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14 Nov 2011

Fedora 16 KDE: Improving Perfection

Desktop Environment is very important part of today's Linux distribution which pretends to be used on desktop or laptop. There are some Linux distributions which give you only one Desktop Environment by default, being it Pardus with KDE or CentOS with GNOME. As opposite, there are distributions which are supplied with selection of different DEs available: Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora.
Last week we saw release of freshest version of Fedora, community Linux distributions supported by RedHat. The most popular option of Fedora is GNOME, and Fedora 16 includes the most recent version of it, GNOME 3. You can read my review of that system here.
But as soon as I am KDE fan, I could not miss a chance to try another option of Fedora, this time with KDE desktop environment.
Image size for Fedora 16 KDE is just under 700 Mb. It is much more than GNOME3 option, and the reasons are quite clear. I'll tell you later.
I downloaded ISO image from the torrent, which worked pretty well, as usual.
Having troubles with creation of Live USB from Debian and Ubuntu ISO images, I was scared that Fedora wouldn't work in Live USB mode either. But anyway I gave Untebootin a chance... Let's see if it works...
Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!



Surprise for me! Really nice surprise! Live USB mode of Fedora 16 worked on my laptop! Most likely because Fedora does not use hybrid ISO images, but I can't tell for sure.
Another nice surprise was just after I saw the booting started. I did not finish to express my excitement when... booting was finished! Boot time of Fedora 16 KDE from Live USB was amazingly quick! I honestly did not expect that!
When booting, I saw my screen flicked several times - similar story to Fedora 16 with GNOME3. But finally I saw default wallpaper with 20000 Leagues Under the Sea-inspired picture. KDE-style icons appeared one by one at the bottom of the splash screen. And I am in Fedora 16 default KDE desktop.

Default desktop wallpaper image in Fedora 16 KDE is good enough. As I said, it is the same image as in GNOME3 version of Fedora 16. Unfortunately, the only other choice is striped image - not sure if it is much better than default one.
Desktop itself in Fedora 16 KDE has Desktop view by default (sounds funny, doesn't it?). There is one folder open on it, and the only icon in the folder is for Installer.
Giorgie
Image by Johnny Ashburn
There is only one virtual desktop by default. If you need more, you can configure it in System Settings - Workspace Behavior. This configuration also activates desktop switch item on the panel, which does not show initially.
Freshly booted Fedora 16 KDE system uses about 246 Mb of memory, which is average, but not too much.
System itself has KDE 4.7.2 based on Linux kernel 3.1.0. Both kernel and KDE version are fresher than ones used in Kubuntu 11.10, which was released about a month before Fedora 16.
Default panel only has one icon next to KMenu button. Same as in Kubuntu 11.10, it is Activity manager. Other parts of the panel in Fedora 16 KDE are well known and they are not very different between different KDE-based distributions.
Clocks are on the right part of the panel. It showed strange time. I assume Fedora understood my computer settings as UTC, not as actual local time, and adjusted it to its default timezone - New York (EST).
KMenu is in Kick-off style, and still has only "breadcrumbs" navigation at the top of the menu, no arrows on the left and right to move between the menu parts. I assume that's not fault of Fedora or Kubuntu, but rather some short-sighting of KDE team. If anyone knows a way to get arrows navigation back, please share!
Menu itself in Fedora 16 KDE is slightly different from other KDE-based distribuions, and sometimes it is confusing. For example, Settings part of menu is empty. Instead, there are 2 other parts: Administration and Development.

