How to break Linux

Linux is a great system if it provides for all of your needs. However, I occasionally run into the case where the packages included with the distribution just don’t work fully for me. This is the case with NetworkManager and my wireless card in FC5. NetworkManager considers my wireless card to be a local connection. This is a bug that is reported in a couple places online. I was hoping that an update would fix it. I enable the development repos to get the new version. After the install, the panel no longer loaded correctly. Now I’m stuck with updating my entire machine to development packages.

I find that most issues I have are related to getting hardware to work. I most commonly screw up a box when trying to get the video card to work. This time it was wireless. Linux is terrible with video card drivers still. The only vendor that cooperates is intel. The ATI chip that is in my new L2000 will only run in 800×600 with the open source radeon drivers. That’s unacceptable to me. We defiantly need some graphics hackers on the linux side. Wireless is becoming increasingly better with time. Ndiswrapper is an ugly hack that works pretty well; the bcm43xx driver is coming along nicely; NetworkManager makes connecting to networks a breeze.

I’m becoming more and more frustrated with my Gentoo install. XOrg 7.0 is still not in stable. The stable version of Gentoo is no longer a feasible option for me when I make a selection. They are just too far behind. Problems arise when I need an app that is masked. Like with my FC5 install, dependencies start to pour in and it’s almost necessary to run the whole machine on unstable. I’ve probably got 60 packages with the ~x86 keyword on them. Marking things ~x86 is infectious. I’ve broken my apps several times.

What it boils down to is that it is imperative to select a distro that meets your needs today. That is, unless you have the desire to run unstable.

The problem with me is that I really want to like Fedora and Gentoo. If the door would open for me, I would help them in a heartbeat to fix out their bugs. Really need to become a distro developer, but I can’t seem to get my foot in the door. I hope this situation changes in the future.

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