Fedora 17 : My upgrade hell…


It’s been a few days since the final release of Fedora 17. I’ve been running it on VMs since the alpha release, but the day after the final release I decided to upgrade a real Fedora 16 machine. That’s where all the fun started…

I’ve now attempted Fedora 16 -> 17 upgrades on two physical servers and both have been destroyed by the process. In both cases, I had to do a fresh install, which worked cleanly and left a fully functioning installation. Perhaps I’m just very unlucky, but with a record of 0 for 2, my conclusion is that the upgrade process on Fedora 17 sucks so much ass it’s untrue.

As followers of the blog know, I try to keep my host machines pretty clean and do anything of significance in VirtualBox VMs. As a result, the recovery of both systems has been fine, if a little slow. In both cases, I did a clean install, then copied back all the VMs and that was pretty much it.

In conclusion, if you are planning on doing an upgrade to Fedora 17, rather than a clean install, I would think very carefully!

As for  Fedora 17 itself, it feels like Fedora 16 with a different background.



Fedora 17 and Oracle 11gR2…


Fedora 17 was released yesterday. I mentioned in a previous post I had run through the installation of Oracle 11gR2 on Fedora 17 alpha. With the arrival of the final Fedora 17 release I ran through the articles again last night to make sure everything was OK. You can see the finished versions here:

As always, installing Oracle on Fedora 17 is just for fun and totally not supported. For anything proper you should be using Oracle Linux or RHEL.



ClamAV on Fedora and Enterprise Linux…


Following on from my post on AntiVirus Software and Apple Macs, I decided to add antivirus to my desktop machines also. I chose ClamAV because it is part of the Fedora repository. I wrote a quick note about installing ClamAV on Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, Oracle Linux, CentOS etc.).

Not surprisingly, scans revealed no viruses on any of my Fedora machines.



Oracle on Fedora 17 beta.


I have been playing around with Fedora 17 beta in preparation for my server upgrades when it is released at the end of the month. While I was at it, I did my typical articles for Fedora.

I’ll run through them again when the final release drops, then officially put them live.



Fedora 17 Alpha…


I’ve just tried the alpha of Fedora 17 to see if the GNOME 3 software rendering works and it did. You may recall, since updating my graphics card I’ve been forced to use the fallback mode on Fedora 16. I’m quite keen to move back to proper GNOME 3, which looks like it will be possible when F17 is released.

On a VM it seems a little on the slow side, so I hope this isn’t an indication that it will be annoying on my desktop. I guess time will tell. Fingers crossed though.



Fedora 15: First big problem…


Yesterday I hit a pretty major problem with Fedora 15. I did a reboot and the login screen came up fine, but when I tried to log in I got a message saying,

failed to load session ‘gnome’

No options or alternatives. Just back to the login screen. ??

I started the machine up in “Full multiuser mode” by hitting the “a” key during boot and adding “3” on to the boot parameters. Once at the login prompt I could now log in as root. Since it looked like it might be a GNOME problem I uninstalled and reinstalled GNOME.

yum -y groupremove "GNOME Desktop Environment"
yum -y groupinstall "GNOME Desktop Environment"

No change!

My next thought was to install KDE, so at least I would have a desktop. I did this using,

yum -y groupinstall kde

I made KDE the default window manager by editing the “/etc/sysconfig/desktop” file to contain.


The machine now rebooted and I got KDM as the display manager. This allowed me to start KDE, but surprisingly, also allowed me to start GNOME as my window manager.

Now I figured it was probably an issue with GDM, not GNOME itself, so I reinstalled GDM.

yum -y remove gdm
yum -y install gdm
yum -y install gdm-plugin-fingerprint

Bingo. I was now able to switch back to GDM as my display manager by editing the “/etc/sysconfig/desktop” file to contain.


I have no idea what happened to cause this problem in the first place. Googling for a solution wasn’t much help because most posts are really old and the new ones just said reinstall.

If anyone else has misfortune to run into this issue, you now know how I got out of it.

