Sunday, 11 July 2010

When things just don't work

I have to admit that Fedora 12 has been the most usable and stable distribution I've ever used. Sans one broken HAL update and one broken mplayer update, there weren't any bigger problems since about its beta! However, and I feel a bit disappointed about it, Fedora 13 does not continue in this way. Every time I run a full update on it and try to stay with it, issues appear (not always same issues). And hence I always return back to Fedora 12 where things work, but where I miss some nice features from Fedora 13 like two panels in nautilus. The current set of my issues with Fedora 13 goes like this:
  • wifi connection seems to pseudo-randomly disconnect (looks like it happens only when some network-heavy transfers, like torrents, are in process). This is even a more pain because after disconnecting it simply refuses to connect again unless I turn the hardware switch off and on… And yes, it's using an open source driver, but proprietary binary blob firmware (broadcom BCM4318 chip), so I'm not sure if reporting a bug would lead anywhere (especially given the rather random nature of the first issue)…

  • xorg seems to randomly just stop repainting itself, sans mouse cursor. It happened twice, always after trying to unlocking screen when laptop lid had been closed. Again, as this does seem random, and I have no idea how to reproduce it, filling a bug would probably lead nowhere. Killing X just changes the background from default wallpaper to solid black (of course, with fully working cursor, and probably even working, though not displayed, gui)…

  • evolution is a sucker. After the last batch of updates it keeps asking whether I want to mark messages as read even in subfolders. Even for folders which do not have any subfolders! Furthermore, every now and then it pops out an error message about not being able to store folder [mem].{folder-name}, blah, blah. And to add to that, it does not display images in rss feeds (not sure about html mails, I haven't tried it). I'll probably fill bugs about some of these issues later. And to add to all that, it does not offer an option to store gpg keyphrase during session.


It's a good thing I always keep two working systems at the same time. Thanks to that I always have a place to return to (and I sincerely hope that Fedora 14 won't be the same pool of issues like Fedora 13 is, otherwise I'll be stuck with EOLed release for the first time since I started using linux).

7 comments:

julian said...

Wait, the Evolution thing isn't supposed to be like this? ;) Yeah, it's annoying me as well.

I'm also having these weird wifi problems, especially when disconnecting my laptop from power. Maybe the energy saving messes something up?
I'm using the ath5k driver, so no firmware involved as far as I know.
It randomly works better or worse with kernel updates I got the feeling.

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem with a BCM4311 chip. Network-heavy transfers on my LAN always cause disconnections that I can only restore by rmmod b43 && modprobe b43

nicu said...

Hmmm... with F13 I get some network disconnections where I have to take out and re-insert my 3G modem, it may be a larger problem?

julian said...

@nicu It almost looks like it! Last time I really remember it working flawlessly was in Fedora 12 with kernel 2.6.31. After the update to 2.6.32, things went downhill. But I'm not sure whether it's really kernel-related, because I have the impression that it works slightly better with knetworkmanager than with nm-applet.

Jonathan Pritchard said...

I just reinstalled my Fedora 13 install, to clean out my /home directory. I've experienced many crashes reported in ABRT that I hadn't before.

I don't have the wifi issue, but I'm using Intel.

Jef Spaleta said...

I've got two laptops running F13 and I can't say I've seen the sort of NetworkManager problems you are referring to. iwl3945 driver being used on both. Haven't seen a hiccup.

On F13 release my linksys branded Ralink wifi dongle using driver rt2870sta didn't work.. but a recent batch of upgrades has it working as well now.

Not that it helps you much. Hardware specific problems are the worst.

-jef

Anonymous said...

I had the network disconnection problem with Ubuntu 9.04, but it is almost gone with Ubuntu 10.04, so it's probably not Fedora related.