Perfect Desktop Fedora 14 Laughlin: Post Install Guide

I am assuming that you have already installed Fedora 14 Laughlin on your machine, and since I used Live CD installation media, the list of applications already installed is quite a small one. This guide is going to help you setup a perfect desktop system, which you can use for your day to day needs without having to return to Windows.

Become root by typing su at the terminal followed by entering your root password. Now enter the following in the terminal

rpm -Uvh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpmhttp://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm

Its all in a single line, this would add the RPM Fusion repository which would allow the installation of several useful packages and applications.

Next we add the adobe repository for downloading Acrobat Reader, by running this at the terminal

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

Finally we add the Skype repository and google repository

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

Then paste the following and save it

[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

For google repository create a file

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

Now paste the following content, depending on whether you are using 32-bit or 64-bit Fedora

[google]
name=Google - i386
baseurl=http://dl.google.com/linux/rpm/stable/i386
enabled=1
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

For 64-bit copy and paste this

[google64]
name=Google - x86_64
baseurl=http://dl.google.com/linux/rpm/stable/x86_64
enabled=1
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

If you get an error and are unable to launch gedit as root user, then you can either install another text editor like emacs by doing yum install emacs or just launch gedit from standard menu and paste the content given above and save the file as skype.repo. After this move it to /etc/yum.repos.d/ by being root and using a command like one shown below (replace the path of skype.repo with that of your file)

mv /home/lifehacker/*.repo /etc/yum.repos.d/

Below is the list of applications that we are going to install, using Yum, to take care of our daily computer needs. Some of these applications are already installed but have been listed for your information. Look for the single command line instruction to install all of them in one go at the bottom of the list, you can choose to install them individually by using the following command, while being root

yum install package-name

Some of these applications would have to be installed outside of yum and link to download the packages is listed towards the end of this guide.

Internet:

  • flash-plugin: Adobe Flash Player: to be installed
  • Firefox: web browser:  already installed
  • Chrome: web browser by Google: to be installed separately
  • Opera: web browser: to be installed separately
  • thunderbird: An email and news client: to be installed
  • Evolution: e-mail/calendar – Outlook style application: already installed (see Applications > Office)
  • transmission: A BitTorrent Client: Bittorrent client: already installed
  • Empathy IM Client: multi-platform instant messaging client: already installed
  • skype: VOIP software: to be installed
  • Google Earth: Map software by Google: to be installed separately

Graphics:

  • gimp: replacement for Adobe Photoshop: to be installed
  • f-spot: feature rich personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop: to be installed
  • Google Picasa:  application for organizing and editing digital photos: to be installedseparately

Office:

  • openoffice.org-writer: replacement for Microsoft Word: to be installed
  • openoffice.org-calc: replacement for Microsoft Excel: to be installed
  • openoffice.org-impress: replacement for Microsoft Powerpoint: to be installed
  • AdobeReader_enu: Adobe Reader: to be installed (choose the package for your language)
  • scribus: open source desktop publishing (DTP) application: to be installed

Sound & Video:

  • audacity: free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor: to be installed
  • audacious: Winamp like music player: to be installed
  • banshee: media management and playback and synchronize music with Apple iPods: to be installed
  • gnome-mplayer: media player (video/audio), supports practically all formats: to be installed
  • vlc: media player (video/audio), supports practically all formats: to be installed
  • Rhythmbox Music Player: audio player, similar to Apple’s iTunes, with support for iPods:  already installed
  • gtkpod: iPod manager, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini: to be installed
  • dvdrip: full featured DVD copy program: to be installed
  • dvd95: dvd shrink like program to convert DVD9 to DVD5:  to be installed
  • kino: digital video editor: to be installed
  • sound-juicer: CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs: to be installed
  • Totem – media player (video/audio):  already installed
  • gxine: media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs: to be installed
  • Brasero: CD/DVD burning program:  already installed
  • k3b: CD/DVD burning program: to be installed

Programming:

  • emacs: Feature rich extensible self-documenting text editor: to be installed
  • vim: Terminal based power text editor: to be installed
  • bluefish: HTML editor: to be installed
  • kdewebdev: includes quanta: web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor: to be installed

Other:

  • VirtualBox-OSE: run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don’t have to entirely abandon Windows: to be installed
  • ffmpeg: Useful video conversion application: to be installed

Home Theater (HTPC):

  • mythtv: State-of-art Home Theater and Personal Video Recorder (PVR) application.
  • xbmc: Awesome easy to use Home Theater (HTPC) application for playing videos, music, photo slide show etc., no PVR though!

