The Perfect Desktop - Fedora 10 (GNOME)

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
Last edited 12/03/2008

This tutorial shows how you can set up a Fedora 10 desktop (GNOME) that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

 

1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the Fedora 10 desktop to have the following software installed:

Graphics:

  • The GIMP - free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • F-Spot - full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop
  • Google Picasa - application for organizing and editing digital photos

Internet:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 9
  • FileZilla - multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird - email and news client
  • Evolution - combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • aMule - P2P file sharing application
  • Azureus/Vuze - Java Bittorrent client
  • Transmission BitTorrent client
  • Pidgin- multi-platform instant messaging client (formerly known as Gaim)
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC - IRC client

Office:

  • OpenOffice Writer - replacement for Microsoft Word
  • OpenOffice Calc - replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • Adobe Reader
  • GnuCash - double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus - open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

  • Amarok - audio player
  • Audacity - free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Banshee - audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • MPlayer - media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • Rhythmbox Music Player - audio player, similar to Apple's iTunes, with support for iPods
  • gtkPod - software similar to Apple's iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
  • XMMS - audio player similar to Winamp
  • dvd::rip - full featured DVD copy program
  • Kino - free digital video editor
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor - CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • VLC Media Player - media player (video/audio)
  • Real Player
  • Totem - media player (video/audio)
  • Xine - media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
  • Brasero - CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B - CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:

  • Kompozer - WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)
  • Bluefish - text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages
  • Quanta Plus - web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor

Other:

  • VMware Server - lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don't have to entirely abandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

You might notice that I'm installing lots of similar applications here (e.g. two browsers and two email clients, multiple audio players, etc.) - this is just a choice. Of course you are free to install just the apps that you really need - just leave out the other ones.

I will use the GNOME desktop in rhis article.

I will use the username falko in this tutorial, and I will download all necessary files to falko's download which is equivalent to the directory /home/falko/Download. If you use another username (which you most probably do ;-)), please replace falko with your own username. So when I use a command like

cd /home/falko/Download

you must replace falko.

 

2 Installing The Base System

Download the Fedora 10 Live GNOME iso image from http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora (e.g. http://download.fedoraproject.org/pub/fedora/linux/releases/10/Live/i686/F10-i686-Live.iso), burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. It will boot into a live Fedora 10 desktop that you can use to test how Fedora 10 works on your system. At the login prompt, select Automatic Login:

This is how the live desktop looks. You can now play around with it if you like. If you are sure that you want to install Fedora 10 on your hard drive, click on Install to Hard Drive:

The Fedora Installer starts. Click on Next:

Select your keyboard layout:

You can leave the hostname as is and click on Next:

Select your time zone:

Type in a root password (twice to verify it):

Select Yes when asked Would you like to initialize this drive, erasing ALL DATA?:

The default partitioning is ok, so you can hit Next:

Confirm by clicking on Write changes to disk:

The installation starts. This can take a few minutes:

The installation is complete. Click on Close...

... and reboot the system - go to System > Shut Down...

... and select Restart. Don't forget to remove the Live CD from the CD drive before the system boots again!

If the system is booting for the first time, the first boot wizard comes up. Click on Forward...

... and accept the license.

Then add a regular user account to the system (I'm creating the user falko here):

Set your date and time, then click on the Network Time Protocol tab. With the network time protocol (NTP) your computer can fetch the current time from a time server over the Internet, so you don't have to adjust the system clock every few weeks. Select Enable Network Time Protocol and click on Forward:

On the next screen you can send details about your hardware to the Fedora project to help them develop the software. It's up to you whether you want to submit these details or not:

Now that we are finished with the first boot wizard, we can log into our new desktop with the user we've just created:

This is how your new Fedora 10 desktop looks:

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Comments

From: Spacexion at: 2009-01-31 20:42:09

Please... Please... Please.... Stop to say that The Gimp is a replacement for Photoshop!!! THAT'S NOT TRUE!!!

