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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 22 Jul 2016

I'm doing the Fedora 23 to 24 upgrade

I'm finally getting to the Fedora 23-to-24 upgrade on my laptop, which has been running Fedora on the same installation since the F18 release. (That means the upgrade has never failed.)

The upgrade process is getting smoother and smoother. This time the upgrade uses dnf instead of fedup.

I think that there will be a graphical upgrade for Fedora Workstation (i.e. GNOME) systems in this current release. But since I'm in Xfce right now, it's still a command-line process.

I used this guide from the Fedora Magazine site, and all is going great so far. Dnf has 4,033 items to download and 7,870 tasks to perform in the course of the upgrade, so it'll take a while to finish.

Update: As expected, the upgrade is taking a long time. That's normal. I managed to start early, and I have a whole day ahead of me. Plus I have use of another computer, so I'm able to continue working while the laptop is unavailable.

No 'n': When I finally resolve the issue, I'll recount my tale of the broken 'n' key on the HP Pavilion g6-2210us. With a barely working 'n' key, it's a great time to do an upgrade since typing words with the letter 'n' is not my favorite activity (though at home I have an external keyboard to get around the problem).

After the upgrade: I don't use GNOME very often, but I can confirm that the default Catarell font does display better (as promised). A better-looking display definitely makes me want to use GNOME more.

GNOME Shell itself seems more responsive. But again, I don't use it enough to know for sure.

I just found out that I'll soon be able to leave Citrix Receiver behind, and that will mean that I can use just about any desktop environment. For the past year and then some, only Xfce has played well with the Citrix apps that I use, which stretch across multiple screens and pose problems when it comes to switching from one screen to another.

Thu, 31 Dec 2015

Things Fedora 23 fixes: Yumex DNF display with dark theme

Like any software upgrade, going from Fedora 22 to 23 has its wins and losses, however temporary in both cases.

In the "wins" category: Yumex-DNF, the graphical package manager that isn't GNOME Software now displays normally with the Adiwata dark theme that I've been using.

Hopefully there is improvement across the board in GTK3 application rendering with dark themes.

Tue, 29 Dec 2015

Great Fedora Magazine interview with Kevin Fenzi

Fedora Magazine did a "How Do You Fedora" interview with Kevin Fenzi, longtime Fedora contributor and Red Hat employee who does so much for Xfce in the distribution.

Fri, 18 Dec 2015

Fedora 22 with Xfce deep into the cycle -- most 'stable' Fedora release ever for my laptop

Fedora 23 has been out for awhile and I haven't yet upgraded the HP Pavilion g2-2210us laptop I've been running and upgrading since I first installed F18 on it in mid-2013.

One reason I'm not upgrading, though under examination illogically, is that Fedora 22 is the best-running, most "stable" release I've ever run on this now-2 1/2-year-old hardware.

Read the rest of this post

Wed, 04 Nov 2015

The Fedora Developer Portal

I stumbled upon the Fedora Developer Portal via a link from Reddit that actually first took me to the Deploy and Distribute page, which offers overviews on how to create RPM packages and create/use a COPR repository. Then there's the Tools page on DevAssistant, Vagrant and Docker, and the Languages & Databases page to help you get your development environment together.

And this only scratches the surface of what you can do in Fedora (and other Linux operating systems such as Debian and Ubuntu).

I guess I'm a developer in that I write code sometimes, and Fedora is a great way to get a whole lot of fairly up-to-date tools without having to chase down updates from individual projects.

Fedora is developer-centric. That's what people use it for. So if that "bias" works for you (and it does for me), Fedora is a great way to go.

Note on Fedora Workstation: While I do have all of the Fedora Workstation packages on my system and can run its GNOME 3 desktop environment whenever I get the urge, I find that the Xfce desktop environment fits better for what I do both professionally and otherwise with this computer. You can get Xfce on any Fedora system via the package manager, or install it directly with the Xfce Spin.

Like anybody who uses Linux (or any other system) for a length of time, I have applications and configurations that I prefer, though the Fedora Xfce Spin is a great place to start.

Fri, 16 Oct 2015

Fedora 22 PulseAudio HDMI issue solves itself

I had a problem in Fedora 22 where switching the audio between the laptop's own audio and HDMI audio using the PulseAudio Volume Control (aka pavucontrol) mutes the audio out of HDMI until logging out and back in.

Now that problem has been solved. I don't know how. I don't know which package is responsible. But what was once an annoying bug is a problem no longer. Audio switching via the pavucontrol is perfect.

That's what happens with Fedora 22. Sometimes you have a regression, or something never worked at all. Eventually there are improvements and bug fixes in any number of upstream packages, from the kernel on down, that stand a good chance of making those bugs go away and bringing needed (and wanted) improvements.

Tue, 06 Oct 2015

Solution for update fatigue in Fedora Linux

I'm getting tired of the constancy of keeping a Fedora Linux system up to date.

I've got plenty of bandwidth, and I often do appreciate all the newness that Fedora constantly brings to the table, even within releases.

But while there isn't much breakage, there is breakage. It usually gets fixed within two weeks to a month. And I know that "stable" distros can suffer with breakage for the entire period of the release.

But I'm weary of the sheer number of update in Fedora.

There is a way to make it ... less:

Just update less often. I tend to update daily. I could definitely get away with doing it weekly. And in the absence of major security issues I might even be able do it monthly.

Just not daily.

Mon, 28 Sep 2015

Working on my networking issue after suspend/resume in Fedora 22

Briefly, for no good reason, my networking on the HP Pavilion g6 2210-us is broken after suspend/resume in Fedora 22.

