Review: KDE4 – Is it worth upgrading?

KDE4 was released on Jan 11, 2008. I noticed the rpms for Fedora on rpmfind.net on Jan 13. It was a big trouble to get packages one by one keeping in mind the dependencies. I tried Yum with rpmfind repo but it didn’t work out. Then I used the server where my domain is hosted. I have 15GB bandwidth per month and the download speed on the server is awesome (average 400kbps). So, I just ftp to rpmfind.net and downloaded all the rpms on the server hosting my site. And then I downloaded the packages from my domain to my local machine ( No effort for searching now and I can do parallel downloading now). So, lets see how to install KDE4 on Fedora.

Step 1:

Get the KDE4 rpms from rpmfind.net . Here is the list of all the kde4 rpms that you need to download from rpmfind.net.

Step 2:

Enable the fedora development repository. In '/etc/yum.repos.d/fedora-development.repo' file check if enabled is equal to 1 for development repo. If its zero, then change it to 1.

Step 3:

Use yum to install the kde rpms that you have downloaded.

[root@bordeaux KDE4_RPMS]# yum install *.rpm [Enter]  (do as root)

Note: After the KDE4 rpms are up in the fedora repos, then you can skip the step 1 and directly install kde by issuing the command

[root@bordeaux saini]# yum install kde* [Enter] (do as root)

My Experience

I was expecting a lot from KDE4. But a lot of things went wrong. When I logged into KDE4 for the first time, everything was looking awesome and very sharp. But then I faced the first crash while editing the settings for a widget and I realized that its not possible to have a crash free KDE application. After upgrade ( which cost me around 1GB of downloading via yum) and spending a lot of time manually downloading the packages, all I got was a desktop environment which will crash frequently to remind that you just wasted 1GB of bandwidth.

After upgrading, Kopete stopped working due to some conflict in ssl libraries, xchat is also not working due to some other library conflicts, dolphin the new file manager for KDE doesn’t even start and flush all kind of errors and faults when launched from command line. After the first crash the panel disappeared and I couldn’t get it back. Launching kicker returns the kde3 panel.

KDE4 is awesome when you just sit back and look at it. But when you want to work with some apps, its miserable. One of my friend had this status message on gtalk ‘ KDE4 : KDE3.5.8 :: Vista : XP ‘. KDE4 is as good as Vista when it comes to looks but its equally bad as Vista as compared to XP when it comes to work with it.

Conclusion: Don’t upgrade to KDE4 and wait till May, 2008 when KDE4 will be shipped with Fedora 9. I hope that KDE4 will not crash frequently when it’ll be embedded natively.

Here are some screen shots if you wanna have a look :)

KDE4 Desktop KDE4 Menus KDE4 Konqueror KDE4 Logout Screen

 

How To: Install PHP-Ming

Yesterday, I came across a library called ming for php which can do wonders while converting videos to .swf (flash), images to .swf and much more. The best thing is that ming provides wrappers in C/C++/PHP/Python/Perl/Tcl etc. So, can be used within any one of these languages. But, the damn thing drove me crazy while installing. It was very tough experience installing it as the available howtos didn’t help much. But finally I somehow managed with the installation and it worked :) So, I thought of writing this how to, so that anyone having the same problem can find it helpful.

Here is a complete howto on installing php-ming in Fedora. (I installed it on Fedora 7 and with php5, but howto is supposed to work with other versions as well.) Though there are rpms available for earlier versions of ming, but I wanted the latest, so installed from source.

Resources:
libming : http://www.libming.net/
PHP : http://php.net/

Step 1

First of all make sure that you have php-devel package, otherwise you will not be able to install ming at all. Do the following as root.

[root@bordeaux root]# rpm -q php-devel [Enter]

If the above command says php-devel is not installed, then fetch php-devel for your php version from here and install as given below, else proceed to step 2.

[root@bordeaux root]# rpm -hiv php-devel-5.2.2-3.i386.rpm [Enter]

Step 2

Download latest version of ming from here.

Step 3

Untar the downloaded package.

[saini@bordeaux saini]# tar -xvzf ming-0.4.0.beta5.tar.gz [Enter]

Step 4

Change directory to ‘./ming-0.4.0.beta5′ and issue ./configure and make as given below

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[saini@bordeaux saini]# cd ming-0.4.0.beta5 [Enter]
[saini@bordeaux ming-0.4.0.beta5]# ./configure --enable-cXX --enable-php [Enter]
[saini@bordeaux ming-0.4.0.beta5]# make [Enter]
[root@bordeaux ming-0.4.0.beta5]# make install [Enter] (as root)

Step 5

Go to ‘./php_ext’ directory and issue ‘make’ and ‘make install’.