Let's have a look what is inside the menu.
Default and the only browser in Fedora 16 KDE is Konqueror. Other than that, Internet section of menu is full of KDE-native tools like KTorrent, Kopete, KGet, Akgregator, Blogilo. I tried to use Blogilo for this blog, but it was not able to auto-configure to my Blogger connection.
Konqueror browser itself is pretty much stable. I started drafting this blog post in it, and it worked fine. But Konqueror does not support built-in editor for Blogger. That's why I had to search for alternatives.
As you may know, my favourite browser is Chrome(-ium). Unfortunately for me, neither Chrome nor Chromium are in default repositories of Fedora 16. That's why I had to install Chrome from Google's site. It's an easy task though.
Fedora 16 KDE includes 3 games: KPatience, KMines and KMahjongg. It is quite funny that desktop-oriented (including home computers) OS like Fedora has less games than corporate-oriented Pardus Kurumsal.
Graphics section of Fedora 16 menu contains a couple of viewers (Gwenview and Document viewer), KolourPaint, KSnapshot and couple of other useful tools. You can see here a difference from GNOME3. Even though KolourPaint is not the most powerful graphics editor, it is still better than nothing. Of course, one could argue that GIMP is de-facto standard tool for image editing in Open Source Operating Systems. But it takes too much of valuable disk space. That's why I am more or less happy to see at least something.
Multimedia part of Fedora 16 menu is full of players: KsCD, Amarok, JuK, Dragon Player are here. Plus, of course, K3B disk burning tool and KMix. I am not 100% sure Fedora has to include so many players in the default distribution. Again, if I had a choice between Amarok and GIMP, my choice would be definitely for GIMP. Fedora developers, will you listen to my voice?
Opposite to GNOME-based Fedora release, which, I'd remind you, does not contain any Office package at all, KDE-based Fedora ships KOffice. KWord, KSpread, KPresenter are included in distribution. Other than that, Office part of system contains Kontact, KOrganizer and few other utilities.
System part of menu contains usual set of utilities: Bug reporter, K3B, Dolphin, Krisader, Konsole etc.
Some of those programs are also listed in Utilities part of menu: Krisader, Disk Utility, KJots, KNotes, KWrites and many others.
As you can see, list of applications in KDE version of Fedora 16 is bigger than in its GNOME3 twin sister. I promised you earlier to explain why KDE-based Fedora 16 has image size 100 Mb bigger than GNOME-based. I think answer is obvious now: it has more software included. Office tools, lots of Internet tools, KolourPaint are worth those megabytes! Sure!
What if you need more software to be installed on Fedora? There are 2 options here. First, look for the RPM file with your application on developers' site. Many developers release their programs in this packaging format. Second, try to use Software Centre from Fedora itself. I would recommend you to start from the second option actually

This Software Centre in Fedora 16 is not the best I've ever seen. But it still allows you to search for applications, install and uninstall them.
What is available? I did a quick search just out of curiosity.
  • VLC is not in the default repositories. 
  • Qutim is there. 
  • Midnight Commander, of course, is there.
Of course, you can add more repositories and your choice can be truly unlimited.

Next step of my usual system checking was connection to external network drive.
Fedora 16's default file manager Dolphin was able to mount this partition with full support of Russian characters with its built-in smb:/ mounting tool.
Also I could mount same partition from command line using mount -t cifs... command. It means that smbclient is included into Fedora 16 distribution by default.
But does mounting network partition helped with my end task for this - listening to the music which is stored on network drive? Unfortunately not. At least, not out of the box.
Neither of 3 players: Amarok, JuK, DragonPlayer - was able to start MP3 file straight away. Moreover, 2 of them, Amarok and JuK, wanted to copy file from remote location first when disk was mounted via Dolphin's tool. I stopped this copying myself.
JuK was able to start MP3 file from remote partition when mounted via mount command without copying. But still was not able to play it, because plugin was missing.
When playing from local drive, Amarok also produced a message that plugin is missing. But it could not find plugin from default repositories.
Yes, you're right. That is usual story about MP3 and Fedora. You need to make some shaman dances to enable it. First of all, I tried a method recommended in comments for my previous review of Fedora 15. No luck. Finally, solution was found in Post-installation guide to Fedora 16. And it worked! MP3 files played in my Fedora 16 KDE run!

Another part of multimedia hell in Fedora and many other Linux distributions is Flash. I have mentioned above that Chrome installation was one of he first things I had done in Fedora 16 KDE Live run. And Flash was available in Google Crome immediately.
Fedora 16 KDE - Chrome plays Flash videos
out of the box

But that's not a merit of Fedora. It's a merit of Chrome. Why? Because Konqueror did not have this ability. You need to install Flash plugin separately for this browser. I suppose it will be the same issue with other browsers. I have tried this installation in GNOME3 version of Fedora 16, and I can tell you: there's nothing impossible or even difficult to stop you.

Finally, I'd like to talk a little about integration of laptop built-in hardware into Fedora distribution.
The most important part of laptop is touchpad. You can always use it, even when the mouse is not an option. Unfortunately, scrolling in touchpad was not working by default in Fedora 16 KDE. To enable it, I used good how-to. Couple of commands, and magic happened.
Fedora 16 KDE had same issue with my semi-hardware sound volume controls, as any other Linux distributions I've seen so far. It could not correctly process key combinations Fn-F5 and Fn-F6.

