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The Perfect Desktop – Fedora 17


This tutorial shows how you can set up a Fedora 17 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.

The software I propose as default is the one I found easiest to use and best in their functionality – this won’t necessarily be true for your needs, thus you are welcome to try out the applications listed as alternatives.

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 desktop to have the following software installed:

Graphics:

    • Pinta – open source drawing application modeled after Paint.NET
  • KolourPaint – paint application with elemental functions
  • MyPaint – paint application with a large variety of brushes
  • The GIMP – free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • Shotwell Photo Manager – full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop

Internet:

    • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Chromium – Google’s open-source browser
    • Thunderbird – email and news client
  • Evolution – combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
    • Deluge – free cross-platform BitTorrent client
  • Transmission BitTorrent Client – Bittorrent client
  • Vuze – Java BitTorrent client
  • qBittorrent – free alternative to µtorrent
    • Marble – desktop globe similar to google earth
  • GoogleEarth – Google’s desktop globe
  • Flash Player 11
  • FileZilla – multithreaded FTP client
  • Pidgin IM Client – multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Dropbox Client – cloud storage
  • Gwibber Social Client – open-source microblogging client (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Office:

    • Adobe Reader
  • Evince – document viewer
  • Okular – document viewer
  • LibreOffice Writer – replacement for Microsoft Word
  • LibreOffice Calc – replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • GnuCash – double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus – open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

    • Banshee – audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • Amarok – audio player
  • 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
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor – CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • Nightingale – audio player similar to Winamp, but not yet as feature rich (Songbird fork)
  • XMMS – audio player similar to Winamp
  • Clementine – Amarok 1.4 fork
  • Exaile – audio player
    • VLC Media Player – media player, plays all kinds of videos (video/audio)
  • Totem – media player (video/audio)
  • Xine – media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
    • Winff – free video converter
  • SoundConverter – free audio converter
    • K3B – CD/DVD burning program
  • Brasero – CD/DVD burning program
  • Audacity – free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • dvd::rip – full featured DVD copy program
  • Multimedia Codecs

Programming:

    • KompoZer – WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)
  • Bluefish – text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages
  • Eclipse Extensible Tool Platform and Java IDE

Other:

  • VirtualBox – 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
  • gedit – simple text editor

Part of our desired applications are available in the Fedora repositories, and some of these applications have been contributed by the community. Many have to be downloaded from their homepages.

The software provided in the above list covers most of the basic tasks one may need to do on their desktop computers, sometimes there are multiple choices for same functionality. If you know which one you like best, you obviously don’t need to install and test the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install more than one.

I will use the username Kreationnext in this tutorial. Please replace it with your own username.

 

2 Installing The Base System

The installation of the base system is easy as 1-2-3 because the Fedora installer doesn’t offer a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot go wrong.

Download the Fedora 17 iso image from http://fedoraproject.org/get-fedora, burn it onto a disk, and boot your computer from it:

1

Install by clicking Install to Hard Drive:

2

Select your keyboard layout and click the Next button to continue:

3

I assume that you use a locally attached hard drive, so you should select Basic Storage Devices here:

4

If you see the following message (The storage device below may contain data.), please click on Yes, discard any data because we want to install a fresh system (all existing data on the drive will be deleted):

5

You can leave the hostname as is and click on Next:

6

Then choose your time zone:

7

Type in a root password (twice to verify it):

8

The default partitioning is ok, so you can hit Next:

10

Confirm by clicking on Write changes to disk:

11

The installation starts. This can take a few minutes:

12

The installation is complete. Click on Reboot and don’t forget to remove the Live CD from the disk drive before the system boots again!

13

Choose the Fedora desktop upon reboot:

14

If the system is booting for the first time, the first boot wizard comes up. Click on Forward

15

Read the License information and proceed:

16

Then add a regular user account to the system (I will create the user Kreationnext here):

17

Set date and time. If you have internet access, it’s a good idea to synchronize them over the network. Check the appropriate box if you want to do that and proceed:

18

On the next screen you can send details about your hardware to the Fedora project to help them develop the software. It’s up to you whether you want to submit these details or not:

19

 

20

Now that we are finished with the first boot wizard, we can log into our new desktop with the user we’ve just created. The name that will be shown to you is not the username but the one you entered in the Full Name field:

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This is what your new Fedora 17 desktop looks like:

23

3 Update The System

Now it’s time to check for updates and install them. This is done using Software Update. Start it from Activities > Applications > Update Manager:

24

 

The Software Update wizard comes up and checks for the latest updates. Click on Install Updates to install them:

25

Some of the updates might need to install packages they depend on. Click Continue to go on:

26

In some cases a restart is required after updating the system. Do so by clicking on Restart Computer:

27

The system is now up-to-date.

