Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Switching from Ubuntu to Fedora 15

Hello folks!

You might have already seen that the small logo on the right of this blog has changed from Ubuntu to Fedora. The reason for this is simple, since I have switched from using Ubuntu to using Fedora as my main Linux distribution. The reasons were many:

  • Unity sucks. Sorry Canonical, but what have you done. I have tried both the Ubuntu 11.04 beta (Unity crashes galore) as the final release version (Unity crashes galore). I can’t work with a default window manager that doesn’t work either.
  • Gnome 3. The newest version of Gnome (including Gnome Shell) is gorgeous. Fine, it might not be as great performance-wise as the previous versions of Gnome, but hey, it works while looking awesome. I had tried installing Gnome 3 in Ubuntu 11.04 and guess what happened? (Ubuntu crahses galore).
  • Time for something new. Ok, Unity was new, but it sucked. Also, Fedora is not Debian based like Ubuntu is. That means:
    • No sudo apt-get install.
    • No .debs to install.
    • Small differences beneath the surface.

Noticable differences:

  1. Like I already said, no sudo apt-get install (but an app called “yum” instead), and .deb’s cannot be installed (.rpm’s instead). .deb’s seem to be distributed more, however I noticed that the official Fedora repositories are quite full already. On this part, I must say equal for both Ubuntu as Fedora. Yum isn't quite as fast as apt-get, but the great repositories make up for it. Have I told you already that the repositories update impossibly fast? You can be sure about having the latest version of your apps (something which cannot be said about Ubuntu without using custom repositories).
  2. Gnome 3 vs Unity. Gnome 3 wins with a LONGSHOT. Both aren't optimal if viewed from a performance perspective, but I must say that Gnome 3 is very user friendly. It just needs some getting used to. However after spending some time with Unity, it just doesn't fit. (Could be me thought). Win for Fedora on this one.
  3. Support. The communities for Debian-based Linux distributions are WAY larger. The Ubuntu community probably pwns the hell out of all others. However if you got a problem in Fedora, you can almost certainly find it with the right Google. But for the sake of being fair, I must say that Ubuntu wins this round.
  4. Long-term. Ubuntu seems to go its own way. Unity was the perfect example of that, since Canonical didn't want to be dependant of the Gnome developers. But if Ubuntu keeps going it's own separate way (and failing a bit), it might lose a bunch of its users. Fedora however is constantly updated with the newest techs, using the support of RedHat. This means that Fedora isn't going away anytime, and just keeps getting better while using open source technologies open for everybody, instead of going solo and starting to code things on their own. Win for Fedora!

I must say, after a month of using Fedora + Windows (after 2 years of Ubuntu + Windows), Fedora is my choice. And since Ubuntu is going on its own uncertain path, it will probably stay that way. Next up: Installing (and fixing) Fedora 15!

First a disclaimer: If you, by doing something wrong during the install, mess up your hard drive, don't come crying. I'm not going to walk you step by step through the install, most of you already have installed Ubuntu (or another Linux distribution) once or more, so it's pretty straightforward.

Installing Fedora 15!

  1. Download the install DVD (I did this since I like choices).
    http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora-all
  2. Burn & install (I’m going quickly through this or this post will be waaay to long).
  3. Congratulations, you have installed Fedora 15!

For the next part of this post, I assume you chose a Desktop install with Gnome 3, and next up: Fixes!

  • Google Chrome:
    • I use Google Chrome as the main browser. However, it seems to have some issues with Fedora 15. To install it, download the .rpm from Google. Some extensions might crash on launch. This is caused by Fedora messing up some filenames. To fix this, run the following in a terminal:
      "restorecon -R -v -F ~"
    • Adwaita Theme (Default Gnome 3 Theme) for Google Chrome:
      https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/oojbknijfmdmidgcgchmojbildmbdamm
  • Flash player:
    1. First you need to fix Flash for Firefox. When you have that working, you can fix Flash in Google Chrome. Start by downloading the Yum for linux from http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/
    2. Install it.
    3. In a terminal:
      ”sudo yum install nspluginwrapper.{x86_64,i686} alsa-plugins-pulseaudio.i686 --disablerepo=adobe-linux-i386”
      ”sudo yum install flash-plugin”
    4. Restart your browser (Firefox).
    5. Flash working in Firefox!
    6. In a terminal:
      ”cd /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins-wrapped/”
      ”sudo mkdir /opt/google/chrome/plugins”
      ”sudo cp nswrapper_32_64.libflashplayer.so /opt/google/chrome/plugins/”
    7. Restart your browser (Google Chrome)
  • Mp3 codec:
    1. In a terminal:
      ”sudo yum localinstall --nogpgcheck http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-rawhide.noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-rawhide.noarch.rpm
    2. Install the following package:
      ”gstreamer--ffmpeg” (GStreamer FFmpeg-based plug-ins)
  • Gnome Tweak Tool:
    I highly recommend this application. It can change themes and customize Gnome 3 to your liking (including restoring minimize + maximize buttons etc).
  • Gnome Shell Extensions:
    I also recommend this. Be sure to check for extensions you like and could use, like always showing a Places menu in the upper right corner, a power off item etc.
  • Auto mounting a NTFS partition on boot:
    1. In a terminal:
      ”sudo yum install ntfs-3g”
      ”sudo mkdir /media/<name you want>”
    2. Check what the name of the partition is using a terminal:
      ”sudo /sbin/fdisk –l”
      (I found /dev/sda5).
    3. Edit the /etc/fstab file using a terminal:
      ”sudo gedit /etc/fstab”
      and add the following line (using your <name you want> and name of the partition):
      ”/dev/sda5    /media/<name you want>    ntfs-3g    defaults,fmask=0000,dmask=0000,uid=500    0    0”
    4. Reboot.
  • Other recommended programs I can think of right now:
    • Guake (drop-down terminal for Gnome)
    • Unrar (for unpacking .rar files).

I guess this is most of the stuff I did to get Fedora 15 working the way I want to. If you try it, have fun!

Thomas.

P.S.: If you have problems shutting down Fedora, try holding the ALT-key Winking smile

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