Fecking Fedora

I made the mistake of trying the Yum Upgrade method of moving my rock-solid F13 install to F14 before they end-of-life’d it. Well that resulted in a machine that would constantly reboot at the “Loading operating system….” bit just before Grub. I couldn’t fix it no matter how many times I tried variations of “grub-install /dev/sda”.

So I decided I might as well bite the bullet and do a fresh install of Fedora 15. The first problem there was that my computer becomes very unreliable when I plug in the DVD drive (I really have to buy a new PSU) so I created a bootable USB installation using the UNetBootIn instructions. Well that took literally hours to write 3Gb to my flash drive on Ubuntu for some reason and then wouldn’t boot anyway, the fix was to type “/isolinux/vmlinuz initrd=/isolinux/initrd.img” at the boot: prompt.

So I merrily went and selected a smallish installation, not every package a I usually would do. Apparently this came to over 2000 packages! 4 hours later its still installing, then I notice the switch is blinking like crazy, guess what – despite unticking the “Use Fedora Updates repository” option, it seems to be downloading 2000+ RPM’s from the internet!

Anyway, eventually I’m booted and into Gnome3 – well what a screwup that is – I can’t even find where to configure the screensaver! The only thing I like about it is I don’t have to spend a day configuring compiz-fusion plugins as most of what I use is built-in and preconfigured now (like drag’n’drop windows between workspaces). Gnome-Shell I hate, what is it with having to search through a list of all your applications rather than just selecting from a menu?!

I found this site which at least tells you how to move the stupid clock and get the shutdown menu back again.

The SysV-init replacement “systemd” doesn’t integrate with any of the GUI tools for configuring services and doesn’t work with akmods so every kernel update is going to be fun with NVidia/VirualBox. I can see that becoming the next PulseAudio heathen.

For some reason NFS is all screwed up with Nautilus and won’t let a regular user unmount (although it will mount!) despite what /etc/fstab says. So I went back to autofs, which at least these days seems to cope with the remote server being offline. Then I noticed that USB drives won’t mount – turns out I can’t use /media for NFS mounts anymore, so have to create a specific /nfs directory now:


/nfs /etc/auto.nfs --timeout=3600 --ghost


data0 -fstype=nfs4,hard,intr,timeo=10,rw,rsize=32768,wsize=32768,noatime server:/data0
data1 -fstype=nfs4,hard,intr,timeo=10,rw,rsize=32768,wsize=32768,noatime server:/data1

So I’m pretty much back at a working system now, although I’m getting the odd hard-lockup like I was with F14 (despite removing USB/DVD devices) so I think I need a new PSU. Odd that F13 was fine.

Skype works, Firefox4 by default, Nessus’ F13 RPM works, VirtualBox has a new F15 RPM, I can rsync all my servers etc. I rebuilt my RPM’s for JtR, gSTM, gIP and knockd and I built VirtualBox4 and CyanogenMod7 using Sun JDK.

I noticed that even if you run “ssh-add” you still get a popup dialog box from gnome-seahorse-whatever asking for the passphrase. Apparently ssh-add is deprecated, and ssh-agent is fired up by the dialog now, so just enter the passphrase in there and it will cache it in the agent.

Nothing but Totem will play .FLV files for some reason – I think RPMFusion broke their MPlayer build or something.

Whenever I fire up QGit now I get some annoying warning:

An error occurred while executing command: git repo-config --get i18n.commitencoding
Git says: WARNING: git repo-config is deprecated in favor of git config.

One thing I noticed was that when restoring, BackInTime (root) sets all the directory modification times to now, although files get their original datestamp. Bit of a shame that, as it means sorting a directory listing my date is pretty ineffectual.

VirtualBox 2.1.0

VirtualBox 2.1.0 has been released. New features include complete revamping of host interface networking – no more IP forwarding or bridging/tap interfaces required, vastly simplifying network setup, its even better than VMWare now, as it doesn’t even create a new interface on the host.

Unfortunately they seem to have completely broken Linux display support, with the X11 screen stuck at the framebuffer resolution of 640×480. Fullscreen and seemless mode don’t work either. Mouse integration works but not on Solaris.

3D support has been experimentally implemented, I’ve not tried it yet though.

The upgrade process also went screwy – I had to edit the XML files to remove any references to the TAP interfaces before VirtualBox would even load the VM settings, plus they still don’t have a Fedora10 RPM, although the Fedora9 one works with some warnings.

On an unrelated note, I’ve disabled autofs on my desktop now, as whilst it was nice to automount NFS shares, it was killing Nautilus, especially if the NFS server was offline (or the disks spun down), oddly enough even when the shares had been unmounted by root and Nautilus wasn’t even accessing that directory!

Automount goodness

I’ve just found my favourite piece of software (of the week, at least): Automounter or amd.

Basically it allows you to mount filesystems on demand, so I’ve got it setup on all my Linux boxes now to mount each other’s NFS shares. The extra good bit is that if the NFS server is offline it doesn’t hang your machine on boot (like putting it in /etc/fstab does).

All you need is to install autofs (“yum install autofs”, which i think sets it to start on boot) and create the following two files:

/etc/auto.master :

/media /etc/auto.nfs --timeout=3600 --ghost

That mounts the shares in /media, and tells it to create the directories even if the server is offline, and to unmount them again after and hour if idle.

/etc/auto.nfs :

data5 -fstype=nfs,hard,intr,timeo=10,async,rw

That’s the equivalent of your “mount -t nfs” command (or /etc/fstab entry), it tells it to nfsmount in /media/data5, not to fall over if the server goes offline (although it still does a bit), async for performance, read+write permissions, and the server IP and mountpoint on the end (as in /etc/exports).

What’s extra cool is that when the NFS server boots, it creates disk icons on your desktop (due to the mountpoints being in /media)!

I guess this is similar to how MacOSX does it with its “Directory Utility”. I upgraded the MacMini to OSX 10.5.6 today, doesn’t seem to be anything particulary new/interesting….