I also need to note that I had some stability issues in Live USB run of Fedora 16 KDE. System froze several times during some high-resource required operations, like when I tried to switch desktop theme from standard to Air.
Also, I was not able to see Desktop Cube, even when I activated it in System settings.
And finally, when shutting down, there was a message about crash in some security component. It means I could not properly check normal shutdown process.
But I believe all these points above are just issues of Live run. They are unlikely to repeat in normal installation.

In general, Fedora 16 KDE left very good impression on me. Its performance was amazing. If Fedora 15 KDE was a great system, this new release is truly improved perfection.
Does it mean I will consider trying it in installed version? Why not?

If you want to try Fedora 16 (GNOME or KDE version) yourself, why not purchase CD with this Linux distributions from this site?

39 comments:

  1. I don't understand the gripes about whether LibreOffice and GIMP are installed on the live CD or not. Few people would have any use of those on the live media because of the speed, so they are in the repository and of course in the full installation DVD. The lack of MP3 and WMA audio support has not changed since Fedora 1 so nothing new here; go straight to RPMFusion to add their repo. Four mouse clicks and a password, and you are done!
    From another happy Fedora+KDE user.

    ReplyDelete
  2. KDE Perfection? Not at all. Bugs and glitches like in 4.0.0 release. Kmail2 ruined my mailboxes and ignored SSL cerificates with annoying non-stop messages. Plasma crashes with signal 11 very often... Grub2 bootloader does not reconize simpliest disk partitions... F16 looks almost like F9 that loosed half of Fedora user base.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've also recently started using Fedora 16 + KDE, my adventure with it started with huge bugs that totally froze computer a few times but I feel it'll be better, it s a nice system now with updates and upgrades, almost huge package source, a nice view, etc. I'm wondering how much you'll keep using Fedora + KDE. Hope you'll let us know if you give up :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fedora 16 with KDE is working great here. I switched to it because the default spin with GNOME3 is just terrible, a completely ruined desktop. KDE spin is the complete opposite and works great here, even better than the old Fedoras with old GNOME. Cobgrats to Fedora KDE team for the great job!

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Anonymous:
    Presence of software in default distribution saves you time and downloading bandwidth for installed version. That's why I put this into my reviews of Live versions.
    MP3/WMA support has not changed for you, but there are still several options how to proceed.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @A.Lukin:
    Sorry to hear it did not work for you.
    I'm going to install Fedora 16 KDE on my laptop. Will see if it recognises my partitions. I'll also check KMail, even if I usually prefer web interface for my e-mail services (@darkduck.com) and do not use SSL certificates.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @tayfun:
    I may drop Fedora not because it is bad, but simply because I need partition for something else.
    Although, if Fedora 16 KDE is very good, I may consider keep it for long time.
    Let's see.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Klemen:
    GNOME3 vs KDE is just a war between old and new interface styles. Nobody can tell who wins. But they still have right to exist.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Was a previous fedora KDE user (last used Fedora 11). After that i just quit. NOW I AM BACK!!! Fedora 16 KDE is SOLID STABLE!!! Just too good. Gnome 3.x bye bye. Unity bye bye. Welcome home KDE!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Using F16 KDE here.
    I had some graphics problems with the live CD version so installed from the full DVD installer.

    My advice would be to enable the rpmfusion repos. There you'll find most of what you need to get all the media types working.

    I had to install Flash separately as I don't use Chrome (it phones home too much for my liking).

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Anonymous:
    I installed Fedora 16 on my laptop. Yes, it is very good. Though, I feel some slowness in places, where my favourite Mageia just flies.
    Also, some issues found.
    Stay connected, I'll publish my notes soon.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Anonymous:
    >My advice would be to enable the rpmfusion repos. There you'll find most of what you need to get all the media types working.
    I did this. I tried to install VLC from it. But it was not installed from first attempt. Installation finished, but VLC is not anywhere in the menu. Did not dig further yet.
    As I said above, stay connected, I'll publish my notes soon.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I use Fedora and RedHat since first releases. I love F. But time from time new release gets just ugly. Obvious example is F9 with unusable KDE 4.0. F16 is not F9 but upgrade from F15 caused a lot of stupid problems on my notebook, on my home server and on my home desktop.

    Point is: This release isn't great innovation. It is great pack of Fedora/RedHat QA team faults.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I like RedHat in general - sorry that the recent distros have gone to a higher minimum laptop / notebook memory requirement. And whatever has happened within the "unity" desktop has broken my ability to use it. Meaning, that I can look at some stuff - but the 2nd tab on the desktop - is too demanding. All I get is a square black box that opens. Boo Hoo.

    ReplyDelete
  15. KDE - perfection? total BS.

