Gray Flannel Dwarf

11/10/2007

Tempting the F8s

I’m usually kind of hesitant to upgrade Fedora releases immediately after the come out… I like to make sure most of the bugs are ironed out so that I don’t hose something. However, I simply couldn’t resist this time, and over a span of 24 hours, I upgraded both my home-built desktop and T43 laptop from F7 to F8.

Now, being an Xfce user (for the time being anyway), I don’t get to experience a lot of the bells and whistles arriving in F8, such as pulseaudio and the neato changing background stuff that Máirín worked on. However, I was interested in doing the install from a pure usability standpoint. A linux user since 1996, a jack of all trades but master of none, I am always interested to see how thing improve/regress from the perspective of someone who’s neither n00b nor r00t..

As always, there is good, bad and ugly. Generally speaking, the upgrade went quite well — albeit i took a path slightly less traveled, opting to take a stab at it with smart, versus yum. But anyway, I did run into the same --noscripts (resolvable) issue as dgoodwin, as well as some other packages — so that’s something that definitely should be added to the FedoraFaq wiki. Also, it seems that the f8 kernel gets installed, but never makes its way into grub.conf — odd, and I now know I’m not the only one to have seen this. Anyway uninstalling it and reinstalling seems to be the easiest fix.

Generally speaking though, it didn’t seem like I had a lot of problems… home system upgraded like a champ… then hit the laptop… rebooted…

… and then I was stymied and still am. After rebooting, my monitor begins to display a message about the frequencies being out of range. WTF? Worse still, it seems that to get any working resolutions at all on my laptop display that are above 1024×768, i have no options other than widescreen-esque ratios. Attempting to fix these issues with system-config-display was a futile effort for two reasons — one, because every time I tried to change the monitor setting, it would say it was saved, but actually wouldn’t… and then when I jerry-rigged the xorg.conf to give me the resolution i wanted, X still wouldn’t cooperate — either causing my monitor to display the frequency error again, or popping up in the right resolution — say, 1280×1024 — for a brief moment before resetting to something odd like 1280×768.

I still don’t know what is/was causing it, but later on I noticed that I didn’t get it in GNOME, or KDE… only in Xfce — but I don’t know WTF the window manager would have to do with changing the resolution.

Anyway, after seeing that, I went kamikaze on my dot-setting directories, figuring I could just wipe everything out and get it to work — and that did indeed do the trick, albeit at the expense of some of my desktop settings. That said, I’m still not at all convinced that things are quite right with my Xserver.

Oh, and due in part to all of this — and in part to all the cool new GNOME stuff — i considered switching back to GNOME, if only for a time, as an alternative to a busted resolution. However, trying to make my first changes or two and getting segfaults all over the place with gnome-appearance-properties, i changed my mind pretty quickly. Maybe this will get cleared up (out there|on my box) eventually and I can reevaluate.

Generally speaking, though, I was pretty happy with the install experience — I just for the life of me can’t figure out what the hell is/was going wrong on the X end of things.

Update: Well, I noticed that livna once again (and most conveniently) has fglrx drivers. I know there had been issues in the past few months, and I am not sure when they finally fixed that — but in any case, i installed them, and my issue seems to have resolved itself. The plot thickens…


Tags: , , , , , , , — cswiii @ 1:36 am

9/12/2007

Goodbye KDE, hello Xfce

Well, the love affair with KDE was torrid, full of passion, but it was short-lived, and in the end, wasn’t meant to be.

I liked it… and still kind of do… but it was like, I dunno… too much whipped cream on your pumpkin pie? Too rich an environment, Too many menu items, even when I slimmed stuff down, just… “Too.

Also, I got annoyed at how often I would end up inadvertently closing an applet by right-clicking too fast or something, and having KDE think I wanted to close it. Little thing I guess, but it started to rub at me.

So anyway, I decided to check out Xfce, and I think I really have found what I’m looking for (cue Bono). Zippy as hell and has the right balance of customisation without all the confusion. After the initial hiccups of trying to get functional menus — although I still haven’t found a way to make them autopopulate and I don’t think such a feature yet exists — I was up and running.

There are still a few glitches. I run several Gnome applets and the occasional KDE applet still, and the KDE applets will, on occasion, end up in the corner of my screen versus the system tray when I restart the a session. Oh, and I had to build xfce4-smartpm-plugin from scratch since it doesn’t (yet?) seem to be available in Fedora. Also, the menu editor won’t allow me to move a launcher outside its current grouping to another. For example, I’ve got a few things that are, to me anyway, miscategorized. I can’t move something from, say, “Accessories” to “System”. without just rewriting an entry from scratch.

Overall, however, I think Xfce is the way to go, especially if you want something that’s lightweight. My system isn’t particularly slow at all, but Xfce feels a lot more responsive; I can only imagine the improvement on a slower system. In fact, I know it’s better — my first stab at Xfce was on a vmware image, now that I think about it, a decision which was specifically made due to the nature of the beast.


Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 9:29 pm