A freak geek guy  who installed a cracked Phostoshop on a cracked Windows to do things that he could do with MS Paint, well, this one will find that The Gimp is a great tool.


But a real pro WORKING with Photoshop will never use The Gimp! PLEASE STOP TO COMPARE THE GIMP TO PHOTOSHOP!

From: RC at: 2009-03-02 01:35:17

The author, Falko Timme, specifically made this objective very clear right from the beginning:

"This tutorial shows how you can set up a Fedora 10 desktop (GNOME) that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop..."

I thought that, since he wanted to illustrate how you can fully replace Windows with Fedora 10, what then can he replace Photoshop with since obvioulsy it won't run native in Linux? What else is there in Linux world that you can use in place of  Photoshop if not GIMP? For the objective as stated, it is TRUE that GIMP is a replacement of Photoshop.

I don't think the author is making a case of GIMP being equal to or better than Photoshop. He is simply showing us options, and that's that.

From: phist0 at: 2008-12-20 08:32:21

I have ONLY one nagging headache after replacing windows with fedora core 10. The headache is visio and microsoft project files. I still need to remote desktop to another system or start an XP virtual machine to view these files.

From: suvi at: 2009-01-02 21:07:24

Hi Phist

Did you try "planner" or http://ganttproject.biz/ as a substitute for ms project?

Both progams can import ms project files.

 As for visio there is dia on linux. but it's not as good.

U i remember when microsoft bought visio. It was somwhen back in 1998 or so.

From: Eugene van der Merwe at: 2009-02-08 05:24:14

I have been using Dia as a replacement for Visio and I find it more than adequate for the purposes of drawing network diagrams. Definitely worth the price and not having to remote desktop into Windows boxes any more.

From: suvi at: 2008-12-12 17:50:06

Hi Falco

 Nice Tutorial. I was able to use a part of it. However if you migrate from fedora 8 to fedora 10. Or if you want to clean fedora 9 and install fedora 10 there is a much faster way than doing all the things in your tutorial. You can do all this in just 5 Minutes!

 I wrote a simple script doing most of your things and a few nice things more. The skript installs these nice application you mention. Addtionialy it sets up 3D drivers and als a development environment for PHP. The skript can be easily ajusted to do your own things.

Its aviable for free for fedora 8, 9 and 10 under:

http://www.suvi.org/theory/linux_fedora_supersize.html

Please let me know if you have any inputs or questions to the skript.

 Cheers

Suvi 

From: S. Capelin at: 2009-03-19 18:09:27

As long as you're saying desactivate selinux, say also to remove pulseaudio right at the start in order to avoid a ton of headaches.

# yum remove pulseaudio

From: Mark A. Stevens at: 2009-09-06 03:07:34

You can find directions to solving most of your pulseaudio problems at the following link.

http://fedorasolved.org/Members/fenris02/pulseaudio-fixes-and-workarounds

It has helped me with my continuing problem with various Fedora versions using my old Soyo Dragon MoBo with it's integrated sound chip.

From: Anonymous at: 2008-12-04 07:27:47

Disabling SELinux ... you should at least set the enforcing mode to Permissive.

From: Anonymous at: 2008-12-05 11:38:24

Personally, I think it's a little naughty on your part to suggest disabling SE-Linux by default. As was very recently demonstrated, the very source of updates (which are, of course, necessary for a secure system - a static, un-updated system is by definition not a secure system) may be taken off-line by a malicious attack. When that happens, there is little beyond SE-Linux to guarantee a safe and secure system until such time as upstream updates are restored. This can, as has been recently demonstrated, take a not insignificant amount of time.

 Instead, you should be suggesting that the user retain SE-Linux (as is the default for Fedora, and should require no explicit action on part of the user) and use the SE-Linux Trouble-shoot tool to interact via bugzilla with the Fedora team to adequately handle any edge-cases that may be omitted for very specific scenarios that the user may experience.

 As many "newbies" read and follow your instructions, you have a moral obligation to keep the uninitiated user as secure as possible.

From: Russell Coker at: 2008-12-23 10:17:29

A lot of work has been done to make SE Linux easy to use. For most users it will simply work and they won't notice that it is there.

