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Installed Freespire 1.1 on my Toshiba Satellite A105-S101 Laptop
So, after trying out Suse, Red Hat, Fedora, Xandros and many more the past couple months I ended up stumbling onto Freespire. Which I like a lot.
Installing Freespire on my Toshiba Satellite A105-S101 laptop was just as easy as installing Xandros, perhaps even a little better, especially when it came to managing/configuring drives etc. And by far better when it came to setting up user accounts and internet connections. The hardware detection was brilliant, got everything right away, even my wireless mouse and keyboard that I forgot were connected to the laptop! lol
The controversial proprietary codecs they bundle with Freespire have made life quite nice for browsing the web, and the mplayer plugin works flawlessly. I can watch embedded flash, wmv, quicktime 7, and all the rest just like I did on Windows.
Notes about Installing, Tweaking and Using Freespire:
1. In order to get audio from flash movies I had to log in as root and set the mozilla and mozilla firefox plugins folders to shared for all users. This took just a few seconds and worked immediately.
2. The bundled Freespire version of Firefox is total crap and crashes constantly, also, regular Firefox if you install it has quite a lot of issues too. And getting any multimedia on web pages in Opera is just completely painful, which is sad because Opera is my favorite browser.
3. If you want a painless web experience on Freespire, use SeaMonkey as your web browser, the embedded/plugin content works with the mplayer plugin perfectly, also, it's stable...unlike the other browsers I mentioned. Also, if you click a link to open a file type on a web page that SeaMonkey doesn't know how to handle it asks you which application should be used to open it. Kplayer opens most file types that have this prompt and plays them immediately, just like Windows Media Player does on Windows.
4. When I had to set my monitor display resolution during install, the color was only allowing me to go to 16 bit and didn't have my resolution 1280x800 on the list, but their is a little link to click on that shows other options, and there I was able to set my correct resolution and set 32 bit color. It gives you a warning about doing this, but everything has been fine. However, after my first restart, the monitor displayed a garbled mess, I could see the mouse pointer moving around the mess in the shape of a square. So since I couldn't see anything, I shut my computer off "the bad way" then turned it on again, everything displayed fine after that.
5. If you want to install Google Earth through CNR, make sure that after you install it, you log in as root to use it. Doesn't work as "user" unless you edit some code, there is a fix on the way from Freespire for this too.
6. Wifi connections are a bit slower than they are on most Linux distros and Windows. However, it's not that it runs slow all the time on Freespire, just that your connection speed appears to be incredibly variable. For me it fluctuates between 18 Mbps and 54 Mbps almost constantly. But I must admit, unless I am downloading a file over 6MB, I barely notice.
7. Sound. This can be a serious issue.
The sound skips after I first install. Not the system sounds, but any other audio does. So, I went into the Control Panel, and under Sound and Multimedia I cliked on "Jack Sound Server", then checked the "Run with the highest possible priority" option, then clicked on "Test Sound" and as the sound played I adjusted the buffer then hit apply, then hit ok. This worked fine for 2 days, then the sound went back to skipping again for anything but the system sounds. Still haven't completely resolved this issue.
P.S. If you click the "Advanced" Tab under Sounds and Multimedia, you see a Warning Message, which seems to be true, because if you try to change anything under advanced and apply it, the KDE crashes and you get a sound error message. I'd just leave that area alone if I were you. Changing the sound to anything other than Jack just crashes the KDE, it's a bug in Freespire that they are working on, so I hear....and so I hope. My sound problems existed well before I touched this area though.
8. CNR is a bit slow, but it does work, seems to get faster/better the more you use it for some reason. Weird. Some of the buttons can be unresponsive though, like if an install is lagging for a long period of time, trying to hit cancel or pause doesn't do anything. If you close CNR when this happens and restart the computer then open CNR again it picks up where it left off and will finally install. It's really odd.
9. No, it's not your imagination, Freespire had the longest and slowest startup/boot time known to man. Fortunately I turn my computer on in the morning, walk away, and go make coffee. When I get back the thing is finally loaded. However, once it loads up, it operates at good speed.
So, if you have the same laptop, you can expect all that.
If anyone has any tips on the sound problem that they could share with a new Freespire user, I would appreciate it.
(p.s. about the sound issue, sudo alsaconf didn't help, nor did loading alsa-oss)
Finally got sound to mostly work in Freespire, took some code editing and I have to use alsa instead of Jack, so only one sound at a time.
I have no system sounds or sounds from GAIM, but I do get sound from cd's, mp3s, streams, flash and web pages so that is nice.
Suppossedly, according to the Freespire roadmap, sound issues will be resolved in version 2.0+
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
Now THAT sounds like a good honest review of *spire. Still gotta get hands dirty which is the same as most distros. Since I have to get hands dirty I just as well use something newer and more up to date.
The sad thing is that the sound issue has been a issue ever since the original 5.0 release. So the sound issue will have taken TWO years to fix? Sheesh....
Yeah for someone who's been at Linux for awhile, Freespire (other than the proprietary codecs) wouldn't really be any better. Although I must say it does have some serious timesavers built in that are worth using older software, in my opinion.
But, for someone new to Linux, I really believe it's the best crossover distro.
Much easier than even Xandros, and the fixes "under the hood" so to speak are pretty quick and easy, even for people new to it.
Yep, sound has been an issue for Lin/Freespire for a bit too long now, I'm hoping they don't keep putting it off.
Oddly enough the boot time seems to improve gradually over time. It's twice as fast as it used to be. I'd seen people post this same thing on the Freespire forums and thought they were kidding, but a couple months later on my own system it actually is faster all on it's own. weird.