Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fedora 12 Rocks!

I just upgraded to Fedora 12, and I have found the release to be very exciting, at least for me.  You see, I have an HP laptop, and it was a great deal at Best Buy, but it had some hardware that I knew would probably have problems.

It has two pieces of hardware that have had interesting results under Linux.  The first is an ATI (now AMD) HD 3200 graphics card.  While the stock ati open source driver worked with it when I first bought it (right around the release of Fedora 10), it had no hardware acceleration of any kind, not even 2D.  So it worked and was functional, but I really couldn't do much with it.  On the laptop that I replaced, I had an Nvidia card, and really was used to Compiz Fusion, and the way that it enabled me to work.  So, I had to settle for what worked.  Over time I tried to use the proprietary driver, but it never worked reliably, and soon it stopped working on Fedora at all.

With that, I had to wait and see what would happen in the open source drivers for this card.  Well, with Fedora 12, if you install the MESA DRI experimental drivers package, you can now get accelerated 3D, and so far it has worked flawlessly.  It's not giving the frame rates I would expect, but its light years ahead of where it was with software rendering.  I now have Compiz Fusion installed and configured the way I like it, and even though this package is experimental, so far I have had no reliability problems at all!

Kudo's to AMD for releasing the specifications, and Kudo's to the team of developers working on the ati driver and adding this support.  It's simply awesome!

The second piece of hardware that I have had trouble with is the Intel HDA sound card.  While playback always worked, the microphone that is built in to the laptop worked sporadically.  I would get a kernel or driver update and it would start working.  I would get another kernel or driver update and it would be broken again.  Weird things like the volume getting adjusted over 100% on Flash video playback would happen, which was very annoying.  Well, with Fedora 12, I can successfully use Skype to make audio/video calls, and the built-in microphone actually works.  I can also record video with audio in Cheese and that works too!  This has been a real pain, because there are times that I really need to do video conference calls and I just couldn't do it.  Also, the weird adjustment of the volume level in Flash is gone too, which removes a real annoyance from the equation.

This release finally lets me use all my hardware in this laptop, and so far has been completely stable.  I couldn't be more happy.  There are lots of other new features that I would like to explore as well, but I haven't had the time as of yet.

If you haven't checked out Fedora 12, do it, its been great for me, and the much improved hardware support is pretty awesome!

2 comments:

Pulse said...

Hi

I am trying to make audio calls from skype on fedora 12 but my mic is not working

my laptop is dell vostro 1720

Andrig T Miller said...

My internal microphone works fine, but I know others have been having problems. If you have an Intel HD Audio card, refer to bugzilla:

https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=471331

It may or may not contain information relevant to your particular problem.