Fedora 11 Leonidas : Ironing out common glitches

The latest and greatest avatar of Fedora, codenamed Leonidas has been a pleasure to use. Both upgrading an existing installation and a reinstall worked pretty well. Installation time is also reduced a lot. But there are some bugs in Anaconda installer still.

What works out of the box

  • Intel KMS, rock solid Xorg 1.6, Improved boot time, shutdown time, and general performance, Presto (DeltaRPM) mainstream repositories, NetworkManager 0.7.1,… the list of features are impressive.
  • Kernel Mode Setting and UXA acceleration for Intel video driver works perfectly. And that makes compiz usable on my laptop – it doesn’t lockup the system as it did in Fedora 10. User switching also used to lockup the system in F10 update, but works perfectly in F11.
  • Switching over the input method from SCIM to IBus is painless – not even noticeable by a common user. Install ibus, ibus-libs, ibus-gtk and ibus-m17n (for Indic input methods).
  • System wide network connections can be edited, new connections can be added using NetworkManager.
  • RPM package management tool, YUM and PackageKit are much faster.

What doesn’t work out of the box (or need manual tweaking and HOWTO)

  • Synaptics touchpad driver is updated to 1.1.0 along with Xorg 1.6, which disables tapping (tap the touchpad to click) by default. I must state that I find it counter-intuitive to disable such a basic functionality by default. Most naive users just think that it is broken. Tapping can be enabled using the mouse properties or modifying the xorg.conf file or adding a .fdi file in /etc/had/fdi/policy/. The problem with the latter approaches : No xorg.conf file is needed by default, and I dislike adding xorg.conf file just-to-enable-tapping. Secondly, there’s no HAL fdi file present/used in Fedora 11 by default, .fdi files are XML format files, and there’s no easy documentation on how to created such a file for the purpose. I managed to do it with “System->Preferences->Hardware->Mouse“, but this setting is user specific – so, no tapping in GDM. Update: Copy the file /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/20thirdparty/10-synaptics.fdi to /etc/hal/fdi/policy/ and edit it to have <merge key=”input.x11_options.TapButton1″ type=”string”>1</merge>. This will enable tap-to-click system wide.
  • Those who have modified the PAM files and used PreUpgrade or chosen to Upgrade the existing installation may find that Gnome Screensaver doesn’t lock the screen even though it is told to do so. Move the .rpmnew files in the /etc/pam.d/ files to corresponding original files – Gnome Screensaver should behave well.
  • Folders are opened in new windows by default in GNOME. By the time you open a file inside 5 levels of directories, desktop is full of windows, and you have to close them individually! This have been the default behaviour of Nautilus for a long time, and the first thing I do after every installation is to change that by choosing “Edit->Preferences->Behaviour(tab)” and check “Always open in browser windows” in Nautilus file manager. Every other distribution I have seen has chosen this as default mode.
  • The “System->Preferences” menu in GNOME is a now single long list. To revert this to earlier grouped menu, install the package “preferences-menus“.
  • Blueman is not yet included in Fedora repositories. Juan is working hard to get this done. Meanwhile he has kindly sent me the RPM for Fedora 11 and it is working great.
  • GNote, the replacement for Tomboy note-taking application doesn’t autostart very well. Yet to find a resolution. [Update : Work around is to add GNote to GNOME panel. Thanks, Rahul!]

Conclusion

Despite some minor issues, Fedora 11, Leonidas, just rocks. Definitely the most stable, feature rich and innovative release by far.

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29 thoughts on “Fedora 11 Leonidas : Ironing out common glitches

  1. Rajeesh,

    I have suggested you the solution for your Gnote problem. Let me know if it works

    Livio,

    Hundreds of thousands of users have installed Fedora 11. It isn’t useless by far. If you have found any bugs, report them

  2. If I want Fedora 11 on ext3 it says it needs ext4. If I choose ext4 it forces me to create separate /boot partition. It’s WRONG.

  3. Livio, if you install with a regular boot media instead of Live{CD,USB}, you can have it in Ext3 partition.

  4. Thanks Rahul.
    Adding GNote to GNOME panel definitely works. But isn’t the bug still present in the package?

  5. I will talk to the upstream developer about this and get back to you on the bug report.

  6. You rock for that Nautilus change. It’s like that in Fedora 10 as well and the checkbox that controls it is a little cryptic so I never thought to try that one out.

