The Sorry State… and the Quick Fix
I was indeed wasting my time: there is a classic answer to the question “what if I want to run Linux instead of Windows on my laptop or desktop PC?”
Sure thing, having a thing as simple as a headphone jack improperly handled by Linux when using HDA-Intel Realtek ALC282 is unacceptable. I tried to find out why Debian 10 and some derivatives work well out-of-the-box (Neptune, Netrunner Core and Desktop, MX KDE), but others require a workaround (SolydXK); why everything based on Ubuntu stopped working (even for 18.04 LTS, not just for 20.04 LTS!) once updates newer than ~October 2019 were applied; also, why almost everything else fails too (Fedora, Mint, openSUSE, etc. etc.), but not always (PCLinuxOS 2020 runs just fine).
I examined kernels, ALSA, PulseAudio; I digged through patches applied or not applied upstream or just by Debian or Ubuntu. I wanted to understand.
But it’s not worth the effort. Everything is too complex for me to try to “debug” it. It was pathetic to read how many people are having issues with different Intel audio chips under different distros, and how inconsistent were the proposed config patches (well, as long as they worked…)–nobody actually wanted to pinpoint the bug. It’s not just ALC282, it can also be ALC289, ALC256, or whatnot. I examined the changes in
patch_realtek.c between the kernels 4.9.0 and 5.7.10, to no avail. I examined the history of the patches for the kernel and for
libpulse0 in Debian and Ubuntu. And much more. Well, it was instructive, but totally a waste of time.
The solution is to use the most upstream thing that works, and this is Debian Buster: debian-live-10.6.0-amd64-kde+nonfree.iso
End of story.
But ranting, cursing and complaining is still an option to some of us–or is it an old habit?
The answer is simple. Slow down. That’s all it takes. Having more and more git commits in the kernel is all nice and fun, but ultimately, at the end of the day, people just want to be entertained. They want things to be as they were yesterday. Progress has to be seamless. For most users, the huge advancements in kernel security and architecture are completely irrelevant, and go completely unnoticed. But userland bugs are terrible. And noticeable.
Since we’re at “old rants that are somehow still relevant”… I decided to repost an old rant or mine from April 13, 2007: The Sorry State of the Open Source Today.
It might be full of typos and grammatical errors, but I didn’t reread it–not back then, and definitely not now. Well, it’s old history 🙂