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Guide Beginner Intermediate Quality of Life Improvements and Tips #1

justXuX

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Mar 29, 2019
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Hello Pop_Citizens, my name is John and I use Linux based OS since 2011 (Ubuntu 11.10, now on Pop!_Os eventually); I'm not an expert, but I know how to roll the ball so I made this Post with a scope to share some improvements I make to my system, tips and useful information that may help someone (new to the world of Linux especially) be more proficient with their GNU/Linux system and experience more less pain when migrating from another Operating Systems. I would like people to share in this post their tips on how they use their system as I do. There will be like once a year a post like this (with a link to previous ones), because Software in Linux changes rapidly so some things may be too old to apply by future standards. So let's start>>>

~Linux is not a commercial software~
I had been struggling for years with Linux, got frustrated, my blood pressure was in GHz. But after many years of experience, I took Linux for what it is and BOYYYY it "payed off". It wasn't an alternative anymore it was an paradigm shift for me. I could right more but this article I found already does it (I'm just lazy writing my own :) and I don't see the point ) :

~Gnome-Shell restart~
If you have an issue with an Gnome extension, applications are glitchy, artifacts after suspend especially or your desktop froze and many over little nuisances can be solved with restarting the Gnome-Shell. Your applications are intact after restart. Proceed like this-> Press a combination of keys "Alt+F2"-> a little window will appear-> then type "r" even if you don't see it on the screen-> press "Enter".

~Useful resources~

~Gaming on Linux~
Who doesn't want to chill sometime or enter Zen state while gaming or to throw your stress and frustration onto mobs,bosses or random online players :devilish::sneaky: .
Gaming on Linux is just one of several ways to enjoy your games and sometimes a challenging one. So here are some tips I use to improve my gaming experience:
  • I use Proton, a thing that makes your Windows games to work on Linux. You can enable it in Settings->Steam Play->Check the box"Enable Steam Play for all available titles". Also if a game doesn't work so great you can try to change the version of Proton in the same category.
  • Use https://www.protondb.com/ to check how well your games work and solve issues you encounter with Proton.
  • If you tried everything and your Linux native game is supported poorly (like Dying Light), you can force this game to use Proton. Right click the game-> Properties->Check the box"Force the use of specific Steam Play compatibility tool".
  • In Proton games I achieved better results and higher FPS disabling V-Sync or Vertical Synchronization, useless effects like film grain, HBAO, motion blur and stuff like that. But screen tearing looks awful so I solve this: Open Nvidia X Server Settings-> go to "X Server Display configuration"-> Press "Advanced" button-> and check box "Force Full Composition Pipeline"-> Press "Save to X Configuration file"-> And save this file in your /Home directory. And your screen tearing should be gone after you restart the game obviously. Note: After you restart your computer this could reset your Nvidia settings so check if you have screen tearing again.
  • Enable FPS Counter in Steam: Go to Settings-> "In-Game"-> check the box "In-game FPS Counter"-> Select "Top-Left" and check the box "High-contrast color".
  • Download "Psensor" from Pop_Shop. This utility measures your Hardware temperature, it's useful to know if your PC doesn't have problem with overheating.

~Screen Tearing in Firefox~
If you have screen tearing in Firefox (on Youtube it's more obvious) then apply this fix: Open a new tab-> In adress bar write "about:config" then press Enter-> Set "layers.acceleration.force-enabled" to "true" (Double Click it)-> Restart Firefox.

~Can't switch audio output after waking PC from sleep~
When signal is lost to HDMI (during sleep) Pulse Audio is automatically configured to active source (your laptop's speakers). Upon resume the sound device is still your laptop. To override this setting, tell Pulse Audio to never switch sound devices automatically:
  • edit the file /etc/pulse/default.pa
  • find the line load-module module-switch-on-port-available
  • insert a # at the beginning of the line to disable automatic port switching
  • save the file and reboot.

~Improve Audio quality in Linux~
Linux distribution by default uses a "common denominator" for audio configuration to not break audio experience on most systems. But fortunately you can tweak it. I found 2 links that may help you understand better how audio works in Linux.
This is my configuration and I suggest you change only this lines if you don't understand what you're doing.
I edited this file /etc/pulse/daemon.conf so that system doesn't overwrite my settings;
(Read the link below before proceding):
  • default-sample-format = float32le (You can have different value check numer 1 link to know what value you have)
  • default-sample-rate = 48000
  • alternate-sample-rate = 44100
  • resample-method = soxr-vhq (If this comsumes more CPU than you wanted then change resample-method to another one)

  1. https://medium.com/@gamunu/enable-high-quality-audio-on-linux-6f16f3fe7e1f
  2. https://gavv.github.io/articles/pulseaudio-under-the-hood/#sound-processing
  3. https://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/PulseAudio/Documentation/User/
  4. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PulseAudio

Thanks System76. More to come...
 
Last edited:

derpOmattic

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Nov 23, 2018
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Very cool! I know at the beginning of my Linux journey I was searching for sane guides that could be understood without knowing the Linux jargon. Every piece of guidance for beginners is more than welcome.

Edit: If you're interested in this article for beginners you might also benefit from this guide also.
 

ayoungethan

Member
Jun 19, 2019
17
2
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35
Thank you for this reference. Although pulse audio configuration still seems under-documented...some of the comments on the Medium article are very useful!

in fact that is perhaps my main criticism of Linux generally, that there are so many configuration options and so little information that helps people understand why they exist and which one is (or ones are) most appropriate for them.

