Review: Fedora 22 feels like home, or why should you use Fedora

Review: Fedora 22 feels like home, or why should you use Fedora

I’ve been on a journey. A journey to find an acceptable GNU/Linux distribution, where I know that no matter how many updates I apply to my installation it will remain rock solid. I’m happy in a way because I won’t be looking any further.

Fedora 22 will make you feel at home. It’s a completely bare GNU/Linux distribution that delivers GNOME 3 as its default. I’ve come in terms with GNOME 3 over the past few months and learned to like it for what it is. The Fedora has done an amazing job to deliver this great product to the masses.

And yet there’s only one or two things that currently bug me about Fedora, and no, it’s not about the Long Term Support (LTS).

Before we get to the cons of Fedora. I’d like to take my time and explain myself why I feel like Fedora 22 does justice to the desktop users, yet actively doesn’t.

GNOME 3

Fedora 22 undoubtedly has one of the most polished GNOME 3 experience out there, hands down I don’t think I can name another distribution.

Fedora makes GNOME 3 sing the lullabies to the user. In the past with different distributions like Ubuntu GNOME I couldn’t configure correctly the Sharing section in GNOME Settings because for some reason there was always a problem with the VNC set up. Anything I turned up in Ubuntu GNOME sharing side never worked correctly.

Fedora 22 doesn’t sweat it. I turned up the Screen Sharing feature, and the SSH feature. And guess what? It worked as GNOME 3 upstream intended.

Something I will never agree with Fedora is turning on Wayland by default. I remember the last time I installed Fedora there were too many problems running GDM and GNOME Shell under Wayland. I’m glad that Wayland is no longer the default, for now.

Delta RPMs

If you have never heard of Delta RPMs then you are missing a lot. You could be saving bandwidth as we speak. Imagine a 1GiB update getting cut through 300MiB thanks to delta RPMs. This is a great deal especially to us who don’t live in areas with high speed internet (I’m still on a 4Mbps connection).

If you live in undeveloped areas, delta RPMs will save you time and indulge you in getting things done faster.

Users need to be offered RPMFusion options

While Fedora ships with a lot of software, it doesn’t include all Free(not as in gratis) software, and there’s no non-free repository available. This hinders the experience of the user who just wants to enjoy his/her desktop.

RPMFusion must be an option in Fedora settings. It doesn’t have to ship with RPMFusion enabled, but please at least consider the option of giving the option to the less technical user.

It’s hard to present Fedora as an option

If you think it’s easy to convert people to Fedora. I believe it isn’t. The reasons above should be enough to make a person stick to either Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

Even if it’s a simple task of sudo dnf install http://url.to/rpmfusion.rpm It’s not an acceptable solution in no way, especially if you want to make Fedora available to every possible user regardless of technical knowledge.

And yet it feels like home

As a developer, Fedora brings a lot of goodies such as groupinstall where you can get your environment set up rapidly, and at the cost of installing useless libraries, servers.

For me? I’ve been dabbling in Qt for a while. It has taken me a while to get used to Fedora’s package naming but it hasn’t been so bad to steer me away.

Why? Because Fedora works. I installed NVIDIA drivers, Qt, gcc-c++, gdb, and many other software with no problems. I can sigh in relief that my desktop will remain stable.

Try Fedora, it won’t hurt you a bit.

C++ Adventures: QT5 and CMake

Lately I have been learning more and more about CMake, at first sight CMake looks like one of those build tools that you wouldn’t want to mess with because it can get quite messy when you start introducing conditions to your project.

I’ve been organizing the project structure of an application I’m working which I’m hoping to release this November. My main aim was to release it for Windows 10 which is the upcoming version of Windows set for summer. Personally after seeing the improvements of Windows 10 I can’t wait to use it myself.

That’s another subject to talk about later though. Configuring CMake to use QT5 isn’t hard, however if you are a novice like me with this build system then it becomes obvious that you have to research a bit more about it.

The first structure I came up for the project was this:

/ (root)
/Include (headers)
/Include/[modules] (headers)
/Sources
/Sources/[modules] (headers)
/Tools/ (whatever scripts needs to be done, let’s say packaging)
/Documentation

Which means letting CMake recursively search each folder.

What’s been worrying me is that personally I want to separate the UI files from QT Designer from the sources files. I have yet to write a rule for that in CMake.

Why worry about project structures? Well, for one I know that sooner or later I will have to refactor and I don’t really fear refactoring. However, it becomes clear that if I want to keep working on this project I need to have folder structure that sucks less, simply put I don’t feel like wasting time moving files over and over again. Making the project modular also helps me separate the concerns of what a module should do and what it should provide rather than throwing everything in a /src folder.

After setting a basic structure I was able to compile the application. There’s still a lot more to be done though, such is development.

