Tag Archives: Skype

Fedora 18 with Xfce on the HP Pavilion g6-2210us — all systems are very, very ‘go’

Just a quick post to tell you that my Fedora 18 with Xfce installation on the HP Pavilion g6-2210us is doing very well indeed.

Unlike Xubuntu 13.04, Fedora 18 WILL run under Secure Boot after installation.

I’m using full disk encryption and working on a separate hard drive (not the Windows 8 drive that shipped with the laptop).

Also unlike Xubuntu 13.04, I had no trouble with sound in Skype. Yep, I already installed Skype in Fedora. And it’s working perfectly.

Like Xubuntu 13.04, overall sound levels are fine once volume is upped via the Pulse Audio Volume Control.

In addition to Skype, things I also added to Fedora 18 without incident included the RPM Fusion repositories, the Adobe Flash browser plugin, gPodder and Xchat. I also found a new kernel and installed it (you’ll see why below).

All went smoothly.

So far Xfce in Fedora looks great. It runs great. It’s super-fast.

The only problem with this laptop and its new AMD APU (CPU plus graphics) is video. The 2D video in Xfce runs with no problem. GNOME 3 is a total mess. Unity is workable but has artifacts (though there was some improvement in the final release of Ubuntu 13.04 that I saw with live media).

And what all of these systems have in common — Ubuntu and Fedora included — is that suspend doesn’t work.

The laptop does go into suspend, but there’s no waking it (i.e. resume is broken). That’s bad because I’m a huge user of suspend/resume. The new kernel I tried from Fedora’s Koji service didn’t help. Eventually Linux, X, radeon and catalyst will catch up to this HD 7000-series video chip. It just hasn’t happened yet.

But I can say right now that Fedora 18 is good enough, configurable enough with proprietary bits, and stable enough for my daily use.

This is the first time I’ve used the Yum Extender for package management, and it’s a terrific, exceedingly quick tool.

What do I miss most not running Linux? Easy, usable FTP via the file manager and text editors (I can’t believe this is so f’d up in Windows8), and easy management of my old, old iPod, which I’m shocked is pretty much impossible to do in Windows without iTunes. I’ve tried a half-dozen music-manager/podcast manager apps, and none of them in Windows can do a damn thing half well.

Getting back to Linux’s gPodder (the Windows version doesn’t do iPod) and Rhythmbox will solve all of my Windows problems. For almost everything else I have mostly free open-source apps that just happen to run on Windows.

But a pure Linux environment would make my life better and easier. That and working suspend/resume and I’ll be a most happy camper. If I were confident that a dual-boot with Windows 8 wouldn’t fail, I’d do it today.

Update: It’s been about 2 1/2 years, and I’m still running Fedora on this laptop. Now I’m on Fedora 22, so that means four in-place upgrades without it blowing up. And I should upgrade to F23 soon.

Now I don’t need the Catalyst driver. The free Radeon driver works great. I don’t even need any hacks for suspend/resume, though I did have one for quite some time. And there are no sound issues — switching between HDMI and native laptop sound is seamless with the pavu (aka PulseAudio Volume Control) application.

My experience is that with new hardware, Linux can be difficult at first, gets better in a year, and now I can say it’s very solid after two years. While that’s a nice thing for people with 2-year-old hardware (like me now), we really need to get to the point where things are pretty good out of the box and totally locked down in six months.

What constitutes totally locked down?

  • Boots from ISO with no issues
  • Installs with no issues, especially no EFI/UEFI problems
  • Installs in dual-boot with Windows with no issues
  • Boots from disk after installation with no issues and allows boot to Linux by default
  • Video works perfectly with free drivers, including HDMI
  • Audio works perfectly, including HDMI
  • Suspend/resume works without any hacks
  • CPU heat and fan usage is comparable to what hardware achieves in Windows

Getting used to the Metro interface in Windows 8

I’m coming to grips with Windows 8.

You don’t have a Start button. But your desktop looks just like it does (sans Start button) in Windows 7.

What you do have is the Metro interface, a blocky stream of “things you can click on” that, in the lower left corner, has a blocky link to the “real” desktop.

Some things are downright tricky. Like how there’s a Skype “app” in the Metro interface (I’m sure they still don’t call it Metro, but what they DO call it escapes me), but you can install the “Windows Desktop” version of Skype yand have it … on your Windows desktop.

When the system told me I HAD to “merge” my Skype account and Microsoft account in order to use Skype in the Metro interface without explaining what such a merger would do — would I keep my “unique” Skype user name, for instance? — I balked and went to the Skype site and downloaded (and subsequently installed) the Windows Desktop version of Skype.

You still have a traditional Control Panel to adjust settings. But there are things you can only get to in the Metro interface — or so it looks to me.

When I set up the computer, my Internet connect was a bit shaky, and the “get a Microsoft” portion of the process didn’t take. I had to reboot.

Then I found myself with TWO accounts on the computer. One with a Microsoft account connected to it, one without. Of course I did all my subsequent setup in the one without the Microsoft account.

It could have gone either way, but after deleting the superfluous account (the Microsoft-connected one), I used these instructions from Paul Thurrott (who appears to be Mr. Windows) to convert my “local” account to a Microsoft-connected account.

Why? WHY??? you ask? Well, supposedly all those Metro apps I’m not using work better with a Microsoft-connected account.

Before I end this entry, I’d like to report that the Internet Explorer browser is still a steaming pile. All these years and they couldn’t improve the font rendering? Everything looks awful. Glad I got Firefox before I did most anything. I’ll get Google Chrome in the near future.

I’ve committed to running Windows 8 for the time being not just for the novelty but because I need to USE this computer. And I’m more than a little befuddled by Secure Boot and UEFI. Luckily I can get the apps I need to run, and many of them are free (as in libre) software.