Month: July 2011

Great Links: Fedora 15 Quick Tips

By accident, I ran across several links that seemed very helpful for getting situated in Fedora 15:

Chrome Extensions Quick Fix

I was able to get Chromium installed, but it keeps mentioning that “Tampermonkey has crashed.” Thomas’ Blog suggested running this command to fix extensions:

restorecon -R -v -F ~

Hallelujah! My Tampermonkey works. I was hoping that it wasn’t my backing up the profile.


I went to this link as suggested:

Adobe’s Flash Page

Since, I am running the 64bit version, I opted to follow the 64bit link.

This looks a little complicated. I may save this for another day. Please comment if you have any advise here. I was hoping for an RPM I could install that would just stay up to date. Flash is something I just want to take for granted rather than tinker with. The tar bar for Flash 11 has a bunch of directories and files. I need to read up on it more.

Gnome Shell Tweak

Multiple sites recommended this tool. So, I installed it:

su -c ‘yum -y install gnome-tweak-tool’

Here are some of the tweaks, I found useful:

  • Shell — Show date in clock (turned on)
  • Shell — Laptop lid close action (changed from Suspend to Blank)

More Packages and Stuff

Ok, I don’t want to go through each of these individually, so I’ll just throw them out there the same way the Chema did on his blog:

su -c ‘yum -y install gnome-tweak-tool gstreamer-plugins-bad gstreamer-plugins-bad-free-extras gstreamer-plugins-bad-nonfree gstreamer-plugins-ugly gstreamer-ffmpeg audacious audacious-plugins unrar java-1.6.0-openjdk java-1.6.0-openjdk-plugin gparted vlc gimp gimp-data-extras gimp-fourier-plugin gimp-lqr-plugin gimp-resynthesizer gimpfx-foundry yum-plugin-fastestmirror’

–Thanks Chema

I also did the DVD support thing:

su -c ‘yum -y install libdvdread libdvdnav’

And, I have the 64bit installed, so I ran this:

su -c ‘rpm -ivh’

Check out this page for the 32bit command.

SELinux and Performance

I have been struggling with my laptop running slow. It comes to a crawl when I run my Java/Swing application and VMWare at the same time. I found this tidbit about performance on Chema’s blog: “If you are experiencing poor performance, you may want to check what the current SELinux status is”.

I edited the file /etc/selinux/config and changed it from enforcing to permissive:
Editing SELinux Status

Thankfully, it seems to have fixed my problem.

Gnome Shell Extensions

Chema’s command does a good job showing the list of extensions. It is a good start for seeing what is available already:

yum search extension | grep gnome-shell

I found a few other resources on extensions:

I like the alternative status menu. To me, it is kind of absurd to not have a shutdown option in your menu! But, this adds it back:

yum install gnome-shell-extensions-alternative-status-menu

Alternative Status Extension

Note: After installing this extension, I found on the cheat sheet that you can use the Alt key with the default menu to get a Power Off option.

The places menu is another good one:

yum install gnome-shell-extensions-places-menu

Places Menu Extension

The weather and a11y look good, too, but I may save those for another post since they look a little more in depth.

One more trick I learned is that after installing the extensions, you can restart the shell by pressing Alt-F2 and then typing r.

Gnome Do

I was able to easily install Gnome Do with Add/Remove Software, but I had several issues with getting it to work. One of the issues, I already talked about. You have to install an extra dependency: gnome-desktop-2.

Furthermore, you also have to change the Summons key. Digital Tool Company recommended Alt-F3. You can do that from the preferences menu option once you start Gnome-Do.

Launching Gnome-Do Preferences

Or, when you first open Gnome do, you can use the menu there:

Opening Gnome Do Preferences

Then, you can change the summons key here:

GNOME Do Preferences -- Summons Key

Stay tuned as I continue to get used to Fedora!

Gnome Do on Fedora 15

I tried to install Gnome Do on my new Fedora 15 installation, and everything went smooth at first.  But, the problem comes when you try to use it.