    KDE people needs to sit down and think about where they are taking the project and what they want. Also, first try to fix all the existing bugs before adding more bloated features. I was a great fan of KDE 3.5 series, but 4 series just ruined it. There is no where to go as Gnome is a shit product as well.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @ A Lukin
    So do a clean install. Upgrades are often dodgy, especially when there's under the hood changes.

    @anonymous
    KDE 4.7 is great. 4.5 and 4.6 are also fine. How long ago did you try KDE?

    ReplyDelete
  17. @A.Lukin: Please keep in mind that Fedora QA is completely community driven. Have you helped out in testing F16?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great review. I'm going to install Fedora + KDE right now. :) Fedora has some advantages over other Linux' distributions. systemd and delta RPM rocks!

    ReplyDelete
  19. @A.Lukin:
    I agree with other commenters that upgrade is not the best way to install new Linux. It is more often fail than work.
    Also, it's no point to cry about issues if you have not helped to resolve them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @Anonymous:
    >KDE - perfection? total BS.
    If you don't like KDE, please feel free to use GNOME, Unity, XFCE, LXDE, OpenBox, E17 or even Midnight Commander.

    My point is that KDE is the best of DEs I've ever tried.

    ReplyDelete
  21. @Paweł:
    Nice to hear that I helped you. Hope you won't be disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
  22. > Most likely because Fedora does not use hybrid ISO images, but I can't tell for sure.

    Fedora actually does use hybrid images these days, but we still recommend the liveusb-creator because it also allows you to create a persistent overlay.

    > Default desktop wallpaper image in Fedora 16 KDE is good enough. As I said, it is the same image as in GNOME3 version of Fedora 16. Unfortunately, the only other choice is striped image - not sure if it is much better than default one.

    We include only the default wallpaper on the live images for obvious space reasons. Try installing kde-wallpapers and kdeartwork-wallpapers. Plasma also allows you to easily install additional wallpapers from kde-look.org.

    > There is only one virtual desktop by default.

    New upstream KDE default in 4.7.

    > It showed strange time. I assume Fedora understood my computer settings as UTC, not as actual local time

    That's because UTC is what the hardware clock should always be set to. ;-)

    > KMenu is in Kick-off style, and still has only "breadcrumbs" navigation at the top of the menu, no arrows on the left and right to move between the menu parts. I assume that's not fault of Fedora or Kubuntu, but rather some short-sighting of KDE team.

    Indeed, it's a KDE upstream change, I think they consider it an "improvement".

    > Menu itself in Fedora 16 KDE is slightly different from other KDE-based distribuions, and sometimes it is confusing. For example, Settings part of menu is empty. Instead, there are 2 other parts: Administration and Development.

    Development is actually an upstream category. It just turns out empty and thus hidden in most distributions because they don't ship anything development-related.

    Administration is a category we add to carry the entries which have both System and Settings categories, which would otherwise be shown twice. (We also exclude them from both the System and the Settings category.)

    Now why is Settings (by default) empty but shown? See https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=751050 for an answer. (Short answer: It's a bug in upstream KDE code triggered by Fedora's menu setup.)

    > Unfortunately for me, neither Chrome nor Chromium are in default repositories of Fedora 16. That's why I had to install Chrome from Google's site.

    I recommend using Chromium from http://repos.fedorapeople.org/ instead of Chrome. Chromium is Free Software, Chrome is not. (Though that also means that Chromium doesn't bundle Flash like Chrome does.) In addition, Chromium in repos.fedorapeople.org is packaged by an experienced Fedora packager who tries hard to fix bad things such as bundled libraries in upstream Chromium to the extent reasonably possible.

    > It is quite funny that desktop-oriented (including home computers) OS like Fedora has less games than corporate-oriented Pardus Kurumsal.

    Games take up a lot of space, and kdegames upstream actually recommends installing only a limited set by default. KPatience actually supports different card games which are all shipped as separate games by a certain proprietary operating system (Klondike, FreeCell, Spider), and several more. If you want the rest of kdegames, just install it from the repository. There are also many nice games such as Battle for Wesnoth in the repository. We cannot include everything on the live images.

    ReplyDelete
  23. > Again, if I had a choice between Amarok and GIMP, my choice would be definitely for GIMP.

    We actually get more requests for Amarok than GIMP. I guess there are just more people listening to music than doing advanced image editing. GIMP not being a KDE Platform application is also a deciding factor to some extent.

    As for the other players: Dragon Player is included because it can play videos (and also because it's part of kdemultimedia). JuK is included because it is part of kdemultimedia (but Amarok is clearly the better application).

