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Just Another Tech Blog

Anything and everything having to do with technology, computers, science, and most of all... Linux! The documentation of my Linux endeavor.



Day 1 With Fedora 7

Monday, June 11, 2007

Please view my new post on Fedora 7!

Although I don't intend to keep daily journals of my trials of various Linux distributions this summer, I will chronicle the first day I spend with each distro. The first day with any new operating system (or variant) is a day when "first impressions" are conceived and ultimately, judgment is made (I know, I know, one is not to judge anything at first glance, but who doesn't form a bias for or against something after the first encounter?). And so, after slight delay, I start my adventure into the wide (wild?) world of Linux distributions: First stop, Fedora 7.

The Install:

Installing Fedora was very straight forward. After choosing my default language and keyboard layout, I was met with some partitioning options. Opting for a "custom setup", the partitioner that the Fedora installer provides leaves little to be desired for a basic install. I was able to select which disk partitions I wanted to use, which of these I wanted to format, and where I wanted each partition to be mounted. I chose to use my home partition from my Ubuntu install, and everything appeared to work well.

Along the install process I was also able to chose whether or not to install a boot loader. I chose yes, and was presented with options on adding other distros to boot. By default, it detected Windows on my first hard drive, but failed to notice Ubuntu. I added the root partition where Ubuntu was installed on to the list, but upon boot, I did not see an entry for Ubuntu in the GRUB menu. This was not a huge problem as I was easily able to manually edit the GRUB menu.lst file and add an entry for Ubuntu. For first timers to Linux, the most important issue was that the installer detected Windows, and allowed for an easy dual boot setup.

As with all installs, I was asked which timezone I was in after which I was asked to set the root password.

Moving on, I was offered to customize my package selection. Choosing to do so, I was able to select or de-select large package groups, such as games, office productivity, editors, and others. This step also presented me with an option of which desktop environment to install. I generally like to see a more detailed and customizable approach to package selection, as openSUSE and other distros provide.

EDIT: Upon reviewing the installation process in a VMware virtual machine, I noticed that one can in fact choose exactly which packages to install. This can be done by click on "Optional Packages."

Including configuration, Fedora 7 took a little over half and hour to install.

Overall, the installer was very simple to use, but also surprisingly powerful. Instructions were always readily available and one could read the release notes at any time.

Initial Boot:

As I mentioned before, the installer did not manage to add Ubuntu to the GRUB menu, however I was able to load Fedora without any problems.

While the OS was loading, I notice that my screen was way off, and that a good 2 or so inches were off the screen. Adjusting my monitor did not help this problem. Apparently my resolution was not detected and the nVidia drivers were not installed.

Next problem came when startup tried to activate my network connection, which it thought was an Ethernet connection. It took forever to realize that it just wasn't going to get ip information from a non existent connection, and finally just [FAILED].

The setup following installation held no surprises. I was asked if I wanted to configure a Firewall and if I wanted to enforce SELinux. After this I was asked to set the date and time. Next came a screen outlining my hardware profile which I was asked to send in to Fedora to help with development. Since my internet connection did not work at that point, I had to choose not to send the information. Then came user creation and finally a test of my sound card (it worked).

On attempting to log on I was presented with a wonderful error saying that I didn't have permissions to my own home directory. This did not let me log on, and even made X crash. Interesting error considering I just installed the operating system. I messed with a few permission but nothing worked. Then... it dawned on me: I shared this home partition with my Ubuntu install and I have the same user name with both. So, it created the new "linnerd40" folder in the home partition over my other "linnerd40" folder from my Ubuntu install. However, the "linnerd40" folder was still only accessible to Ubuntu. Great. Since time was running rather short, I decided to go for another install, this time just letting the root and home partitions be the same (not the way I like to set stuff up). This worked.

