads up on the idea. But that just reinforces that only the geeky like you and I will put up with something that gets put back in place like that with every update and then has to be removed manually.

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