Showing posts with label Fedora. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fedora. Show all posts

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Super Easy KDE Users Guide for Fedora 16

The Super Easy KDE Users Guide 
Latest Edition Fedora 16


Follow these super easy steps to turn your Fedora KDE installation into a fully functional multimedia rich and enjoyable desktop.

Add the RPM Fusion repository

su -c 'yum -y localinstall --nogpgcheck && yum -y update'

Install the additional Gstreamer and K3b plugins

su -c 'yum -y install gstreamer-ffmpeg gstreamer-plugins-bad gstreamer-plugins-ugly gstreamer-plugins-bad-nonfree transcode k3b-extras-freeworld sox vcdimager normalize'

Install Flash Player

su -c 'yum -y install$(arch)/adobe-release-$(arch)-1.0-1.noarch.rpm && yum -y install flash-plugin'

If you want to watch encrypted DVDs

su -c 'yum -y install$(arch)/libdvdcss-1.2.10-1.$(arch).rpm'

Install Firefox, Thunderbird and LibreOffice

su -c 'yum -y install firefox thunderbird @office'

Fix the font rendering and install Microsoft fonts

su -c 'yum -y install freetype-freeworld'

Now you can enjoy using Fedora and KDE!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Fedora 16 - How to install 64-bit Flash Player 11

Even though I am using the beta Fedora 16 KDE, this quick little how to will work with the final release of Fedora 16. And by the way, Fedora 16 KDE is the best ever!

For those who are not aware, Adobe have finally "officially" released their native 64-bit flash plugin, which is great news for 64-bit Linux users.

See here for more info -

The Fedora 16 (64-bit) how to

Feel free to use your browser to download the plugin, visit the download section in the above link. I recommend using the yum repo in Fedora if you wish to receive updates automatically.

But for those who like the terminal....

su -c 'yum install'

su -c 'yum install flash-plugin.x86_64'

That's it, enjoy native 64-bit flash in Fedora 16!

Edit: Updated to reflect comment made by Rags, thanks for the advice.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Fedora 15 KDE - How to upgrade to KDE 4.7

As a Fedora KDE user we sometimes have to wait that bit extra for KDE updates, nonetheless the efforts by the Fedora KDE team are much appreciated.

My Fedora 15 KDE 4.7 Desktop

I no longer use openSUSE, it has gone too sour for my liking and is surrounded by a lot of negativity. I am one of those who believe the negative energy of others can have a big impact on ones well being and since giving openSUSE the boot I have been feeling much better.

The how to...

The steps for upgrading KDE to version 4.7 was originally brought to my attention by browsing the Fedora Forum, see the post by ah7013. I have modified the steps slightly as those of us who installed Fedora KDE from the Live CD do not have wget installed.

Please note, KDE 4.7 is not in the Fedora 15 stable repository and the guide  will install KDE 4.7 from a repository created by Rex Dieter, a valued member of the Fedora KDE team.

Open a terminal and run the following commands,

cd /etc/yum.repos.d
su -c 'yum install wget'
su -c 'wget'
su -c 'yum update'

Please reboot your system.

Enjoy KDE!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Praise for Fedora 15 and KDE 4.6.x - A great experience!

Some old time Fedora users may be aware of Fedora's poor track record when it comes to KDE although things have been changing ever since the release of KDE 4.x. I regularly try Fedora KDE and so far haven't been fully convinced with the experience until now.

As a fan of both Fedora and KDE it gives me pleasure to say Fedora 15 with KDE 4.6.x is a great experience!

Over the past few months I haven't had a single crash or experienced any bugs with Fedora 15 and KDE 4.6.x. I am also particularly impressed with the fact that the latest (minor updates) versions of KDE are included in the standard update repositories.

With distributions such as Kubuntu and openSUSE you have to add an additional repository, which often works but on occasion as typically is the case with openSUSE you may end up with multiple dependency issues.

Performance wise, Fedora 15 with KDE feels noticeably nippier than Kubuntu 11.04 and hard to distinguish from openSUSE, a compliment to Fedora given their Kernel is not optimize for low latency like openSUSE and there is the additional overhead of SELinux.

Enabling restricted multimedia is also a breeze, my preferred method is to install the phonon vlc backend from the RPM Fusion repository.

So, once again I am impressed with Fedora but even more so with the Fedora-KDE team who have done a superb job.

 Fedora 15 and KDE 4.6.5 running harmoniously together!

Breaking news - Microsoft extends its interoperability agreement with SUSE

Well look on the bright side, at least there are plenty of alternatives to openSUSE / SUSE, Fedora being one of many!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Fedora 15 KDE 4.6.x - Install phonon-backend-vlc for better multimedia support

If you are a Fedora KDE user who wishes to have better multimedia support, use the VLC phonon-backend!

