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It's that time of the year, again, when I lan to go to Debconf, reserve vacation, get visa waiver, book tickets. Let's hope nothing blocks me from attending this time. It has been too long.
I also soon will be on my way to Debconf13 and those who asked for more photos from the place on Planet Debian will soon start getting their fill ;)
Remember when Linus Torvalds lambasted NVidia for not supporting their Optimus technology in their Linux drivers for half a decade and counting? Well, I went out and bought an AMD/ATi video card as mu upgrade. And you know what? Its Linux drivers are far, far worse than NVidia.
1. Most of the games I had working fine on NVidia, do not work on AMD. And those that do suffer far more visual corruption, synchronization bugs (like bottom 40% of the screen rendering half a second after the top 60%), strange visual artifacts (weird triangles popping out of everywhere) and crashes, lots of crashes.
2. There were crashes with NVidia too, but NVidia never managed to crash Compiz along with it or crash the whole X server or lock up the system so far that only SysRq works or even lock up the system so far that only powering it off manually works.
3. And then there is the configuration atrocity. Apparently AMD is too good to store its configuration in /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Or even to document the supported options there. Instead they have their own (also undocumented) configuration file in /etc/ati folder. And it is undocumented because it is a cryptic mess and the only supported way to change it is to use their tools - aticonfig and amdccccle. The command line tool is almost reasonable, except it is also barely documented. For example, one of my screens somehow was always stared at 1920x1080@30Hz. There were 3 different ways to specify default resolution, but none of them used or saved the refresh rate. And when I changed it in the GUI tool - the refresh rate did change, but it was never saved. Oh there nowhere is a save button. It 'just works', except when it doesn't. Like: both of my screens for some reason started with huge black borders around the screen, I finally narrowed it down to the GUI setting "overscan" which defaulted to 10%. Ok, so I change it, it works, but next time I reboot, the overscan is back! I had to find an undocumented invocation of the aticonfig that would change the default value to 0%. Why did this one setting not save? Oh and fun note - the refresh rate of that second screen was correct on the login screen, but it then swiched back as I logged in. Fun, huh?
4. Even at basic desktop tasks fglrx if inferior to not only the free driver, but also to the nvidia driver - even simple scrolling of a large folder in nautilus seems to tax the 200$ card to its limits - the bottom row blinks into place almost half a second after I stop scrolling. Another example - with NVidia when I switch my TV to the HDMI input from the card, the sound starts at the same moment as the picture, however with AMD the sound only decides to show up 10-15 seconds later. And sometime it does not show up at all, unless I start the AMD Control GUI tool and only then the sound shows up 15 seconds later (without doing anything in the GUI).
I wonder - am I the only one who feels that Gnome default thumbnail size is way too small? See the bug report for the background, motivation and a comparison screenshot :)
The meeting was as long as the kernel changelog, the decision was as difficult as a Debian release, but in the end Le Camp has won in the voting 5 to 4. It was lucky that one member of the 10 man committee was not present or we could have had a tie, just like there was one in the first round of voting.
The group picture of the Debconf11 has been up for 33 hours now and finally I also had a moment of time to make the numbered version so you can add peoples names to it.
Guys, we have a problem. The name of that problem is NVidia and their Optimus technology. The idea of that tech is quite neat - take a laptop, put two video cards in it, use the powerful card when you need 3D power, use the weak card when you need to conserve battery. The problem is that any laptop with this technology is currently an expensive paperweight on Linux (or rather it was so until a couple weeks ago, see below). And NVidia has no plans for fixing that.
This year Debconf is a bit off the beaten track, so there is a bit of anxiety in the participants - flights to Banja Luka are quite expensive (I'd guess we have packed the relevant dates pretty full already) and other options are going via Zagreb or Ljubljana, but there people do not yet have all the info on how they will be able to get from, for example, Zagreb airport to the Debconf venue in Banja Luka, if their plane lands at 22:30 and get back if the departure time is 06:30. There is hope that the organising team will provide the info on how to use the local buses and arrange a Debconf bus for people arriving late and departing early, but that has not been 100% confirmed yet.
It looks like I am going to Debconf11! Vacation time is booked, registration is in, only some final approvals inside Accenture are pending to pay my flights. I must say after working in Finland for the whole winter, I need to get out and get to friendly (and relatively chatty) Debian people more than ever.
I have just looked at traffic to my photos from Debconf10 during and after the event. During the event I sent out the link to the photos to Twitter/Identi.ca and to IRC channel of the conference. The amount of people visiting my photos rose from <100 per day to around 1000 per day. That might be the number of people that follow Debian actively enough to either follow the conference directly or look at #debian or #debconf or #debconf10 Twitter hashtags (if only half of people care about photos, multiply that number by 2).
Now right after I posted the group photo to my blog and to Debian Planet on the 7th of August, the number of daily views sharply rose to 10 000 per day and stayed at that number for 3 days, then decayed to 5k, 3k, 2k, 1k.