Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Fracking Computers.........

No, this isn't about oil extraction.....

The other night, OpenSUSE installed some updates on this PC that broke the audio. This is rather unusual with OpenSUSE, because they usually run their "A Game", and I haven't suffered a "bad" update in years.

Of course it just might have something to do with the fact that I have various audio things things installed in a rather "unstock" configuration because the OEM setup doesn't include all the various codecs and other stuff I use for messing around with SDR things.

SO....since it's been a couple of years since I built this PC, I decided to upgrade to the newest version of OpenSUSE.

Off I went to Best Buy to grab a couple of new hard disks, as anytime I upgrade, I install new drives. That way I have my previous OS and all my applications available so I can extract bits and pieces of things, and all my documents, pix, and other stuff is untouched by the upgrade to the new OS.

Tore the PC apart, dragged it outside and blew all the dust bunnies out of it, installed the new drives, dragged it back in here, nd proceeded to install OpenSUSE "Leap" 42.1 on it.

I also took this time to install new video cables between the PC, KVM switch, and monitor. Sometime last year my KVM switch took a dump, and I replaced it with a new one of the identical type from Monoprice.

It caused nothing but grief with the video switching, so I just ran the video cable from the monitor directly to the PC, dragged another monitor in here to use with the Windoze PC, and used the KVM switch for just the keyboard and mouse.

Last night I installed new, very high quality "Dual Link" DVI cables in place of the DVI cables that came with the KVM switch. All seemed good until after the installation of the new OS, when I started to have numerous problems with the keyboard not responding, the mouse not responding, and the video doing strange things.

The KVM switch uses a USB connection between the PC and the switch to handle the keyboard and mouse, so I moved that cable to a USB 3.0 port on the back of the PC, and all seemed well.

This morning the weirdness started again, so I decided to just reinstall the OS, carefully picking only software that I needed, and leaving out some of the other stuff for now. Not quite a "Bare Bones" install, but not the "Kitchen Sink" install I usually do, either.

It seems more stable now, but has hung twice when I open the Dolphin File Manager (Windows Explorer for you non-linux folks).

The next thing to do is to TURN OFF all the fancy schmancy eye candy bullshit that everybody includes these days, like window transparency, window fades when switching tasks, the bouncing mouse cursor that shows you when it's busy, and all the other useless, annoying shit that's turned on by default to show you just how clever and creative the programmers are.

And I'll go to NVIDIA and grab the latest driver "blob" for this fairly high-end video card rather than use the Open Source video driver that's included. A lot of people in the Open Source community bad mouth NVIDIA for not releasing their source code so the community can do a "proper" Open Source driver, but that doesnt bother me.

I just want my system TO WORK, and if that means using a closed-source driver module, tough shit. At least I'm assured that the driver works, works properly, and won't get all weird on me during an upgrade.

And if this doesn't clear up the lingering issues I'm having, then I'll try running the video directly from the card output to the monitor again, and see if that makes it fully stable.

Oh, to my Doctor's appointment, which is why I'm not on the Iowa today.....


  1. I hope reading this didn't jinx me. I have a kb, mouse, monitor switch but I don't use the monitor feature. So far, so good. Ubuntu and win 7 with dual monitors on Ubuntu machine. Except when I have a problem I trade homemade cookies or jam the XYL makes with the neighbor who does that stuff for a living. Plus some Jack Daniels. :)
    I also get his his hand me downs, like the Ubuntu computer with the dual monitors.

  2. Moral,of story, pick your neighbors wisely.

  3. yuk-yuk!

    I've been using SuSE since version 4.2 which is over 20 years now. I've tried quite a few Linux distros, and always came back to SuSE.

    I used to buy the boxed sets of all the new distros when I found them at CompUSA, and the reason I bought SuSE was that right there, on the side of the box, it made a big deal about having Ham Radio programs.

    So far, the changes I made seemed to have made the system stable and responsive, so I'm not sure exactly what did it, but it's working.

    Now to get back into the settings and turn off/modify things a bit more so it looks nicer.

    To me, anyway.....

  4. That truly sucks... When this OS dies, I'm going completely MAC and be done with it...

    1. Yeah, an update "breaking" stuff is definitely a bummer!

      Everything seems fine now, though.

      Probably take me a while to get all my "stuff" copied from the old drive on to the new one.


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