Fedora 14

Two weeks ago today, I re-installed my laptop, this time around with Fedora 14. I haven’t tried a RedHat-based distro for personal use in nearly a decade (though the vast majority of servers, workstations, and desktops at work all use some version of CentOS 5—we’ve got an AD domain and surrounding desktop and laptop ecosystem for the sales staff and reporters).

So here’s the things I did to make it work the way I wanted it in the first day:

  1. Was given some kind of SELinux warning about ntpd and sockets—it’s unfortunately incomprehensible to those of us who haven’t ever actually used an SEL system before, and the bug report option requires a login to bugzilla.redhat.com. Once I got past that hurdle (forgotten password), it throws what looks like a DNS error, so the bug report tool doesn’t actually work. And, as someone who actually knows what “scp” and “ftp” are, I am a little puzzled by what those buttons on the dialog actually do. What will become Fedora 15 has a rewrite of this interface, but I haven’t seen it yet.
  2. Went into Appearance and switched to LCD font-smoothing with full hinting. I didn’t look at what it was doing by default, but I now wish I had—if it wasn’t doing sub-pixel smoothing, I have to question why, since LCD/LED TVs have been the majority sold for the last 2 years
  3. Went into regular preferences and turned on auto-updating—every piece of software should have auto-updates for security fixes turned on by default. The only reason not to do this is because you don’t have a trustworthy QA process (fix the process, don’t paper over it by shipping vulnerable default settings).
  4. Ran the available updates, watched it bomb with a python trace about apr-utils (containing XML-escaped characters), but apparently the updates went through. I’m attempting to do as much as possible as a normal desktop user would, and this would be an antacid moment for anyone who doesn’t know about yum.
  5. Muddled around a bit further to find the Add/Remove Software under the System menu.
  6. Installed Do. Inside the Add/Remove Software application I can see a few UI issues that could use resolving:
    1. The fact it’s doing something when you click “Apply” isn’t obvious (that is, there’s nothing big and in your face to say “Yes I’m doing what you asked”), and I’m a little tepid about the ability to continue doing things in the ARS dialog while the installation continues—I’ve been using Linux for a long while, and fucking up the packaging system twice in the first few hours is a bit much
    2. The progress bar hangs for long periods at a time without updating. It’s still spinning, but it’s not actually moving forward or giving any sort indication that it’s still doing stuff. This is a problem when your simple install ends up pulling in 100MB of dependencies which take 20m to download: Is the app dead? Should I kill it?
    3. Once the feedback issue is resolved, the next one is the ability to “pause” the installation, and come back later. I’m never comfortable doing that on any system (Fedora, Ubuntu, Windows, MacOS X) so there’s going to be some amount of awesome awarded to the first group to implement that feature.
  7. Install Firefox 4.0b7 (via the Remi repository).
  8. Download and install Chrome stable.
  9. Download and install Dropbox.
  10. Install Flash, albeit the 32-in-64 version.

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve since upgraded to Chrome Beta (8.x)—it seems roughly as fast as Firefox 4.0b7, and (ironically) has less chrome onscreen, switched to Compiz + Emerald from Metacity, installed the Orta themes and dependencies (murrine).

Fedora 14

One thing I would like to see is the GNOME menu use different icons for the main menu icon—that is, try to load “%(distro)s-main-menu” as an icon, then fallback to the existing “gnome-main-menu” icon if it can’t find it. That way I can use Faenza and have it use the “correct” icon for the main menu.



  1. “Was given some kind of SELinux warn­ing about ntpd and sock­ets — it’s unfor­tu­nately incom­pre­hen­si­ble to those of us who haven’t ever actu­ally used an SEL sys­tem before, and the bug report option requires a login to bugzilla​.red​hat​.com. Once I got past that hur­dle (for­got­ten pass­word), it throws what looks like a DNS error, so the bug report tool doesn’t actu­ally work.”

    That’s not what happens to everyone. I can prove this quite handily by the fact that there are a ton of SELinux reports in Bugzilla. =) Not sure why you’d hit that DNS problem, though.

    The fact that you get an error is a bit of a QA booboo; we do actually have a test which involves checking that a default install doesn’t throw any SELinux or abrt errors, but a default install does not in fact involve ntp, because it’s not enabled by default. We should probably broaden that test out a bit to include typical choices made during install.

    “Went into reg­u­lar pref­er­ences and turned on auto-updating — every piece of soft­ware should have auto-updates for secu­rity fixes turned on by default. The only rea­son not to do this is because you don’t have a trust­wor­thy QA process (fix the process, don’t paper over it by ship­ping vul­ner­a­ble default settings).”

    There’s a couple of issues here. Fedora’s updates aren’t only ‘security fixes’ and you can’t choose to apply only updates that are security fixes, really, because we don’t properly separate update streams; you can try, but at some point some update that *is* a security fix will either include changes that *aren’t* security fixes, or depend on another update that isn’t a security fix.

    There’s also the typical slashdot troll’s response to the idea of *anything* that involves the computer doing something they didn’t directly instruct it to.

    Interesting feedback, though. Thanks!

  2. Tobias says:

    » I have to ques­tion why, since LCD/LED TVs have been the major­ity sold for the last 2 years «

    Fedora scared of patents probably.

  3. Martin says:

    I bet that you will give up soon with this distribution if you still didn’t. Recently I decided to give it a try and I found it disaster for a Desktop user. 🙂 My DVDs didn’t play well, evolution crashed at different points every time. Too many applications crashed. It was full with bug it required too much manual interventions. I found that RPM system is not that good for desktop users. I reviewed the BUGs page and I found that the support is not good enough, it one word it sucks in my opinion. So for now my blacklisted distributions are Ubuntu and Fedora I decided to move to something more stable and I’m happy with Debian squeeze at the moment it’s about twice fasts as Fedora in my point of view.


  4. a a says:

    Whats up with the Ubuntu icon?

  5. James Cape says:

    @Martin: I don’t have a DVD player on my laptop, and don’t use Evolution, so I suppose I’m safe enough.

    @a a: Exactly the point of asking for a distro-main-menu icon… the icon theme uses an Ubuntu icon for gnome-main-menu.

  6. You picked a good one with Fedora 14.
    I’ve summarized my experiences here:

    Re. auto updates, I wouldn’t want that enabled as I like to batch them until my
    laptop is connected to some good bandwidth.
    Also when testing/developing it’s good to
    know things aren’t changing under your feet.

  7. kekek says:

    I remember reading somewhere that Fedora does lcd subpixel smoothing even if you use grayscale option in gnome font properties. Personally I prefer Ubuntu’s way of doing it.

  8. Steve says:

    Could you please tell us which gtk theme you are using in this screenshot? Thanks!

  9. James Cape says:


    It’s Orta… I’ve updated the post to link to it @ DeviantArt.

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