    There's also some history here: kdemultimedia used to be packaged monolithically, and we still included the whole metapackage in Fedora 16. Now that we split kdemultimedia into subpackages, we can consider dropping JuK by default from Fedora 17 (though the space savings will probably not be impressive, also considering that Amarok drags in all the dependencies anyway). But Dragon Player will stay because we need a video player! (It is also small and basically has no dependencies beyond kdelibs and Phonon, so it isn't an application we'll consider dropping for space reasons.)

    > VLC is not in the default repositories.

    That's because of the usual patent problems. We have looked into splitting VLC into patent-free and patent-encumbered portions because of Phonon-VLC, but this was put aside when we found Phonon-GStreamer to be the best option anyway. Also note that VLC prides itself on being able to play back almost any format (kinda like MPlayer), which necessarily wouldn't be the case for a version packaged in Fedora. So you can get VLC from RPM Fusion.

    > That is usual story about MP3 and Fedora. You need to make some shaman dances to enable it. First of all, I tried a method recommended in comments for my previous review of Fedora 15 [(the automatic GStreamer codec installation feature)]. No luck.

    https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=680809

    It's an issue in the Fedora GStreamer packaging, but the GStreamer maintainers haven't fixed it yet. :-( So yes, you have to install the codec package by hand for now. (gstreamer-plugins-ugly is the relevant one for MP3, there are also gstreamer-plugins-bad and gstreamer-ffmpeg for some other codecs.)

    Note that all the above is only for applications using GStreamer. xine-lib-based applications (such as Kaffeine, which is not installed by default exactly because it needs xine-lib) need xine-lib-extras-freeworld. And if VLC were in Fedora, you'd have to install yet another such codec package for it, which is why it is in RPM Fusion as a whole (at least currently).

    > Unfortunately, scrolling in touchpad was not working by default in Fedora 16 KDE. To enable it, I used good how-to.

    You shouldn't need to use the command line or manual configuration XML (as in that HOWTO) to configure your touchpad. We ship kcm_touchpad (installed by default), which adds a tab for touchpad configuration to KDE System Settings.

    ReplyDelete
  24. @A.Lukin:
    > Kmail2 ruined my mailboxes and ignored SSL cerificates with annoying non-stop messages.

    Upstream issues. Users of other distributions shipping kdepim 4.7 are also complaining about these things. Not much we can do about them, considering that kdepim upstream refuses to support 4.4.x on kdelibs 4.7. (Note that there was no kdepim 4.5 and that kdepim 4.6 was an even buggier version of what is now kdepim 4.7.) Thankfully, the bugs are getting ironed out, kdepim 4.7.3 (now in Fedora 16 updates along with the rest of KDE SC 4.7.3) is already much better than 4.7.2, and there's hope that 4.7.4 will be even more reliable.

    > Plasma crashes with signal 11 very often...

    Upstream kde-workspace 4.7.3 bug, fixed in upstream 4.7.4 and in kdebase-workspace-4.7.3-12.fc16 which will be in Fedora 16 updates-testing shortly. (It's already queued, but still pending the next update push.)

    > Grub2 bootloader does not reconize simpliest disk partitions...

    Please be more precise there. GRUB 2 just works for me and many other people. FWIW, GRUB 1 is still available, just not supported anymore (except for EFI which GRUB 2 was found not to support well enough yet).



    @DarkDuck:
    > I did this. I tried to install VLC from it. But it was not installed from first attempt. Installation finished, but VLC is not anywhere in the menu.

    First of all, check that it was actually installed. PackageKit, and thus Apper, uses yum's --skip-broken option, so if some dependency was not fulfilled, it will just not have installed it. If it was not installed, try figuring out why. (Try "yum install vlc" and look at the error output.) Depending on the reason, it might be a bug in RPM Fusion or a configuration issue on your end.

    If it was actually installed: Does the menu entry still not show up after a session restart? What if you run "kbuildsycoca4 --noincremental"? (Normally, new menu entries are supposed to be detected automatically, but I've seen it not working at times for unknown reasons.)

    Finally, the menu entry in the RPM Fusion package might be missing or incorrect. Check that a .desktop file was installed into /usr/share/applications (try rpm -ql vlc) and that it doesn't contain any unwanted OnlyShowIn or NotShowIn entries. If there is no or a bad .desktop file shipped, file a bug against the package in RPM Fusion.

    ReplyDelete
  25. > Again, if I had a choice between Amarok and GIMP, my choice would be definitely for GIMP.