These are the two packages I installed:

And, for the plugins:

So, I tried to launch it from the command line.  I receive a number of these errors:

[Error 12:31:11.906] Could not load desktop item:

Then, when I tried to open the preferences, it crashed with this error:

Marshaling activate signal
Exception in Gtk# callback delegate
Note: Applications can use GLib.ExceptionManager.UnhandledException to handle the exception.
System.Reflection.TargetInvocationException: Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation. —> System.DllNotFoundException:
at (wrapper managed-to-native) Gnome.DesktopItem:gnome_desktop_item_new_from_uri (intptr,int,intptr&)
at Gnome.DesktopItem.NewFromUri (System.String uri, DesktopItemLoadFlags flags) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at Do.Platform.Linux.SystemService.get_AutoStartFile () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at Do.Platform.Linux.SystemService.IsAutoStartEnabled () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at Do.UI.GeneralPreferencesWidget.get_AutostartEnabled () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at Do.UI.GeneralPreferencesWidget..ctor () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at Do.UI.PreferencesWindow..ctor () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at Do.Core.Controller.ShowPreferences () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at Do.Universe.PreferencesItem.Run () [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at Do.UI.MainMenu+<MenuItemFromRunnableItem>c__AnonStorey12.<>m__2B (System.Object sender, System.EventArgs e) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at (wrapper managed-to-native) System.Reflection.MonoMethod:InternalInvoke (System.Reflection.MonoMethod,object,object[],System.Exception&)
at System.Reflection.MonoMethod.Invoke (System.Object obj, BindingFlags invokeAttr, System.Reflection.Binder binder, System.Object[] parameters, System.Globalization.CultureInfo culture) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
— End of inner exception stack trace —
at System.Reflection.MonoMethod.Invoke (System.Object obj, BindingFlags invokeAttr, System.Reflection.Binder binder, System.Object[] parameters, System.Globalization.CultureInfo culture) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at System.Reflection.MethodBase.Invoke (System.Object obj, System.Object[] parameters) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at System.Delegate.DynamicInvokeImpl (System.Object[] args) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at System.MulticastDelegate.DynamicInvokeImpl (System.Object[] args) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at System.Delegate.DynamicInvoke (System.Object[] args) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at GLib.Signal.ClosureInvokedCB (System.Object o, GLib.ClosureInvokedArgs args) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at GLib.SignalClosure.Invoke (GLib.ClosureInvokedArgs args) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at GLib.SignalClosure.MarshalCallback (IntPtr raw_closure, IntPtr return_val, UInt32 n_param_vals, IntPtr param_values, IntPtr invocation_hint, IntPtr marshal_data) [0x00000] in <filename unknown>:0
at GLib.ExceptionManager.RaiseUnhandledException(System.Exception e, Boolean is_terminal)
at GLib.SignalClosure.MarshalCallback(IntPtr raw_closure, IntPtr return_val, UInt32 n_param_vals, IntPtr param_values, IntPtr invocation_hint, IntPtr marshal_data)
at Gtk.Application.gtk_main()
at Gtk.Application.Run()
at Do.Do.Main(System.String[] args)

The solution was to install the gnome-desktop-2 package.


I may still need to tweak the shortcut key, but that at least solves the crash.

Rant: Switching from Ubuntu to Fedora

Ok, I’ve had it with Ubuntu.  Well, for now at least.  I would like to eventually switch back and forth to get the greatest exposure.  But, for now, goodbye Ubuntu (11.04)!  Hello, Fedora 15.

It all started with Java problems.  I have a little time tracker tool that I use to track my billable time at work.  It is pretty ugly, but for me, it is critical — I use it to bill my time.  Tuesday, I started noticing the program crashing with X errors.  To attempt a fix, I tried to upgrade my video driver (Intel) to the latest version.  I tried several PPA repositories, but none of them seemed to work for me.  Finally, I ended up at the EMGD site.  I am still not sure if that driver was compatible with my laptop, but I was desparate and frustrated!  Somehow I got part of the packages installed, and I didn’t get the main EMGD installed.  I ran the “sudo emgd-xorg-conf” command, and that is where I lost it.  My X wouldn’t start; dhclient wouldn’t even connect my eth0.  That was the last straw.

Another issue probably lead up to this problem.  A week prior, I had attempted to copy a Tape to CD by running an audio cable from my tape player to my microphone jack on my computer.  I used Audacity to record.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t record anything via the microphone jack.  No matter what I tried, it only recorded from the built-in microphone.  I tried again to upgrade Pulse Audio with another PPA, but that didn’t help.