Before going any further, I added Ubuntu to the GRUB menu.lst file so that in the case of an emergency, I had at least one stable operating system to boot into. I rebooted and tested going into Ubuntu. Everything worked, until login. I received the same error as I had when I tried to log into Fedora. Apparently, when tampering with the permissions in Fedora, I had screwed up access to my own home folder in Ubuntu. I messed with some more permissions and ended up fixing the problem (with some help from the Internets) using the following commands:

sudo chown -R linnerd40 /home/
sudo chmod 700 /home/

Yay for the command line! Long story short, Ubuntu and Fedora now work.

First Impressions:

After a successful login, I was greeted by a fairly decent looking Gnome desktop. The new "Flying High" theme is not going to be winning any awards but appeals more to me than Ubuntu's "Human" theme. First on my list of problems to fix was the screen resolution. After pulling the latest copy of nVidia's Linux driver from my flash drive, I killed X and went into run level three (run: /sbin/init 3) for the install of the driver. However, installation failed when it detected that gcc-devel was not installed. So, I got back into X and searched for an application for installing packages. I found an "Add or Remove Programs" entry in one of the menus and tried that. However, it gave me an error saying that package information could not be retrieved due to lack of a network connection. I popped in the Fedora 7 DVD and tried installing packages from there. I found the .rpm file I needed in the FEDORA directory on the DVD, but upon trying to open the file to install it, I received the same error. This was extremely aggravating as installing from a .rpm file that was present on my hard drive (I copied it from the DVD) should not require a network connection. So, I went with the command line method of:

rpm -ivh package.rpm
This worked... but immediately I found myself in dependency hell. To install gcc, I needed glibc, but I also needed glibc-devel which needed glib-headers which needed the kernel-devel package. Perhaps that wasn't quite the order, but needless to say, I was searching for and install packages for a quite while. RPM dependency hell was why I stopped using SUSE. Apt is a much more efficient method of package management and I don't see why a distro wouldn't use it.

EDIT: Upon reevaluation of Fedora 7 in my VM (with working Internet), I see that some of what I said above is unjust. Yes, RPMs do have a tendency to lead to dependency hell, as I experienced much with SUSE and previous versions of Fedora. However, yum (the package manager used in Fedora) does handle dependencies quite well, much better than I had remembered. A simple:

yum install gcc
fixed my problems. Still, I prefer apt/ Debian style package management over RPM any day.

After going through hell to get all the packages I needed, I was finally able to install the nVidia driver. I then set my screen resolution using the nVidia- xconfig tool and was well on my way to a more pleasant desktop experience.

The next problem I wanted to tackle was wireless support. Although my card was detected (rt2500 chipset), it was impossible to configure it correctly. Using this guide I was able to get very close to success, but I continued to get errors when trying to activate the device. As of yet, I have not found a fix.

So far... :

So far, my experience with Fedora has been less than enjoyable. However, I hope that after spending a week with Fedora, I will change my mind. It seems like a very stable and thought-out distribution. The default package selection is excellent using Firefox for web browsing, GIMP for image manipulation, Pidgin for instant messaging, Rhythmbox for multimedia playing, and many other stable software selections to fulfill the daily needs of any average computer user. The Fedora team has made a great effort to provide a usable, friendly installer while allowing for advanced configuration and has done so superbly. Back when I first started with Linux, Fedora Core 4 was one of the first distros I tried to install. I had to give up on it since my wireless card was not detected, and at the time I did not know how to fix such problems. Fedora has definitely evolved since Core 4, and I am certain that once I get my wireless card working I will be able to see its true power.
posted by linnerd40, Monday, June 11, 2007


24 Comments:

I have considered trying out Fedora. I have not used anything Red Hat since RHEL 3 when an IT Pro lent me his disc set. It was horribly out of date. I installed it on a laptop and it was a mess. I couldn't get my ethernet to work, there was no battery meter, and I couldn't figure out how to adjust the touchpad sensitivity. I later installed Ubuntu 5.04 on the machine which is what it has been running ever since. I'm sure Fedora will be much more pleasent than that expierence.