    We actually get more requests for Amarok than GIMP. I guess there are just more people listening to music than doing advanced image editing. GIMP not being a KDE Platform application is also a deciding factor to some extent.

    As for the other players: Dragon Player is included because it can play videos (and also because it's part of kdemultimedia). JuK is included because it is part of kdemultimedia (but Amarok is clearly the better application).

    There's also some history here: kdemultimedia used to be packaged monolithically, and we still included the whole metapackage in Fedora 16. Now that we split kdemultimedia into subpackages, we can consider dropping JuK by default from Fedora 17 (though the space savings will probably not be impressive, also considering that Amarok drags in all the dependencies anyway). But Dragon Player will stay because we need a video player! (It is also small and basically has no dependencies beyond kdelibs and Phonon, so it isn't an application we'll consider dropping for space reasons.)

    > VLC is not in the default repositories.

    That's because of the usual patent problems. We have looked into splitting VLC into patent-free and patent-encumbered portions because of Phonon-VLC, but this was put aside when we found Phonon-GStreamer to be the best option anyway. Also note that VLC prides itself on being able to play back almost any format (kinda like MPlayer), which necessarily wouldn't be the case for a version packaged in Fedora. So you can get VLC from RPM Fusion.

    > That is usual story about MP3 and Fedora. You need to make some shaman dances to enable it. First of all, I tried a method recommended in comments for my previous review of Fedora 15 [(the automatic GStreamer codec installation feature)]. No luck.

    https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=680809

    It's an issue in the Fedora GStreamer packaging, but the GStreamer maintainers haven't fixed it yet. :-( So yes, you have to install the codec package by hand for now. (gstreamer-plugins-ugly is the relevant one for MP3, there are also gstreamer-plugins-bad and gstreamer-ffmpeg for some other codecs.)

    Note that all the above is only for applications using GStreamer. xine-lib-based applications (such as Kaffeine, which is not installed by default exactly because it needs xine-lib) need xine-lib-extras-freeworld. And if VLC were in Fedora, you'd have to install yet another such codec package for it, which is why it is in RPM Fusion as a whole (at least currently).

    > Unfortunately, scrolling in touchpad was not working by default in Fedora 16 KDE. To enable it, I used good how-to.

    You shouldn't need to use the command line or manual configuration XML (as in that HOWTO) to configure your touchpad. We ship kcm_touchpad (installed by default), which adds a tab for touchpad configuration to KDE System Settings.

    ReplyDelete
  26. > Again, if I had a choice between Amarok and GIMP, my choice would be definitely for GIMP.

    We actually get more requests for Amarok than GIMP. I guess there are just more people listening to music than doing advanced image editing. GIMP not being a KDE Platform application is also a deciding factor to some extent.

    As for the other players: Dragon Player is included because it can play videos (and also because it's part of kdemultimedia). JuK is included because it is part of kdemultimedia (but Amarok is clearly the better application).

    There's also some history here: kdemultimedia used to be packaged monolithically, and we still included the whole metapackage in Fedora 16. Now that we split kdemultimedia into subpackages, we can consider dropping JuK by default from Fedora 17 (though the space savings will probably not be impressive, also considering that Amarok drags in all the dependencies anyway). But Dragon Player will stay because we need a video player! (It is also small and basically has no dependencies beyond kdelibs and Phonon, so it isn't an application we'll consider dropping for space reasons.)

    > VLC is not in the default repositories.

    That's because of the usual patent problems. We have looked into splitting VLC into patent-free and patent-encumbered portions because of Phonon-VLC, but this was put aside when we found Phonon-GStreamer to be the best option anyway. Also note that VLC prides itself on being able to play back almost any format (kinda like MPlayer), which necessarily wouldn't be the case for a version packaged in Fedora. So you can get VLC from RPM Fusion.

    > That is usual story about MP3 and Fedora. You need to make some shaman dances to enable it. First of all, I tried a method recommended in comments for my previous review of Fedora 15 [(the automatic GStreamer codec installation feature)]. No luck.

    See this bug report: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=680809

    It's an issue in the Fedora GStreamer packaging, but the GStreamer maintainers haven't fixed it yet. :-( So yes, you have to install the codec package by hand for now. (gstreamer-plugins-ugly is the relevant one for MP3, there are also gstreamer-plugins-bad and gstreamer-ffmpeg for some other codecs.)

    Note that all the above is only for applications using GStreamer. xine-lib-based applications (such as Kaffeine, which is not installed by default exactly because it needs xine-lib) need xine-lib-extras-freeworld. And if VLC were in Fedora, you'd have to install yet another such codec package for it, which is why it is in RPM Fusion as a whole (at least currently).

