Last time I posted about running Evolution 2.10.3 under PCLinuxOS, and the stability issues I was starting to see after about three days of Evolutions Exchange Connector use against MS Exchange 2003. I said in that post that I thought it probably was not a PCLOS issue, but an Evolution 2.10.3 issue. In the same post I talked about the other oddities I was seeing with PCLOS on the Dell D620 laptop: ACPI reporting insane fan speeds, and occasional system going to sleep right as I am typing away at emails. Neither problems were serious, but the going to sleep thing was disconcerting. Talk about having train of though derailed! Was my computer making value judgments on the quality of the email I was writing?
A comment that was posted to that entry told me I needed to try a newer kernel by updating the apt repositories and enabling "testing". That seemed very reasonable, so I did, and installed and booted the 2.6.22 kernel (Same as Fedora 7's more or less).
Not one thing changed. Nothing. 2.6.18 and 2.6.22 ran on the D620 from my point of view the exact same way. ACPI was still whacky, and the system still went away for sleepytime from time to time while I was using it.
"What if this is a hardware issue?" I started to wonder. Mint 3.0 had never done any of this on this exact same computer, but this could be something new. Maybe someone spilled a drink into the laptop while I was not looking. I needed another data point. First I installed bug-buddy and the available symbol files for Evolution on PCLOS, and submitted the next Evolution Connector failure. http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=480343
Having done what I could there, my thinking was that I would collect the same data from a different distro. Late last Friday, I installed Fedora 7 with the 2.6.22 kernel, to see what changed.
Well, duh. I suppose. I think it is somewhat reasonable to assume that a 2.6.22 kernel from PCLOS and a 2.6.22 kernel from Fedora would have some passing resemblance, and they do. But the things that are different are just not what I was expecting.
First of all, now I can not even see the fan speed in ACPI. I was using KDE with PCLOS, and now Gnome with Fedora 7, so that is not totally apples to apples. I'll need to fire up KDE in a spare moment to see how that might be different.
The system does not go off to sleep randomly anymore. That could again be KDE I suppose. It has power management awareness. Maybe it was confused.
Suspend worked way better on PCLOS. So did Beryl.
The default fonts of KDE on PCLOS are much easier to read than the default fonts of Gnome of F7. Again, not apples to apples.
And.... Evolution has stopped failing now that I am on F7. I didn't even erase the .evolution file when I converted from PCLOS to F7. F7 has worked now for one solid week without one single failure. And the package levels look to be the same. These are the ones I have on F7:
rpm -qa | grep -i evolution
This was not at all scientific. I changed way way too many variables. But it is kind of interesting. It also changes my plans. I was thinking this weekend I'd be putting Mint 3.1 (now GA) onto the D620. Not any more.
I did put Mint 3.1 on my Acer 5610, and other than the new artwork, it runs and acts in every significant way like Mint 3.0 did. That is to say, terrific. Mint 3.0 was having Evolution stability issues the same as PCLOS. Mint 3.1 ships the exact same packages. The biggest advantage of Mint 3.0 or 3.1 to my diagnostic way of thinking was that Ubuntu 7.04 (which Mint is 100% compatible with) has a fairly complete set if .debs for Evolution debugging: Symbols included in everything but the part I care about: Connector.
If Evolution under F7 is going to be stable though then I am staying here for a while. I can live with crummy suspend if Evolution works! If it crashes and looks the same, I'll submit against my open bug report. If it doesn't, I'll have to come up with the new theory, and a new way to test it.