Friday, 27 December 2013

The Christmas techie post - tipping my hat to Fedora.

And so today.

I'm presently downloading Fedora 20 (I was going to say somethingorother, but decided it wasn't too hard to look) ready for a wipe & install over Pear 8 for my Christmas break Linux fun. This is the Gnome 3 version for a change, since it's a long while since I've used Gnome.

Why replace Pear 8?

Well, it *looks* fabulous, but as it's become more apple-like, so some behaviours also have become unacceptably irritating, like placing application menu items on the top menubar, rather than at the top of the application window. Yes, Apple do this, and it's annoying in OSX as well, although at least with pear, when you close an application from it's window, you actually close it, rather than simply making the window disappear while leaving the app running, like with OSX.

And I'm still searching for my killer image-processing application.

I've been using Cyberlink Photodirector 4 on the Macbook, mostly because it was a free download and was reputed to be a pretty close copy of Adobe Lightroom - judging by the videos it's an almost EXACT copy, and lightroom training videos are quite useful for PD too. Except that under the hood it's weak compared to lightroom, lacking some of the tools, botching others. On the Macbook doing anything demanding makes the fans start wailing as it tries to stay cool. On the XP build (4Gb ram, 2.5GHx core duo processor) it simply runs out of memory when you try to use content-aware replacement on a 20mp raw file.

There's other issues too, mostly due to the Sony alpha 58 camera being relatively recent, and although the OSX version copes OK, the XP version hasn't been updated to cope and displays all raw images with a strong magenta cast due to the software lacking information about colour gamut for this cameras output. This is also a problem for earlier versions of DigiKam and some other image processing software too, but it IS highly annoying.

The fix has been to download the latest (windows) version of Adobe camera raw software and convert the images to .dng (digital negative) format before processing further. Just another lump in workflow, but at least there is a solution. I'm seriously wondering about ponying up for lightroom, except that I don't really want to run it on the Macbook, but I also don't really want a Windows computer. This hardware isn't suitable to create a Hackintosh and whatever I do will require spending more money to create a suitable platform. At this stage I'm just not willing to do that, and will likely just muddle along for now with freeware.

Fedora has finished downloading.

Burt before I go, I'll mention Chris is getting her Christmas present tonight. Behave you, snickering away at the back. I'm taking her to see Cats in the New Theatre, Oxford.

Take a while but never smile at Mr. Crocodile

And don't waste your time with Fedora 20 Gnome edition. If you're determined and interested I'm sure it could be OK, but it *feels* as restrictive as OSX, yet parts of it like the software management tool are unstable, and crash randomly. What looked impressive on a small screen doesn't scale well to the 1920:1200 monitor I've brought home from the office and there is a lack of flexibility and easy customisation in the interface that really should be there. Disappointed. I went to the trouble of installing non-free codecs (had to be done from the command line even though the repos can be added through firefox) and the XINE media player kept crashing on DVD playback. Elsewhere dialogue boxes would disappear under a blue blob on mouseover, often staying masked.

TBH it felt and behaved like an early beta. I've always wanted to use Fedora, and every time I've tried it things haven't worked out well. I'm slightly temped to try Mint KDE 16, but also quite strongly tempted to just reinstall Pear - probably 7, rather than 8 - and have done with it. 

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