commented by Anonymous Jake, 10:17 PM  

I installed fedora 7 on my avertek lappy last nite. Everything worked but wifi (ralink). But that was no surprise. No other distro works with it without ndiswrapper. Most impressed by video. Very clean looking and sharp fonts. Speed seemed a bit faster than ubuntu also running 64 bit. First gui install of a red hat product that has worked for me. All previous had issues.

commented by Blogger Allen, 1:15 PM  

I was trying a dual boot setup with Ubuntu and Fedora and got the same problem as you.
What happens is that Ubuntu creates new users with user ID and group ID starting from 1000. Fedora starts at 500. So if you have created the same user name in both, you will have difficulties when some file system is shared between the two.
Especially graphical login since both Fedora and Ubuntu leaves some files in /tmp after logout that are related to the X session, and has the username as part of the file name.

commented by Blogger Kevin, 5:59 PM  

What I found fun was updating from Fedora 6. As you might know, they moved to the libata driver for IDE, which means you'll see /dev/sda instead of /dev/hda (but what happens if you had IDE & scsi hard disks? Which devices are "seen" first during boot-up? Or is it random order that driver finishes initialization?)

Okay, so my swap is on the second hard disk, and it's referanced as /dev/hdb1 in /dev/fstab. Whoops! Fedora update wouldn't handle it. So, had to rename /dev/hdb1 to /dev/sdb1, and hand-edit /dev/fstab before running the upgrade. Everything happy.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 6:25 PM  

The rpm comment and dependency hell seems a little unfounded. rpm -ivh package.rpm is supposed to complain if you don't have the dependencies installed. That's why yum has been the preferred tool to install software for most users. If you know the difference between the two tools, and you know what dependencies are, why complain that the tool worked exactly the way it should, and exactly the way you know it works.

The other comments seemed a fair, although the author never stated if he tried any of the four test releases, if he offered any helpful feedback, file any bug reports, submit the hardware profile, etc.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 6:45 PM  

@ Anonymous

I realize that my comments were unjust, which is why I edited the post.
rpm -ivh was, as you say, just doing its job by telling me of dependencies. When I installed Fedora 7 in my virtual machine and had an actual working internet connection, yum handled packages and dependencies superbly.

Also, I did not try any of the test releases, as this was not the point. I am trying to get a broad view of Linux distributions. By doing this and posting my experience, I hope to help others new to Linux choose a distributions. Most new users will not go into development right away...

The bugs I found were mostly already submitted, the most important of which was the problem with my rt2500 chipset wireless card. Most other things I commented on were not so much "bugs" as I what I viewed as design flaws. Throughout the week of testing this distro, I do plan to give plenty feed back to the Fedora community. However, after only one day, I am still working on getting the distro into full working order (mainly just getting my wireless card set up!)... then I can start the true review and feedback. Also, as I said, I could not submit the hardware profile without internet. When I do have a working wireless connection set up in Fedora I will be sure to submit the report.

Thanks for the comments!

commented by Blogger linnerd40, 7:01 PM  

One minor nag. The yum package manager IS 'apt/Debian style package management' : for RPM's. You can do everything with yum you do with apt; yum update combines the result of what 'apt-get update; apt-get upgrade' would do; yum remove does what you think it does, etc.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 9:25 PM  

@ Anonymous
That is interesting. I have not spent much time with yum, but as I have been playing around with it in my VM (still no internet on the true install) I am getting to like it more and more. Perhaps my dependency hell woes will evaporate with yum. I am excited to start installing more software and see how well I can get all the dependencies I need!