You can install all the packages listed above in one go, by running this command at the terminal:

yum install flash-plugin thunderbird gimp f-spot openoffice.org-writer openoffice.org-calc openoffice.org-math openoffice.org-impress AdobeReader_enu scribus audacity audacious banshee gnome-mplayer vlc gtkpod dvdrip dvd95 kino sound-juicer gxine k3b emacs vim bluefish kdewebdev VirtualBox-OSE skype ffmpeg

Beware, this is going to take a while as over 550+MB of files would be downloaded. Take out whatever you don’t need, also I have not included mythtv and xbmc in the above complete install list, as not everybody would be needing it. You might also want to install Yumex, by doing

yum install yumex

this is a gui based package installer and search application similar to Synaptic (Ubuntu / Debian fame), but not as fast. You can download the remaining packages from the links given below.

To install google stuff you can do this

yum install google-chrome picasa

To install Google Earth you would have to download rpm for Google Earth from here. I don’t think they have included the package in the repo. Let me know if I am wrong.

Download rpm for Google chat plugin from here.

Download rpm for Opera from here.

Dual Boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

This is an installation guide for Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat targeted at people who want to dual boot with Windows 7 (would work for any version of Windows) and Ubuntu 10.04. I have chosen the most basic setup with Windows 7 already installed and occupying the entire hard drive. An alternate setup could be, that you have a second hard drive which you want to install Ubuntu on. If you already have Ubuntu installed and want to install Windows, read this post (although it is for Ubuntu Lucid, the concept should be identical). People who don’t want to partition their hard drives can use Ubuntu 10.10 by virtualizing them from inside Windows by either using Virtual Box or VMware Player (both free softwares). This approach, described here for Ubuntu 9.10 (its identical for 10.10), works very well if you are not planning on using Ubuntu extensively and also if you have a multi-core CPU (dual, quad etc) which supports virtualization, because then, you won’t feel any lag or delay while running two operating systems simultaneously. If you are going to install Ubuntu on a second hard drive you can skip Step 0, and go directly to Ubuntu installation process.You would not need to resize your Windows partition either. But, you must install the Grub on second hard drive! More on this later in the post.

Pre-installation:

Since we are going to resize the partition on your windows disk, it is strongly recommended that you backup all your data on windows machine, while chances of any problems arising are minimal, it is better to be safe than sorry. After backing up all data,  run disk cleanup  and disk defragmentation (for older Windows) from theAccessories > System Tools Menu. This is strongly recommended if you have an old Windows installation, as this facilitates smooth and fast partitioning.

You can resize your existing Windows partition using two approaches, either using Windows partition manager or by using the Gparted software on Ubuntu Live CD. It is probably safer to use the first approach as you are using native Windows tools, while dealing with NTFS file system. The procedure to resize the partition is described here. If you prefer approach 2, you can go ahead with it, I have been using Gparted for last 4-5 years without ever having any problems. I’ll discuss it in a moment.

Put the Ubuntu Lucid Lynx installation disk, iso for which can be download from www.ubuntu.com,  in your CD/DVD drive and reboot (make sure your DVD/CD Drive is the first boot device or at least ahead of your hard drive in boot order).  Alternatively you can use your USB drive to transfer the Iso image and make it bootable by using Unetbootin as described here. Ubuntu should start to boot from CD. Hit any key to reveal this screen
Select the Try Ubuntu without installing option, (if you have already created space for the Ubuntu install on your hard drive, skip to next step). Once the Live CD has booted, launch Gparted

You would see something like this
Right click and choose to Resize/Move the partition. Now grad the slider to the desired partition size, you should keep at least 10 GB space for Ubuntu to function properly, (if you are low on space then go for 8 GB, anything lower and you might run into disk space issues in your Ubuntu install).
Click on Resize/Move button to return to main window. Now apply the changes to resize or shrink Windows partition.
Click Apply to accept the changes, I am assuming that you have backed up all your data beforehand. As partition editing can get complicated, so always back up your data.
Wait till the resize operation gets over
Now exit Gparted and restart your computer.

