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Fedora Core 4 Tips and Tricks (v0.6)
Last modified: Monday December 10, 2018

This is based on my Fedora Core 3 Tips and Tricks page. There is also a Fedora Core 5 Tips and Tricks page in the works. This version is pretty much complete. Recent changes are highlighted in yellow.


Add support for other repositories

Fedora comes with a ton of software but there are still plenty of packages of interest to most users that are not included for a variety of reasons. This is where you find the MP3 plug-in and a ton of other packages. Yum is now the preferred update format, however the handy RHN icon on the GNOME task bar that I like (but nobody else does) still seems to be tied to the old RHN method using up2date.

Before you add repositories it's probably a good idea to make sure your system is fully updated first. It's still early but right now the Livna and freshrpms repositories seems to be the most useful. The easiest way to get started is to install the freshrpms-release packages:

# rpm -ihv http://rpm.livna.org/fedora/4/i386/RPMS.lvn/livna-release-4-0.lvn.2.4.noarch.rpm
# rpm -ihv http://ayo.freshrpms.net/fedora/linux/4/i386/RPMS.freshrpms/freshrpms-release-1.1-1.fc.noarch.rpm
You can browse the packages available there at http://rpm.livna.org/fedora/4/i386/RPMS.lvn/ and http://ayo.freshrpms.net/fedora/linux/4/i386/RPMS.freshrpms/. To automatically install/update the Macromedia Flash plug-in copy This File to your /etc/yum.repos.d directory.

Now, the problem is that they seem to interfere with each other so at times you're going to have to disable one or the other repository.


Install MP3 Plug-in

Since you've been following along this next step is about as easy as it gets. Just use yum  to automatically install the MP3 plug-ins for XMMS and Rhythmbox like this:
# yum -y install xmms-mp3 gstreamer-plugins-mp3 libmad libid3tag
The -y  flag is to automatically answer yes to any question. If you want to be able to say no you can ignore that flag.

While you're there I also recommend the XMMS Status Plug-in found at http://newrpms.sunsite.dk/apt/redhat/en/i386/fc3/RPMS.newrpms/xmms-status-plugin-1.0-2.rhfc3.nr.i386.rpm. Just download it and install it with:

# rpm -ihv http://newrpms.sunsite.dk/apt/redhat/en/i386/fc3/RPMS.newrpms/xmms-status-plugin-1.0-2.rhfc3.nr.i386.rpm
Then fire up XMMS then with your mouse on the XMMS window hit CTRL-V. Choose General Plugins then click on Enable plugin and hit Configure to customize it to your tastes. From then on you'll have a docked control panel for XMMS.

While you're there I highly recommend the grip CD ripper which supports both MP3 and Ogg formats. Once again installation is quite simple:

# yum -y install grip

Install Macromedia Flash/Shockwave plug-in

If you set up the repositories correctly above you should just need to do this:
# yum -y install flash-plugin
You can get more information about this plug-in at http://ruslug.rutgers.edu/macromedia/site_ru.html. Before the plug-in gets installed you'll need to agree to the terms of the license.

Install DVD player

Currently I find the only DVD player that actually works is the Xine Multimedia Player which is found in the FreshRpms repository so installing it is just this simple:
# yum -y install xine xine-lib xine-skins
This will install the xine DVD/VCD/CD player. Now to get xine to automatically play a DVD upon insertion, go to the Desktop -> Preferences -> Removable Storage. Once that comes up select Multimedia Make sure Video DVD Discs is turned on and put in the following for the command:
xine --auto-play --auto-scan dvd

Install MPlayer Media Player

At some point you're probably going to want to play a QuickTime, AVI or ASF file so you'll want the MPlayer media player. Fortunately with the FreshRpms repositories it's also very easy to download and install.

However, at the time I wrote this there was a conflict with the packages in the two repositories listed above when installing this package. You'll have to tell yum to ignore the Livna for this install.

# yum -y --disablerepo=livna install mplayer mplayer-skins mplayer-fonts
This command line will download the whole kit and kaboodle. that if you want to play content from a command line that you use the gmplayer  version which will include a skin-able control panel.

