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From Fedora Core to Fedora (Multimedia) Extras: an Installation review – II January 27, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Fedora, First Impressions, How-To, Linux, Reviews, Screenshots, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.

Working with Fedora, after a year with ‘other distributions’ was quite a culture-shock. The Fedora world is so strange coming from Ubuntu/OpenSUSE; entering the Fedora world meant I had(have) to literally figure (learn) things from scratch. However, some similarities exist, thankfully, and of course the internet help(s)/(ed). The following is a brief installation review for getting Fedora Core enabled with other extras that we have come to expect from our distros… the actual how-to is available on this site.

Understanding “Core” and “Extras.” Starting Fedora 7, there will be no differentiation between Core and Extras, only Fedora 7. That sounds good, because I still have no idea what this core is about. I guess it is a modular core that supposedly makes it easier to add other things. But aren’t all Linux systems like that? Anyway, when I tried to installs along with my Fedora Cor 6 DVD, it kept crashing (I tried 5 times). Something about network etc. I eventually just ignored extras and installed Fedora Core plain. Then, I started “Xtra-fying” my Fedora…

…and thus, Fedora Extras, to me, are basically the multimedia functionalities (and some software) that don’t come by default in most Linux distros (codecs/players etc.)

For those of us who use Automatix in Ubuntu, I found no such thing here… and thus, like openSUSE, I had to pretty much get the multimedia capability of Fedora by myself, codec-by-codec, software-by-software. Note: there is still a lot of Fedora Core 5, 4 and even 3 stuff out there… so watch what version help you are using.

The few culture-shocks I faced when entering the Fedora world are listed below:

1. No graphical install/download/uninstall in Fedora that I could find. (latest update: My thanks to rexbinary whose comment directed me to Add/Remove software in Fedora. However, When I did it, the same kind of hanging window occured. The screenshot of the process after 5-minutes is below).

Add-Remove error in (my) Fedora

And then this error, after waiting for about 7 minutes. I guess it could be a yum.conf error, but I don’t know).

Add-remove error in (my) Fedora - 2

1b. This applies even to the update function. When I tried to manually do a “software update” in system, the computer hung. However, through the terminal I did “yum update” and it worked fine.

openSUSE has YAST. Ubuntu has Synaptic. But Fedora uses YUM, but it’s a text based install. Not that it’s that bad… in fact it was pretty decent… only, it can be quite disconcerting to newbies like us… trying to find our way in the Linux maze.

When installing, I only faced one dependency error (while installing Banshee) otherwise most of the things I wanted to do worked.

2. No automatic NTFS mount support. I’m not talking about read-only for NTFS. Fedora doesn’t even recognise NTFS for mounting, you have to download something to enable it. (latest update: I downloaded the NTFS driver, but have still not been able to mount my NTFS partition. There is a strong warning, and so I’m scared… I don’t want to lose my shared stuff).

3. Also, it’s better to operate in ROOT (within user of course). ie. When using Terminal within user, it’s better to work on root mode, b/c the sudo command seems to work differently. I found that when I typed my sudo password in user mode, it wasn’t as simple as Ubuntu… and I think I was confused… thus it didn’t allow me to work on user. (latest update: yes, as one commentor said, in Fedora you need to type su and then you’ll be asked to enter your password, and then you eventually just work in administrator mode).

Considering these challenges, why am I sticking with Fedora? I think Fedora is doing a commendable thing by going all-out free software (though that is not my own personal position). Also, the purpose of Fedora is to cater not to the beginner but to the cutting(bleeding)edge Linux user. So, it’s ok if they don’t simplify it for us. Also, Fedora recognises my desktop graphics card, which is something many distro’s, even openSUSE, do not do. All in all, I can say is that I’m still in the middle of getting Fedora configured to my liking/usability. And it is difficult, but not impossible to get to know.

The helpful how-to for installing Fedora multimedia is available on this site.

Other helps: Unofficial Extras FAQ here.

(latest update: I did not heed my own advice of being aware of the differences between Fedora Core 4/5/6 and following one site, I messed up my yum.conf (an important configuration file) and it has become a Fedora Core 5 configuration. I cannot still find a sample for Fedora Core 6 yum.conf. It is really interesting that the Fedora Core family is so diverse… I still find many sites that feature Fedora Cor 2-3 etc. And they’re first-prominent in google.com. Scary!)



1. Matthew - January 27, 2007

I used to use Fedora. It’s not sudo. It’s “su -c”. It is a lot more difficult in retrospect. Yum is fine, but without synaptic it can be tedious.

2. rexbinary - January 27, 2007

“1. No graphical install/download/uninstall in Fedora that I could find.”

In the Fedora menu, Add/Remove Software. :)

3. rexbinary - January 27, 2007

Oh and check out the Livna repository, it will have all the ugly/dirty applications and codecs you will probably want.


4. Siva - March 1, 2007

Yum Extender is the GUI alternative for yum. In this u can select all the update u want to do. Just have a look and comment.

5. J.S. - March 6, 2007

there is also kyum which is part of extras collection. but yum is really a big piece of **** !!! It is slow and consumes normally at least 200 megs. It’s not usable for computers with less than 512 megs.

But there is a solution for your problem. Install apt and synaptic from Fedora Extras then you’ll be fine most of the time. I use apt and synaptic on several fedora machines having made dist upgrades (fc2 -> fc3 -> fc4 ->fc5 ->fc6 ->fc7test1) without major problems – sometimes I had to de-install some packages before upgrading and install them again after the update to solve dependency problems)

If you are interested I can send you a working apt-configuration and a slow yum-configuration too ;-)

6. Sean Lebeau - April 19, 2007

If you are lookinig for a GUI Based Yum package You should look at Yum Extender. You can install it from the Extras repositoriy if you have Yum back up. Command # yum install yumex.

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