View Full Version : Fedora, attempt two: standard package at install.

3rd February 2008, 11:25 PM
Hm. Well, let's see. Even though I've used windows since win95a, I've typically tried to use the more platform independent tools, simply for the reason that they always were more thought- through and well- written (..not that anyone would actually notice on Windows in terms of stability until the last couple of years). Which makes sense - if you design software to be platform- independent, you already know not to use obscure implementations that only work on one, perhaps two, computers on the first attempt.

It's not because I think every setting should be exposed to the user that makes me try a different platform now, in other words. It's because I hoped that - if I had to edit some settings manually, it would be because of a problem that would be vaguely explainable with reason, and which I could then expect would not suddenly turn up again once I stopped thinking about the CMOS- god.

And that's also been the reason why I've avoided linux until now. I've had a couple of attempts - a dual boot where I eventually had to rebuild the core in order to get the loader to recognise the other partition. And I've used a Mandrake- distro on my laptop. And various unix and linux systems at school. But I've never managed to find the time to figure out what I could do to replace my home- computer; Quark, Pdf, dvd, mp3, games, portable player transfer, etc - I imagined that getting this to work, never mind getting the hardware recognised, would just take too long time.

Still, since I've finally managed to get my windows boot to work properly now (after five years of beta- testing), I thought - well, can it really be more difficult? So I downloaded a Fedora 8 dvd release, burned it to a disk, and rebooted. Less than one hour later, I was already mired in impossible dialogue- boxes, mysterious hangs, and strange difficulties with getting the display to show a font in the right size. Neither did my wireless network card work, I had several "failed" messages on the boot, and no way to change the settings to recover it. To top it off, a keychain app popped up and asked me for a password. I entered it, and when I wanted to change that password, I couldn't find anywhere to do that. I then installed something called "gnome-keychain-manager", and it helpfully told me that it couldn't communicate with the key- chain application.

Honestly, I was ecstatic.

A day later, it seems that I made two initial mistakes.
1. I installed just about all the development tools I thought I might have need for at the install. And this launched a stream of services that I probably would never run except on special occasions, caused some hangs, and interfered with the settings. The Xen framework also created a new boot, for whatever reason I could have no way to really understand, which in addition made my network card fail (after taking a windows- break). And then later crash the network- service. And going through the list of programs here simply would not be necessary. And I guess, inserted things into the core I really didn't need.
2. Believing that there are no simple solutions to most known problems just a few clicks away, if you know where to look.

And on the second attempt, I installed the standard package, the install took fifteen minutes - and after ten more I had the resolution set up properly, increased the refresh- rate. And had wlan working.

But - how in the world should I know that the "network settings" have absolutely nothing to do with the "network manager", that helpfully was disabled on default in the "services"? Or that the "wpa_supplicant" package was necessary to connect to a wpa protected access point? And honestly, is it too much to ask that the network manager returns with some message telling me either that the key was rejected, or else that the service it had decided to use didn't work? Instead it just asked me again and again to enter the passkey. That's not really very useful for finding anything out. Instead, you'll just notice in the logs that the service returns with an obscure failure, and that it mysteriously works when you turn the encryption off.

..I wonder if it wouldn't be an idea to make some sort of setting where you can choose to enable the network manager and the encryption component, somewhere in the install. Apart from that - it would help those of us who don't like to spend some hours building their own cores to know exactly what customising your first install might do to your system. In other words, just recommend a "clean" install first, and then encourage people to install programs afterwards. Also, an explanation for new users about what "package dependency" means, that would be nice.

Still - other than that: It looks nice, it feels quick and stable, and there's no doubt that I'm going to use this boot as my main one from now on. And I only took one day to decide that, and to get it up an running pretty much perfectly. Honestly, with the usual weeks of package- installs and registry and service fixes I'm used to, this is almost disappointingly simple.

3rd February 2008, 11:47 PM
...and what's up with the version- numbers and the new grub- entries after an update? What language is that? :)