 

4 Disable SELinux

SELinux is a security extension of Fedora that should provide extended security. In my opinion you don’t need it to configure a secure system, and it usually causes more problems than advantages (think of it after you have done a week of trouble-shooting because some service wasn’t working as expected, and then you find out that everything was ok, only SELinux was causing the problem). Therefore I choose disable it, although you might prefer to go with it. I haven’t tested this setup with SELinux enabled – it might well be that it works without problems, but if it does not, you can try to turn SELinux off and see if the problem is gone.

To disable SELinux, open a terminal (Activities > Applications > Terminal).

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Open /etc/sysconfig/selinux as root:

sudo gedit /etc/sysconfig/selinux

… and set SELINUX to disabled:

# This file controls the state of SELinux on the system.
# SELINUX= can take one of these three values:
#       enforcing - SELinux security policy is enforced.
#       permissive - SELinux prints warnings instead of enforcing.
#       disabled - SELinux is fully disabled.
SELINUX=disabled
# SELINUXTYPE= type of policy in use. Possible values are:
#       targeted - Only targeted network daemons are protected.
#       strict - Full SELinux protection.
SELINUXTYPE=targeted

To make the change effective, we must reboot the system:

reboot

 

5 Inventory Of What We Have So Far

Now let’s browse all menus to see which of our needed applications are already installed:

29

 

You should find the following situation ([x] marks an application that is already installed, whereas [ ] is an application that is missing):

Graphics:
[ ] The GIMP
[x] Shotwell Photo Manager

[ ] Pinta

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[ ] FileZilla
[ ] Thunderbird
[ ] Deluge
[ ] Skype
[ ] Marble

[ ] Pidgin

[ ] Dropbox

[ ] Gwibber Social Client

Office:
[ ] LibreOffice Writer
[ ] LibreOffice Calc
[ ] Adobe Reader
[ ] GnuCash
[ ] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[ ] Audacity
[ ] Banshee
[ ] dvd::rip
[ ] VLC Media Player
[ ] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs

[ ] Winff

Programming:
[ ] KompoZer
[ ] Eclipse

Other:
[ ] VirtualBox
[ ] TrueType fonts
[ ] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

[x] gedit

So some applications are already on the system. NTFS read-/write support is enabled by default on Fedora 17.

6 Adding Software Repositories

The official Fedora repositories don’t provide all the software we need. Fortunately there are also third-party repositories for Fedora 17 that have what we need, and we can make our system use these repositories.

To do this, open a terminal window (under Activities > Applications > Terminal)…

28

Run

su -c ‘yum localinstall –nogpgcheck http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm’

This adds the RPM Fusion repository (a merger or Dribble, Freshrpms, and rpm.livna.org) to our package manager.

Next we add the Adobe repository which provides the Flash player and the Adobe Reader:

rpm -ivh http://linuxdownload.adobe.com/adobe-release/adobe-release-i386-1.0-1.noarch.rpm

Then we add the Skype repository – as there is no rpm, we have to do it manually:

gedit /etc/yum.repos.d/skype.repo

[skype]
name=Skype Repository
baseurl=http://download.skype.com/linux/repos/fedora/updates/i586/
gpgkey=http://www.skype.com/products/skype/linux/rpm-public-key.asc
enabled=1
gpgcheck=0

Finally we add the Google repository (which contains Google Earth and Chrome):

gedit /etc/yum.repos.d/google.repo

[google]
name=Google - $basearch
baseurl=http://dl.google.com/linux/rpm/stable/$basearch
enabled=1
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

[google-testing]
name=Google Testing - $basearch
baseurl=http://dl.google.com/linux/rpm/testing/$basearch
enabled=0
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

[google-earth]
name=Google Earth $basearch
baseurl=http://dl.google.com/linux/earth/rpm/stable/$basearch
enabled=1
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

[google-chrome]
name=Google Chrome $basearch
baseurl=http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/rpm/stable/$basearch
enabled=1
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

Next we import the GPG keys for software packages:

rpm –import /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY*

Refresh the package index afterwards:

yum check-update

 

7 Install Additional Software

To install additional applications, open the package manager (Activities > Applications > Add/Remove Software):

30

Use the search bar on the left to find the packages you are after. Tick the checkbox next to them to mark them for installation.

31

The following packages need to be installed if you want the applications of the above primary choice (* is a wildcard; e.g. xmms2* means all packages that start with xmms2):

    • pinta
  • gimp
  • thunderbird
  • deluge
  • marble
  • flash-plugin
  • filezilla
  • pidgin
  • gwibber
  • libreoffice
  • gnucash
  • scribus
  • banshee
  • vlc
  • k3b
  • audacity
  • dvdrip
  • mjpegtools
  • lame
  • dkms
  • eclipse
  • virtualbox
  • java
  • redhat-lsb
  • redhat-lsb-graphics
  • redhat-lsb-printing

These are the packages for all the other possible alternative applications (you don’t need to install them if you are happy with the above selection):

  • kolourpaint
  • mypaint
  • google-chrome-stable
  • transmission
  • azureus
  • google-earth-stable
  • okular
  • amarok
  • mplayer
  • smplayer
  • gtkpod
  • xmms2*
  • clementine
  • exaile
  • xine-ui
  • xine-plugin
  • soundconverter
  • bluefish

After you’ve selected the desired packages, click on the Apply button.

