The Perfect Desktop - Fedora 15 i686 (GNOME)

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
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Last edited 06/22/2011

This tutorial shows how you can set up a Fedora 15 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 15 desktop to have the following software installed:

Graphics:

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

Internet:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Google Chrome - Google's browser
  • Flash Player 10
  • 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
  • Empathy IM Client - multi-platform instant messaging client (formerly known as Gaim)
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC - IRC client
  • Gwibber Social Client - open-source microblogging client (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Office:

  • LibreOffice Writer - replacement for Microsoft Word
  • LibreOffice 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:

  • VirtualBox OSE - 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

As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, for example there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don't need to install the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players like Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS or browsers (Firefox, Opera, Chrome).

I will use the GNOME desktop in this 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/Downloads. 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/Downloads

you must replace falko.

 

2 Installing The Base System

Download the Fedora 15 Live GNOME iso image from http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora (e.g. http://download.fedoraproject.org/pub/fedora/linux/releases/15/Live/i686/Fedora-15-i686-Live-Desktop.iso), burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. It will boot into a live Fedora 15 desktop that you can use to test how Fedora 15 works on your system.

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 15 on your hard drive, go to Applications > System Tools > Install to Hard Drive:

The Fedora Installer starts. Select your keyboard layout:

I assume that you use a locally attached hard drive, so you should select Basic Storage Devices here:

If you see the following message (The storage device below may contain data.), please click on Yes, discard any data because we want to install a fresh system:

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

Select your time zone:

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

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

Confirm by clicking on Write changes to disk:

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11 Comment(s)

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From: johann at: 2011-08-01 17:39:20

I'm running Fedora 15 x86_64. Picasa3 would not run, and I was seeing the following when I started Picasa (from a terminal window):

[user@puter user]picasa &
/usr/bin/picasa: line 189: 14526 Segmentation fault (core dumped) "$PIC_BINDIR"/wrapper check_dir.exe.so
/usr/bin/picasa: line 248: 14642 Segmentation fault (core dumped) "$PIC_BINDIR"/wrapper set_lang.exe.so


I found this solution via Google searches, in different places, so I have combined the fixes into one:

Install the full version of wine:
sudo yum -y install wine
[sudo] password for user:

[install takes a while]

Then do the following:
[user@puter user]$ cd /opt/google/picasa/3.0/wine/lib/wine/
[user@puter wine]$ sudo mv wininet.dll.so _wininet.dll.so
[sudo] password for user:
[user@puter wine]$ sudo cp /usr/lib/wine/wininet.dll.so /opt/google/picasa/3.0/wine/lib/wine/

[user@puter wine]$ cd ../../bin/
[user@puter bin]$ sudo mv wine-preloader _wine-preloader
[user@puter bin]$ sudo cp /usr/bin/wine-preloader /opt/google/picasa/3.0/wine/bin/

Picasa3 is now working for me, I hope this works for others.

From: glib1 at: 2011-10-04 23:46:49

Excellent! Works beautifully.

(noted that the second arg to each of the cp's could have been .)

 Thanks johann

From: Anonymous at: 2011-11-07 09:53:09

Hi,

Please do a "Perfect Desktop" howto for Fedora 15 x86_64

 Why ?, because Nobody uses 32-bit anymore, do they ?

:)

From: Georges at: 2011-06-24 11:43:49

The screen shots you show are not the default look of the Fedora 15 desktop.

This is how it looks on old hardware, with the fallback desktop.

With up to date hardware it looks significantly different (Gnome 3 Shell).

From: at: 2011-06-28 15:28:41

been using fedora 15 as a desktop now, i think the screen shot is under classic mode of gnome which can be selected during user login.

From: Cae at: 2011-08-20 23:45:34

Planning to install Fedora 15 and come across this great article. One suggestion, it would be even more helpful if you can state clearly whether the steps are the same for 64 bit installation.


For example:
"Next we add the Adobe repository which provides the Flash player and the Adobe Reader:
rpm -Uvh http://linuxdownload.adobe.com/adobe-release/adobe-release-i386-1.0-1.noarch.rpm"

1. Is the above repo the same for a 64 bit installation?


2. Is the result the same if I go throgh this procedure:
 - Visit http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ and select YUM for Linux from the drop down box.
 - download the file from adobe
 - in terminal, su -c 'rpm -ivh adobe-release-i386-1.0-1.noarch.rpm'

 

Your advise please.

From: larka06 at: 2011-11-07 09:28:56

Just change all the i386 to x86_64 that is all I did

Oh! There is no 64 bit skype yet so that will not work

From: Anonymous at: 2011-06-26 10:50:56

SELinux breaks numerous things on Lovelock. A prime example that p**ses off new users is that chromium will crash when twitter is accessed while SELinux is enabled. These kind of errors are what puts many users off Fedora and Linux as a whole.

From: at: 2011-06-23 23:09:27

I am a fedora user for the past 5 years.  The Fedora 15 is a new paradigm, for a user interface.

For the home or office user, the new interface is great.  It is not quite so for the application program developer.  Fortunately Fedora15 provides alternatives to the Gnome interface.

I strongly disagree with the author about Selinux. Selinux should not be disabled. From Fedora 10 onwards, Selinux has been working just great. So much so, that I rely on it to keep me out of trouble.

Your article about Fedora 15 is great and is factual. It is so good, that I wish everyone would strongly consider it as the best solution for the home and office system.

From: Anonymous at: 2011-07-03 16:13:51

  SElinux blocks samba(properly configurated) when you try to access your files on a machine with fedora 15 from a windows machine.

  So if you can't log in to just share your files through samba, SElinux  must be disabled just for adding more complexity to your home network environment.

From: finalzone at: 2011-07-05 22:24:05

How hard is to access system-config-selinux to lift restriction to samba?