Linux

Two hours (and counting) with an upgrade to Fedora 11

Vincent Danen upgraded to Fedora 11 and dispensed with the few snags that occurred in the first couple of hours. So far, it's clear sailing with some handy new features, but here are a couple of things to look out for.

Two days after the release of Fedora 11, I took the opportunity to upgrade my work laptop, which was running Fedora 10. With it being a work system, and upgrading so soon after release, I was a little nervous and did not know what to expect.

The laptop is a Lenovo T61 and Fedora 10 worked quite well on it. The drive is one large encrypted LVM partition. The first run through the Fedora 11 installer resulted in errors when going into the boot loader setup that resulted in a reboot -- a discouraging start. On the second attempt, I avoided looking in the boot loader menu, and the install went without error. Instead of doing an upgrade, I did a reinstall to ensure the system would be clean, including reformatting the root partition. Although Fedora 11 provides ext4 as the default filesystem, I chose to remain with ext3 as it is a tried-and-true filesystem that I am both familiar and comfortable with.

Upon the first boot, the system had chosen a resolution too high for the system to handle so the boot screen and even X were full of little black lines. Editing /boot/grub/grub.conf and adding "vga=791" to the kernel options and another reboot fixed this problem. This problem was strange one as I did not see this on a laptop I had previously installed Fedora 11 on for testing (an HP Pavillion TX1000).

The next step was to reconfigure X to handle the extra display I use when my laptop is docked. Thankfully, the procedure I had previously noted in a tip worked and my display was quickly back to normal.

With very little effort I had vpnc installed for my VPN connections and I was finally able to make use of the fingerprint scanner on the laptop. Setting this up was very simple, and now I can swipe my finger to login, unlock the screensaver, and even authenticate for sudo. Unfortunately, the fingerprint scanner on the HP laptop is not recognized so does not work there.

Once I made these tweaks, I found Fedora 11 to work remarkably well and there were no rude surprises. It seems as stable as Fedora 10, and everything that worked before continues to work, with the addition of some nice extras. The new audio configuration panel is quite nice and simplistic. I have not yet tried out Presto to see how much time is saved with downloading package deltas, but I have heard really good things about it. The inclusion of Firefox 3.5 beta4 is nice as well, and it seems quite snappy.

All in all, I must admit that I am happy I took the leap to upgrade. It has been almost a week now since I did the upgrade and everything is working great with minimal fuss beyond the first two hours from the upgrade until I had X configured properly. If you are using Fedora 10, Fedora 11 is a welcome upgrade, and I look forward to spending more time over the next few weeks figuring out what else is new and interesting. If you have not given Fedora a serious look in a while, I would encourage at least downloading the Live CD and giving it a try -- you may find it a pleasant surprise.

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About

Vincent Danen works on the Red Hat Security Response Team and lives in Canada. He has been writing about and developing on Linux for over 10 years and is a veteran Mac user.

19 comments
glmarsh
glmarsh

The only real drag I encountered was the updates after the installation. There were 200 updates and 4 were unreachable due to website errors. Since the updates are all or nothing and it stops trying on the first failure it became very frustrating getting through them. I finally broke them down to ten at a time which meant having to unselect 190 update sites the first time until I encountered another failure, marked it, unselected 190 updates all over again. Repeat this scenario until you have marked all the broken sites and finally several hours later completed the updates. Surely there is a better way to do updates?

vdanen
vdanen

That's what Presto is for. =) I've not tried it myself, but all you're downloading is binary deltas for the packages (just the stuff that's changed). I need to enable it soon to try it out, but I believe it's as easy as "yum install yum-presto". More info is here: https://fedorahosted.org/presto/

jraz
jraz

I created the Live USB key and it is working great. I've used it on some Dell desktops and a HP laptop so far. Only the HP has coughed up a kernel error for the sound. Quite annoying as it pops up all the time. The sound still works great but the error keeps returning. BTW thanks for the post on rpmfusion a while back. It was a real time saver.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

yum update -y LOL! I am so cleaver! I've been up all night working. Bran is melting, aaaaaaaaagh! I really want to use ext4. I hope it's as easy as writing: tune2fs -j ext4 /dev/blahblah

isaacsannithomas
isaacsannithomas

I hated FC10 for the bugs.My HP 6730s kept hanging.But FC11 is a good piece. I dual-booted a mandriva2009 and FC10.After cleaning the FC10 and installing FC11 I was impressed. That IRQ daemon bug had been fixed. I tried yum-presto. Its fantastic. I updated my system in a matter of minutes on a 512kbps bandwidth. What the FC dev team should do is to show the download time and progress bar when installing packages from the sys-config UI, though yum install serves that. Im still trying other features. But on the whole, FC 11 rocks and I'm back to FC!..nux..nix..try it.

swilsonw
swilsonw

Not ready for the windows newbie however - took some critical and knowledgeable tweaking to get it installed running

50THZ
50THZ

you are personally responsible for opening my eyes to Linux and restoring 'hope'. I feel liberated. It took a solid four months (with lagging challenges for a year) to clean our home Windows machines/network from repeated multiple infections caused by my teenage son (and learning & teaching a 65-yr old about spam) while discovering our Win auto updates hadn't been working for a year when we decided to start using them for business. I did NOT want to reload everything. I've had them clean now for 2-3 yrs but tired of the babysitting. Many struggles with 'vendors' as I began refusing to use IE 2 yrs ago but they're finally coming around (IE tab with FF usually helped). We didn't need new computers. Only Linux! Where've I been? It's been out 10 yrs or so? (!) If you haven't dumped Windows by now, pull the wool off your eyes. We have standards here now (haha)