~Improve Audio quality in Linux~
Linux distribution by default uses a "common denominator" for audio configuration to not break audio experience on most systems. But fortunately you can tweak it. I found 2 links that may help you understand better how audio works in Linux.
This is my configuration and I suggest you change only this lines if you don't understand what you're doing.
I edited this file /etc/pulse/daemon.conf so that system doesn't overwrite my settings;
(Read the link below before proceding):
  • default-sample-format = float32le (You can have different value check numer 1 link to know what value you have)
  • default-sample-rate = 48000
  • alternate-sample-rate = 44100
  • resample-method = soxr-vhq (If this comsumes more CPU than you wanted then change resample-method to another one)

  1. https://medium.com/@gamunu/enable-high-quality-audio-on-linux-6f16f3fe7e1f
  2. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/PulseAudio
 

justXuX

Member
Mar 29, 2019
36
13
6
26
Moldova
Thank you for this reference. Although pulse audio configuration still seems under-documented...some of the comments on the Medium article are very useful!

in fact that is perhaps my main criticism of Linux generally, that there are so many configuration options and so little information that helps people understand why they exist and which one is (or ones are) most appropriate for them.
Documentation is there but it's decentralized. We miss configuration GUI Helper in my opinion.
I added 2 links from pulseaudio documentation. :D
 

ayoungethan

Member
Jun 19, 2019
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Documentation is there but it's decentralized. We miss configuration GUI Helper in my opinion.
I added 2 links from pulseaudio documentation. :D
Not just de-centralized but often contradictory with someone throwing out misinformation, and it becomes difficult to tell what is current/true vs deprecated/false. For example, there is still a lot of mis/contradictory information out there about the vm.swappiness values and what they actually modify and why, and there are a lot of deprecated settings that have no effect or that conflict with newer ways of doing things. As another example, neither I nor System76 support could figure out how to temporarily disable PulseAudio. It was because it is recently controlled via systemd by default, so you have to disable/mask it in systemd and turn it into a normal userspace startup program in order to be able to temporarily disable/re-enable it on demand in a single user session. Otherwise it will autospawn regardless of the "autospawn = no" value in the configuration file (this was a concern for pro audio setup, as it adds latency/DSP overhead to a jackd session). We lucked out because I found some randon AskUbuntu post that gave me enough info/hints on it.
 

justXuX

Member
Mar 29, 2019
36
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I'm still waiting for Systemd!_Os :unsure: .
The issue you had with pulseaudio is understandable, good we have Arch Wiki and their forums, as they update documentation often because they live on the edge.
For production setup where you don't all the latest and greatest, LTS is the best bet, there isn't much change going there and system is predictable (Doesn't change under your feet).
 

justXuX

Member
Mar 29, 2019
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Moldova
I tried some time ago to improve my audio (Creative SoundBlaster G6, Beyerdynamic DT 770 headphones) following the article https://medium.com/@gamunu/enable-high-quality-audio-on-linux-6f16f3fe7e1f and only got horrible audio in Skype (huge delay + weird cracking) :(
Restore initial values or add ";" at the beginning of edited commands to restore to default values. Then run this commands to restart pulseaudio :

$ pulseaudio -k
$ pulseaudio --start

Edit the values that I exclusively listed in my article as this will bring the most out of your audio, further changes are very specific and troublesome to change. Change them at your own risk.
 

mmstick

Member
System76 Staff
Founding Member
Dec 15, 2018
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I tried some time ago to improve my audio (Creative SoundBlaster G6, Beyerdynamic DT 770 headphones) following the article https://medium.com/@gamunu/enable-high-quality-audio-on-linux-6f16f3fe7e1f and only got horrible audio in Skype (huge delay + weird cracking) :(
Creative does not support Linux, and they're rather hostile about removing any mentions of Linux on their support forums. They do not write Linux drivers for any of their hardware.

I would recommend looking into the FiiO and Schiit USB DACs. I use a FiiO e10K with my DT 990, and it works perfectly on Linux out of the box. The FiiO M5 and M3K are music players which can also double as a USB DAC.
 

AlexP11223

New member
Aug 16, 2019
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Restore initial values
Yeah, I restored it of course, it was more like a note for others that Skype seems to handle audio somehow differently and can break when other apps work fine.
Creative does not support Linux, and they're rather hostile about removing any mentions of Linux on their support forums. They do not write Linux drivers for any of their hardware.
the specs say "the Sound BlasterX G6 is essentially a 2-channel USB DAC, the default Linux audio driver should support it". /r/SoundBlasterOfficial doesn't seem hostile, there are some threads about Linux.
 
Last edited:

justXuX

Member
Mar 29, 2019
36
13
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26
Moldova
Yeah, I restored it of course, it was more like a note for others that Skype seems to handle audio somehow differently and can break when other apps work fine.

the specs say "the Sound BlasterX G6 is essentially a 2-channel USB DAC, the default Linux audio driver should support it". /r/SoundBlasterOfficial doesn't seem hostile, there are some threads about Linux.
I don't use Skype on my PC so I don't know about this.
With support channels on Linux audio equipment there is https://www.reddit.com/r/linuxaudio/
 

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