If a user had a problem and suspected that SE Linux might be related, in addition to using the trouble-shooting tools (as has already been suggested) they also have the option of using "setenforce".

The command "setenforce 0" will stop SE Linux from enforcing access controls, after completing the test the command "setenforce 1" will make it start enforcing access controls again. So instead of having the security reduced all the time, you have it reduced for the 5 minute window of the test run.

From: at: 2009-08-29 13:40:37

I finally found a copy at: http://ftp.freshrpms.net/pub/freshrpms/fedora/linux/10/libdvdcss/libdvdcss-1.2.10-1.fc9.i386.rpm

I think this is strange considering the discussion in the livna repository suggested it would remain there.

From: at: 2009-04-11 06:05:07

Sweet!! Much easier.

From: at: 2008-12-03 22:27:00

Nice tutorial!

From: laikexpert at: 2009-02-20 14:48:42

Unfortunately the RPM Fusion repository doesn't have libdvdcss in its repository, therefore we also add the livna repository (which contains only that package):

[root@davorka-18c48bf laik]# rpm -Uvh http://livna-dl.reloumirrors.net/fedora/10/i386/livna-release-9-2.noarch.rpm

Problem

Retrieving http://livna-dl.reloumirrors.net/fedora/10/i386/livna-release-9-2.noarch.rpm
curl: (22) The requested URL returned error: 404
error: skipping http://livna-dl.reloumirrors.net/fedora/10/i386/livna-release-9-2.noarch.rpm - transfer failed

 

From: at: 2009-02-24 17:37:25

I got the same errors; and after much searching found this:

http://thorstenl.blogspot.com/2009/02/rpmlivnaorg-is-not-dead.html

The problem seems to be a temporary DNS fault, but the work-around in this blog page seems to have worked for me.

By the way, the line that seems to truncate according to however wide your screen is, should read:

su -c "sed -i 's|http://rpm.livna.org/mirrorlist|http://ftp-stud.fht-esslingen.de/pub/Mirrors/rpm.livna.org/mirrorlist|' /etc/yum.repos.d/livna.repo"

 Thanks to Thorsten Leemhuis for pointing me in the right direction.

 

From: _najt at: 2009-03-14 22:32:54

Error 404 says it's no more there. The only one available there is http://livna-dl.reloumirrors.net/fedora/10/i386/livna-release-1-1.noarch.rpm

From: Jacques at: 2008-12-27 20:58:26

It would be nice if you included a downloadable list of packages rather than the bulletted list of packages to be installed with Package Manager (a horrid, anti-intuitive interface).  I'd much rather be able to download a list of packages and run 'yum install list ...' from the command line.

 Thanks

Jacques

 

From: at: 2009-01-10 15:18:18

Hello, falko.

I just want to thank you for the great help your tutorial has been to me.
I am new to Linux after having been more than 20 years in the Windows world. So, everything in Linux was quite a new issue.

All instructions I have followed proved to run smoothly.
Some less important issues that have come along during the processes will be solved, like the Picture Viewer asking for Microsoft 4.4.3 decoder or Real Player asking for an .avi file (file:///media/El%20Secreto/10%20-%20parte%2010.avi) and saying it couln't find it in the current repositories.

Following your tutorial has helped a lot in starting to become concious of how Linux is structured and  works.
Nevertheless, I still have to study a lot, I think.

From: at: 2009-01-02 17:30:52

Just a wee note to say thanks for taking the time to write this tutorial.  This is a great place for new comers to Linux to come and get started.  I would recommended your tutorial to anyone interested in using Linux.

