There is a new version of this tutorial available for Fedora 17.

The Perfect Desktop - Fedora 7

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

This tutorial shows how you can set up a Fedora 7 desktop 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 7 desktop to have the following software installed:


  • 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


  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 9
  • gFTP - 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 - Java Bittorrent client
  • Bittorrent client
  • Pidgin- multi-platform instant messaging client (formerly known as Gaim)
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Xchat IRC - IRC client


  • 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
  • GnomeBaker - CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B - CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia-Codecs


  • Nvu- 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


  • 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

Fedora 7 lets you choose between multiple desktop environments (GNOME, KDE, XFCE). I've decided to install GNOME in this article.

I will use the username falko in this tutorial, and I will download all necessary files to falko's desktop which is equivalent to the directory /home/falko/Desktop. 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/Desktop

you must replace falko.


2 Installing The Base System

Download the Fedora 7 DVD iso image from, burn it onto a DVD, and boot your computer from it. At the boot prompt, select Install or upgrade an existing system:

You can let the installer check your Fedora DVD, but if you're short on time select Skip as the tests can take some minutes:

Hit Next:

Select your language:

Select your keyboard layout:

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 your selection by answering Yes to Are you sure you want to do this?:

The default networking settings (DHCP) are ok, so click on Next:

Select your time zone:

Specify a root password:

Now we select the software that we want to install. Select Office and Productivity only. Don't enable additional repositories as we will do this later. Then check Customize now and click on Next:

Now we can select the package groups we want to install. Select

  • GNOME Desktop Environment
  • Authoring and Publishing
  • Editors
  • Engineering and Scientific
  • Games and Entertainment
  • Graphical Internet
  • Graphics
  • Office/Productivity
  • Sound and Video
  • Text-based Internet
  • Development Libraries
  • Development Tools
  • Printing Support
  • Administration Tools
  • Base
  • Dial-up Networking Support
  • Hardware Support
  • Java
  • System Tools
  • X Window System

and uncheck all other groups, then click on Next:

The installer checks and resolves all dependencies:

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6 Comment(s)

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I would just like to thank you for an absolutely wonderful Fedora 7 tutorial! I'm fairly new to Fedora and your How-To worked perfectly! No question that this tutorial would save repeated questions on many of the forums. You've given us a great "copy and paste" as well as pictorial offering to get all the usual audio, video and general applications up and running in minutes! Thanks again! zenarcher


Great tutorial.

Unfortunately , a few days after you do it you will be in dependency hell.

Updates will be found, that will fail on some dependencies.

 Things like VLC and codecs for mplayer, etc.



This is a very nice tutorial, but I don't think it really nails the idea behind being a "Windows replacement".  Replacing Windows isn't just about having a set of software which covers a feature set that's available in Windows.  In short what I'm trying to say is that for this to be a successful Windows replacement, the usability is a big issue, especially for non-technical people, and you need to demonstrate how easy it is to do the things that you'd normally do on a Windows machine. Command-lines scare most of the Windows population, so you have to do a good job of selling it for them to consider it an option.

I'd recommend perhaps explaining how to install a window manager with an XP-like theme (for familiarity), showing how to use some of the basic features of the applications that you've installed, etc. I'd also recommend explaining why you've installed 3 or 4 applications which apparently do the same thing (eg. MPlayer, Rhythmbox, gtkPod, XMMS, VLC Media Player, Xine all appear to be very similar.. why do you need all of them?).

My suggestion is to address these kinds of points and make it a lot more obvious to current Windows users that this installation could easily be a replacement for their current set up before making claims that it's a "perfect replacement".


By: admin

"I'd also recommend explaining why you've installed 3 or 4 applications which apparently do the same thing (eg. MPlayer, Rhythmbox, gtkPod, XMMS, VLC Media Player, Xine all appear to be very similar.. why do you need all of them?)."

This is just for demonstration purposes. Of course, you can install all the software, but you can also pick only the software that you need. The tutorial just shows how to install all software, but it's up to you which software you install.

"...before making claims that it's a "perfect replacement"."

The "perfect" refers to the installation, i.e., that you shouldn't get any installation errors or something like that if you follow the tutorial close enough. "Perfect" does not refer to the functionality of the system or to how it compares to a Windows system.


As someone new to Fedora_7, I'm grateful for all the hard work you put into this tutorial. As a n00b, I learned a lot. I'd been getting too comfortable with PCLinuxOS, but Fedora_7 lured me with its easy setup, and the fact that it recognized a new printer and monitor that Vista would not (manufacturers told me to wait until SP1).

From the Windows perspective, the three most daunting things of Linux are (1) installing new programs (RPM, whahh?), (2) file management (where's my D:\ drive?), and (3) how do I undo a mistake, such as a failed install or launch? not the command line. In fact, except for a few installations, such as Microsoft's TrueType fonts, I didn't even use the command line in Fedora_7. Now with the commands in this tutorial, I can SAFELY install some uber-cool software I'd never even think to try in Windows.

Again, thanks. This is a great start for anyone.


Excellent tutorial... I never had figured out how to get all the internet streaming stuff (video, radio, etc) to work properly in linux until now...

 But... two things that I think need to be included.  If you are using Nvidia video cards, you need install their drivers to think things (like google earth) to work correctly.  Here is a place to get RPMs for them:

You'll need nvidia-graphicsXXX-kmdl, nvidia-graphics, and nvidia-graphicsXXX-libs for it to work properly.

Additionally, if you are running a 64 bit distro, you'll need nspluginwrapper to get the flash plugin to work properly.  Here is a good tutorial:

 Thanks again!!