Linux desktops Fedora 14 (Laughlin) customization

Author: L.S.Lowe. File: f14custom. This update: 20101217. Part of Guide to the Local System.

This is a list of customizations I've applied to a Fedora 14 system (Laughlin, f14). For longer notes on later (eg Fedora 15) and earlier systems, see Contents.

These are applied to our systems after doing a kickstart install, and as needed after that. Packages are installed using the usual yum. Individual files may be distributed using rdist or rsync.

Adobe repository, Adobe Reader and Flash

The AdobeReader_enu package for Adobe Reader (acroread), and other language variations, and the flash-plugin package for Adobe Flash 10, can be downloaded from the Adobe site. To use Adobe as a YUM repository, first download the adobe-release-i386 package: go to and choose YUM for Linux, and then install that package.

If you get warnings on starting acroread (32-bit) from a command line, of the form Gtk-WARNING **: Unable to locate theme engine in module_path, then you need to install the gtk2-engines.i686 package.

In order for Adobe Flash (32-bit) to work, you need to ensure you have got installed the Fedora nspluginwrapper.i686 package. You can install this after flash-plugin, or before, it doesn't seem to matter.

It does seem to vary as to whether AdobeReader_enu is to be found in the Adobe repository, but as of December 2010, it is, and is version 9.4.1.

ATrpms repository

The ATrpms repository has a number of useful packages missing for various reasons from Fedora. This repository can be set up for yum by installing the atrpms-repo package, listed on the following web page: .

X driver for legacy nVidia cards

I have one or two old PCs with nVidia GeForce2 MX 200 cards. These are not supported by the Fedora-supplied nouveau driver: it fails to open the device. Rather than defaulting to the VESA driver, which limited resolution to 1024x768, it was worth trying nVidia's own legacy-driver software. This did not work until, a few weeks after Fedora 14 final release, support was added for Xorg Xserver 1.9 as used by F14. At the time of writing, the recommended legacy nVidia package is version 96.43.19. It's necessary to ensure the kernel-devel and gcc packages are installed first, but then this script installs the driver without a hitch and all works well.

KDE's akonadi

This feature of KDE 4 causes (for me) around 14 akonadi-related processes to start when a user logs in.

The akonadi feature is part of package kdepim-runtime: when that package is not installed, akonadi does not run.

KDE's nepomukserver

The Nepomuk Semantic Desktop is a feature of KDE 4 for gathering information on files within certain directories of each user, and which is turned on by default.

It should be possible to turn off the nepomukserver: indeed according to my reading of the file /usr/share/autostart/nepomukserver.desktop that server should not be started if file /usr/share/kde-settings/kde-profile/default/share/config/nepomukserverrc, or the user's equivalent own copy, has that server turned off. Nevertheless it does start on KDE login, along with a mysqld daemon for each such user.

One solution is to remove or rename the autostart file named above.

Turning off over-helpful PackageKit action

If you mistype a command in the bash shell, then you get the response Command not found (note the capital C, unlike the normal response) and then there is a bit of a delay while PackageKit tries to find a package corresponding to what you typed. If you have a pretty full installation of Fedora, or if you don't have authority to update the system anyway, this action may be more often irritating than helpful, so you may want to turn it off.

There are various ways: put unset command_not_found_handle at the end of your $HOME/.bashrc; make file /etc/profile.d/ unreadable to the ordinary user; configure the file /etc/PackageKit/CommandNotFound.conf; or do a yum erase PackageKit-command-not-found.

As supplied the return code for a mistyped interactive command is 0, rather than 127 as it should be (as of Dec 2010). This could lead to problems if you mistype a command pipeline which relies on return codes being sensible.

Keyboard layout setting

The layout and language for the keyboard is set from the contents of the /etc/sysconfig/keyboard file.

The default keyboard layout for X mode is read by the X server when it starts from /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/00-system-setup-keyboard.conf file. That file is automatically generated and updated by system process system-setup-keyboard, which monitors file /etc/sysconfig/keyboard as its source of information. That process gets started at boot time from /etc/init/system-setup-keyboard.conf as part of the upstart sequence.

The layout can also be assigned within KDE by System Settings / Hardware / Input Devices / Keyboard / Layouts / Configure Layouts. You can configure layout choices and then choose one from the System tray.

The keyboard layout for tty mode is set by the kernel command line in the /boot/grub/grub.conf file, using the KEYTABLE option, or by the /etc/sysconfig/keyboard file.

A4 paper default for xv

Some of our users use the John Bradley xv application, which is available for Fedora from xv and xv-docs packages. One thing they usually want to do is to set the default paper size to A4, instead of US Letter size, thereby saving a click or two every time xv is used. This is easily accomplished with the following wrapper script /usr/local/bin/xv:

         echo 'xv.pspaper: a4' | xrdb -merge
         /usr/bin/xv "$@"

Difference in hwclock invocation

This is just a place-holder for the moment, but there does seem to be a small difference between Fedora 12 and Fedora 14 as to the issuing of the hwclock command. First thoughts are: /etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit used to issue a hwclock --hctosys, but no longer does (but check!). As before, optional service /etc/init.d/ntpdate finds network time once and then optionally issues hwclock --systohc. As before, optional service ntpd finds network time continually and also effectively sets the hwclock hardware using "11 minute mode" (since adjtimex --print "status" 0x0040 bit is zero). As before,. /etc/init.d/halt issues hwclock --systohc.

More ................

work in progress ..... ................

Birmingham Particle Physics Group