Fedora 9 review

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First of all, my apologies to the portuguese readers. This post is being written in english in an attempt to gather more audience, since it will contain resolutions to problems I’ve found. Also, forgive the delay, since it comes quite outdated (I’ve installed it 3 or 4 weeks ago).

I’ve recently upgraded my laptop HP/Compaq nx7400 (which was running a super-suprisingly-stable Fedora Core 6) to Fedora 9 due to my fear of getting discontinued¹. Since I used many hints from a post (lost the link), I thought of thanking to the community for it by writing this post.

The overall opinion is that FC9 is a compilation of some interesting new features, either in GNOME, kernel, or general utilities. However, FC9 didn’t come out ready for the usual end-user. I maybe thrilling with it, but that’s because I can solve things, usually the hard way. The usual end-user doesn’t have time, nor patience, nor knowledge to fix this kind of this. As you will notice in this post, simple things still have complicated resolutions and, strangely, some already simple resolutions to simple things did just disappeared. But let’s get over it!

While I was expecting having such feeling with everything else but this, my first feeling was a quite surprised “AT LAST”! There is no need to use ndiswrapper anymore to have my wireless  Broadcom Corporation BCM94311MCG (14e4:4311) working. Driver b43 now works out of the box, with the starter kernel; I noticed however that kernel 2.6.25.4-30.fc9.i686 had something broken as it stopped working. I’m now running 2.6.25.6-55.fc9.i686 (ed: 2.6.25.9-76.fc9.i686) and it’s working as well.

For getting GoogleEarth to work smoothly, I had to struggle a bit. It was hogging with 3D. Check here for some hints, which worked.

What I think it’s worth mentioning is the new kernel option i915.modeset=1. I still didn’t have the time to explore it deeply. See here.

For Macromedia Flash to work, you will need to do a “yum install libflashsupport”, or you won’t get sound in the flash-plugin.

Regarding the office/pim suite, I maintained Thunderbird+Lightning. The problem was that Lightning got visually scrambled if you install it manually and I never understood why. After *hours* after it, I found that the RPM package thunderbird-lightning had to be installed, according to FedoraForum. It was so simple…

A funny utility I started to use some weeks ago is blueproximity. There was not an RPM ready for it, so I’ve built one (I prefer to always install by RPM, if possible). Check my homepage to get it.

Once in production, I need to install some True Type fonts. Just while I was thinking «uff! That was so much simplified in Fedora Core 6, it was just a matter of drag&drop them to a virtual folder font:///», I realized that gnome-vfs just disappeared and, as such, you just don’t have a virtual fonts folder. Yup, it’s true, they were not bluffing (when they said it would be discontinued). You won’t have ssh:// and ftp:// and whatever:// support in nautilus as you used to. You now have a fuse-based approach, indeed, but I couldn’t find any simple way to install new fonts - something that, as I mentioned, was already pretty usable. I managed to install the fonts copying them to ~/.fonts and checking the checkbox in fontmatrix (after installing it). So, this raises the question: if I need fontmatrix to install new fonts, why not make it part of the standard installation?

Another thing: if I’m supposed to use the gnome-keyring (since I have the option to store passwords), why the heck doesn’t it install gnome-keyring-manager by default so I can manage my keys? OK, it’s just a ‘yum install’ matter, but it forces the user to know the package name…

Another thing worth mentioning is the cool NetworkManager, which is becoming quite intelligent. It seems to be able to manage wired connections better (along with system-config-network),  as well as detect pluggable serial modems, like the GSM Huawei E220 HSDPA. Perhaps it’s due to that better integration with system-config-network, my GSM connection is working via NetworkManager pretty well.

Regarding VMware Server, I fetched VMware 1.0.6-91891. Another cool thing is that I didn’t need vmware-any-any anymore. But I did need to “yum install perl-ExtUtils-Embed” to get vmware-cmd to work. I now have a strange problem: whenever I go fullscreen in my Virtual Machines, the keyboard goes nuts - basically, I loose my case shifting powers. Struggling with it had to be postponed, which means I’ll eventually fix it, but not for now.

So far, the updates have been released on a too-much-for-me rate, which seems good for the project. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the packages are coming more stable…

== Notes ==

¹ Actually, this will probably be my last Fedora installation for a while. Not that there are better solutions out there, but because I’d like to have the same long experience with other distributions. And - I have to say it - I really dislike having to distupgrade every 6 months. It’s a bit paradoxal, I know.


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2 Responses to “Fedora 9 review”

  1. Regarding the issue related to VMWare use (scrambling the keyboard) and still didn’t found how to avoid it, but I’ve been using this fix:

    setxkbmap pt

    The “pt” argument means “portuguese” keyboard mapping, so you’ll probably want to change that unless you’re portuguese :)

  2. [...] a onda da novidade (pois há pouco tempo instalei o Fedora 9), fiz online upgrade do Fedora e pela primeira vez também fiz upgrade do Fedora, de todo. Foi [...]

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