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Filed under: General — Thomas @ 11:56 pm

2006-3-19
11:56 pm

I’ve been running Fedora Core 5 over the weekend and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I installed it on my new laptop hard drive (100 GB, 7200 RPM, Hitachi Travelstar), which happened to arrive last week. The multimedia stuff worked out of the box, and it is soooo very nice to have Fedora Extras to install even before the official launch. Most of the times, when jumping to the next Fedora before it is released, it’s kind of like doing a lunar landing and consequent terraforming – lots of stuff needs to be added to the core install before it starts feeling like home again.

With Fedora Extras churning over the past month to be ready for FC5′s release, most packages are completely ready to be installed. A big help – so thanks to all of you who made Fedora Extras into what it is today!

Mach worked pretty well anyway on the last few development installs I did, and I spent some time the last few days reorganizing the GStreamer repository and rebuilding packages. I’ve put up a new download page specifically for FC5 because I wanted to reorganize the repository to A) split up the 0.8 versus 0.10 packages and B) refocus the layout on a yum-friendly one, and putting i386, SRPMS and x86_64 on the same level.

If you were using the repository, be aware that you need to follow the new instructions to jump ship to FC5.

It was nice to see that, contrary to FC4 where there still were some small buglets here and there, the out-of-the-box experience for media stuff was a lot better this time around. GStreamer 0.10 really is a lot more stable when it comes to playback of video, and the seeking feels even slightly faster than MPlayer’s. After installing all of the “questionable” codec packages, it was thumbnailing my media files (which includes 3gp stuff as well) happily.

As for FC5 itself, happy to see that NetworkManager finally works ok for me! I had given Dan some feedback after my last try, and the actual reason for all of my problems was the fact that none of the developers actually run with SELinux enabled. I’m sure I’ve ranted about this before, but really – if you’re a Red Hat developer, you should be running with SELinux enabled, because that’s what you’ve set the default to. Period. If you leave it up to your users to experience mysterious crashes and unexplicable behaviour, and afterwards it turns out you never ran with the defaults of your distro, it just looks bad.

But this time around, kudos to Dan and Christopher – when it works, it *is* nice. It’d be nice to be able to plug in some scripts if you’re on a known good network – I have snippets of /etc/hosts files and known_hosts things and yum repo files and stuff that I keep copying around between my home environment and work environment.

I was excited to try out beagle, and for the most part it works. Too bad that after a while it eats into my memory (top claims 20% on a 512 MB machine, with 1 GB swap), and the second day it was using 100% CPU. I’ve been using it on and off as I was looking for files.

I’ve also forced myself to finally switch to Firefox, just because it’s the default. I am missing some of epiphany’s nicer features. I had a few entry boxes where I could enter bug numbers, and I can’t find a way to do that in Firefox. I found an equivalent that allows me to type for example “bgo 432892″ in the location bar and that takes me to bugzilla.gnome.org to the relevant bug, so that’s close enough for now.

On the other hand, I had two small problems with epiphany that I was so frustrated and embarassed about that I never ended up filing bug reports for them. One was that dialog boxes popped up on some random workspace and weren’t brought to the front of where I was, leading me to believe that there was something wrong with the site. The other one was that for some reason all authentication dialog boxes (which, you know, only contain two or three lines to fill in your username and password, plus some buttons) took up more than the 1024×768 pixels my screen is set at. In other words, I saw a lot of grey, a little bit of text, and no way to resize them except for alt-clickdragging, then dragging the edges. And somehow it did this *every time*. I can’t even make up a plausible theory for where epiphany would be storing these settings, and I was so frustrated at my own embarassment every time this happened (and remember, this dialog box was then on some other page), thinking the net was broken again, that I just gave up for now. Firefox doesn’t feel homey yet, but we’ll see how it goes. But really, in general – all mozilla-based browsers are such resource hogs. 75% of my memory is typically taken by three apps – a browser, evolution, and now beagled. The browser most of the time comes out on top. I regularly close my browser completely to reclaim memory, because closing-all-but-one-tab hardly gives back anything. But enough complaining.

All in all, an exciting release – I wonder how it will be received.

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