The repositories seem to have an older MPlayer Plug-in which is known to be buggy. I've had much better luck downloading the latest plug-in from the following site:

http://mplayerplug-in.sourceforge.net/download.php
Then you can install it from the command line:
# rpm -ihv mplayerplug-in-3.17-fc4.i386.rpm
This will install the plug-in to play a wide variety of media within your browser window. Restart your web browser after that whole mess is done installing and you'll also have a plug-in for Mozilla so you can play embedded content. While you're at it be sure to configure mplayer to use the ALSA sound system rather than the default. It just works better. Edit the file ~/.mplayer/config and add the following line:
ao=alsa

And finally you'll probably also want some additional codecs to play all that proprietary video that seems to have infected the Internet. Go to the MPlayer Download page and download the essential codes package. You'll need to install those files in /usr/local/lib/win32. Here are the steps. Remember the exact file names may change at some point.

# gtar xjvf essential-20050412.tar.bz2
# mkdir /usr/local/lib/win32
# mv essential-20050412/* /usr/local/lib/win32

Install RealPlayer 10 Media Player

If you have a better way of installing a Real Medial player please let me know if in the comments section below.

Before you install the play you'll need to make sure the compat-libstdc++-33 module is installed. Download the RealPlayer10 package from the following location:

RealPlayer10GOLD.rpm
Before you start you'll probably want to get rid of the mostly useless HelixPlayer so they don't get in each other's way. Then install the RPM from the command line:
# rpm -ev HelixPlayer
# yum -y install compat-libstdc++-33
# rpm -ihv RealPlayer10GOLD.rpm
Then whenever you want to view something just use /usr/bin/realplay . Here is a link to a cute test video to make sure it's working for you.

If audio is working but you have a black screen then it's possible your video card doesn't support XVideo. You can turn it off by clicking on Tools  -> Preferences then choose the Hardware tab and disable Use XVideo .

After you've run it the first time and gone through the configuration screens edit the ~/.realplayerrc  file and add the following line in the [helix]  section of the configuration:

[helix]
SoundDriver=2
	.
	.
For some reason on my system RealPlayer uses the the old and virtually obsolete OSS sound driver. The line above tells it to use the newer ALSA sound driver instead.

Install Java J2RE and Mozilla Plug-in

It's also very handy to have the Java run-time environment available and most importantly a Mozilla plug-in so you can view dynamic content. It's unfortunate that Mozilla will actually crash if you go to a site containing Java and you don't have the plug-in installed.

For now there is no easy way to do this but I found the following instructions on FedoraForums.org. Basically, start by downloading the JRE 5.0 Update 3 from Sun.com. You'll want to grab the Linux RPM in self-extracting file. Then you want to install it with:

# chmod +x jre-1_5_0_03-linux-i586-rpm.bin
# ./jre-1_5_0_03-linux-i586-rpm.bin
Then per the instructions on FedoraForums.org you will want to create a file called /etc/profile.d/java.sh containing the following:
#!/bin/sh
JAVA_HOME=/usr/java/jre1.5.0_03
export JAVA_HOME
JAVA_BIN=$JAVA_HOME/bin
CLASSPATH=$CLASSPATH:$JAVA_HOME:$JAVA_HOME/lib
PATH=$JAVA_BIN:$PATH
export JAVA_BIN CLASSPATH PATH
You will probably need to log out and log back in to successfully pick up the new Java version you just installed.

Then you'll probably want to enable Java Plug-ins and here once again there is no easy way:

# ln -s /usr/java/jre1.5.0_03/plugin/i386/ns7/libjavaplugin_oji.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins
If you know of an easier way please post it to the Comments section below.

Install NTFS driver

If you need access to NT file systems you'll probably want to download the Linux ntfs driver. I noticed that the Livna repository now maintains a kernel-module-ntfs RPM which you can now quickly and easily install. This also means that when a new kernel comes out you'll be able to just do a yum update  to keep the module up to date and in sync with your new kernel
# yum -y install kernel-module-ntfs

More detailed instructions on determining which RPM you need can be found at http://linux-ntfs.sourceforge.net/rpm/instructions.html. Once installed the ntfs driver will be a dynamically loadable module and you can mount NT file systems with mount -t ntfs -o nls=utf8 /dev/hdXX /mnt .