Installation:

Once again, on reboot, your computer should start to boot using Ubuntu Live CD or USB drive. This time choose the Install Ubuntu option.
Choose the language and hit next
On the next screen, the live CD installer allows you to connect to your wireless connection, if you have wired connection with DHCP enabled, it would detect it automatically. If you were able to connect to the network, tick the boxes for Download updates while installingand Install this third party software (to enable support for mp3, flash etc. by default).
On the next screen, choose Specify partitions manually (advanced)

Now we would create two partitions for Ubuntu installation: (1) “/” or root partition, where all files would be store (it is like your C:/ drive on windows) (2) SWAP partition, which is used when your RAM gets full, make sure that you make SWAP size greater than your physical RAM size, this machine has 2 GB RAM so I would create a 3 GB SWAP partition.

To create partitions, select free space and then hit the Add button. First create the root “/” partition, using settings similar to the one shown below (I have kept 3 GB for SWAP, and I am using all remaining free space for my Ubuntu installation).
Hit OK, and then again choose the free space remaining to add another partition
Hit OK to return to main window, which should resemble something like this
Hit Install Now button to move to next screen, when the installation process starts, choose your time zone and hit Forward
choose keyboard layout
Now enter the details for the user and click Forward.
Wait for the installer to do its job, it would take a moment as the updates would also be downloaded, if you didn’t choose to install updates it should be done in 20 or so minutes.
Wait till you see this, hit the Restart button, take the CD / USB drive out and press enter.

And you have Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat dual booting in harmony with Windows 7.
Choosing the Windows 7 option would take you to Windows boot screen.

Dual Boot Windows 7 and Fedora 14 Laughlin

This is an installation guide for Fedora 14 users who want to dual boot Fedora 14 with Windows 7 (should work for any version of Windows) and Fedora 14. I have chosen the most basic setup with Windows 7 already installed and occupying the entire hard drive.

Step 0: Before with start with the installation, you obviously need to make space for the Fedora installation. You have a few options to do so, if you are using Windows 7, then you can use Windows native tool to resize the partition, as described here, second option is to use a third  party software like Gparted Live CD, or use the Fedora installer to do the resizing for you. If you have Windows 7, then the first approach is the way to go.

Step 1: Put the Fedora 14 installation disk, iso for which can be download fromhttp://fedoraproject.org,  in your CD/DVD drive and reboot (make sure your DVD/CD Drive is the first boot device or at least ahead of your hard drive in boot order).  Alternatively you can use your USB drive to transfer the Iso image and make it bootable by using Unetbootin as described here. I am going to make use of the Fedora 14 live CD for the installation. The live CD should start to boot as soon as your computer restarts.

The Fedora Live Desktop would look something like this, start the installation by double clicking on the Install to Hard Drive launcher.

Step 2 Installation of Fedora 14 Laughlin: The screenshot of each installation step is shown below and the appropriate description is appended where needed.
Hit the next button
Choose storage type, continue with Basic Storage Devices
Specify the host name (the name of your computer, it can be anything you like)
Select the time zone.
Next specify the password for the root (super user). This is needed for making any changes to your installation, later.
In the next step, to keep things simple, we are going to choose the option of Use Free Space for the Fedora installation (we already have created free space on drive in Step 0. If you want to see how the partitions are created and want to modify them, then tick the box that says Review and modify the partitioning layout.
It would show the partition structure that installer is going to create. If you are not comfortable with dealing with partitions then I would suggest you to go with the default selection and hit next.
In the next step you would be asked if you want to write changes to the disk. Click on it to continue and the partitions would be created for you.

The next step involves the setting for the boot loader installation. Here choose the default choice of OS  at the time of boot. Other represents Windows 7 that have already and you can select it and hit the edit button to modify the name to Windows 7 or something more appropriate, but this is optional.
By default the boot loader is installed on the MBR (Master Boot Record), I would continue with the default choice as it works all the time.  So I would suggest you stick to it. Installation of files would start

Click on Close to exit the installer and then restart your computer by going to the System menu on top bar (don’t forget to eject the CD or unplug the USB as computer restarts)
Upon restart you should be greeted by the Grub menu. Choose Fedora to finalize your installation by creating users etc. Enjoy your dual boot system. Leave your feedback if you think I was not clear in explaining any of the steps.

Keep hitting forward and then you should get the Fedora login prompt. For further configuration and perfect desktop creation see related posts below.