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Sat, 02 Apr 2011
Made it to the Desktop
# 17:18 in ./tech

So, I took the plunge this morning and installed Debian Stable (Squeeze) on my desktop/main system at home. Thinking it's a Saturday, so if something went wrong, I'd have the time to fix it up.

Of course, some things did go wrong, but luckily not very much. It's all working pretty well now.

What have I had to fix up?


I have a USB headset plugged in for Skype, and the system decided this was my main sound device, relegating the onboard Intel HDA device to index 1 (not 0). I rectified this by forcing the default ALSA sound device via the file :


Containing :

pcm.!default front:Intel

You can figure out the devices and indices by running aplay -l or aplay -L.

This ALSA .asoundrc reference was very useful here.


I installed a static version of Skype because they don't have a 64 bit deb package for Debian. I changed the audio devices it uses via the "options" menu, and make sure I use the USB Headset.

It works mostly, but recording (voice) was bad - sped up as if the sample rate was wrong. I might need to re-start the system. More to do anyway.

I did manage to fix the font size problem though, and make the tiny fonts larger. Install and run qtconfig-qt4.

This is a cropped portion of the list of audio devices Skype presents to me when I want to set the device (for output, plus microphone) :

You can understand that this stuff gets a bit confusing sometimes. Yes, desktop linux needs work in some areas!

I'm not much of a fan of Skype, but I wish they updated the Linux client. Having said that, they seem to have seriously screwed up the Mac client, so maybe it's best to quit while we're ahead.

Next ...

I might have a play with compiz. I need to configure munin (desktop's being monitored by the server). Check emails go overnight (logwatch etc.). Looking good!

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