    > Unfortunately, scrolling in touchpad was not working by default in Fedora 16 KDE. To enable it, I used good how-to.

    You shouldn't need to use the command line or manual configuration XML (as in that HOWTO) to configure your touchpad. We ship kcm_touchpad (installed by default), which adds a tab for touchpad configuration to KDE System Settings.

    ReplyDelete
  27. > Again, if I had a choice between Amarok and GIMP, my choice would be definitely for GIMP.

    We actually get more requests for Amarok than GIMP. I guess there are just more people listening to music than doing advanced image editing. GIMP not being a KDE Platform application is also a deciding factor to some extent.

    As for the other players: Dragon Player is included because it can play videos (and also because it's part of kdemultimedia). JuK is included because it is part of kdemultimedia (but Amarok is clearly the better application).

    There's also some history here: kdemultimedia used to be packaged monolithically, and we still included the whole metapackage in Fedora 16. Now that we split kdemultimedia into subpackages, we can consider dropping JuK by default from Fedora 17 (though the space savings will probably not be impressive, also considering that Amarok drags in all the dependencies anyway). But Dragon Player will stay because we need a video player! (It is also small and basically has no dependencies beyond kdelibs and Phonon, so it isn't an application we'll consider dropping for space reasons.)

    > VLC is not in the default repositories.

    That's because of the usual patent problems. We have looked into splitting VLC into patent-free and patent-encumbered portions because of Phonon-VLC, but this was put aside when we found Phonon-GStreamer to be the best option anyway. Also note that VLC prides itself on being able to play back almost any format (kinda like MPlayer), which necessarily wouldn't be the case for a version packaged in Fedora. So you can get VLC from RPM Fusion.

    > That is usual story about MP3 and Fedora. You need to make some shaman dances to enable it. First of all, I tried a method recommended in comments for my previous review of Fedora 15 [(the automatic GStreamer codec installation feature)]. No luck.

    See bug #680809.

    It's an issue in the Fedora GStreamer packaging, but the GStreamer maintainers haven't fixed it yet. :-( So yes, you have to install the codec package by hand for now. (gstreamer-plugins-ugly is the relevant one for MP3, there are also gstreamer-plugins-bad and gstreamer-ffmpeg for some other codecs.)

    Note that all the above is only for applications using GStreamer. xine-lib-based applications (such as Kaffeine, which is not installed by default exactly because it needs xine-lib) need xine-lib-extras-freeworld. And if VLC were in Fedora, you'd have to install yet another such codec package for it, which is why it is in RPM Fusion as a whole (at least currently).

    > Unfortunately, scrolling in touchpad was not working by default in Fedora 16 KDE. To enable it, I used good how-to.

    You shouldn't need to use the command line or manual configuration XML (as in that HOWTO) to configure your touchpad. We ship kcm_touchpad (installed by default), which adds a tab for touchpad configuration to KDE System Settings.

    ReplyDelete
  28. > Again, if I had a choice between Amarok and GIMP, my choice would be definitely for GIMP.

    We actually get more requests for Amarok than GIMP. I guess there are just more people listening to music than doing advanced image editing. GIMP not being a KDE Platform application is also a deciding factor to some extent.

    As for the other players: Dragon Player is included because it can play videos (and also because it's part of kdemultimedia). JuK is included because it is part of kdemultimedia (but Amarok is clearly the better application).

    There's also some history here: kdemultimedia used to be packaged monolithically, and we still included the whole metapackage in Fedora 16. Now that we split kdemultimedia into subpackages, we can consider dropping JuK by default from Fedora 17 (though the space savings will probably not be impressive, also considering that Amarok drags in all the dependencies anyway). But Dragon Player will stay because we need a video player! (It is also small and basically has no dependencies beyond kdelibs and Phonon, so it isn't an application we'll consider dropping for space reasons.)

    > VLC is not in the default repositories.

    That's because of the usual patent problems. We have looked into splitting VLC into patent-free and patent-encumbered portions because of Phonon-VLC, but this was put aside when we found Phonon-GStreamer to be the best option anyway. Also note that VLC prides itself on being able to play back almost any format (kinda like MPlayer), which necessarily wouldn't be the case for a version packaged in Fedora. So you can get VLC from RPM Fusion.

    ReplyDelete
  29. > Again, if I had a choice between Amarok and GIMP, my choice would be definitely for GIMP.