1. Install the RPM Fusion repos -

su -c 'yum localinstall --nogpgcheck'

2. Install phonon-backend-vlc

su -c 'yum install phonon-backend-vlc'

3. Remove the gstreamer backend

su -c 'yum erase phonon-backend-gstreamer'

4. Reboot

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Fedora and Gnome 3, Ubuntu and Unity, will openSUSE and KDE benefit?

Right now it seems like some of the top Linux distributions such as Fedora and Ubuntu are heading down a slippery slope.

Fedora 15 will be based on Gnome 3, it is still early days for the Gnome 3 project and over time I am confident it will get better but many (including myself) feel its not ready for use.

I believe the simplicity of Gnome 2.x is what made it a success, the main menu bar provided a quick and efficient method of accessing your applications / system settings. The ability to minimize to a panel also provided users with a quick and efficient method of accessing minimized programs and by its very nature visually indicated that a program has been minimized.

Gnome 3 on the other hand doesn’t really have a place to minimize applications to and should you use the gnome tweak tool to enable the minimize button to application windows, applications disappear (not minimize) to the activities tab leaving the user with no apparent visual indicator that an application has been banished (minimised) to the activities tab.

Accessing or viewing applications in Gnome 3 generally requires use of the activities tab where you can either browse through all your applications or search for an application. Unfortunately the Gnome 2.x method of using the main menu (a concept featured in all major operating systems) is still a quicker and more efficient method of accessing your applications. The search function works effectively, although it doesn't help if you don't know what you are searching for.

There is also space in the activities tab to place some of your favorite applications in a dock like fashion which will certainly mitigate some of the inefficiency caused by the method of browsing through or searching for applications, but some will always find it a slight annoyance since you have to invoke the activities tab to view it.

People moved away from the command line and into graphical user interfaces because it made doing things easier and quicker, the current implementation of Gnome 3 compared to Gnome 2.x therefore seems like a step in the wrong direction.

However, visually speaking Gnome 3 looks very modern and stylish.

With Fedora being a project that aims to lead the advancement of FOSS the decision to include bleeding edge software and the latest developments such as Gnome 3 is the right decision and inline with the project goals.

Fedora users will be familiar with the possibility that the latest and greatest can sometimes have a detrimental consequence and for many Gnome 3 is no exception. But the sad reality in this instance is for many Fedora users Gnome 3 is unworkable.

So what will these users do? 

I expect many to hop over to another distro that still features Gnome 2.x and come back at a later date providing Gnome 3 has improved. Alternatively, Fedora does have a few other spins but Fedora at heart has always been a Gnome distribution and the majority of its users Gnome users.

What about Ubuntu?

Taking a look at Ubuntu presents a similar situation. Canonical Ltd have recognized that Gnome 3 is not quite ready for the Ubuntu user base and their solution is Unity. Ubuntu 11.04 features the new Unity desktop from Canonical Ltd which is currently a mish mash of Gnome 2.x and Compiz.

Just like Gnome 3, some users like it and others hate it. Quite clearly Unity is not a finished product and I cannot understand why it was decided to make Unity the default desktop in Ubuntu 11.04.

Some users feel Unity is easy to use and if you rarely ever have to go beyond the dock that stands to follow but just like Gnome 3 it also lacks the application menu as featured in Gnome 2.x. A poor decision.

Instead you can view all applications by using the applications tab or the search function, this is the same as Gnome 3.

The simplicity Gnome 2.x provided Ubuntu users has been lost with Unity, the very simplicity that made Ubuntu easier to use.

Personally I think Unity for Ubuntu is a lost cause. There is nothing wrong with trying out new ideas and I give credit to Canonical Ltd for trying but those who are not good at using computers or those who find slick looking 3D GUI's complicated and hard to navigate will not appreciate Unity.

I feel Canonical Ltd have over looked how the simplicity of Gnome 2.x contributed to making Ubuntu easy to use.

So what now for Ubuntu and Fedora users?

If you are one of those users who likes to have the latest version of a distribution the future may be looking quite grim. It has been confirmed that Ubuntu 11.10 will not feature a classic Gnome 2.x interface and future versions of Fedora will have Gnome 3.

Looking ahead, Unity in Ubuntu 11.10 and Gnome 3 in Fedora 16 may be a completely different experience from what we are seeing right now but nothing is for certain. Therefore due to that uncertainty some users may go about looking for another distribution that doesn't use Gnome 3 or is not Ubuntu with Unity.

The quest for another distribution will inevitably spark interest in some of the other desktop environments available and speaking of desktop environments, is there anything worth mentioning over KDE 4.6.x?

Will openSUSE therefore benefit?

With the recent acquisition of Novell by Attachmate now complete, SUSE has been split away from Novell and will be established as its own corporate entity. A positive step in the right direction for SUSE and the openSUSE project.