Incidentally, my brief time on KDE did not fill me with a desire to switch. I think I prefer GNOME. I am however a little nervous about the stability of Fedora 15 after this incident. Maybe I did something dumb to cause it, but if I did, I have no idea what it was. I’m just running a browser and VirtualBox VMs for the most part.



Fedora 15: First Impressions…


It’s been nearly six months since I made the switch from CentOS to Fedora as my main desktop OS.

The Fedora 15 final release dropped a couple of days ago and I slapped it on my main desktop PC straight away. As usual, the first impression is all about the visuals. GNOME 3 looks great. I’m sure lots of people think KDE looks great too, but I tend to just stick with the default window manager, so it’s GNOME for me.

If you’ve read any of the press you will know that the menu bar and task bar have been removed. This is kinda weird at first. How does it affect me?

  • Task Bar: I was surprised how reliant I was on the task bar for switching between open apps. I would say about 50% of the time I was using the task bar and 50% of the time I was using alt+tab. Now I’m using alt+tab 100% of the time. I think this change has worked really well for me. I feel like I’m navigating quicker.
  • Menu Bar: I think this one will annoy a few people. In essence, the menu bar is still there, but one layer down. If you click on “Activies” in the top left (or hit the Windows key) you switch to the activities screen. There is a favorites doc on the left and if you click “Applications”, you get a menu (more like a filter) on the right of the screen. That’s all nice, but the thing I really like is if you click the Windows key and type in a few letters it returns all apps and items that contain those letters in the name. Similar to the Windows menu, but prettier. So if you insist on using the menu like an old-style menu, I think this change will annoy you as it requires an extra click and some animations. If you use the favorites doc and the search feature I think it’s quite cool.

The fancy visuals worked straight out of the box for my main desktop machine, but one of my other machines (with a better graphics card) couldn’t handle GNOME 3 and ran using fallback mode. Fallback mode is pretty much like previous GNOME releases with a menu bar and task bar. I’m sure some people will prefer fallback mode, but I think the new stuff is certainly worth a try.

If you really can’t handle the new interface you can manually switch to fallback mode. Start up the System Info dialog (Activities > Applications > System Settings > System Info), click “Graphics” , flick the “Forced Fallback Mode” switch and relog.

As for the OS itself, I’ve had no dramas so far, but it is early days. Time will tell…

By the way, I did the usual Oracle on Fedora thing.



Oracle 11gR2 on Fedora 12…


I had a play around yesterday and installed Oracle 11gR2 on Fedora 12:

I think this might be the last time I install Oracle on Fedora. Why? For two reasons:

  1. When I first started doing installs on Red Hat 7 (pre Enterprise Linux) it was the only sensible choice. After the introduction of Enterprise Linux there were no free alternatives, so installing on Red Hat Linux, then Fedora Core and now Fedora seemed a viable alternative to paying for an Enterprise Linux distribution. Fast forward a few years and we have Oracle Enterprise Linux which is a supported binary clone of RHEL and most importantly it’s free, so that seems like the logical choice for testing installations.
  2. When I started doing these installations I had to swap hard drives, so having an installation that ran on my Linux desktop was import to me. Once again, fast forward a few years and I never run Oracle directly on my desktop or laptop OS. I always use a Virtual Machine and install Oracle on Oracle Enterprise Linux. Since there are a number of free virtualization products available, there really is no barrier to entry here also.

So why did I bother with this installation? It seems that Fedora12 will likely be the base which RHEL6 is built on, so it is mildly more interesting to me that previous Fedora releases.

Anyway, the articles are there, but do I care about them? No. I’ve always said I write about what interests me and Fedora (or any other Distro for that matter) are completely irrelevant to me now. I see no point in installing Oracle on anything other than RHEL, and really by that I mean Oracle Enterprise Linux, so that is likely to be what I do from now on. Of course, you should never say never. :)

For those people banging their heads against a brick wall trying to install Oracle on unsupported distributions, I say download a free virtualization product (VMware Server or VirtualBox) and use it to install Oracle Enterprise Linux and use that for all your future Oracle installs. It’s free and easy.