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Fedora 11 (Shape of things to come?)

Posted: 2009/02/06 14:09:35
by scottro
As Fedora is considered a testing ground for a certain Prominent North American Vendor, one wonders how much of Fedora's changes will show up in CentOS 6.

Fedora's project page speaks of their cutting edge philosophy. Much of it seems aimed more at the desktop user rather than the sysadmin, and if some of these changes make it into said Prominent Vendor's (henceforth referred to as PV) next major release, many sysadmins, as well as desktop users might find themselves displeased. While there are many advances, especially in regards to hardware support, like other desktop distributions, much of the work seems aimed at the person fleeing MS or Apple.

The new graphical boot is Plymouth. Boot time is faster, however, Plymouth, at present, only works with a few cards and the majority of users will only see a black screen and blue and white progress bar. This can be fixed by adding various vesa=0xsomething to grub. In theory, one can see the boot messages by hitting the escape key, but my experience has been that you won't see any messages prior to beginning of the interactive startup. One can simply remove the rhgb quiet words from the grub line and then one gets the textbased bootup. If one does use Plymouth and adds the 0x318 or whatever line, you see an attractive graphic, but like Windows, OS X and Ubuntu, there will be no information about the process, only a nice graphic.

EXT4 will be the default system as as F11. At present, the included version of grub won't boot it, so one needs a separate /boot partition. (If doing custom partitioning, and choosing ext4, one will get an error that it can't be installed if you don't put in the /boot partition. I don't recollect if the error message tells you that a /boot partition is necessary or if it just says this scheme won't work.)

Root login from gdm has been disabled. Root login has NOT been disabled, but you can no longer accept all defaults and log into a Gnome gui as root. (Not necessarily a bad thing.)
As of F11, ctl+alt+backspace has been disabled by default. This can be fixed by adding a line to /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Oh wait. There is no more xorg.conf by default either. One has to install system-config-display to create it.

NetworkManager, rather than network, will be the default management system. It's still a bit buggy (for instance, in F10, the version supplied with the ISOs wouldn't allow a static address, though this was fixed in the next update.) You can set a static address during installation, if, for example, using NFS, HTTP and the like (or using kickstart with any method) but upon first boot, your settings will be gone. That particular bug is minor, easily fixed, and should be gone in F11. The part that might suprise sysadmins if it makes it into the PV's release is that now NM is the default.

For desktop users, there are more surprises. Pirut is gone, replaced by PackageKit. I haven't used it, tending to stick with yum, but it's apparently still lacking features. There is a package kit daemon started by default.

Pulseaudio is the new default sound system. It works pretty well if one sticks with defaults, but Fedora tied sound in with consolekit back in November of 2007. At first, it simply broke sound for all nonroot
users, now, it only breaks sound for those using X but not using Gnome, KDE or XFCE. From what I understand, a read of the pulseaudio docs will allow you to set it so it works system wide, but being relatively lazy, I found a different solution back when they first broke sound, which takes me about 30 seconds to implement (editing /etc/security/console.perms.d/50-defaults or some similar name. One does see on the Fedora forums that there are still many problems, even for those accepting defaults, with pulse-audio, and many people simply remove it.

The old system of labeling disks (this is a Linux thing, AFAIK, not just Fedora--the Debian derivatives seem to be using it too) by long numerical UUID's. This is fine, and I believe that there are some advantages to it, but it makes a bit more difficult to share a swap partition for multiboot machines, as each installation will give the swap partition its own UUID, and then the other distributions can't mount it. The easy workaround, if one is running a multiboot desktop or laptop is to, in each installation, change the UUID to /dev/sdX.

So, PV's next release might hold some surprises for both sysadmins and desktop users. At present, no seems to know what will and won't make it into the release. It does seem that some of the changes will certainly annoy sysadmin types. Unfortunately, as the cutting edge idea seems aimed at the desktop user, blowfish is still not available. (There was a bugzilla feature request but it was closed as the developer felt the issue was solved by making sha512 the default.)

One does wonder, especially with some of the things aimed so much at the inexperienced desktop user, how this will affect the typical PV user, especially as PV is aimed at the enterprise, which implies the sysadmin oriented user.

Re: Fedora 11 (Shape of things to come?)

Posted: 2009/02/06 14:47:51
by pjwelsh
Nice heads up on the (alpha) F11. I was going wait for a bit before trying, but now may want to jump in to play.

Thank you for the report!

Re: Fedora 11 (Shape of things to come?)

Posted: 2009/02/06 22:55:58
by scottro
I should add that after some conversation on the Fedora mailing list, it turns out that this turning off of ctl+alt+backspace is an upstream, i.e., xorg decision.

You're quite welcome. It seems Ok so far, but that's probably because I'm used to fixing its mistakes by now. :)

Re: Fedora 11 (Shape of things to come?)