Despite my own reasons for putting openSUSE behind me, it has the best implementation of KDE 4.6 (although I maintain the view if you have the time and patience, Gentoo with KDE is better) and a powerful system management application called YaST which makes administering your system easy (or at least in some instances that is the idea).

Since the release of KDE 4.6 things have been looking very good for KDE and given openSUSE is a strong KDE distribution with many KDE developers behind it, if you are looking for a solid and usable desktop environment KDE 4.6.x (in other words openSUSE 11.4) is a great choice.

The openSUSE project could do with more users, so if you are looking to try something different openSUSE is definitely worth considering.

Its funny how things can change in just a few months,  not so long ago I would have been quite happy to recommend Ubuntu or Fedora but with current developments this is no longer the case.

And not so long ago I was voicing my annoyance with openSUSE 11.4 but believe me, its nothing compared to Unity and Gnome 3.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Fedora 15 Beta and Gnome 3 - Looks nice, lacks functionality

Today I decided to download Fedora 15 Beta LiveCD and see how Gnome 3 is shaping out.

Here is the Desktop, looks like a typical Gnome panel although the date/time is in the middle. Not sure what was wrong with it being in the right corner.

To access programs you can click on the Activities button or press the Windows keyboard button. After a nice and quick transitional effect this will bring up the above screen, the icons on the left are your favorites, or in this case some predefined favorites.

The default Nouveau nvidia driver seems to be working rather well.

Clicking on the Applications tab shows all available programs which you can also view by category as listed on the right.

Once again, it looks very modern and stylish.

Firefox 4, notice the awful font rendering. This is a typical characteristic of Fedora which you can easily solve by using the rpmfusion repository. The GTK window has rounded top corners, a big X button to close the program but where are the minimize and fullscreen buttons?

At least there is some hope via the right-click context menu. But when you minimize a window there is no visual indicator to illustrate a window is minimized. Sounds bonkers?

If you want to access all your minimized windows you have to click on the Activities button.

All my minimized programs. Alternatively you can press alt-tab to cycle through minimized applications without going through the Activities interface but this obviously doesn't show you what programs have been minimized.

Wireless networks in the area, all encrypted. That's a shame...

To restart or shutdown you have to first log out, then choose restart/shutdown at the login screen.

Other Gnome 3 observations

Can't drag icons to the desktop, plugging a USB storage device does not show a desktop icon.

To unmount a USB storage device you have to launch the File Manager and then right click > safely remove.

Right click on the taskbar does nothing.

To switch desktops you have to use the Activities interface.

I think Gnome 3 is very promising. The 3D effects are not over the top, instead they are pleasant and give the system a modern feel. I like the overall appearance but as it is Gnome 3 still needs a bit of work.

Canonical Ltd are making the right decision with Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity. If they made Gnome 3 the default desktop there would be widespread annoyance among the majority of its users who simply want a desktop environment that is fit for purpose.

Unfortunately for Fedora users, the current state of Gnome 3 will more or less remain the same upon the final release of Fedora 15.

The beta release is the last important milestone of Fedora 15. Only critical bug fixes will be pushed as updates leading to the general release of Fedora 15 in May

And if you like your compiz effects, Gnome 3 is a no go.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Fedora 14 is a rock solid distribution

Just over 5 months old, Fedora 14 is still running on my desktop with zero issues and rock solid stability.

In the past few months Ubuntu 10.04/10.10, openSUSE 11.3/11.4 and Debian 6 have failed to deliver the same glitch free and nippy experience.

I doubt Fedora 15 will be the same, mainly due to Gnome 3 but perhaps by the time Fedora 16 is released (and Fedora 14 goes EOL) it may be. Or I could be wrong and Fedora 15 will be another rock.

Kudos to the Fedora Project!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

openSUSE 11.4 - not just disappointing but the final nail in the coffin!

So its out and already being labelled as the best openSUSE release ever. The same was said about 11.3 and every other previous release...

In terms of visual appearance the openSUSE team have done an excellent job, the new spash screen, desktop wallpaper and installer together have a very consistent and professional look. It gives the impression of a quality product.

Don't judge a book by its front cover!

These minor elements aside, I am disappointed with openSUSE 11.4.The previous release, 11.3 got a reputation for being the worst distribution for nvidia users and you would have thought they would not make the same mistake twice.

32-bit nvidia users, this is for you -

Monitoring the forums, there could even be a nasty surprise for AMD/ATi users. Other issues surfacing include problems resuming from suspend/hibernate, borked systems when using the upgrade feature and lack of sound.

In any event I am a 64-bit nvidia user so the 32-bit nvidia bug is of no relevance to myself but I am still disappointed with the performance of 11.4.

