Fedora 7 came out just before I went for vacation. Therefore, it took me a while to get a chance to try it on my Ferrari 3400.
Extra Yum Repositories
Even though the current Fedora has tons of packages. Some of the necessary ones for functional desktop are not included. There are two nice repositories:livna and freshrpms. To use these two repositories, just type:
rpm -ihv http://rpm.livna.org/livna-release-7.rpm
rpm -ihv http://ftp.freshrpms.net/pub/freshrpms/fedora/linux/7/freshrpms-release/freshrpms-release-1.1-1.fc.noarch.rpm
The default player still doesn’t play DVD video. You need xine for this. Type:
yum -y install xine xine-lib xine-skins
Adobe (Macromedia) Flash Player
Adobe now has a YUM repo for it. To install it, just type
rpm -iph http://linuxdownload.adobe.com/adobe-release/adobe-release-1.0-0.noarch.rpm
yum -y install flash-plugin
To view quicktime and wmv files, I need mplayer with the browser plug-in. Both livna and freshrpms have mplayer. I disable livna to prevent conflict.
yum -y install --disablerepo=livna mplayer mplayer-skins mplayer-fonts mplayerplug-in
Note that the mplayerplug-in doesn’t always work. I still haven’t figured out a way to get it to work 100%.
It’s also very easy to install the VLC player.
yum -y --disablerepo=livna install vlc
If you have a dual boot system, the ability to read/write NTFS file system is a must. Fedora 7 now supports read and write access to NTFS. Unlike FC6, the ntfs-3g package is installed by default. You can use ntfs-3g to mount the NTFS partitions.
ntfs-3g /dev/sda2 /mnt/c
Note that you only need to create the /mnt/c mount point once. Note that my hard drive is recognized as sda. It was recognized as hda before.
Enable Compiz (Desktop Effects)
Compiz is installed by default, but it’s not turned on. If you use GNOME desktop, you can just click System -> Preferences -> Look and Feel -> Desktop Effects to bring up the dialog to enable it. If you use KDE, just type
in a console to bring up the dialog. After you enable compiz, you can try out the new features.
- Alt + Tab: Switch between applications with preview.
- Ctl+Alt+Left(Right): Switch between desktop.
- Ctl+Alt+Down: Show 3 desktops in a strip.
- Ctl+Alt+Left mouse click and drag: Rotate desktops in 3D.
- Move mouse to top right corner: Give you preview of all open windows.
If you want to tweak the settings, you can install the gconf-editor . The settings for compiz is in /apps/compiz .
There are two applications that I use everyday to manage my network: remote desktop and vnc. To install them, type:
yum -y install rdesktop vnc
I usually run rdesktop with these options:
rdesktop -g 1024x768 -a 16 server.domain-name.com
This would connect the rdesktop client to server using a 1024×768 display with 16 bit color depth. The use of vnc is simpler.
One thing about the vncviewer is that there is no menu for you to select on screen. You need to press “F8″ to get the options.
The installation of the built-in wireless card is the most troublesome. Back in FC5, I used ndiswrapper for the wireless card, because there is no driver for it. When FC6 was released, there is a partial bcm43xx driver. I used the bcm43xx driver and it worked well after trial and error.
Fedora 7 has a different partial driver bcm43xx-mac80211. I tried that and failed. After countless hours of searching for solutions, I decided to try ndiswrapper again. Here are the steps.
First, you’ll need ndiswrapper package. Type this to install it. Note that this package is from Livna repo. If you haven’t added Livna repo, scroll up to see how you can do it.
yum -y install ndiswrapper
Now, you will need to download the Windows wireless driver. I downloaded mine from Acer. Unpack the driver and change directory to where the driver is. Now type the following to install the driver.
ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5.inf
You can use `ndiswrapper -l` to see if the driver got installed correctly. The next step is to modify the file /etc/modprobe.conf and add a line to it.
alias wlan0 ndiswrapper
Now, it’s time to rebuild the modules.dep file and load the kernel module.
depmod -a modprobe ndiswrapper
To ensure system load the ndiswrapper driver instead of the bcm43xx_mac80211, I blacklisted bcm43xx_mac80211. The file to modify is /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist .
If you want to use WPA, you need to setup wpa_supplicant. Modify /etc/sysconfig/wpa_supplicant so that it looks like the following.
Note that my wireless card is wlan0. If during setup, your wireless card is set up as eth1, you need to change the file accordingly.
We want to run wpa_supplicant with wheel group. So, we need to modify the sudoer configuration file. Edit /etc/sudoers , uncomment the line for wheel group so that it looks like this.
%wheel ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL
Start the wpa_supplicant service by using this command.
service wpa_supplicant start
If you want wpa_supplicant to start at boot time, type this.
chkconfig --level 5 wpa_supplicant on
The last step is to turn on NetworkManager service. Like wpa_supplicant, you can start the service by typing.
service NetworkManager start
If you NetworkManager to start at boot time, type this.
chkconfig --level 5 NetworkManager on
NetworkManager simplifies the process of connecting to wireless network. It’s easier for user to establish new connection. I recommend any one to try it out. I found that sometimes NetworkManager interferes with the static wired connection. You might need to stop NetworkManager service and restart network service to use your wired connection again.