Notes on conventional desktop tools

Martin Langhoff martin.langhoff at
Thu Nov 18 14:48:54 EST 2010

Some quick notes after an exploration of various tools & packages
outside of our Sugar world. Some may be old news. os353 (of the 10.1.3
series) used...

 - `umount /var/cache/yum` is a prerequisite for any serious yummage

 - Gmixer is a useful extra to our Gnome env.

 - Java (via open-jvm) works. JClick is an excellent example.
Strangely, applets work but not very well -- the Java runtime seems to
not exit, and often a java process stays behind, eating 99% of CPU.

 - OpenOffice works well, gstreamer, mplayer, vlc work a charm. If you
shamelessly use the rpmfusion repos, you can play any content out
there on the intarwebs.

 - Flash pays a hefty price for its refusal to use Xv. Don't install pulseaudio.

 - Skype works reasonably well once you set the right
microphone input. Latest Skype ( doesn't play well with our
ALSA implementation. We aren't alone in this, various chipsets/drivers
are affected similarly -- your voice is distorted into a growling
mess, see -- someone with
serious alsa trickery and magic may be able to massage .asoundrc to
work around the issue, I could not. This is recent - previous release has good audio but video is corrupt.

 - Ekiga is *not* happy. Not sure if it's interaction with alsa or
with our video driver -- but it freezes the Gnome UI (apparently when
it's probing devices); calling the echo service echoes back horrible

Help diagnosing / reporting these upstream is welcome. Fedora folks
are probably more insterested in F14 reports, so exploring whether
these things work better on F14 is a start.


 martin.langhoff at
 martin at -- School Server Architect
 - ask interesting questions
 - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first

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