32

If any of the programs to be installed have dependencies, you’ll have to install those, too:

35

 

Enter your password for authorization:

33

After the installation you can close the package manager:

34

8 Install Adobe Reader, Skype and wget

You won’t find the Adobe Reader and Skype packages in the package manager, that’s why you need to install them via terminal. wget is needed later on and doesn’t come preinstalled:

sudo yum install AdobeReader_enu skype alsa-lib.i686 libXv.i686 libXScrnSaver.i686 qt.i686 qt-x11.i686 wget

 

9 Inventory (II)

Now let’s check again what we have so far. Our inventory should now look like this:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] Shotwell Photo Manager

[x] Pinta

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Deluge
[x] Skype
[x] Marble

[x] Pidgin

[ ] Dropbox

[x] Gwibber Social Client

Office:
[x] LibreOffice Writer
[x] LibreOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] dvd::rip
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs

[ ] Winff

Programming:
[ ] KompoZer
[x] Eclipse

Other:
[x] VirtualBox
[ ] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

[x] gedit

10 TrueType Fonts

To install Windows TrueType fonts, open a terminal and become root again:

su

Then run:

yum -y install rpm-build cabextract ttmkfdir

rpm -ivh http://easylinux.info/uploads/msttcorefonts-1.3-4.noarch.rpm –nodeps

To check if the TrueType fonts have been installed correctly, open a word processor like LibreOffice. You should now find your new Windows fonts there:

36

11 libdvdcss2

To install libdvdcss2, open a terminal again, become root…

su

… and run the following command:

For 32-bit systems:

rpm -ivh http://dl.atrpms.net/f17-i386/atrpms/stable/libdvdcss2-1.2.11-6.fc17.i686.rpm

For 64-bit systems:

rpm -ivh http://dl.atrpms.net/f17-x86_64/atrpms/stable/libdvdcss2-1.2.11-6.fc17.x86_64.rpm

(If the download location doesn’t exist anymore because there’s a newer libdvdcss2 package, you can find that package on http://dl.atrpms.net/f17-i386/atrpms/stable/ for i686 systems and on http://dl.atrpms.net/f17-x86_64/atrpms/stable/ for x86_64 systems.)

 

12 Win32 Codecs

To install Win32-codecs, open a terminal again, become root…

su

… and run the following commands:

cd /tmp/
wget http://www.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/all-20110131.tar.bz2
tar xfvj all-20110131.tar.bz2
mkdir /usr/lib/codecs/
cp all-20110131/* /usr/lib/codecs/
ln -s /usr/lib/codecs/ /usr/lib/win32

 

13 Opera

Go to http://www.opera.com/browser/download/ in your browser and select Fedora as distribution. Click on the Download Opera button…

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… and select Open with Software Install (default):

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The Software Install program will then come up and guide you through the installation.

 

14 Dropbox

To install Dropbox, open a terminal again, become root…

su

… and run the following commands:

For 32-bit systems:

rpm -ivh https://www.dropbox.com/download?dl=packages/fedora/nautilus-dropbox-1.4.0-1.fedora.i386.rpm

For 64-bit systems:

rpm -ivh https://www.dropbox.com/download?dl=packages/fedora/nautilus-dropbox-1.4.0-1.fedora.x86_64.rpm

 

15 Winff

To install Winff, open a terminal again, become root…

su

… and run the following commands:

For 32-bit systems:

rpm -ivh http://winff.googlecode.com/files/winff-1.2.0-1%7Eppa1l.i386.rpm

For 64-bit systems:

rpm -ivh http://winff.googlecode.com/files/winff-1.2.0-1%7Eppa1l.x86_64.rpm

 

16 Kompozer

To install Kompozer, open a terminal again, become root…

su

… and run the following commands:

For 32-bit systems:

rpm -ivh http://olea.org/paquetes-rpm/fedora-13/kompozer-0.8-0.5.b3.fc13.i586.rpm

For 64-bit systems:

rpm -ivh http://olea.org/paquetes-rpm/fedora-13/kompozer-0.8-0.5.b3.fc13.x86_64.rpm

 

17 Nightingale

Nightingale has to be downloaded from their website at http://getnightingale.com. Click on the great download button and open the downloaded archive with the archive manager. The application doesn’t need to be installed since it can be started directly from the downloaded directory.

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18 Inventory (III)

You should now have installed everything you might need on your desktop:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] Shotwell Photo Manager

[x] Pinta

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Deluge
[x] Skype
[x] Marble

[x] Pidgin

[x] Dropbox

[x] Gwibber Social Client

Office:
[x] LibreOffice Writer
[x] LibreOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] dvd::rip
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

[x] Winff

Programming:
[x] KompoZer
[x] Eclipse

Other:
[x] VirtualBox
[x] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

[x] gedit

 

  • Fedora Linux: http://fedoraproject.org/

You are welcome to leave recommendations for software in the comments for the next issues!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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