  7. Tapping is annoying (easily leads to misclicks), and unneeded on most touchpads because there are separate buttons to click on. It makes sense to disable it by default.

  8. Kevin,
    Even though separate buttons to click are present, tap to click is convenient. And it has been behaving always that way in the past. In Fedora 9, my ALPS touchpad didn’t enable tapping by default, and I had to mess with SHMConfig in xorg.conf – and I found out that workaround after a lot of googling.

    If we disable tapping feature by default, we should inform the common user – may be when (s)he login for the first time, a tiny bubble comes up and greets “hey, tap to click feature for your touchpad is disabled, you can enable it in mouse properties”.

  9. Sayamindu,
    That is true. You can either middle click, or right click and choose “Browse folder”. But that’s a burden and is diametrically opposite to ‘usability’.

  10. I found ATI R200 3D and KMS support to be flaky. There is also a regression in the Sound Blaster Live driver, both in the kernel and in pulseaudio, that results in kernel oopses and no sound. (To balance that there are plenty of welcome new features and otherwise generally stable.)

    Also, your comments on Nautilus mode and touchpad tap to click resonate. Who are the people that have enough influence to get these things through that nobody I’ve encountered actually thinks is a good idea. (Preempting the accessibility argument for default off for tap to click: sticky keys is not turned on by default.)

  11. “By the time you open a file inside 5 levels of directories, desktop is full of windows, and you have to close them individually!”

    This can be avoided by holding down the shift key when doubleclicking.

    Of course some will still prefer to switch to browser mode, but I think that the shift-key trick should _always_ be mentioned before explaining how to switch to browser mode, because it otherwise you’re not giving the reader a chance to make an _informed_ decision.

  12. Alexander:
    I didn’t know about the shift key, and I’ve been using Fedora since Core 4.

    I think the shift key is counter-intuitive, and the behaviour should at least be the opposite, hold shift(i’d set Ctrl) to open in a new window.

    Rajeesh: I hope to finish my part this week and get sponsored as a packager soon. I’d love to see Blueman in F12!

  13. Alexander,
    Use “shift key + click” or “middle click” to open folder in new window and make -that- behaviour default. Double clicking by default opens in browser window.

    Juan : great news!

  14. Do you know any way how to get two-finger tap to be middle click, and three finger to be right click? That’s the way it always used to work in the past, and on other distros.

  15. I tried installing Fedora 11 several times, it would always lock up at that “first boot” screen. I come to find out that I have to downgrade hal to get it to work. I won’t do that. I find it unacceptable that a distro can’t even install & get to the desktop properly the first time.

  16. I have been a heavy follower of Red Hat & Fedora for years, and I have to say this is the worst release I have ever seen.

    Nautilus keeps on dying and fails to restart, rendering my Desktop useless. I’ve so far had to recreate my home directory 3 times just to repair another random failure.

    Eclipse which ran fine under previous releases, now runs like a dog and sometimes won’t even start.

    The virtual manager is practically useless – I haven’t been able to install a single virtual machine so far…they all just hang.

    I could go on, but yet again i need to reboot this bloody machine.

    How did things go so wrong on this release?? By now things should “just work”!!!!

  17. Ben,

    I’ve never encountered the problem of Nautilus crashing.
    How about trying to find the root cause, and/or filing bug reports? You seem to have a plethora of packages to file bug against, and help improving the system.

  18. I can’t find the desktop switcher tool! I want my KDE!
    Downloaded the tool but changing the setting had no effect.
    Going from F4 to F11 is not an enhancement when basic stuff that worked back then aren’t available or stop working now.

  19. James. 🙂

    Going from FC4 straight to F11 can be difficult, as a lot (a lot!) of changes has happened. Anyway, I assume that your login manager is GDM. On the login screen, after clicking on your username or entering username, on the panel at the bottom, you can choose the language and desktop environment of your choice.

  20. tried out few new realeases this month, mint 7, mandriva 2009, ubuntu jaunty, pclinux, opensuse….
    i found fedore 11 to be the best…
    few problems…
    freeze on trying desktop cube or window cover flow….
    and can enable taping in rc.local

  21. well slight correction i cant enable tapping in rc.local..works fine from terminal..but i wanted it enabled permanently

  22. You’ve made a typo on the package name for the preferences menu … it’s “preferences-menus” ending with an “s”, not “preferences-menu”.

    That had me stumped for a while 🙂

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