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[saini@bordeaux ming-0.4.0.beta5]# cd php_ext [Enter]
[saini@bordeaux php_ext]# make [Enter]
[root@bordeaux php_ext]# make install [Enter] (as root)

Step 6

Open make_modules.sh in your favorite editor and uncomment the line ‘make install’ and run make_modules.sh.

[root@bordeaux php_ext]# bash make_modules.sh [Enter] (as root)

Step 7

Go to ‘./tmp/modules/’ directory and copy ming.so to ‘/usr/lib/php/modules/’

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[root@bordeaux php_ext]# cd tmp/modules/ [Enter]
[root@bordeaux modules]# cp ming.so /usr/lib/php/modules/ [Enter] (as root)

If ming.so is not found in ‘php_ext/tmp/modules/, then update your db using ‘updatedb’ and locate ming.so and if found on locate, then copy it to ‘/usr/lib/php/modules/’. If not found at all, try recompiling or issue some random commands related to make.

Step 8

Go to ‘/usr/local/lib/’ and check if libming.so, libming.so.0 etc. are present there. If yes proceed else I don’t know what to do :(

Step 9(a)

Go to ‘/usr/lib/php/modules/’ and issue these commands.

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[root@bordeaux modules]# ln -s /usr/local/lib/libming.so libming.so (as root)
[root@bordeaux modules]# ln -s /usr/local/lib/libming.so.0 libming.so.0 (as root)
[root@bordeaux modules]# ln -s /usr/local/lib/libming.so.0.3.0 libming.so.0.3.0 (as root)
[root@bordeaux modules]# ln -s /usr/local/lib/libming.so.0.4.0 libming.so.0.4.0 (as root)

Step 9(b)

Go to ‘/usr/lib/’ and issue these commands.

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[root@bordeaux lib]# ln -s /usr/local/lib/libming.so libming.so (as root)
[root@bordeaux lib]# ln -s /usr/local/lib/libming.so.0 libming.so.0 (as root)
[root@bordeaux lib]# ln -s /usr/local/lib/libming.so.0.3.0 libming.so.0.3.0 (as root)
[root@bordeaux lib]# ln -s /usr/local/lib/libming.so.0.4.0 libming.so.0.4.0 (as root)

Step 10

Restart the httpd service by issuing the command below

[root@bordeaux root]# service httpd restart [Enter] (as root)

Step 11

Write a file ‘/var/www/html/info.php’ with following contents

phpinfo();

and point your web browser to http://localhost/info.php . Now search for ‘ming’ and check whether its enabled or not.

PHP Ming in Fedora

If enabled, yes you have successfully installed php-ming :) Hope this helps.

 

Review: Fedora 8 – Warewolf

I installed Fedora 8 32 bit from a leaky mirror on Nov 7th and I just had a very bad experience with it. Nothing seemed to be working. But I can’t accept that. As I am a hardcore fan of Fedora, I just can’t sit back and say “ah, Fedora 8 sucks, i am not gonna use that”. I fetched Fedora 8 x86_64 (64bit) from a mirror yesterday, after the release. I installed it and everything worked out of the box. I can’t believe that I wrote something wrong about Fedora. How could I do that ?

First of all, I would like to say that The artwork team at Fedora has done a very fantastic job. The graphics right from installation up to the desktop are just awesome. Especially the default background is very nice. Here is shot of the default Gnome Fedora 8 Desktop.

GNOME Fedora 8 Desktop

Right after the installation, I fetched the nVidia proprietary drivers from here and installed them. And those were installed successfully without giving any errors or problems. [ If you want a complete howto on installing nvidia drivers. Its here.] A reboot after the installation and compiz worked out of the box. Here is shot.

Compiz Fusion

Ok, graphics done. What now ? I just realized that there is no mp3 support. No worries. Codeina aka Codec Buddy is there. Just issue ‘codeina’ command from command line and a window like this will appear.

Codeina Audio Codec Fetcher

Check Fluendo MP3 Audio Decoder and click get selected, accept the license conditions and you’ll see that codeina is fetching the codecs. [If codeina does not fetch codecs or give error like timeout or some other network error. Try checking your proxy setting in System -> Preferences -> Internet And Network -> Network Proxy . It may help. ]

Codeina Installing MP3 Support

Ok. Now, codeina has done the job. Lets play some mp3. Note that amarok still can’t play mp3 files because it uses xine engine. So, you can choose either Totem or Rhythmbox to play your mp3 files. Here is a shot of Rhythmbox. So, Codeina also works out of the box.