    We actually get more requests for Amarok than GIMP. I guess there are just more people listening to music than doing advanced image editing. GIMP not being a KDE Platform application is also a deciding factor to some extent.

    ReplyDelete
  30. As for the other players: Dragon Player is included because it can play videos (and also because it's part of kdemultimedia). JuK is included because it is part of kdemultimedia (but Amarok is clearly the better application).

    There's also some history here: kdemultimedia used to be packaged monolithically, and we still included the whole metapackage in Fedora 16. Now that we split kdemultimedia into subpackages, we can consider dropping JuK by default from Fedora 17 (though the space savings will probably not be impressive, also considering that Amarok drags in all the dependencies anyway). But Dragon Player will stay because we need a video player! (It is also small and basically has no dependencies beyond kdelibs and Phonon, so it isn't an application we'll consider dropping for space reasons.)

    ReplyDelete
  31. > VLC is not in the default repositories.

    That's because of the usual patent problems. We have looked into splitting VLC into patent-free and patent-encumbered portions because of Phonon-VLC, but this was put aside when we found Phonon-GStreamer to be the best option anyway. Also note that VLC prides itself on being able to play back almost any format (kinda like MPlayer), which necessarily wouldn't be the case for a version packaged in Fedora. So you can get VLC from RPM Fusion.

    > That is usual story about MP3 and Fedora. You need to make some shaman dances to enable it. First of all, I tried a method recommended in comments for my previous review of Fedora 15 [(the automatic GStreamer codec installation feature)]. No luck.

    See bug #680809.

    It's an issue in the Fedora GStreamer packaging, but the GStreamer maintainers haven't fixed it yet. :-( So yes, you have to install the codec package by hand for now. (gstreamer-plugins-ugly is the relevant one for MP3, there are also gstreamer-plugins-bad and gstreamer-ffmpeg for some other codecs.)

    Note that all the above is only for applications using GStreamer. xine-lib-based applications (such as Kaffeine, which is not installed by default exactly because it needs xine-lib) need xine-lib-extras-freeworld. And if VLC were in Fedora, you'd have to install yet another such codec package for it, which is why it is in RPM Fusion as a whole (at least currently).

    ReplyDelete
  32. > Unfortunately, scrolling in touchpad was not working by default in Fedora 16 KDE. To enable it, I used good how-to.

    You shouldn't need to use the command line or manual configuration XML (as in that HOWTO) to configure your touchpad. We ship kcm_touchpad (installed by default), which adds a tab for touchpad configuration to KDE System Settings.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Sorry for the multiple posts, but I had to work around both the draconian size limit and some braindead spam filter (which is particularly unfriendly because it makes you think the message went through, when actually when you reload the page, the message is gone! Sure, it can fool some spammers, but it can lead to legitimate messages getting lost!)

    ReplyDelete
  34. @ Dark Duck: very interesting review.
    I use Fedora 16 KDE in dual boot with W7.
    I like it very much.
    Installing codecs and multimedia stuff only requires some easy commands from the shell. Anyway, if one has no time, there are useful programs like autoplus or easylife that can perform the installation perfectly.
    I installed VLC and clementine in a second without problems.
    Fedora KDE is surely one of the best Linux systems.
    @ Kevin: today I installed kdebase-workspace-4.7.3-12.fc16, but it didn't solve the problem: it still crashes when I attempt to open some applications in system settings.
    Also I can't open the shell hitting ctrl alt f3.
    Could it be related to the 290.06 Nvidia driver?
    Keep up with the good work!
    Luca.

    ReplyDelete
  35. @Kevin:

    Thanks for so many answers! I think they should be useful for those who come here for information about Fedora.
    I installed VLC from command line at the end. I think graphical installation failure was still the same issue with Software Management Centre which I spoke about in here.

    ReplyDelete
  36. @Anonymous:
    Thanks for nice words!

    ReplyDelete
  37. @Anonymous:

    Crashes with the proprietary nvidia driver installed may be due to bug #751891. (The nvidia driver and the latest glibc don't like each other, it seems.)

    ReplyDelete
  38. @ Kevin.
    Today upgrade solved the problem (may be due to kdelibs-6:4.7.3-2.fc16.i686 ?).
    Now the system is perfect, except for this: when I press ctrl alt fnx I get only a black or grey screen without being able to open a virtual console; pressing alt fn1, brings me back to the normal screen. What's the problem? Any way (although very young) is surely one of the best distros!

    ReplyDelete
  39. @Anonymous:
    I have Ctrl-Alt-Fnx working correctly. All open new session with login string invitation.

    ReplyDelete