The boot speed is slower than 11.3 and KDE seems to have a long delay at start up making the system unresponsive. I have tested this on 3 different systems, all exhibit the same behaviour.

Adding a new Wi-Fi connection using knetworkmanager seems a bit buggy, logging out and back in KDE resolved this issue.

With concern to the system response, KDE 4.6 in 11.4 just doesn't feel as fast as it should be. Maybe I am being unfair when judging performance as a result of using KDE 4.6 in Gentoo but on the very same system the difference is a world apart.

Memory consumption in this release has also has taken a dive for the worse, its not as friendly as previous releases.

Maybe after a few updates 11.4 will become more refined but it hasnt been as polished as I was hoping for.

Its also quite interesting that they decided to ship 11.4 with a beta version of Firefox 4.

Personally I am struggling to think of a reason to use openSUSE 11.4. If you are a die hard KDE fan Gentoo will provide you with a blazing experience and whilst I have not tried Arch I am sure it will be better than openSUSE 11.4.

And if you are a GNOME fanatic, Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian provide a leaner and meaner experience.

Sure enough not everyone wants to spend the time setting up Gentoo / Arch but openSUSE comes with a lot of bloat and is the most bloated distribution I have used. Holding itself out to be a multipurpose distribution, you could say this is by design.

At the end of the day I am just an ordinary average desktop user looking for a Linux based operating system that will satisfy my simplistic needs. I was drawn to openSUSE because of KDE 3.5 and my great experience with version 10.3. Despite such a great experience I have never liked YaST, the idea of a central application to manage and administer the system is a great but its implementation (via YaST) seriously sucks. I can use YaST but I find the layout illogical. Its often a case of tab after tab, scroll here and scroll there.

Setting up a Samba server, modifying the firewall rules, managing a network card, it is all easier without YaST.

Since then I have never been completely satisfied with openSUSE and have spent a lot of time distrohopping back and forth between openSUSE and other distributions.

Well openSUSE 11.4 is the final nail in the coffin.

The reason I distrohop back and forth from openSUSE is because there is always something better. But if you are wondering why openSUSE in the first place, 10.3 was the distribution that changed my view of Linux. It opened my eyes and made me realize that Linux on the desktop was a perfectly viable and real option.

You could say I continued using it simply out of loyalty.

Unfortunately it is time to accept the fact that openSUSE is not for me.

If I want a GNOME distribution I will always pick Fedora. If I want to use KDE with the best user experience possible then Gentoo delivers. If I want to setup a dedicated samba server, FreeNAS. If I want a low maintenance distribution for a family member, Ubuntu.

And that's the end of that, the hammers down and the nails are in.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

How to compile a kernel from in Fedora 14

This quick guide will show you how to compile and install a kernel from in Fedora 14.


Open a terminal and work through the below list of commands. Modify where appropriate.

Install the following packages

su -c 'yum install rpmdevtools yum-utils gcc make ncurses-devel'

Setup your build environment


Download and extract your Kernel source

cd ~/rpmbuild/SOURCES


tar -xf linux-2.6.37.tar.gz

Configure and Compile it

cd linux-2.6.37

make menuconfig


time make rpm

General rule for concurrency level = number of processor cores + 1

Install it

cd ~/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64

su -c 'rpm -ivh --force kernel-2.6.37-1.x86_64.rpm'

cd /boot

su -c 'mkinitrd initramfs-2.6.37.img 2.6.37'

su -c 'vi grub/grub.conf'

Fedora 32-bit users replace x86_64 with i386

Edit your grub.conf file and add an entry for your new kernel. Just copy your first kernel entry and modify it.

Note: Please do not copy this grub.conf, it is for illustrative purposes only.

# grub.conf generated by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE:  You do not have a /boot partition.  This means that
#          all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /, eg.
#          root (hd0,0)
#          kernel /boot/vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/sda1
#          initrd /boot/initrd-[generic-]version.img

title Fedora (2.6.37)
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.37 ro root=UUID=162b11c2-d9a1-4487-86d5-6ade5c5ee055 rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_LVM rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UTF-8 SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 KEYTABLE=uk rhgb quiet
        initrd /boot/initramfs-2.6.37.img

title Fedora (
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /boot/vmlinuz- ro root=UUID=162b11c2-d9a1-4487-86d5-6ade5c5ee055 rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_LVM rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UTF-8 SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 KEYTABLE=uk rhgb quiet
        initrd /boot/initramfs-

title Fedora (
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /boot/vmlinuz- ro root=UUID=162b11c2-d9a1-4487-86d5-6ade5c5ee055 rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_LVM rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UTF-8 SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 KEYTABLE=uk rhgb quiet
        initrd /boot/initramfs-

title Other
        rootnoverify (hd0,4)
        chainloader +1

Boot from your new kernel

Restart your system and enjoy your new kernel.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Windows 7 fails to power down idle disks, Fedora 14 works

My PC has two Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB drives. The first disk contains Fedora 14 and the second disk has Windows 7.