My experiences with Ubuntu GNOME

Looking for a GNOME 3 distribution that sticks to GNOME upstream is very difficult in a way. I like Debian, Ubuntu and the debian-based distributions out there. If you are a user that have come from Fedora to Ubuntu GNOME there’s a high chance you will see that there are differences between GNOME upstream and GNOME offered by Ubuntu.

Ubuntu does quite a lot of patching to offer their main flagship which is Ubuntu with Unity. Unity itself uses a lot of GNOME apps like Nautilus, gnome-control-center, etc.

The problem comes when you want something very specific like wanting the upstream version of Nautilus or gedit, that’s where you realize Ubuntu GNOME is sort of crippled not by the team that develops it but by Canonical itself. There’s just no way of providing upstream packages without it being altered or just using the PPAs which maybe ships vanilla packages.

Thus, it actually makes Ubuntu GNOME not a fit to the people who wants a true GNOME 3 experience.

I don’t particularly have any strong feelings on how Canonical/Ubuntu developers are handling these things. I believe that the Ubuntu GNOME team is great, the only way for Ubuntu GNOME to undo the patches is by setting up a PPA for each official release, which is totally feasible.

That said, I’m just contemplating on jumping to Fedora 22.

Fixing Spotify in Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet)

Only five days left till one of the major release of Ubuntu with codename: Vivid Vervet. I’ve been using 15.04 for a few months now, it’s by far one of the most stable releases I’ve used.

Ubuntu 15.04 brings a lot of internal changes like the change of upstart in favor of systemd.

I never realized that Spotify was broken in the sense that one of the dependencies were missing. The library libgcrypt11 is used by Spotify and it’s no longer available in Ubuntu 15.04 repositories.

You can “fix” this by just downloading the library from Utopic repositories:

$ wget http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/libg/libgcrypt11/libgcrypt11_1.5.3-2ubuntu4_amd64.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i libgcrypt11_1.5.3-2ubuntu4_amd64.deb

That’s it. Spotify will run as expected.

Honestly? I feel a miffed that Spotify doesn’t really care about Ubuntu users at all in the sense that the client is using rather incredibly old packages. The team stopped delivering updates, so yea maybe it’s time for Spotify to actually do a revision of the dependencies.

Using WINE or Virtual Box to run Spotify is extremely overkill.

Anyway, in other news congratulations to Canonical as Ubuntu is now touting a modest 20 million users, sweet!

Weekly Update: Site changes, a look at Fedora 21, and becoming a freelancer

There will be a few changes soon. I’m pretty sure Google algorithm is going to obliterate me thinking I’m some sort of a spam site. Recently I acquired a new domain name which I’ll be pushing forward this month along with a new blog theme. Some of the site’s posts will be reviewed and expunged.

That said. I’m loving my laptop, it might not be the best laptop in the world but I can tell you that the GNOME 3 experience does some good. (Until Plasma 5 becomes stable)

Some of you know that I love Debian and I’ve been using Debian based distributions for a while. I recently installed Fedora 21 on my laptop, my eye as a normal user see it as the following: it’s not that user-friendly, and why do I have to install a script called Fedy to end my griefs…. It’s a can of mixed feelings. Nothing I can’t handle though.

Anyway, I’m preparing myself to become a freelancer as a web developer and tackling traditional application using languages like C++, D, etc. But mainly I will be doing web development.

That’s all for now.

Ubuntu 14.10 privacy issues

There’s something that has been bothering me over the last three weeks. The default permissions offered by Ubuntu are incredibly permissive and anyone sharing a computer or laptop wanting to have some privacy is screwed by it.

How is it that a relative of mine can just enter my /home folder, snatch whatever file and do whatever he/she wants with it?

The notion itself is crazy, and I don’t know why Canonical haven’t addressed it. In a multiuser environment no one should read/write anything.

This is something OpenSUSE got right, something that Fedora also got right (as far as I remember). But Ubuntu? far from it.

I hope that someday they attend the issue; and yes, I realize I can tweak a few settings and chmod my home folder but that doesn’t make the fact that there is a privacy issue going on.

The key here is that average users have a right for privacy, regardless of their technical knowledge.

My experience with GNOME 3 so far in 2015

Those who have wanted to do serious work with linux knows the frustrations that it lacks good ecosystem. Canonical is doing an amazing good job in bringing a sane ecosystem to the table. GNOME 3 is also bringing good things with its somewhat crippled version of user experience.

KDE is sort of… staying behind, I won’t lie I love KDE dearly. Sadly, whenever it comes to using KOrganize it dawns on you that KDE, while it’s an amazing desktop environment it’s not financially backed like GNOME or Ubuntu are. (As far as I remember)

And then there’s the user who swears to God all the users need is i3/openbox/whatever anorexic windows manager they are using these days.

