Computer Hell

August 30, 2007 at 11:47 am Leave a comment

First off- I’ve started to call Windows Vista Blue Screen of Death Professional. Actually, after tweaking settings and drivers and making some compromises on some of my favorite software (Vista HATES Google Desktop), I can actually run it for as long as four hours at a time without a BSOD. That is only if I don’t run iTunes, which it also doesn’t seem to get along with. Oh- and it doesn’t particularly like Google’s Picasa either. I’m noticing a trend.

One bit of advice I will put out there- at least while you are doing your initial install of software after making the Vista plunge- TURN OFF UAC! It will drive you crazy, and non-UAC-aware software installs will likely fail or be flaky. Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

On the opposite side of the spectrum- there’s Ubuntu’s Gutsy Gibbon. If you have a carefully tweaked video configuration involving (ick) ATI video cards- don’t even bother trying one of the upgrade paths. You are best off backing up your data and doing a clean install. (Hmm, parallels Vista in that sense.)

Let’s face it- ATI cards SUCK when it comes to Linux. Their proprietary drivers are a joke, and the OSS driver isn’t much better (but I have to give kudos to the wonderful people working on it- at least they are trying, and accomplishing something that AMD can’t seem to. I’m planning to build a Linux (MythTV) HTPC in the next couple of months, and I can guarantee it will NOT have an ATI card in it.

Besides all my Vista backflips, I spent about 12 hours trying to get my home desktop working again after trying to do an upgrade to Gutsy Gibbon. I was finally able to get it to work, with compiz-fusion in all its glory. My laptop, however, is a different story. After the same 12 hours with it- the damn thing still doesn’t work, so I’m installing Gutsy Gibbon from scratch. I’m turning into an expert at editing xorg.conf, but I can’t seem to get the magic combination between it and my video drivers that actually works.

I will say to Ubuntu’s credit that I don’t criticize Gutsy Gibbon at all, especially since it is only out as a public Alpha right now, and won’t actually be released until mid-October. Actually, compared to Vista- this ALPHA Linux software has already proved more reliable, at least once configured. ALL of my problems with Gutsy Gibbon so far have been due to the ATI video cards in my home computer and laptop. I will probably get a different video card for my home system at some point, but I’m stuck with ATI in my laptop.

Interesting (perhaps) enough- most of my Vista issues were related to the ATI video card as-well. I used to actually tell friends to buy ATI cards because I had trouble with NVidia cards and Windows XP many years ago. Apparently the tables have turned.

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Entry filed under: Hardware, Linux, Microsoft.

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