Moving to Linux full time - Three weeks later

About three weeks back, I decided to move to a Linux desktop for all of my daily work. At the time I had rued the absence of a few things on Linux. A former mentor pointed out that some things would probably be resolved if I moved to Debian. (He is a Debian guru). Spurred by that, once I had spare time, I investigated some more.

Updating video drivers for the NVIDIA GTX 660 card

I had looked through the Mageia repositories and found a version (v331) of the NVIDIA driver (with non-open source blobs) and had installed that version of the driver and it appeared to work fine. When it was pointed out that NVIDIA routinely released Linux binaries as well, I decided to try out their newest release (v346).

It turned out to be a bad idea. The installation appeared to have completed correctly but on the next reboot, X would not come up. CLI troubleshooting helped me back into X using a slow nouveau driver. But it was impossible to get back to the older stable Mageia repository version of the proprietary driver. Apparently, some important libraries had been upgraded (deleted?) in /usr/lib64 and some configuration files changed so no amount of effort could get them replaced. Clearly, LSB or whatever standard (rpm??) dictates the development/installation of such proprietary binaries have some inadequacies. Eventually, I re-installed the OS from scratch to avoid spending any more time on fixing the problem. Since /home is on a separate disk, the re-installation was quick. Right now, I am sticking with the older Mageia "tainted" version of the driver --- all the Compiz effects, translucency are working fine.

What about those missing software?

I needed a higher class HTML editor than emacs - my goto editor - and I was missing Atom and Brackets. A few months back, I could not the get the Fedora Atom .rpm to install on Mageia 4. However, a recently released version (0.187.0) of Atom in .rpm format installed flawlessly.

I prefer Brackets more than Atom but unfortunately it is only available for Debian in binary form. I obtained the source code but the compilation of it's source code fails on Mageia. Since the comcompiler is JavaScript based (and I have only rudimentary knowledge of JavaScript) I could not figure out the problem. Hopefully, they will release a Mageia compatible rpm soon (even a static binary is okay by me). Since Atom is working fine, I will use that.

If you like working late, a wonderful tool available on Windows and OS X is f.lux. It's a sofware that automatically changes the color temperature of your display monitor at night so that the display is easy on the eyes. Since it's not available in Linux, I was a little unhappy until I found an equivalent for it - Redshift. It works almost exactly like f.lux and I am quite pleased with it.

I have still not figured out a way to force PulseAudio to use the digital output for mplayer (and VLC). My initial attempts on configuring the /etc/pulse/default.pa have failed. I need to study the problem more deeply.

Since syncing my iPad is no longer an option, one thing I required was a podcast client. I discovered gPodder. It works quite well and it defaults to using Amarok for playing podcasts. There is one strange quirk though. You need to type '/usr/bin/gpodder' to start it, otherwise it quits after throwing some Python backtrace code. (It is very likely the issue stems from some compile time options being set incorrectly.)

Steam works fine in Mageia (and in other Linux distributions). Unfortunately, not all games are supported in Linux and so some games from my library cannot be installed.

I have yet not found a nice Plasma desktop utility to show my network interface stats in real-time. I have not yet installed newsbeuter on my desktop to read RSS feeds but since it worked once before, I expect to have it running soon.

Discovered any new problems?

I discovered that it is not possible to simultaneously load VirtualBox virtual machines and the accelerated virtual machines of Android (x86/x64). It is not clear to me whether it's a problem of Linux or how virtualization support is baked onto x86 motherboards. This situation is very undesirable, since now I have to run unaccelerated ARM images and the latest Android Lollipop version image is slow enough to see the Android screen getting painted when an app is run.

Mozilla Firefox does not recognize kTorrent as the default application for magnet links so I have to copy paste the links. I expect that in the configuration of Firefox, I can set it to do the linking of magnet with kTorrent.

Have I used Windows at all?

Yes, for one purpose. Creating slides in Powerpoint. I could not really help it as the (third party) template provided to me for creating the slides did not translate well into Libre Office. Other than that, I have not had to use Windows.