GNOME, KDE, and Unity targets different audiences. In terms of usability KDE and Unity are up there, in my opinion. GNOME requires you to waste your time learning things that should be intuitive from the very start.

But well, my post won’t mean much to GNOME designers or developers. I remember reading that GNOME itself is losing users and it shows from recent polls that KDE is on top. It certainly doesn’t help that GNOME developers have dismissed user complaints as “people hate change”. Truly, something that will probably haunt them for a few years until eventually GNOME hits the stage that it becomes usable again. Maybe GNOME 4?

Anyway, we all know OS X has a very powerful ecosystem through its devices. Microsoft has done a lot to catch up with Surface, Windows Phone, etc.

Canonical also wants a piece of that cake with Ubuntu phone, so does Google.

I personally can’t wait to use an Ubuntu phone myself. I think most of us are looking forward to is “will it be usable enough that I can share my data (photos, videos, documents) easily with almost no tinkering?”

That’s the question!

I’ve been harsh about GNOME 3, and yes they do deserve all the friction they are getting.

GNOME 3 can still make it though. I feel like out of all the DEs available both Unity and GNOME 3 will be the ones pushing forward a better ecosystem.

So let me talk to you about my experiences so far with GNOME 3.

I started using it a week ago, note that this is my third attempt to use GNOME 3. I’ve become more “accepting” yet not so submissive to say that GNOME 3 is heading the right way. First, let’s talk about workflow.

GNOME 3 Workflow

GNOME 3 isn’t your traditional DE, we know that. What you don’t know however is that you have been actively stopping yourself from giving GNOME 3 a chance. GNOME 3 workflow takes a bit of learning because more than often you are required to memorize the key bindings.

Note that GNOME 3 itself does a very, very awful job in showing itself how it works. For example, in my first try of GNOME 3 I didn’t know the message panel that is at the bottom hidden existed.

Now, my workflow is incredibly simple and I find that “abusing” workspaces comes at a great price of having your desktop organized and task related. For example, in my first workspace I have Thunderbird which I use for my day to day communication. In my second workspace I might have Rhythmnbox or Spotify running. In my third workspace I have development related applications running such as vim, terminals, etc. On my fourth workspace I have Google Chrome running to go back and forth in terms of research, etc.

It sounds insane, right? How can I possible keep up with all these workspaces? Well, let me introduce you to the Super + Page Up / Super + Page Down keybindings. They are the ones responsible to switch workspaces. You can also turn on the workspace indicator through Gnome Tweak Tool. The keybinding also works inside the dash, meaning you can use it, then rapidly switch to alt + tab to select the application you want.

But that’s not all.

In terms of window management you can use Super + D to hide all windows, which is incredibly useful if you have a lot of windows in one workspace.

Also, you don’t have to do the resizing manually, sort of. You can use Super + Arrow Keys, where are left and right will resize the window half-screen and to their respective alignment.

There’s also alt+f2 which allows you to execute commands.

So what happens when a window lands in a workspace you don’t want? Well, let me tell you that all you have to do is use Super + Shift + Page Down / Page Up to move it wherever you want in the workspaces.

Finally, for fully task-oriented desktop turn on alt-tab only for current applications in a workspace using the command

:::bash
gsettings set org.gnome.shell.app-switcher current-workspace-only true

Saving space

I realize that the header bar the DE sports is a bit bulky. Honestly? I think if you sit down and appreciate for a moment that you run all your applications at max size you’ll learn very quickly that there’s a lot of space that’s been saved. All you have if the top bar that has an Activities button, date, and the indicator tray.

In this, GNOME 3 shines in saving space regardless on how bulky the application looks.

Some visuals, because everyone loves visuals!

Remember to right-click and open the images in a new tab!

Desktop

Not much to show here, just a fake busy desktop.

Cool features

I’m a fan of WWE and wrestling in general. I love that stuff. I find that being able to keep communicating through the message tray panel is incredibly handy. I just wish that Empathy offered a more polished experience. The UI feels incredibly lacking.

Remote Desktop

Both Ubuntu/Unity and GNOME 3 offers hassle-free screen sharing through VNC. These features works out of the box without any additional package. I’ve connected back and forth through VNC in my household and as always if you are in the family room or somewhere else chilling out or doing a different activity, connecting remotely is always the answer.

dropbox1
dropbox2

Dropbox is a very critical application for me. I’m still waiting for Google Drive to appear, geez.

Online Accounts

You have seen these countless times. I think it’s important for me to say that this feature here is what will keep the average joe glued to GNOME 3. Hassle-free seamless integrating through the plethora of GNOME applications is and will be one of the key features.