Thanks for reading!

commented by Blogger linnerd40, 9:29 PM  

You talked about installing the nVidia driver. The "right" (and also the easiest way) to do that in Fedora is to use the Livna repository at http://rpm.livna.org/

Add it by installing livna-release-7.rpm and then do yum install kmod-nvidia.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 1:29 AM  

The term "rpm dependencies" as pointed only displays the lack of understanding on package management for some Debian users who never used the DPKG command which is really the base package management for Debian based distributions. Try to use the dpkg command to get some like "dpkg dependencies hell".

commented by Blogger Luya Tshimbalanga, 6:22 AM  

@ last "Anonymous"

Do note that it is rather difficult to use an online repository without an internet connection to work off of :-)
I happened to have the nVidia driver on my flash drive, which is why I used it. And it worked, so I don't see what is "wrong" about it.

commented by Blogger linnerd40, 8:19 AM  

Hello readers!
I encourage you to read my latest post about Fedora 7. I realize that my criticism of RPM has not been entirely just, so I have reevaluated my experience. Check it out here.

commented by Blogger linnerd40, 8:22 AM  

Your article BLATANTLY shows your bias towards Unbuntu.

You install things in a completely half-assed manner for an artivle and then you blast the distro for having the problems.

What dumbass installs a distro in the HOME DIRECTORY of another distro?

What dumbass installs a distro on a machine that doesn't have a working network connection and then blames the DISTRO for problems with connectivity? Try installing the distro on a WORKING system sometime "genius".

"Wahh...I installed a distro inside of a distro and things don't work.. The distro must be defective."

Try doing things the RIGHT way moron. Install it on its own machine or in its own virtual machine.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 11:58 AM  

@ Anonymous

That is actually very amusing. Do RTFA before commenting.

A) I did not install any new distro in my home partition. I attempted to share one home partition between two distros with two different root partitions. Although I did make an error in choosing the same user name, many people use this type of setup. It provides the great advantage of having one continuous location for files that will not be removed and can be easily accessed when installing other distros. I can completely uninstall Ubuntu and still have all my personal files on my home partition.

B) I clearly do have a working network connection, just Fedora 7 did not allow me to configure my wireless card properly. This is a bug which has been submitted, and many people have had the same problem. Seeing as my router is in my basement, and I am on the second floor, running an Ethernet connection up to my computer is out of the question.

C) Do I have a bias towards Ubuntu? Well, one could say so. I have had very, very few problems with Ubuntu and it has provided for an extremely enjoyable experience. If another distro doesn't provide that same experience... of course I will view Ubuntu as superior. I know many people have different needs, and for some, Ubuntu isn't the right distro. However, until I find a distro that works as well for me and as easily as Ubuntu, there is no reason I cannot compare other distros to it.

Brush up on Linux a bit more, learn to comprehend what you read, and then make intelligent comments.

Thanks for providing me with some amusement :-)

commented by Blogger linnerd40, 3:42 PM  

Which one of us was the idiot that doesn't know how to install a distro in conjunction with another??

Hmm... That would be YOU. It's called RESEARCH. Which would have solved your "shared directory access" problem before it ever cropped up. Instead you CHOSE to blame Fedora because of YOUR lack of understanding.

Which one of us was the idiot that ASSUMED the wireless connection would "just work" out of the box?

Again, that would be YOU. You didn't do any research as to whether or not there would be issues. I bet dollars to donuts you had some tweaking to do to get it to work with Unbuntu initially as well, pre-supposing that you didn't get it pre-installed.

You blame things on Fedora that are due to YOUR OWN lack of understanding of the way things work and then you tell OTHERS to learn how to use Linux? Kettle, this is pot. You're black.

If you're so happy with Unbuntu, why would you bother to write an article about Fedora? I'll tell you why. More fodder for the mill. "See. Unbuntu is so superior to everything else..." This was an Unbuntu fanboy article and nothing more.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 4:15 PM  

Ahh yes... This could go on for a while. But, I will not waste my time.
Well, I apologize if my writing has offended you. Good day :)

commented by Blogger linnerd40, 4:17 PM  

sadly i am having to deal with red hat and fedora. the people upstairs think red hat must be great and so it is pretty much a mandate. i never had much luck with fedora especially on laptops. suse 9 was great but 10.1 sucked. 10.2 is very nice and i prefer it to ubuntu et al. even though novell is considered the great evil now i don't see how they are anyworse than red hat. since both demand update tax money....
enjoyed your comments!

