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Upgrading to F11

Filed under: Fedora,Hacking — Thomas @ 15:44


I managed to completely skip updating to F10. All my machines (work desktop, home desktop, laptop, media center) where running F9 without any real problems I worried about.

But of course I was curious. And, especially with the move to python 2.6, things I care about where bound to break.

So, last weekend I took the plunge, and after little over a week here are my first impressions:

  • Overall F11 looks slick. Nice work on the artwork! I particularly liked the GDM background, looking like an ancient brushed metal object, reminding me of how I used to love playing Gods by the Bitmap Brothers.
  • Apparently anaconda now has bugzilla integration, allowing you to file a bug directly from inside anaconda. Luckily for Jeremy (who I assume still maintains it) it has some code in there to look for existing bug entries with the same backtrace. Very nice!
  • Of course, I wouldn't have found out if I hadn't run into exceptions in anaconda. I ran into while setting up two completely new hard disks with 2 software raid partition and LVM on the second one.
  • I first installed my work desktop, as usual putting the new installation on a separate partition, keeping my old one around in case the install goes wrong or F11 just isn't stable enough for me. For me, that involves having a /mnt/alpha and /mt/omega partition between which I alternate. At some point I should figure out if other people do this too and if it makes sense for anaconda to support something like this and at least allow me to keep my GRUB configuration for the older installation. For now I do this manually, using a hugeupgrade text file I follow each time I upgrade, accumulating more and more steps each time I perform the procedure.
  • On my home machine, when I booted into F11, as usual my second monitor didn't work (I have a Radeon GeCube Pro 2400). My own fault really - I should have tried to get a patch upstream into the default radeon driver the same way I sent a patch for the radeonhd driver that I still use. A rebuild later, I at least had the old radeonhd driver rebuilt to get my second screen working again.
  • Having the second screen now made me change my mind completely about the GDM wallpaper. That lion on the right hand side that I didn't see before completely ruins the style for me. Sorry!
  • Upon logging in to the work desktop, I had no network. Completely puzzled as to why, until I figured out that I had to actually right-click on NetworkManager's tray icon, choose to configure, and activate eth0 by default. After some browsing it seems that this was a deliberate choice to increase security. While I can possibly sympathize with the motivation for doing so, it really is terrible to change this by default and not provide *any* indication during or after installation. At the very least, the following things could have been done:
    1. provide a clear notice during installation, and allow a user to choose to enable it anyway, assuming the security risk
    2. the same, but during firstboot
    3. after logging in, having the network manager tooltip say 'the network is disabled by default in this new release, here's how you enable it

    I am not entirely sure what the security problems are with enabling the network after installation. The default firewall is pretty locked down, SELinux is enabled by default, and there's no way I can install updates without the network anyway. But I'm sure that I could find huge bikeshedding threads on fedora-devel about this if I really cared why this was decided.

  • Upon logging in to the home desktop, I was greeted with a tooltip saying that one of my drives was going bad. That was a nice touch! Really good idea to have something like that be monitored by default. This prompted me to ponder to finally replace my desktop's 250 GB PATA drives with real SATA drives - a story for another post.
  • Various deprecation warnings pop up running various Python programs, including my own. Flumotion needed a patch for running against 2.6 (I rebuilt and pushed to F11). So I have some cleanup ahead, and I should revisit pychecker soon.
  • The first piece of functionality I checked was Evolution's Google Calendar integration. It still seems a bit shaky, given that I had to restart Evolution a few times as it froze doing stuff with the net, but it does seem to work. That means I will finally be able to accept work invitations done through Outlook and get them on my Google Calendar! Awesome. Now if only I didn't have to manually configure each of the ten calendars I'm interested in...
  • At work, when I played a video using XVideo, my machine instantly froze. Seems to be a known bug. The intel drivers are being rewritten. I've never quite understood why rewriting is an excuse for breaking stuff that worked (I should check if Firewire video finally works reliably now when I have the chance, for example), but all in the name of progress I guess.
  • I don't know why it's happening, but once in a while my screens blank. Even in the middle of doing stuff. If I were a gamer I'd be hugely annoyed as my character would be shot through the head in that split instant. The closest bug I can find is this one, where I commented. Hugely annoying bug because I don event know how to begin debugging a bug like this that I can't catch in the act.
  • PulseAudio integration in GDM seems a bit fragile. I have my pulseaudio configured to send audio to my media center pulseaudio server. Sometimes, after choosing a username in GDM, it doesn't manage to play the audio sample related to that action, and then GDM is stuck there not showing me the password entry dialog. Pretty sure it's due to blocking on pulseaudio, because when I kill it the password dialog appears. Pretty painful bug for new users though.

All in all, not a bad first week experience, and seems like a solid release. Now, off to rebuild bits and pieces, and clean up Python 2.6 deprecation warnings...


  1. I loved Gods too. I had 3 copies of the binary on floppy, ditto and hard disk and when I went to look for it recently all 3 had gone to the bit bucket in the sky. Thanks for this info on F11. xv does work for me on my 915GM however I did notice compiz to be very slow compared to F8 (lucky I don’t use compiz :)). I detailed my F11 notes here: http://www.pixelbeat.org/docs/f11.html

    Comment by Pádraig Brady — 2009-06-24 @ 16:56

  2. […] I want to talk about a blog post by a developer on Flumotion and GStreamer, and a Fedora user.  In other words: Someone who really […]

    Pingback by Lunduke.com » Fedora 11: Not even remotely ready for usage. — 2009-06-24 @ 17:06

  3. About the screen going blank at random: http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=580570

    Comment by Frederik — 2009-06-24 @ 19:47

  4. Is great that Flumotion is being ported to python 2.6. I’m going to update my repos to see if I can finally use it on my Ubuntu machine.

    Comment by Manuel Cerón — 2009-06-25 @ 02:12

  5. Sorry, but not being able to login because the sound server is not processing sounds is just plainly retarded. Not ‘fragile’, completely retarded.

    Comment by me — 2009-06-25 @ 09:14

  6. How can you say it’s a solid release when the screens blank, you cannot play video and you have problems playing audio too?
    Completely retarded, I agree.

    Comment by Alex — 2009-06-25 @ 14:35

  7. I really hope you were being sarcastic when you said “solid release” when you had that many problems….

    Comment by King InuYasha — 2009-06-29 @ 14:42

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