Posted: 2009/02/06 23:35:32
by toracat
Very informative indeed. As I'm probably not going to test it myself, please keep us informed of the progress in the Fedora world.

Re: Fedora 11 (Shape of things to come?)

Posted: 2009/02/07 01:54:44
by scottro
I haven't had enough chance to play with it yet to know if they've fixed some of the major bugs of F10. For example, the little issue, that was known but not considered a show stopper, that it wouldn't boot if installed on SCSI drives.

I think that was fixed in updates, but the available install ISOs still have it.

Some people's kids..... (grow up and work for Fedora) :-)

Re: Fedora 11 (Shape of things to come?)

Posted: 2009/02/07 13:25:31
by AlanBartlett
[quote]Some people's kids..... (grow up and work for Fedora) :-) [/quote]
And I assume, if they are turned down by the [i]Fedora project[/i], they go off and create buggy software for [i]M$[/i]? :-D

Re: Fedora 11 (Shape of things to come?)

Posted: 2009/02/07 14:36:29
by scottro
A friend, and oldtime programmer, made the comment that developers today don't seem to follow sound principles. He commented that if hardware engineers, e.g., people who build bridges, followed he same principle, it might be interesting.

I can see it now. "I drove my car over your bridge and it collapsed."

"Didn't you read the release notes? It said that any car made by Toyota is incompatible with this bridge."
"Errrm, don't you think it might be helpful to put a warning on the bridge?"
"Stop wasting my time, you n3wb! The information is out there. GIYF. You have to google before you drive over a new bridge. Sheesh."
"Errm, where were these release notes? Were they included with my car?"
"You want EVERYTHING SPOONFED!!!??? Google for bridge 45732r4kHsdfoert and it's right there!"
"Should I file a bug report?"

Goes to bridge bugzilla.
Bug priority serious. Toyota can't drive on this bridge
Bug closed, duplicate of (insert 30 other bug numbers here)
After 10 tries on slow site, find one that isn't closed as duplicate
Developer: I don't consider this a bug, just don't drive Toyotas, you should drive another model
Comment: Warning should be placed on the bridge, at least
Developer: Not necessary, it's here
Comment: Not everyone driving Toyotas will find this bug. This bugzilla is a bit slow and difficult to navigate
Developer: Only for people who shouldn't drive. Bug closed

After another 5 tries, find another with comments
Comment: This is a serious bug that can really affect many many people. Don't you think it's a show stopper?
Developer: We're not holding back this release for something that is only going to affect a minority of users.
Comment: However, there's no mention on the main page, and many people drive Toyotas. The last version worked with Toyotas.
Developer: People always complain when there are advancements. There are a lot of improvements in this release for people with Rolls Royce's.
Comment: Only a small minority of people will gain a small benefit and this will damage the car of a wide number of users.
Developer: We're not considering it a show stopper, sorry. Bug closed

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Whimsically yours,

Re: Fedora 11 (Shape of things to come?)

Posted: 2009/02/07 15:53:05
by toracat
Hmm.. the release notes didn't say anything about Honda that I drive.

Re: Fedora 11 (Shape of things to come?)

Posted: 2009/02/07 16:02:47
by scottro
Well, if it doesn't make it over the bridge, they'll tell you that you should have realized it's similar enough to the Toyota that it might be affected. : )

I should also quickly emphasize that this only applies in some cases. There are other cases where developers are extremely helpful, despite being busy, and will give you far more of their time and energy than deserved. There are some who are so in love with their programs that it must be your fault, but there are many others who are so in love with their programs that they want to work with you so that it works for you.

That goes for Fedora and any of the other large distributions. (With the smaller distributions, the developers always tend to be nice--they're glad you're using their brainchild--plus, as it will be a smaller group of people using it, they have more time to devote, as well as usually attracting a group that is more likely to have done the preliminary groundwork themselves. In contrast, the huge distributions, e.g., Fedora, Ubuntu, etc., will probably get hundreds, if not thousands, of bug reports like, i just bought a new laptop and wireless doesn't work, plz hlp, thx.

Re: Fedora 11 (Shape of things to come?)

Posted: 2009/02/07 17:11:38
by toracat
scottro wrote:

With the smaller distributions, the developers always tend to be nice--they're glad you're using their brainchild--plus, as it will be a smaller group of people using it, they have more time to devote, as well as usually attracting a group that is more likely to have done the preliminary groundwork themselves.[/quote]
I almost thought you were describing Scientific Linux - a cousin product of CentOS (in the sense it is also an RHEL clone). It is small, there is no forum, no bug report site, only the mailing list. But the developers are always so nice and extremely helpful (no, I'm not saying CentOS developers are not helpful). It just does not suffer from those issues described by Scott that are typically found in larger distributions.