 Keep up the good work

 

Stu

From: Anonymous at: 2009-02-22 03:11:03

yum -y install f-spot flash-plugin filezilla amule azureus skype xchat-gnome openoffice.org* AdobeReader_enu gnucash scribus amarok audacity banshee mplayer* gtkpod xmms* DVDRipOMatic kino vlc mozilla-vlc xine* brasero k3b bluefish kdewebdev java compat-libstdc++-33 ffmpeg lame libdvdcss libXp mjpegtools

From: cockneysparrow at: 2009-03-27 18:31:49

Have installed GE v5 successfully

The issue with some ATI card acceleration/libraries causing the splash screen to hang during initialization can be fixed with the following patch:

cp /usr/lib/libGL.so.1.2 ~/google-earth/libGL.so.1

If you prefer to backout the google supplied library:

cd ~/google-earth

mv libGLU.so.1 libGLU.so.1_old

From: Tomo Popovic at: 2008-12-22 22:32:41

As usual Falko provided an excellent install guide. I am having some issues with True Type fonts (aka webcore fonts) install in step 10 as described here. I resolved it by downloading an RPM file from the following link:

http://avi.alkalay.net/software/webcore-fonts/webcore-fonts-3.0-1.noarch.rpm

Pretty much downloaded this file and installed with package manager (double click on RPM). Hope this helps.

Regards,
Tomo

From: Mikko Nissinen at: 2009-02-28 18:33:33

Falco: Thanks for the useful article.

Tomo: I've had a problem with True Type Fonts in many distros. Not sure if you had the same problem, but in my case rpmbuild fails to download files due to connection timeout:

$ rpmbuild -bb msttcorefonts-2.0-1.spec
...
Resolving mesh.dl.sourceforge.net... failed: Connection timed out.
wget: unable to resolve host address `mesh.dl.sourceforge.net'
...

Here's my solution:

$ gedit msttcorefonts-2.0-1.spec

Edit wget's timeout in download function at line 88. Change the timeout value from 5 to 30.

function download {
        wget --timeout=30 -O "$2" $1$2
}

Save and try rpmbuild again.

Regards,
Mikko

From: MoshutZu at: 2009-04-23 07:52:03

Thanks a LOT man! ;-)

Greetings from Romania.

From: Anonymous at: 2008-12-07 01:21:37

Yes, fantastic to install all apps you can find...

From: Alex at: 2009-06-05 08:11:55

Hy, do you know how to configurate the internet for fedora 10 . I've install it on my laptop along with vista :D ...and the internet doesn't work on fedora :(

From: Louise at: 2008-12-08 14:51:44

A brilliant guide Falko. Fedora just gets easier and easier as well as more powerful and cleaner. It's going to take over the world! (... well, maybe). There are a few packages and commands that aren't on here that I found useful at http://www.gredil.net/wiki/Fedora_10. Between these two tutorials anything seems possible on Fedora. We are all very grateful for the time you guys spend helping the rest of us enjoy the delights of the new world order of operating systems.

From: zaine_ridling at: 2008-12-05 15:19:04

Wow! Kudos to Falko Timme for a thorough, clear Fedora tutorial. Would have loved to seen one line on adding UnRAR, but not a big deal. Also appreciated are the tips throughout, such as disabling SELinux.

From: not24 at: 2008-12-13 03:39:19

I love being able to pull up these tutorials when installing a new system to get all the details correct.  After trying vmware 1.0, 2.0, and workstation 6.5 (after using Fusion on a Mac) I would highly suggest vmware 1.0 over any of the other products. From key mapping issues to console performance, it just seems to provide a much richer user experience for desktop use.

From: Ravnos at: 2009-02-10 17:13:17

Good job !

I think wine would be worthy mentioning too, I run VirtuaDub here and some games like Diablo II and World of Warcraft through wine  (only the latter required minor tweaks, like passing the -opengl flag to the launcher to run smooth).

 System>Add/Remove Software  -  search for "wine"

From: Jules at: 2009-03-04 16:32:26

We really appreciate your time and effort.

This tutorial was invaluable!

Awesome work!

thanks!!!

From: Anonymous at: 2009-06-07 14:42:14

Thanks very much this information was very helpful. VMWare gave me trouble until I completely disabled SELinux but now is working fine with WinXP.

 Regards,

Karl in Los Angeles

From: Ahmad Alhosiny at: 2009-06-16 15:37:16

thank you for this great explanation