When in Windows 7 I have no need for the Fedora 14 disk to be powered. Likewise, when in Fedora 14 I have no need for the Windows 7 disk to be powered.

So why not take advantage of power management and set idle disks to power off / spin down?

Great idea!

But this is where Windows 7 fails.

After a while Windows 7 will power down my idle (Fedora 14) disk but then it will randomly power the disk back up. This process would then repeat, an endless cycle of power down, power up, power down, power up....

Why does Windows 7 feel the need to poll my idle disk and wake it up?

Not only is this behaviour irritating but it undermines the idea of spinning down idle disks to save power.

Fedora 14 on the other hand spins down my idle (Windows 7) disk perfectly and does not randomly power the drive back up again unless I intentionally access the drive.

This therefore means with Linux I can have a greener PC and play an active part in saving the planet.

As measured with a mains power meter,  spinning down my idle disk reduced my PC's power consumption by an incredible 5 Watts.

Lower your carbon footprint and use Linux - the environmentally friendly operating system

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Fedora 14 - How to make Samsung Fn Brightness buttons work

If you own a Samsung R510 the most important feature that does not work in Fedora 14 are the brightness buttons. Ubuntu users are fortunate to have a repository that enables Fn functionality, please see

I will be using files provided by this repository to enable brightness control in Fedora 14 on my Samsung R510.

Please make sure your Fedora system is fully up to date before proceeding. If you are not sure open a terminal and run the following command,

su -c 'yum -y update'

If advised to reboot, please do.

Are you ready?

Open a terminal and type the following,

su -c 'yum install kernel-devel gcc'

This will download some required tools. Next, edit the 95-keyboard-force-release.rules file.

su -c 'nano /lib/udev/rules.d/95-keyboard-force-release.rules'

Look for the following line

ENV{DMI_VENDOR}=="[sS][aA][mM][sS][uU][nN][gG]*", ATTR{[dmi/id]product_name}=="*E252*|*N120*|*N128*|*N130*|*N140*|*N148/N208*|*N150*|*N150/N210/N220*|*N220*|*N308*|*N310*|*N510*|*NB30*|*NC10/N110*|*ND10*|*Q210/P210*|*R410P*|*R425/R525*|*R428/P428*|*R460*|*R463*|*R468/R418*|*R480/R431/R481*|*R509*|*R518*|*R519/R719*|*R520/R522/R620*|*R528/R728*|*R530/R730*|*R530/R730/P590*|*R560*|*R580*|*R580/R590*|*R59/R60/R61*|*R59P/R60P/R61P*|*R710*|*R720*|*R780/R778*|*SR58P*|*SR700*|*SR70S/SR71S*|*SX22S*|*X118*|*X120*|*X460*", RUN+=" $devpath samsung-other"

Add R510/P510 as highlighted

ENV{DMI_VENDOR}=="[sS][aA][mM][sS][uU][nN][gG]*", ATTR{[dmi/id]product_name}=="*R510/P510*|*E252*|*N120*|*N128*|*N130*|*N140*|*N148/N208*|*N150*|*N150/N210/N220*|*N220*|*N308*|*N310*|*N510*|*NB30*|*NC10/N110*|*ND10*|*Q210/P210*|*R410P*|*R425/R525*|*R428/P428*|*R460*|*R463*|*R468/R418*|*R480/R431/R481*|*R509*|*R518*|*R519/R719*|*R520/R522/R620*|*R528/R728*|*R530/R730*|*R530/R730/P590*|*R560*|*R580*|*R580/R590*|*R59/R60/R61*|*R59P/R60P/R61P*|*R710*|*R720*|*R780/R778*|*SR58P*|*SR700*|*SR70S/SR71S*|*SX22S*|*X118*|*X120*|*X460*", RUN+=" $devpath samsung-other"

Press 'Ctrl-X' to exit nano, followed by ''Y' to save the file.

Edit your kernel grub entry,

su -c 'nano /boot/grub/grub.conf'

and add the following, acpi_backlight=vendor as illustrated below.

# grub.conf generated by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE: You do not have a /boot partition. This means that
# all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /, eg.
# root (hd0,0)
# kernel /boot/vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/sda1
# initrd /boot/initrd-[generic-]version.img
title Fedora (
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz- acpi_backlight=vendor ro root=UUID=........... rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_LVM rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UTF-8 SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 KEYTABLE=uk rhgb quiet
initrd /boot/initramfs-
title Fedora (
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz- ro root=UUID=............ rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_LVM rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UTF-8 SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 KEYTABLE=uk rhgb quiet
initrd /boot/initramfs-
title Other
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
chainloader +1

Press 'Ctrl-X' to exit nano, followed by ''Y' to save the file.