Rhythmbox

Now with soundcloud support 🙂

Conclusion

GNOME 3 may very well still rough around the corners. Let’s just hope that GNOME designers start listening to their userbase instead of ignoring them. As for me? I’m keeping GNOME in my laptop. I don’t have any real reason to remove it. Everything works as it’s supposed.

And to those wondering, I’m using Ubuntu GNOME 15.04.

In case of emergency use ubuntu-drivers!

Your wireless drivers aren’t working, you spend hours looking for a solution. You find over 8k google results of people having the same problems over the years.

You are a big gamer, new to Linux. You just realized that the drivers you are using isn’t from NVIDIA or AMD.

The answer to a painless, and successful drivers installation? Use the command line tool ubuntu-drivers.

How to use it?

Well, all you need to do is open the terminal and type

sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall sit back, wait for it to finish and reboot. That’s all to it.

There’s also ubuntu-drivers devices if you want to see the drivers available, you can choose what to install with apt-get install [package name]

Samba, why are you so awful?

If you have ever had the privilege of working with samba you must know that it’s one of the most rage-inducing software available in linux. To us the casual users of it.

I’ve been wanting to share data back to my netbook. So one of the reasons I chose Ubuntu was because everything is easy to set up, right? Well, I guess Ubuntu 15.04 samba is still a nightmare.

It doesn’t make me happy that while I google the notification I get there’s an insane amount of posts regarding samba.

Why in 2015 do we still have samba troubles? Heck, my configuration file is incredibly straightforward, and yet I have to waste 2-3 hours of my life fighting with inane notifications.

Thing is, if I go to samba mailing list most veterants will go “it works for me”, or “that’s weird last time I used it worked”.

I guess I’ll go ahead and set up a NFS, at least setting it up doesn’t have any tricks.

Hello, Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet)!

Hey! I haven’t done much on my end these days. I’m almost done with this trimester and I have to take care of my finals first than dabble in code. I do plan on keeping my little journal writing my progress and all.

Anyway, I upgraded to Ubuntu 15.04 (from 14.10). What can I say? I like to live dangerously. It was sort of rough mostly because there’s a bit of a priority problem, somehow some packages requires systemd to be installed but for some reason apt didn’t detect that small priority. Which is weird, but whatever I just did a apt-get install systemd systemd-sysv and it set up all the packages needing it.

I knew that the dist-upgrade wasn’t done though. I expected a total of 2 hours for my desktop to finish upgrading. I called apt-get dist-upgrade once again and off it went unpackaging everything it could.

So while I waited I played Triple Town which is a little casual game. And since I suffer from insomnia it’s pretty much a good time killer.

Triple Town

I guess I should add a side note that I don’t like mixing posts between programming and gaming because I feel like they shouldn’t be mixed. I also don’t like to pretend I’m some sort of guy that the only thing I talk is programming programming programming thus I prefer to just talk about anything I want. I guess a balance is in order. I like playing games and I also like to talk code. I’ve always felt that I can’t talk about both in a single blog…

Anyway, back on topic. So after the installation Ubuntu booted up quite swiftly and it resolved some of my headaches like CUPS randomly not starting. Now, I’ve warmed up towards systemd and I think it’s a really good init system. I also find the service files to be incredibly easy to manage in comparision to the old init system (pure shell scripts) and upstart.

After installation

Now, I’m not really sysadmin material. I’m both a normal user and developer so frankly I’m sure sysadmins have their own opinions about it.

systemd

To those wondering after the upgrade the system has been rock solid and I’ve yet to find weird funky business happening to my desktop. The first thing I did after installation was installing nvidia-346-updates to finally get rid of some issues I had while playing Bioshock Infinite, which it worked. (mostly tearing, how ironic, huh?)

I feel like Ubuntu Unity has to evolve at some point. I don’t know about you guys but while I think that Unity is decent it feels like a when you visit Dash there’s this stale look that doesn’t provide anything useful to the user.

GNOME 3.14 and Plasma 5 are looking fantastic. GNOME being the desktop environment that I would tread carefully because last time I just ended up going back to KDE after 12 hours of installing it. Plasma 5 is still rough around the corners so I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone until the work out the kinks.

The stability of Ubuntu with Unity is great so far. The memory usage after logging is around 600-668mb which isn’t so bad.

Memory

Files (GNOME file manager) still needs to become functional again. I still don’t feel comfortable using it, in my opinion Dolphin (KDE’s file manager) remains to be one of the best file managers I’ve ever used and it’s actually quick loading files, unlike Files. (Oh, and please for the love of god bring back Compact View. Sometimes I question everything GNOME “design team” do…)

So there you go, Ubuntu 15.04 is looking up to be quite a hell of a release. Look forward to upgrade your Ubuntu machine!