50THZ
50THZ

I am a complete Linux newbie but have had it with Windows and refuse to pay for an upgrade of crap. I am not a programmer or designer. I have just finished wiping Windows from two of our four machines and the other two are next. F10/ll sets up LVM for you perfectly. First F10 install was so buggy I switched to SUSE but it was also and I had a real challenge figuring it all out so went back to F10. I know not easiest distro but I did this for security. Second F10 installs (on CD) went like a charm (helps if you don't skip the checksums, haha). Old Compaq s6500nx had been making horrible noises for a yr; now runs quiet (!)(couple months/it's fixed). Old Dell Latitude 600 kept dropping connection on F10 & had SELinux challenges but F11 is fine. They both run better than ever. Updates are trouble-free. I LOVE IT!!!! Thanks SO much to the open source community!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just watch out for advice from other newbies trying to help in the forums. Read thru to the end before you start doing & read more than one recommendation and for notes it was successful. ***Submit questions right away; don't beat your head against the wall for two days first trying to figure it out yourself***

50THZ
50THZ

can't handle more than one POP account; reload T-bird and backup often or find a new mail program.

lastchip
lastchip

I installed Linux Mint for clients of mine, who know absolutely nothing (as in zero!) about computers. They were sick of Windows seizing up every six months or so and the continued nurse-maiding that is required via anti-virus and anti-malware software and simply wanted to switch a computer on and use it. Two months later, I'm happy to report they are delighted with it. No longer are they concerned with all the crap that goes with Windows. Does it work for everyone? No, of course not because it depends upon your usage. But I see people time and time again decrying Linux, who clearly have never tried it. (incidentally, I'm not suggesting that refers to you). Yes, it does require minimal knowledge to install, although the newer distros do a great job of automating practically everything. But you could argue, Windows also needs some knowledge to install as well. Frankly, you see many hundreds of thousands of posts relating to "How do I install Windows. So in reality, there's very little difference. The major difference, is Linux just lets you get on with the job without fear of constant breakdowns and that's where Windows is a long, long way behind.

kgunnIT
kgunnIT

I simply did an upgrade to Fedora 11 from 10. I didn't bother trying to do a clean install. Everything worked for me and I do like it. In the past I have used Gnome as my default desktop, but am now playing around with KDE. So far, so good. I like it! I also agree that the inclusion of FF 3.5 beta4 is nice.

Alganon
Alganon

Hi Vincent, This is not a comment but a question: Why only one partition? On my Mandriva box I have partitions set up for /, /usr, /opt, /var, and /home as well as the swap partition. Yes I am running IDE hard drives. Some of the more "friendly" distros for migrating Windows users, set up as a single partition and a root user. This seems to me to leave the box in an insecure state. Is that a reasonable assessment? Mandriva's partitioning tool is one of the best I have seen. What does FC11 use?

vdanen
vdanen

There is one LVM partition... doesn't make sense to have more than one. Inside the LVM are separate partitions (I have / and /home, then swap). /boot is outside LVM. The entire LVM partition is encrypted (so all the "inside" partitions get the encryption benefit). It would miss the entire point of LVM to have multiple LVM partitions, unless you have more than one disk. I'm not sure what Fedora uses.. it's pretty decent. To me it's a toss-up between diskdrake and this one; they both work well and I've not really noticed any functional drawbacks.

Alganon
Alganon

My ignorance is showing. At what stage does it become worthwhile to use LVM and do you have a link to a useful site from which to gain an understanding of the LVM thingy? I have never paid attention to it until now. About time I joined the 21st Century.

Alganon
Alganon

Hi Vincent, That article made a lot of sense. Next full install I will use LVM. Andrew

vdanen
vdanen

I think it can be worthwhile to use LVM at any time because you can resize partitions on-the-fly, so if you find yourself with too little space on / and too much space on /home, you can readjust them quite easily (well, not so easily when / is involved, but more so than re-partitioning and re-installing). Here's a little bit of info that may help: http://tldp.org/HOWTO/LVM-HOWTO/benefitsoflvmsmall.html

pgit
pgit

I don't know for sure but the fedora tool looks like it could be based on parted, with a GUI like gparted. I prefer Mandriva's diskdrake, I wish I could figure out how to make a live CD that just runs that. I agree with the multiple partitions, to an extent. It doesn't speed anything up to make more separate partitions. The reason would be to preserve data when reinstalling/upgrading, simply don't format them in the process. I always make a separate / (5 GB min) /usr (9 GB is the most I've ever been able to cram on a system) /var (for www, ftp etc) and /home. If the drive is big enough a 9 GB /temp can be used for iso mastering, ripping etc. The size of /var depends on the mission. Biggest one I ever set was a whole 500 GB drive, for serving up mp3's and movies.

matttimpson
matttimpson

Before you have too much set up and config time in, go ahead and re-install with ext-4. I assume you'll easily believe that if I've had no problems with it on Ubuntu, Fedora should handle it with no problems. It's faster. You'll love it.

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