Install Other Odds and Ends

MS TrueType Fonts

Many people will find it handy to have MS TrueType fonts available to make sure many websites render correctly. You can download the latest RPM from http://www.mjmwired.net/resources/mjm-fedora-fc3.shtml#ttf and install it as follows:
# rpm -ihv msttcorefonts-1.3-3.noarch.rpm

Protecting SSH

And don't forget that if your Linux system is on the Internet 24/7 and has SSH open to the world you might want to take steps to Protect SSH.

Enable locate database

If you're like most people and don't read release notes you'll probably also want to turn on the slocate database so once it's rebuilt you can easily find files with the locate  command. Edit the file /etc/updatedb.conf and set DAILY_UPDATE=yes 

Enable Early-Login

IMPORTANT: A lot of users, including myself, are having trouble with early-login working reliably. If you need your system to be stable and "just work" then I strongly recommend you NOT install early-login. If you know how to make it work reliably, PLEASE let me know.

If you did read the release notes you may have mentioned a new feature in GDM 2.6 called the early login capability. One thing about Linux is that the login screen wasn't displayed until the entire start-up procedure was complete. What the early login capability does is allow the login screen to be displayed and the login to take place as soon as the system is "started up enough" instead of "entirely". After digging around a bit I found the following easy step-by-step instructions. If you're like me and reboot a lot you'll like this feature because you'll be able to log in sooner.

# chkconfig --add gdm-early-login
# chkconfig --add gdm-allow-login
# chkconfig gdm-early-login on
# chkconfig gdm-allow-login on
That's the background stuff that allows it to work but the last thing you will need is to tell the booting kernel that you want to use the early-login feature when starting up. Bring up an editor as root and edit /etc/grub.conf  and on the first kernel boot line you find replace rhgb  with early-login so your entry should look something like this:
	.
	.
title Fedora Core (2.6.11-1.1369_FC4)
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.11-1.1369_FC4 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 early-login quiet
        initrd /initrd-2.6.11-1.1369_FC4.img
The next time you reboot you will no longer see the graphical boot status screen but instead be shown the standard login screen.

Make Mozilla Identify Itself As A Different Browser

Most people won't need to do this but I regularly visit websites that for some reason require a specific browser even though Mozilla works just fine. It's easy enough to make Mozilla identify itself as a different browser to allow access to those websites using Browser Masquerading. This also works with the Firefox browser.

The easiest way to do this is install the User Agent Switcher for Mozilla from https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=59. Follow the instructions and restart your browser. Then you can go to Tools -> User Agent Switcher to change your browser's identity at any time.


Common Glitches

New section where common "glitches" in Fedora Core 4 are documented with their workarounds.

PC Won't Turn Off After Shutdown
The workaround for CPU enumeration with HyperThreading CPUs allows shutdown to work properly. Simply add acpi=ht to the kernel boot line in /etc/grub.conf and reboot.

Turn off the ANNOYING Spatial Nautilus Behavior
I don't know if it's the worst feature of Fedora but it's definitely in the top 5. You can get the old more sane behavior by bringing up Edit -> Preferences then select the Behavior tab. Near the top find the option for Always open in browser windows and make sure it is checked.

If you have additions to this section please use the comments section below.


Other Useful Resources

I've tried to not just copy other people's tips so I've included a list of other people's tips and tricks I've found to be useful. There should be little or no overlap.
Using Linux and Bluetooth DUN on the Treo 650 - A very nice guide to using a Treo 650 phone as a modem with your Linux based PC. It works great for me with one change. Do NOT uncomment the line encrypt enable;  as it just won't work for me with encryption enabled with a D-Link DBT-120 and a Treo 650 phone.

Mauriat Miranda's FC4 Installation Guide - Great guide that goes into more depth of selecting options during the installation process. This is also the source of the MS fonts RPM.

FedoraForum - Linux Support Community - This is now the official way to get community support of the Fedora Linux system. There is no official Red Hat mailing list for FC4 any more.

Fedora Multimedia Installation HOWTO - I discovered this great resource after I wrote this. This document goes into more detail than mine so it's a great resource.

Fedora Core 4 Linux Installation Notes - Another great set of installation notes that includes much of what I include here but does include a few things I don't.

Official Fedora Core 4 Release Notes - These are written for a reason and worth a quick scan at least. The release notes highlight what has changed since the previous version as well as some potential problmes you may run into.

Linux - Fedora Core 4 Setup Steps - Another handy concise guide to setting up Fedora Core 4. It covers a lot of what I do plus a few things.


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