Open Source

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.

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