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We are GREAT at handling multimedia!

I have mentioned several times in this blog, as well as by other communication means, that I am very happy with the laptop I bought (used) about a year and a half ago: an ARM-based Lenovo Yoga C630.

Yes, I knew from the very beginning that using this laptop would pose a challenge to me in many ways, as full hardware support for ARM laptops are nowhere as easy as for plain boring x86 systems. But the advantages far outweigh the inconvenience (i.e. the hoops I had to jump through to handle video-out when I started teaching presentially, which are fortunately a thing of the past now).

Anyway — This post is not about my laptop.

Back in 2018, I was honored to be appointed as a member of the Debian Technical Committee. Of course, that meant (due to the very clear and clever point of the Debian Constitution that my tenure in the Committee (as well as Niko Tyni’s) finished in January 1, 2023. We were invited to take part of a Jitsi call as a last meeting, as well as to welcome Matthew Garrett to the Committee.

Of course, I arranged so I would be calling from my desktop system at work (for which I have an old, terrible webcam — but as long as I don’t need to control screen sharing too finely, mostly works). Out of eight people in the call, two had complete or quite crippling failures with their multimedia setup, and one had a frozen image (at least as far as I could tell).

So… Yes, Debian is indeed good and easy and simple and reliable for most nontechnical users using standard tools.

But… I guess that we power users enjoy tweaking our setup to our precise particular liking. Or that we just don’t care about frivolities such as having a working multimedia setup.

Or I don’t know what happens.

But the fact that close to half of the Technical Committee, which should consist of Debian Developers who know their way around technical obstacles, cannot get a working multimedia setup for a simple, easy WebRTC call (even after a pandemic that made us all work via teleconferencing solutions on a daily basis!) is just… Beautiful 😉