One of the reasons I enjoy using the Ubuntu desktop is that it offers what feels like an endless list of software titles right at my finger tips. But with that many software titles, it should come to no surprise that not all of them are as good as they should be.
In this article, I'll round up software titles that I've used with Ubuntu that, quite honestly, leave a lot to be desired.
1) Firefox extension manager
At one time, Firefox was my go-to browser. My love affair with it dates back to the Mozilla browser and later, the release known as Firebird. These days, however, the Firefox rapid release schedule has made many of my favorite Firefox extensions unusable. And even when an extension is updated in time, later on, the next rapid release comes along to break it.
If Firefox were to address this issue, it would instantly regain its former glory in my eyes. The core browser itself is usable. My complaint lies primarily with it's handling of extensions.
I really dislike the bugs in this application. Don't get me wrong, I acknowledge that it takes a lot of work to keep bugs free from software like Cheese, but honestly, it's been broken for at least the last three releases. As of Ubuntu 12.04, I have no idea if it's working yet as I now am seeing a new bug _ segmentation fault. And even when it was working, it was slow and sent an endless drove of frustrated individuals to my inbox asking me why their webcams wouldn't work.
The comedy of the situation was that the webcams worked fine, when used with stable applications like guvcview or any SIP/messenger client that supports video chat.
How should Cheese be dealt with? If the maintainer isn't able to get it working, then it's time for Ubuntu to stop promoting it on their website like it actually works.
Newsflash: it hasn't worked for a very long time. I've personally tested it with over eleven Ubuntu compatible webcams. My advice is to never judge webcam capability with Cheese.
Over the years, I've done a number of desktop captured demonstrations and up until recently, the applications available were next to awful. The worst of the bunch has to be Istanbul. Often broken with one release or another, Istanbul has never worked well for me on any distribution.
Even worse now, it's not compatible with Unity, which leaves Ubuntu users out in the cold. Thankfully, these days there are decent, stable solutions such as Kazam to take its place. And considering the months of frustration I used to have trying to upload ogg/ogv files to YouTube, screen-casting software like Istanbul is a waste of time for anyone who plans on sharing their work.
I really wanted to see this little application work. While it's certainly not a dedicated legacy app by any means, it could be fun for creating some special effects for the next company video.
In any case, HasciiCam isn't something that works as expected. While webcam detection works, the configuration options described on the manual page appear to be a little off. The defining moment of failure happens when generating video output that looks nothing like the screenshots from the project page. It's very disappointing.
5) Lombard video editor
As video editors go, Lombard isn't anything to get very excited about. While I will give it props for being seemingly lightweight, its lack of features is legendary.
Quite literally, this software is little more than a digital pair of scissors with the ability to export video. Quite honestly, I fail to see what the value is here. It feels like the secret love child of something from 1995 bundled with the removal of any useful functionality.
There was a time when I held high hopes for Miro, both as a project and a means of making Internet TV a reality for the Linux desktop. Built on the Mozilla Firefox browser base, this software continues to include links to channels based on Flash, despite not being Flash compatible for years.
What would be considered a very minor issue to those in the know is confusing to newbies. They wonder why sites such as Hulu, won't work within the constraints of Miro. It’s an otherwise decent media jukebox, held back by its inability to include Flash functionality. And before anyone says anything, yes, Flash is still very much a HUGE part of Internet video for the casual user. Yes, Miro has a lot going for it. Sadly, a consistent cross platform experience isn't among the positive aspects of the software.