Notes on conventional desktop tools

Jon Nettleton jon.nettleton at
Thu Nov 18 15:18:35 EST 2010

On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 11:48 AM, Martin Langhoff
<martin.langhoff at> wrote:
> 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

I started work on a plugin that breaks each update/installation into
its own transaction starting at the smallest and working its way up.
This helps with constricted space installations and tmpfs mounted

>  - Gmixer is a useful extra to our Gnome env.

I would also suggest including volti along with this. It is a small
python based volume control systray applet that can run a custom
mixer.  I supplied the patch to integrate it with HAL keyboard events,
would be easy enough to get it to understand XO keyboard events.

>  - 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.

I remember this bug from the F11 days on the desktop.  I think it is
fixed in F12.

>  - 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.

The newest flashplayer "square" beta makes considerable improvements
in playback on the XO.  Ultimately I think it is our pathetic fpu
performance the hurts us here.

>  - 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.

I agree here.  The difference is that skype 2.1 includes their "SILK"
codec that is enormously cpu intensive.  Of course this will only work
for voice.  I am working on multiple XV surfaces for the XO 1.5 so we
can support video.

>  - 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
> audio.

no comment.  Probably both.


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