Archive for May, 2011

My Fedora 15 Pre-release experience

Today, it become clear that Fedora 15 will be released on May 24th :). It is an interesting release, specially as the first official Linux distribution coming with GNOME 3. Besides, it comes with a number of interesting features including (but not limited to): KDE 4.6, systemd, power management enhancements, Robotics Suite, Retrace Server, Better SPICE support, Dynamic Firewall and GDB 7.3. You can find the complete list of new features at Fedora 15’s Feature Page.

I have tried Fedora 15 since its Alpha release, and started using more seriously since the first test compose of the final release. I generally really like this release, however it has a number of issues too because of the arrival of the new GNOME 3. Let’s start with the annoying parts first!

I have already talked about some GNOME 3  design decisions that I don’t like. I use my laptop as a “computer”, and its main job is … computing rather than being an interactive device! So, when I close its lid I don’t want all my downloads or processes to be stopped; and I know that there are many like me. Fortunately, you can install gnome-tweak-tool to be able to easily change this setting.

The most annoying part of my experience were these 2 problems: the first on is a problem that I have faced since the first Fedora Desktop Test Day. From time to time, gnome-shell starts to eat my CPU time, making the desktop sluggish and my laptop very hot. This is really annoying, and I am forced to restart gnome-shell (Alt+F2 and then ‘r’) so that it goes back to the normal state. The next one is that currently, you are unable to connect to Ad-Hoc wireless networks in Fedora 15 using NetworkManager due to this bug. It really annoys me, but at least command line still works! 😦

Except the tray icons of Java applications which float around in GNOME 3, almost everything is fine with it … as while as I use en_US locale. As soon as I switch to fa_IR locale, problems appear: simply, gnome-shell crashes immediately! Using one of two available workarounds, I can actually login to gnome-shell. Then, a number of issues appear, with the third one being so problematic that makes gnome-shell in fa_IR locale almost unusable and forced me to switch to en_US locate for the time being.

OK, these were all that really hit me with this release. It’s probably not that bad for such a release with big changes! 🙂 However, we will probably delay our Parsidora 15 release until some of all of these issues are solved.

Now, the interesting parts! After using GNOME 3 in Fedora for a while, I think I like it! It looks great (while probably sometimes it looks too gray, specially in nautilus) and feels good! Fonts are looking a bit different in Fedora 15, due to some font rendering enhancements merged in freetype and in Fedora. Initially I thought that I won’t like this change, but now I like it! Also, the new notification system is much better and less intrusive. Despite the mentioned problems, I’ll definitely switch to Fedora 15! 😛

GNOME 3 screenshot with a non-default theme

I have installed some gnome-shell extensions and gnome-shell themes to customize it a little (while the default gnome-shell theme is also beautiful). Also, since GNOME 3 doesn’t provide “Type Break” settings in its keyboard preferences anymore, I installed DrWritght which is the same application provided for GNOME 3. As said earlier, gnome-tweak-tool also provides some useful features :).

Finally, I really liked Fedora 15’s Retrace Server feature. It finally made ABRT a useful tool for me! Till now, I usually disabled ABRT, since it needed to download many large -debuginfo packages to provide any usable services. But this is no longer needed, and you can generate useful bug reports using ABRT without installing any extra packages since retrace server can do that job for you. 🙂 I have already created two bug reports using this facility, something that I were able to do for the first time! This is a great feature indeed 😛

Update: This bugs are solved now: Ad-Hoc connection problem, gnome shell crash in fa_IR locale and corrupted nautilus menu entries in RTL locales

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Introducing Yum Fast Downloader plugin

A few days ago I was thinking that it’d be nice if yum would use a download manager application like aria2c for downloading files rather than it’s own urlgrabber, which lacks many features available in such applications. In fact, I wished for such a feature almost every time I used yum and it needed to download something more than a few MBs. But this time, I decided to see if I can implement it as a yum plugin and in a few hours I had a working prototype which could download packages using aria2c. It was really interesting, so I decided to work on it more seriously, and the first version is available now. It is still experimental, but has worked fine for me up to now! 😛

Warning: this is on of my first serious Python experiences, and my biggest Python code! 😀

Anyway, as I consider the current version to be usable, I created a repository for it which is available here so that updates can be delivered automatically. All you need to do is to add its .repo file to your /etc/yum.repos.d/ directory.

The current version (0.5) provides the following features:
• Using Aria 2 as the download manager application
• Downloading repository metadata from several mirrors simultaneously
• Downloading multiple packages in parallel from several mirrors
• Tries to use fastest mirrors for downloading

Please let me know if encountered any problems.

Have fun! 🙂