Rhythmbox Playing MP3

Another major improvement in Fedora 8 in audio section is introduction or pulseaudio. Issue command ‘pulseaudio’ from command line and you will see a window like this.

Pulseaudio Device and Application Control

You can control the sound stream from different players or whatever. You can mute individual streams and can even set the default devices for certain streams through this fantastic gui.

Another good thing in Fedora 8 is Eclipse. Eclipse 3.3 is back in Fedora 8. They excluded it from Fedora 7. I am happy to see it back here in Fedora 8.

Eclipse In Fedora 8

Another utility that I found helpful is Remote Desktop utility. Launch System -> Preferences -> Internet And Network -> Remote Desktop and you’ll see a window like this.

Remote Desktop Utility

Set your preferences and now you can browse your desktop from anywhere using ‘vncviewer <yourIP>:0′. Though one call always configure vncserver to get that done. But for newbies it’ll be a great help.

Also, My wireless lan card, Ralink rt2500 WNC-0301 is detected successfully in Fedora 8. But I am not sure whether it works or not, because there is not wifi environment in my lab and I can’t check it without that. [ Anyway if your wifi card doesn’t work, here is a howto on installing Ralink rt2500 WNC-0301 using drivers from serailmonkey. ]

Another improvement is that cursor was never invisible. Up to Fedora 7, I suffered cursor invisible problem on first login. [ If you are facing the same problem, add line

Options "HWCursor" off

to “screens” section in your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and issue ‘gdm-restart’ command. It’ll be fine afterwards. ]

The boot time has also improved significantly. My Fedora 8 boots in just 45 seconds.

These Fedora 8 Screenshots and other related to Fedora 8 can be reached here.

 

How To: Install and Configure Looking Glass 3D Desktop

I saw a video from Sun MicroSystems last year, in which they showed a demo version of a 3D desktop environment. It was really awesome and was the really 3D desktop environment. A lot of 3D desktop emulators are available currently like beryl, but they are not really 3D. Because one can’t go behind the windows, terminals etc. Believe me, Looking Glass 3D is far better than all vistas and beryls if only graphics are compared. Around two-three weeks when I was going through one of the tech magazines in library, I came across a topic which discussed desktop environments for Linux. I was surprised to see Project Looking Glass over there. Day before yesterday, I downloaded the Project Looking Glass 3D desktop environment for Linux from here.Project Looking Glass 3D desktop environment is a purely Java based desktop environment and it runs on top of Java virtual machine. It requires graphics card (at least on board). Here is a way to install nVidia drivers in Linux. The other requirement like processor and RAM are quite low and almost all systems can qualify for that. Looking Glass 3D is very easy to install. Below are the steps to install it on Fedora 7 (kernel-2.6.22.1-41.fc7, but the steps for other operating systems may be similar.

Step 1

Get lg3d–1-0-0-linux-i686-0612190943.bin from here.

Step 2

In a terminal switch to root user.

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[saini@bordeaux saini]$ su [Enter]
Enter root password.

Step 3

Move the lg3d–1-0-0-linux-i686-0612190943.bin to /usr/share/ and go to directory /usr/share/

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[root@bordeaux saini]$ mv lg3d--1-0-0-linux-i686-0612190943.bin /usr/share/ [Enter]
[root@bordeaux saini]$  cd /usr/share/ [Enter]

Step 4

Extract lg3d–1-0-0-linux-i686-0612190943.bin

[root@bordeaux share]$ bash  lg3d--1-0-0-linux-i686-0612190943.bin [Enter]

The files will be extracted to /usr/share/lg3d/

Step 5

Logout and login into root’s desktop environment and go to the directory /usr/share/lg3d/bin/

[root@bordeaux root$ cd /usr/share/lg3d/bin/ [Enter]

Step 6

Execute the following command.

[root@bordeaux bin]$ bash ./postinstall [Enter]

If this command doesn’t give any error, that means you have successfully installed the Looking Glass 3D desktop environment.

Now logout and on the login screen, choose Looking Glass as the desktop environment. Just login into your account and what you will see will be more than a surprise. Below are some screenshots of my Looking Glass 3D desktop. You can browse all my screenshots here .

PS0 : It may the best 3D desktop environment but is not really usable on slower machines especially with low end graphics cards.

Awesome Wallpaper in Looking Glass 3D 3D Clock in Looking Glass Four Desktops in Looking Glass Notes on Backside of VLC Media Player in Looking Glass

Trumplayer Album Art in Looking Glass I Can't Read Mails in Looking Glass Jumbled Directories in 3D in Looking Glass Random Directory 3D Tiles in Looking Glass

 

Review: Fedora 7 – Moonshine

As expected, I upgraded to Fedora 7 – Moonshine yesterday. The coolest feature I noticed is that it automatically detected my Ralink WNC-0301 wireless lan card. Well, support for other wireless lan cards like ipw2100, ipw2200 and ipw3945 is also there which is I think the best feature. Because I see a lot of people around fighting with there wireless lan cards to work under Fedora Cores.