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8:52 PM  

Last friday I decided to install F7 on my hard drive, instead of vmware. I choosed whatever packages I wanted, including xen virtualization software. This was a big mistake for me, since I wasn't able to compile and install any of the ralink drivers, because of the kernel-xen package.
Finally, I reinstalled F7, without xen. I was able to compile and install RaLink driver but I could not configure it. Without configuring my wireless card, I cannot access the internet and any online repositories.
I tried to set up a local repository but to no success.
Luckily, I am a sort of RH fan so I just don't want to give up.
My overall experience with F7 was a good one, even if I worked all weekend on setting up my wireless card.

commented by Anonymous Shiva, 4:44 AM  

@ Shiva
Yes, your experience was much like mine. Although I never got my card setup (lack of time), I did throughly enjoy my time with Fedora 7.

Thanks for reading!

commented by Blogger linnerd40, 8:24 AM  

Yesterday I was very close on making my wireless card work. I got to the point where I got the mesage "Determining IP configuration for ra0". Unfortunately, the card failed to connect to my AP( the ESSID was missing, even if I entered it a couple of times using iwconfig ). Also, I received the following message "RTNETLINK answers: File exists".
I'll try again, today, with a fresh install. Keep your fingers crossed ;)

commented by Anonymous Shiva, 3:38 AM  

Initially I tried to install gcc from Pirut. Every time Pirut showed an error. The error shown is:
_____________________________________________________________
Component: Software Installer
Summary: TB8a9b4f2f packageSack.py:600:returnNewestByNameArch:PackageSackError: No Package Matching glibc.i686

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/usr/sbin/system-install-packages", line 308, in _apply
self.applyChanges(self.mainwin)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/pirut/__init__.py", line 718, in applyChanges
self.checkDeps(mainwin)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/pirut/__init__.py", line 481, in checkDeps
(result, msgs) = self.buildTransaction()
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/yum/__init__.py", line 549, in buildTransaction
(rescode, restring) = self.resolveDeps()
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/yum/depsolve.py", line 853, in resolveDeps
(checkdep, missing, conflict, errormsgs) = self._processReq(dep)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/yum/depsolve.py", line 337, in _processReq
requirementTuple, errormsgs)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/yum/depsolve.py", line 456, in _requiringFromInstalled
po = self.pkgSack.returnNewestByNameArch((name,arch))[0]
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/yum/packageSack.py", line 308, in returnNewestByNameArch
return bestofeach.returnNewestByNameArch(naTup)
File "/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/yum/packageSack.py", line 600, in returnNewestByNameArch
raise PackageSackError, 'No Package Matching %s.%s' % naTup
PackageSackError: No Package Matching glibc.i686

Local variables in innermost frame:
highdict: {}
self: (<)yum.packageSack.ListPackageSack object at 0x3b60e90(>)
naTup: ('glibc', 'i686')
where: None

Even when I tried ti install packages from Fedora 7 DVD, it continued with the same error.Later I follwed the techniques given in this blog.
Many thanks! The above techniques worked very well for me. Keep up good work!

commented by Blogger mallik, 12:53 PM  

I have fedora6 on /dev/hda9 and swap on /dev/hda7 and fodora 7 install got stuck until I did ln -s /dev/sda7 /dev/hda7
and ln -s /dev/sda9 /dev/hda9 after this install seemed to be going OK but I did not complete it as it looks like Fed7 is a lemon Fed4 was a lemon but Fed6 works OK sort of looks like every third Fedora or so is NFG.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 10:51 AM  

WEll....I just got lucky I guess.

Fed 7 worked perfectly for me...

But then...that isnt part of the pissing contest here is it??

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commented by Blogger sexy, 2:25 AM  

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