Now we are going to download and compile the kernel module responsible for making the brightness buttons work.

mkdir samsung

cd samsung




This will compile the samsung-backlight kernel module. The next step is to copy the module to your kernel.

su -c 'cp samsung-backlight.ko /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/'

su -c 'depmod -a'

su -c 'modprobe samsung-backlight'

Reboot your laptop and try out the FN brightness buttons.

Note:  You will have to rebuild / insert the samsung-backlight kernel module every time your kernel is updated.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Car insurance renewal made easy with Linux

The boom in car insurance this year has meant my insurance premium is just over £200 up from the previous year but had I stayed with my current insurer the increase would have been over £300.

Moving from one insurance company to another often means sending proof of your no claims discount (NCD) and about a week after purchasing my new car insurance Aviva sent a request asking for such.

Although surprisingly Aviva gave me two options,

1. Send the proof of NCD by post, or

2. Email it

It is nice to see companies taking advantage of modern day technology and I decided to go for the modern approach and email it. (My printer was out of ink anyway)

This obviously means scanning my proof of NCD, a big problem with Windows 7 and Vista.

My scanner, a Canon CanoScan N650U is only supported in Windows XP which I no longer use. The scanner happens to be a good few years old but for occasional use works extremely well.

Linux however, fully supports my ageing old scanner. In the past I have used Xsane and Gimp until now.

I noticed a scanning application called Simple Scan in Fedora 14, curious to see how well it works I launched the program and immediately knew this program had my name on it. I like simple and this program really is simple.

Simple Scan, a no nonsense program

 Click on the scan button and that is it. The preferences (Document > Preferences) contain DPI settings.

What is really cool about Simple Scan is scanning as a Text file automatically saves the document as a PDF file, exactly what I wanted.

You can switch between scan modes by clicking on the little down arrow next to the scan button.

But but...this is even more interesting, viewing the about information.

Who says Canoncial doesn't submit anything upstream?

So Linux was able to save me money on printer ink, postage fees, a new scanner and scanning software. Overall making my car insurance renewal easy.

Windows 7, your PC simplified

Linux, your life simplified!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Fedora 14 (64-bit) - Install Flash Player "Square" (64-bit) in 4 easy steps

This quick easy 4 step process makes the assumption no prior Flash Player plugins have been installed.

Open a terminal and type the following commands,

cd Downloads


tar -xf flashplayer10_2_p3_64bit_linux_111710.tar.gz

su -c 'mv /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins'

Restart Firefox and experience Flash in 64-bit.

For more details concerning Flash Player "Square" visit,

I suggest bookmarking this page and keeping an eye out for updates.

16/12/2010 - Important email received from Adam.W Fedora QA Community Monkey

I recommend not installing the 64-bit Flash plugin for several reasons.


and the warnings at ,

and follow the instructions at to install the 32-bit version wrapped instead.

It is nice to see the fedora community (and a Red Hat employee) demonstrating an active interest in the users as well as the product.

Thank you for the email.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

How to install drivers in Fedora 14

Since I have been playing around with Fedora 14, I thought I would try and write a very newbie friendly guide on how to install the nvidia drivers from

You could always use the rpmfusion method but that's boring :-)

Are you ready?

Open a terminal and type,

su -c 'yum install gcc make kernel-devel'

This will install the necessary packages to compile the nvidia driver. Next we need to download the appropriate nvidia driver.

At the time of writing, 260.19.21 is the latest nvidia driver.

Fedora 64-bit users, type the following


Fedora 32-bit users, type the following


This will download the or file to your current directory.

Once the file has downloaded use nano (a simple text file editor) to edit the grub.conf

su -c 'nano /boot/grub/grub.conf'

Edit your first kernel entry and add the option 'nomodeset' and '3'

# grub.conf generated by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE: You do not have a /boot partition. This means that
# all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /, eg.
# root (hd0,1)
# kernel /boot/vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/sda2
# initrd /boot/initrd-[generic-]version.img
title Fedora (
root (hd0,1)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz- nomodeset 3 ro root=UUID=d18f27a8-5c8b-4f82-af72-75cc78ad3f27 rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_LVM rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UT$
initrd /boot/initramfs-
title Fedora (
root (hd0,1)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz- ro root=UUID=d18f27a8-5c8b-4f82-af72-75cc78ad3f27 rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_LVM rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UT$
initrd /boot/initramfs-
title Other
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
chainloader +1

Modify your grub.conf as illustrated above.

To exit nano and save the changes, press 'Ctrl-X' and answer yes by pressing 'Y', finally hit the enter button.

Now reboot your system.

Don't be alarmed that your system boots to a text login screen. The option '3' above is responsible for making the system boot to run level 3 as oppose to the default run level 5 which is a graphical login.

