I have taken the good old Linux computer to the new flat as the main computer here. My girlfriend uses this computer to do her daily activities like checking email. Over time I have noticed more and more show stoppers from making the Linux desktop ready for the non Linux savvy.
I am basing these views from the Ubuntu distribution. Specifically Ubuntu 8.04 32bit.
Upon a fresh install of Ubuntu 8.04 I updated to the latest patches and updates as well as common applications I would use like Mozilla Thunderbird, VLC, aMSN and removed others.
The first problem that my girlfriend encountered was Flash. Firefox has a built in plugin manager but for some reason it doesn’t work very well under Ubuntu. A yellow bar pops up as well as the embedded flash have a message saying the plugin was missing. Clicking on the install button on the yellow bar failed to install the plugin. I have found this problem in various versions of Ubuntu with some more successful than others. This time it didn’t work after several tries. I proceeded to install it using apt-get. This worked… but has caused some sound issues.
The system is using Alsa (I think) and if a flash video had been played then VLC will not have any sound till the browser had closed. The browser can be opened again once VLC starts playing with sound. Another problem is with Flash is the BBC iPlayer website. It worked at first but now the embedded videos do not appear at all. With the wide spread of Flash I find this unacceptable.
DVD playback was another touchy area. We don’t have a T.V at the moment (mainly due to how expensive T.V license is) so she watches DVDs on the computer. In order to do that libdvd, Gstreamer codecs and other libraries had to be installed. O.K this isn’t a problem with Totem because it prompts the user to download them but some of her DVDs could not be played back properly. Things like no sound or no video to stuttering. I noticed it affected the newer DVDs than the older ones.
For some reason a lot of audio applications hogs the sound card and doesn’t let any other sound playback. This could be things like Adobe Flash to MythTV. If any one application is open you cannot hear sounds from any other application. I believe Pulse Audio is suppose to alleviate this problem but has yet to be implemented widely.