So, here’s what I have learned from Fedora in the first few hours:

  • I know now why I have stuck with Ubuntu for so long!  Ubuntu is just so much easier to get up and running quickly.  Command-line is avaliable, but not required.
  • Broadcom Wireless: In Ubuntu 11.04, I just enabled the STA driver in “Additional Drivers”.  I don’t think I have even had to connect the laptop to the wired connection to download it.  In Fedora, I had to install two repositories (easily done from the browser).  Then, I ran a yum command from the terminal to install the driver.  Finally, I had to reboot.  Fedora’s instructions were very easily to follow, but comparing the two, Ubuntu wins hands down.
  • Libre Office: Where is it,  Fedora?  The first thing I do, is create a document and track all the changes I make to the installation so I can do it again on the next release.  To my surprise, Fedora didn’t have Libre Office (or, any Document tool for that matter) installed by default.  Furthermore, when I went to Add/Remove Software, there were tons of packages.  I didn’t see a Meta package that would install a default set of packages.  There was an Office package collection, but it said it was already installed.  I ended up installing the package collection from the command line, and that did the trick.
  • Is RPM/Yum Slow?  I haven’t done any comparisons or anything like that, but for some reason, the packages seem to install much slower in Fedora than Ubuntu.  It may just be because I am ready to get working on my new install, but even individual package installs seem to take a while.
  • Gnome 3.0 versus Unity: it will take some time to form a good opinion.  I am glad for the chance to compare.

Hopefully, you will hear from me more as I get to installing and configuring more.  Stay tuned…

Updating PulseAudio to Nightly Build

Warning — This did not work, and I ended up going to Fedora instead!  So, don’t try this at home!

I just tried to record a tape by hooking the headphone jack of my stereo to the microphone jack on my laptop. I used Audacity to try to record the tape, and it would have worked if it wasn’t for a bug with Ubuntu/PulseAudio. My laptop would only record from the built-in microphone. It acted as if the external mic jack wasn’t even there. I tried to adjust settings in the audio settings and the alsa mixer. Nothing seemed to fix it.

So, I decided to try to update Pulse. This is risky, but hey, it wouldn’t work anyway. Why not make things worse!

First, I checked my current version.

skp@pecan:~$ pulseaudio –version
pulseaudio 0.9.22-24-g67d18

Then, I tried to install the “PulseAudio daily builds” PPA. Here’s the command:

skp@pecan:~$ sudo add-repository ppa:ubuntu-audio-dev/pulse-testing
[sudo] password for skp:
sudo: add-repository: command not found
skp@pecan:~$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-audio-dev/pulse-testing
Executing: gpg –ignore-time-conflict –no-options –no-default-keyring –secret-keyring /etc/apt/secring.gpg –trustdb-name /etc/apt/trustdb.gpg –keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg –primary-keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg –keyserver hkp:// –recv 4E9F485BF943EF0EABA10B5BD225991A72B194E5
gpg: requesting key 72B194E5 from hkp server
gpg: key 72B194E5: public key "Launchpad Ubuntu Audio Dev team PPA" imported
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg: imported: 1 (RSA: 1)

Next, I opened update manager:

skp@pecan:~$ sudo update-manager
[sudo] password for skp:

Now, I realized too late, that I hadn’t done an update yet, but I found I had a few pending updates that I didn’t know about. So, I installed those first before worrying about the pulse updates.

Then, I clicked the “Check” button and I saw all of the pulseaudio updates. So, I installed once again.

Now, the pulseaudio version is very weird!

skp@pecan:~$ pulseaudio –version
pulseaudio 0.98-201107121852

Update: I just tried my mic out in Fedora 15. Audacity records correctly from the external mic when it is plugged in and the built-in mic when the external is not. Many other things in Fedora don’t work, but sound works well!

NetFlix on Chromebooks — Almost here?

Netflix has caught my interest here recently. We were on vacation, and a relative wanted to use my laptop with his Netflix account. I was forced to reboot into Windows to make it work.

Here recently, I have heard some buzz about how that may change. Netflix appears to be pushing to move from Silverlight to HTML5. The big deal is that Silverlight will never work on Linux at least with respect to the DRM required by NetFlix. HTML5 is already built into Chrome already on Linux.

The latest update I have heard is that a plugin exists right now on some of the Chromebooks, but it doesn’t seem active, yet. So, it’s not here yet, but it seems close.

You can read my sources here:

The cool part about Google’s technology is that even if you don’t use it, it sends ripples through the industry. I think that is the case here. I don’t think Chromebooks will meet my needs as a developer any time soon, but the technology they are bringing to my laptop is very nice.