The gui is kind of improved but one more cool thing that you will notice is the theme “flying high”. The wallpapers, splash screen, login screen are improved a lot. Overall, the artwork part is worked out hardly. Default font is also nice.

A lot of media players are provided. amarok and kaffeine are included first time but amarok with no mp3 support. You have to install gstreamer and gstreamer08 plugins to make it work. The system preferences menu is totally different with similar tasks being grouped.

In addition to all that now Fedora also has some basic directories in the home directory like Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, Downloads.

Everything else is the same with upgraded versions.

Here is a Video of my current Fedora 7 desktop.

PS0 : There seems to be some problem after installing the nvidia driver for F7. Follow the procedure here replacing everything related to fc6 by f7 and at the end after configuring your xorg.conf file make these changes

The section “Files” should be like this

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Section "Files"
	ModulePath "/usr/lib/xorg/modules,/usr/X11R6/lib/modules/"
EndSection

now restart the xserver and the nvidia will work 😀 .

For more info refer my xorg.conf for F7.

PS1 : If you are a IIITian, I suggest you not upgrade to F7 because iyum is not yet configured to cache F7 rpms and you have to install updates for your OS from the internet and that really sux. So, wait for iyum repo for F7 to be up and then upgrade.

PS2 : Pidgin has some memory leaks … its consuming 2GB virtual memory … here’s the proof … I am back to kopete again 😉

Pidgin Memory Leak

Pidgin Memory Leak

Edit : If you are looking for wireless configuration in Fedora 7, here is a reference.

 

How To: Install and Configure NVIDIA Drivers and Beryl

Well, finally I realized the power of my onboard graphics card … too lazy to realize even this (it took me a year to realize this obvious fact). I downloaded the latest nVidia drivers from here and also upgrade to the kernel-2.6.20-1.2944.fc6. You can get it from any site which provides rpms or you can install is using yum. Not to forget I did it on Fedora Core 6 – Zod. So, here goes the exact procedure.

Warning: Take a backup of your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file before experimenting with 3D desktop. It help in case of X server crashes.

1. Download the latest nVidia drivers from here.

2. Upgrade to kernel-2.6.20-1.2944.fc6

(a)Download rpms kernel-2.6.20-1.2944.fc6.i686.rpm and kernel-devel-2.6.20-1.2944.fc6.i686.rpm and install using

[root@zod saini] rpm -ivh kernel* [Enter]

OR
(b)

[root@zod saini] yum install kernel-2.6.20-1.2944.fc6 [Enter]

3. Reboot and switch to the newly installed kernel.

4. Login as root and delete the temp file for xserver

[root@zod saini] rm -f /tmp/.X0.lock [Enter]

5. Install the nVidia drivers

[root@zod saini] bash NVIDIA-Linux-x86-1.0-9755-pkg1.run --kernel-source-path=/usr/src/kernels/2.6.20-1.2944.fc6-i686/ [Enter]

A user interface(I don’t know what to call it, graphical user interface on command line) will appear, answer the basic questions and you are done.

6. run this command

[root@zod saini] nvidia-xconfig [Enter]

7. Open your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file in you favourite(Vim) editor and edit it as follows …

Add these lines to the “screen” section

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Option     "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"
Option     "DisableGLXRootClipping" "True"

and Add this line to the “Device Section”

Option         "TripleBuffer" "true"

or you can use my xorg.conf with appropriate modifications.

8. Now install Beryl + emerald or compiz

(a) Get rpms from any site which supplies rpms for packages in fedora and install

[root@zod saini] rpm -ivh beryl-* emerald-* [Enter]

OR

[root@zod saini]  rpm -ivh compiz-* [Enter]

(b) There is always a short cut

[root@zod saini]  yum install beryl* emerald* [Enter]

OR

[root@zod saini]  yum install compiz* [Enter]

9. Now logout and login again and run command beryl-manager or compiz and you are done with installing beryl/compiz with latest nVidia drivers. Enjoy the 3D desktop.

10. If in the above process your X-server crashes, press Ctrl-Alt-F1 and login as root, replace your existing /etc/X11/xorg.conf file with the backup you took in the beginning and do startx.

I installed the above packages on Fedora Core 6, the Hardware is Nvidia Ge Force 6100 onboard.

Here are some screenshot of my 3D Desktop ( They can also be seen here ).