It's not broken on live Fedora 22 and Xubuntu 15.04 images. It wasn't broken a week ago in the Fedora 22 system I've been upgrading since I started it with F18 in 2012.

I should probably just reinstall. And I probably will. Xubuntu on a new drive. Soon.

But until then, I need networking to return after a suspend/resume.

I've tried lots of things. Nothing has really worked. Closest is Wake-On-Lan issue with Realtek r8169: immediate resume after suspend from the Ubuntu Forums.

That script doesn't work.

But it did give me the idea to just run the modprobe lines:

$ sudo modprobe -r r8169
$ sudo modprobe r8169

That works. The network comes back (both wired and wireless, even though this only addresses the wired Ethernet network).

The script in /etc/pm/sleep.d seems to do nothing.

But running this script, which I titled jump_start, does work:

#! /bin/bash

modprobe -r r8169
modprobe r8169

exit 0

As a workaround, I created a launcher in Xfce, hooked it up to this two-line Bash script, and made an exception for it with visudo so I could run it from the launcher.

Now I resume the laptop, click my "jumpstart the network" icon in the panel, and I'm ready to go.

It's less than automatic, but for now it works.

I have no idea why this happened, but since every new live system I try suspends and resumes with no problems at all, this hack will keep me going until I build my new Linux system on a new hard drive. (This is a "production" laptop, and I want to avoid the anxiety of having to rebuild and configure it under pressure, so I'm opting for a new hard drive that will be a single-boot Linux system.)

Update: I may be putting my scripts in the wrong place for automatic execution in a Systemd environment. Fedora users suggest /usr/lib/systemd/system-sleep/

This is the script I put in /usr/lib/systemd/system-sleep/:


case "$1" in
   systemctl stop NetworkManager.service
        modprobe -r r8169
        modprobe r8169
  systemctl start NetworkManager.service


I'm not convinced that any of this (other than running my jump_start script with the two modprobe lines) is working.

Further update: A day later, I've been using WiFi only, and the network has been available after suspend/resume with no trouble. Not sure why.

Further further update: It's spotty. I'm taking the script out of /usr/lib/systemd/system-sleep/ -- I don't think it's doing a damn thing. I still need my local script sometimes to jump-start the network.

Oct. 10 update: Things seem a lot better. I'm not 100 percent sure the problem has been solved. Maybe 80 percent.

Sat, 26 Sep 2015

Rebuilding GRUB 2 entries in Fedora 22 for UEFI systems after modifying /etc/default/grub

I'm surprised that the Fedora documentation for working with GRUB 2 doesn't address rebuilding GRUB 2 entries for EFI booting.

They do address it, but they get it wrong.

The grub2-mkconfig instructions for both BIOS and UEFI systems are the same. The problem is that this instruction will only build the BIOS entries. The UEFI entries won't be rebuilt.

Once you have your changes set in /etc/default/grub, here is how to rebuild the GRUB 2 entries for BIOS and UEFI systems?

BIOS systems

# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

UEFI systems

# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg

It is perfectly OK to do both of these commands (using root, hence the # prompt, or with sudo), but you do need the one that matches your booting method (BIOS for older systems, optionally UEFI for newer systems).

The only reason I figured this out is because I poked around quite a bit when having dual-booting issues. Someone should fix the Fedora GRUB page. I'm a Fedora member and could probably make the fix myself, but I'm not 100 percent sure what I'm doing here is the absolute best method because my GRUB bootlines after doing this look different then they do when the system (either yum or dnf) does a kernel update.

Tue, 26 May 2015

Trying to remove LXDE from Fedora 21 breaks Xfce, and why Fedora makes for a sturdy Citrix platform

I installed the LXDE desktop environment a while back. Part of me just wanted to check it out because it has been awhile. But I also was "auditioning" it as a potential working environment in Fedora because I'm now doing a lot more of my work via Citrix Receiver in Linux instead of Windows.

As a current Xfce user, moving to LXDE isn't quite the culture shock as it would be going from, say GNOME or KDE to the LXDE environment.

Things I liked in LXDE included that it picked up on the Adiwata Dark theme I'm using in GNOME and had a lot more "darkness" to it than Xfce picks up when I choose Adiwata on that side and Adiwata Dark in GNOME. Doing the latter makes GTK3 apps show up with a dark theme, though all GTK2 apps are as white as the Xfce Adiwata theme makes them.

Things I didn't like included a lack of screen animation when clicking an application button in a panel (I never knew if I really clicked it or not) and (more crucially) no way to manage touchpad tap-to-click in a GUI.

Yeah, it came down to touchpad management. Xfce is good at it. LXDE is not.

So I stopped using LXDE, barely used GNOME 3 (too many issues with Citrix and too hard to configure the way I want/need it to be) and focused on Xfce as my go-to desktop environment.

I recently removed the desktop pager from my upper panel to keep myself from accidentally clicking into a second desktop and causing my Citrix apps to lose their connection to the server. It's barbaric. But I can accept it.

And now LXDE has been hanging around unused on my Fedora system for more than a little time.

I figured, why not remove it?

So I went into my favorite Fedora package manager, searched for LXDE and removed everything that came up.

Bad move.

There were things in that mass package removal that Xfce needs.

After that ill-fated software removal, Xfce lost its wallpaper. And its ability to pretty much work at all. Applications would launch, but they would no longer refresh on the screen. And I couldn't do much of anything.

How did I set things right?

I went into Yumex again -- yes, it did work -- and added back all of the LXDE items.

Now Xfce works once again. And I still have LXDE.