Login by typing your username and password.

Install the nvidia driver by typing,

Fedora 64-bit users

su -c 'sh -q -a'

Fedora 32-bit users

su -c ' -q -a'

After the installer has successfully completed, type

su -c 'nvidia-xconfig'

This will generate the xorg.conf file, don't worry if you see a warning message.

Finally, edit your grub.conf again and remove the option '3' from your kernel line.

su -c 'nano /boot/grub/grub.conf'

Do not remove the 'nomodeset' option, it is a requirement. Without it the nvidia driver will crash.

Below is a snippet of the full grub.conf as shown above with the '3' option omitted.

title Fedora (
root (hd0,1)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz- nomodeset ro root=UUID=d18f27a8-5c8b-4f82-af72-75cc78ad3f27 rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_LVM rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UT$

Delete the '3' option to make your kernel line entry resemble the above.

Exit nano, saving your changes.

Reboot your system.

su -c 'reboot'

The nvidia drivers will now be up and running after the reboot.

Important notice: 

If a system update installs a newer kernel, you must reinstall the nvidia kernel module.

Therefore before restarting your system after a kernel update, repeat the process of adding the option '3' to the first kernel line entry in your grub.conf as described above, then reboot.

After logging in type,

Fedora 64-bit users

su -c 'sh -K'

Fedora 32-bit users

su -c ' -K'

Once completed, remember to edit out the option '3' from your grub.conf

su -c 'reboot'

Enjoy Fedora 14.

Update 23/1/2011

If you wish to use newer drivers, substitute 260.19.21 with the newer driver version. For example 260.19.36
And if updating from an older driver version, remember to uninstall the older driver before installing the newer version, for example on a 64-bit system, boot into run level 3 and run su -c 'sh --uninstall'

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Fedora 14 - How to Improve the font rendering

If you want great font rendering in Fedora 14, follow these quick easy steps. Please note you will have to restart for the changes to take effect.

Enable the RPM Fusion repository,

Open a terminal and type

su -c 'yum localinstall --nogpgcheck'

Install the freetype-freeworld package

su -c 'yum install freetype-freeworld'

Goto System > Preferences > Appearance

Click for a bigger view

Select Subpixel Smoothing (LCDs), also click on the details button and make sure the hinting is on Full.

As you can see in the screenshot, I have changed the default fonts to the Liberation set. I think they look nicer.
For most web sites to look as they were intended, you will need to install the Microsoft True type fonts.

You can either try and compile the Microsoft fonts package from or download and install the rpm file I compiled earlier.

Open a terminal and type,


This will download the msttcore fonts package to your current directory. Install the msttcore package by typing,

su -c 'rpm -ivh msttcore-fonts-2.0-3.noarch.rpm'

The final part, reboot your system.

Revised on 15/12/2010, comments 1 & 2 affected

Friday, 5 November 2010

Fedora 14 - A very smooth release!

After trying Fedora 14 x86_64 I am quite impressed, it has to be the first Fedora release I have used that has worked without a single issue out of the box.

Furthermore the performance seems better than Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10. I have never viewed Fedora as something suitable as a main OS but given it is working far better than Ubuntu 10.x the temptation is hard to resist.

As an experiment I am using Fedora 14 exclusively on my Samsung R510 laptop and I am pleased to say the battery life puts Ubuntu to shame.

Something that I have always liked with Fedora is its simple feel and less bloat when compared to openSUSE and Ubuntu, this makes it perfect for my laptop which I only use to browse the internet and check my emails.

I haven't been following the Fedora Project much as of late but it seems like there has been a shift in their goals. Looking at their project home page (which is looking very slick) I see Fedora being portrayed as something for the casual user with an emphasis on stability.

Maybe they have realized if Fedora is more stable, more people will use it.

In any case Fedora 14 seems like a solid release and a job well done.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Fedora 13 - Still a Gnome Distribution

Fedora has a history of being a Gnome distribution although things have been changing with the release of KDE 4.x.

Click on any picture for a bigger view.

Fedora 13 with KDE 4.4.3 and Oxygen theme

In the past certain distributions were regarded as having better KDE integration, especially with KDE 3.5.x. OpenSUSE and Mandriva notably had a better KDE experience and were regarded as KDE distributions.

However with the introduction of KDE 4.x I feel things have changed. Looking at my Gentoo KDE desktop, I no longer see OpenSUSE as having an advantage or better KDE integration.

Unfortunately I can't say the same for Mandriva, their KDE 4.x desktop has been heavily customized to look more like KDE 3.5.x. Infact I feel they have ruined KDE 4.x with their customizations. Personally I have never been a Mandriva fan.

Yesterday I decided to download Fedora 13, I went for the Live KDE CD. I prefer KDE over Gnome due to the nicer appearance and additional features. My best feature with KDE is when you drag a file or icon to another location, a context menu appears giving you a variety of choices.

