Thursday, August 16, 2012

Linux Mint 13 XFCE Edition

Last week in a fit of geekiness, I setup my PC at home to dual boot Linux Mint 13 XFCE Edition alongside Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. Although I've had various Linux distros running inside VirtualBox VMs, I wanted to run Linux natively.

I selected Mint since based on prior experiments, it's easy to install and provides a good selection of apps. I specifically chose the XFCE version because I like it as a desktop environment, being stable and light on resources. (The PC has a Core i5 and 8 gigs of RAM, so it's got plenty of horsepower, but I prefer simpler desktops anyway.) Ubuntu is most commonly suggested when Linux noobs are looking at potential distros to try, but IMO its current desktop is horrid. Unity is an ugly POS better suited to tablets than PCs, and I didn't want to mess with changing it. There are official variants of Ubuntu with other desktops (Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc.) but I wound up with Mint.

Overall the install went smoothly and everything works, after a little tweaking to fix a problem streaming media. Specifically, the audio would frequently stutter when I streamed YouTube video -- something I do a lot. After doing some googling, I discovered that it's due to a bug in how PulseAudio interacts with some drivers, including the one for my RealTek sound card. I found the fix here.

The fix requires a slight config chance in the file /etc/pulse/ As root or using the sudo command, open the file in a text editor.

Then, find the line which reads:

load-module module-udev-detect

and modify it to read like this:

load-module module-udev-detect tsched=0

Save and quit the file. You then need to restart the pulseaudio service. You can do this either via a reboot or finding the process via ps ax | grep pulseaudio, killing it, then restarting it.

This was kind of annoying. The sound card I'm using is built into my PC's Intel motherboard, so it is a very common sound card and this sort of thing should be found before software is released.

Aside from the sound issue I haven't run into any other problems, and Linux Mint 13 XFCE Edition has been pleasant to use.

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