Monday, October 13, 2008

Fedora 9, Sulphur

After using Open Solaris for more than a year, I have switched back to Fedora once again. I was using Solaris, as it was compatible with the version of Solaris that we used in University of Calcutta. However, after my second year was over, I had no good reasons to stick to it. In any case, I did not use Solaris's USP features of D-Trace and ZFS in day to day work. So I finally decided to switch back to Fedora.

Although I did not use it, I had Fedora 8 installed on my machine. I installed the latest Fedora release, Fedora 9 Sulphur in that place. I know its pretty late talking about Fedora 9, as its sibling Fedora 10 is about to launch in another two months, but having used Fedora 7 Moonshine last, I was in for a few surprises.

Network Manager

If I remember correctly, Network manager was there in Fedora 5 or Fedora 6, but was not activated by default. In later releases it was dropped altogether. However, it has resurfaced in Sulphur. Placed in the top left corner of the Gnome panel, it is a very effective piece of software which let me use my ADSL connection right out of the box. One of the most daunting tasks with Linux, was to get my ADSL connection to work with it. This was a pleasant surprise. I am sure it will continue to retain its place in future releases too.

Security Enhanced Linux

It was customary in the first boot of Fedora to be confronted with a SELinux screen, which most users disabled without a second thought. This time, this screen has been removed and I think is one of the smartest move in Fedora's part.

GCC v4.3

Fedora 9 ships with GCC 4.3. This causes some applications which were compiled with an older GCC to fail. So make sure you have the compatibility libraries. Just type "yum -y install compat-libstdc++-33 compat-libstdc++-296" in a terminal, when logged in as root.

Flash Plugin in x86_64

If you are using the 64 bit version of Sulphur like me, then installing the flash plugin for your browser is a bit complicated. Here are the detailed step by step instructions for it. Ensure that you are logged in as root (do not sudo) and can connect to internet. Type the following in the terminal:

  1. rpm -ivh
  2. rpm --import /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-adobe-linux
  3. mkdir -p /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins
  4. yum install nspluginwrapper.{i386,x86_64}
  5. yum install pulseaudio-libs.i386
  6. yum install libflashsupport.i386
  7. yum install flash-plugin
  8. mozilla-plugin-config -i -g -v

It took me quite sometime to figure this out. I hope this will be fixed in Fedora 10 Cambridge. But for now, you have to undergo this tedious process. If anyone knows a shorter process, please post a comment.

Further Softwares

On top of the usual packages that came through DVD, I also installed the following:

  • Adobe Acrobat 8 for reading PDF, as the default PDF reader lacks many features
  • VLC Media Player
  • mPlayer
  • MP3 plugins from the Livna repository
  • Firefox (updated the beta version) and a few plugins
  • Azureus
  • Applied all the recommended security patches

I also installed the following which are required for programming purposes:

  • Anjuta
  • gProlog

What's next?

I do not think I need to do any further major tweaking to Sulphur. I am looking forward to the release of Fedora 10 Cambridge at the end of November this year. Presently the beta version of Cambridge is available for download and I recommend everybody to try it out using the live media so that the installation can be avoided.


  1. NetworkManager is primarily developed by Fedora developers and it was never dropped from the repository after being introduced. From Fedora 7 onwards, it has been the default for the live cd installations. Fedora 9 however is the first release when it gets enabled for the regular installation as well. This is because we were waiting for static networking support in NM. Fedora 10 will also use NM for the installation as well.

    The details on Flash plugin is already mentioned in the release notes.

    I am not sure what features you are missing in Evince, the default document reader but you could file request for enhancements in GNOME or Red Hat bugzilla for that. It is also being developed by folks from Fedora so more feedback would be a great thing.

    Keep the feedback coming. Thanks for the review

    Rahul, Fedora project contributor.

  2. Thanks to "rahulsundaram" for his comments. I did not know that Networkmanager was there in the live CD installations.

    The details of the Flash plugin is there at I am sorry for having overlooked it.

    The feedback as always will be coming :)


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