Gnome would either move or copy the file / icon, just like Windows.

Fedora's KDE 4.x seems very nice but is let down by the lack of a few polishing touches.

The logon KDM greeter looks really nice, the desktop looks just like any other KDE 4.x desktop but all is spoilt by some Gnome-ish icons, notification dialogues and graphical interfaces.

The icons

As you can see in the below screenshot, the inconsistency with the icons.

The horror!

Many applications that are related to system settings or administration in Fedora's KDE spin haven't been given a KDE equivalent. Hence the inconsistency and lack of a polished finish.

Gnome-ish dialogue

Next up is the notification dialogue when root access is required. For a minute I thought I was in Gnome.

Root access deserves better, give it KDE!

Gnome has invaded my KDE 4.x desktop, eek!

A system wide application

The next screenshot shows Fedora's (RedHat's) Network Configuration application.

Fedora's devs, you can do better than that!

The Network Configuration application is a system wide application to control your network devices in Fedora and is not exclusive to Fedora, it is a RedHat application.

Looking at it, clearly it is GTK based just like all other RedHat applications.

Overall the lack of a consistent feel and polished result means Fedora's KDE needs more work.

Other applications you can see in the KDE menu screenshot, SELinux, Service Management, Network Device Control, Bootloader Control, Firewall are all RedHat applications. You will also notice some of these and others in CentOS and RedHat Enterprise, they are core RedHat applications and based on GTK.

As it stands, Fedora is still a Gnome centric distribution like its paid / commercial counter part RedHat.

By the way, I changed the fonts to Liberation Sans as the default font in Fedora is pure ugly.

Why not change the default fonts to the Liberation set, which was developed by RedHat?

Perhaps one day Fedora will feature better KDE integration but I have my doubts. All of the core RedHat applications are based on GTK for the obvious reason that RedHat is a Gnome based distribution.

To further explain why I have doubts a few points need to be stated.

Fedora is a RedHat sponsored project.

Fedora is based on the latest and greatest software packages and innovations.

New features in Fedora are incorporated into future RedHat Enterprise releases.

Bearing in mind all of the above, my view is Fedora is simply a development platform for RedHat to try out the latest and greatest. They use it to improve their commercial flagship product which is Gnome orientated.

Additionally any bug fixes, security fixes and enhancements are pushed upstream so overall everyone benefits, RedHat is a big contributor to Linux.

However I do not see any reason for RedHat to tweak their core applications and make it look nicer in KDE.

It is not in their interest unless they wish to release a RedHat Enterprise KDE spin with a professional polished appearance and feel.

As a desktop user I like having a good looking operating system with a polished feel and Fedora with KDE doesn't deliver.

Also bearing in mind the bleeding edge characteristic of Fedora and stability issues which I have encountered in the past, I would not use Fedora or recommend it for desktop use anyway. It is more geared towards developers, Linux enthusiasts, those interested in experiencing some of the latest innovations and those who wish to contribute and file bug reports.

If you are looking for a stable alternative to Windows, Fedora should not be on your list.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Fedora 12 – Improving the awful font rendering

Fedora 14 Users look here -

If you have compared Fedora to other distributions you may have observed the default font rendering in Fedora is quite horrible.

Below is a screen shot of a default Fedora 12 desktop. The fonts seem blurred and bold.

By default Fedora has three main issues when it comes to fonts.

1. The default font used and font rendering is awful.

2. It lacks the true type fonts required by many websites. As a result web pages look wrong / not nice.

3. The bytecode interpreter (patent bit of code) required to make true type fonts look nice is missing.

The good news is all of the above can easily be fixed by changing the default font rendering, installing the missing true type fonts and installing the bytecode interpreter.

Changing the default font rendering

Navigate to System > Preferences > Appearance

The following window will appear.

I found ‘Subpixel smoothing (LCDs)’ was the best option but that is my personal view. Use what you think looks good.

Since I do not like the default fonts I change them to the Liberation fonts which are included in Fedora.

The result of these changes can be seen in the above screen shot. Compare this to the very first screen shot at the beginning of this article or look at the difference on your system.

What do you think, better or worse?

Installing the True Type fonts

I simply copy all the true type fonts from a Windows system to a USB memory stick and then to the /usr/share/fonts/ directory.

Optimal use of True Type fonts, installing the Bytecode interpreter

You will need to enable the RPM Fusion repository on your system. Refer to

Now using the terminal type / paste the following,

su –c ‘yum install freetype-freeworld’

Close the terminal and reboot your system.

Browsing web sites with Firefox should now look nicer as you have all the required fonts and the bytecode interpreter enabled.

Or if your University requires all assignments to be written with Arial font, you now have that option in OpenOffice.