Saturday, January 05, 2008

Problems with Fedora install

I'll just go quickly through some of the many problem I had in getting Fedora 8 into a reasonable working state on the MacBook.

1. First tried to boot from the version of F7 (set up for Dell desktop) to the MacBook. It booted fine but with quite a few errors which didn't really affect its performance.
2. The upgraded to F8 using little more than "yum upgrade". This went fine without errors but took a long time. Downloading for more than 2 hours and then installing for almost that again.
After changing the /boot/grub/menu.lst on Ubuntu and putting the new vmlinuz and initrd.img into the folder on Ubuntu root partition, this booted fine. There were however some problems:
3. Problems included:
3.1 Couldn't get screen resolution to go to 1280x800 either by changing /etc/X11/xorg.conf or by system-config-display.
3.2 Compiz fusion showed many dependency errors when I tried to install the 6.99 version of CF
4. So, I decided to do a clean install from DVD (both / and /home) and this went fine. This time no problem with either of the above two difficulties.
5. As usual I installed Yakuake (from repo). Although it installed fine, no command prompt was available on the terminal page. (I had seen the same thing before in Zenwalk, which miraculously cured itself without me knowing why). Could find few, if any, useful references to this problem in googling around. Finally, when installing CF 6.99, one of the dependencies was kdebase. It seems, although I can't be fully sure this was the reason, that immediately after this, Yakuake started working perfectly.
6. Eventually got wireless working in F8. Principally, I downloaded three files from the madwifi site. Can't remember exactly what they were but they were something like this:
i) madwifi
ii) madwifi-kdml- -9.3.3
iii) madwifi-hal-kdml-2.6.23.....
Note that I couldn't match the architecture; so the first file was i386 and the other two were i686.
However, didn't seem to make a difference as after a few reboots, ath0 showed up as active in Network Configuration. Still couldn't get it to connect however.
So, then I went through all the steps that I had used before to get these things started; particularly a) all the madwifi steps i.e. modprobe ath_pci, iwconfig, wconfig ath0 essid "essidname" etc etc. Then, I took out the ethernet cable and rebooted and I had a wireless connection.
Note that for iwconfig or modprobe to work you MUST run "su -", not just "su" as the first has something to do with what paths are used to get to the desired command.
Another strange thing was that NetworkManager doesn't seem to work well in Fedora 8. When I had a connection (through Network Configuration) and then started nm-applet, I lost the connection and just could NOT get it back no matter how many times I typed in the WEP key.
So, I tried the wicd manager and this at least works. However, it doesn't seem to manage in the same manner as NetworkManager in that it seems to just accept what connection is already there and then just displays an icon with available connections which it will allow you to configure and change connection -- but all manually. It doesn't seem to be possible to just plug in the ethernet cable and get the wired to immediately take over from the wireless as happens with nm-applet. Nvertheless, it's a hell of a lot better than nothing.
7. Had a problem where the Software Updater stopped working and just gave an error message and shut down. How to fix this, which is very easy, is explained here.
8. Had a problem where I couldn't install nonfree extras for Amarok to get it to play .mp3 and .wma files. However, solved this as detailed here. Have to say however, that I'm still not 100% aufait with the repository control thing here in Fedora. Seems quite a bit more complicated than in Ubuntu.

Other than that F8 is working quite reasonably, although I really haven't seen tht it has any advantages over Ubuntu and quiete a few disadvantages.

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