Thursday, July 04, 2013

fedora, the day after

Playing a bit with Fedora 19 after morning chores and before I head out for some late morning errands. The performance of the desktop is reasonable but not blazing fast, which is to be expected on a VM. It's Good Enough for what I want to accomplish, which is functionality. If I need performance and if the application isn't Linux-specific then I'll move it over to Windows 8, shut everything down that isn't necessary, and run it on an OS running on bare silicon.

I decided to install Netbeans 7.3.1 on this VM to see how it performs. So far it's usable. In addition to Java support I also installed support for C++ (see why below). I'm also going to install Scala support as well to mirror how I have Netbeans 7.3.1 installed on Windows 8.

After further investigation I've discovered that the version of Java being pushed by Fedora 19 is Java 7 update 25, which is the current Oracle release. I may (I say may) uninstall the Oracle version and go with the version supplied by the distribution just to see if it all works the same. One key reason is that upstream updates from Oracle should get pushed to me instead of me having to keep an eye on Oracle and pulling the latest updates down myself. Not a big issue, but one of those things I'd like to automate if possible.

I have decided not to install Chrome on this VM. I'm going to run with Firefox for a while. If I need Chrome on Linux I have it installed on the Linux Mint 15 VM, so I can fire that up if I need some type of testing.

One other annoying issue I fixed was the screen timeout. The screen timeout is set to go black after five minutes, which I find annoying short. To change that go to the account identifier in the far upper right corner of the screen, click to get the drop-down, then select Settings, then Power on the Settings applet. Power's rather sparse with a Power Saving (Blank Screen) drop down and a Suspend & Power Off selector. Because this is a VM I have turned  Blank Screen off and Suspend & Power Off to off as well. For those running this directly on bare silicon you'll need to tweak to your satisfaction, especially if it's a notebook.

I installed gcc and g++ (gcc and gcc-g++) via yum. They didn't come across during the automatic install. The specific reason for installing these versions? Because gcc on Fedora 19 is version 4.8.1, and that version is supposed to be C++11 feature complete (see release notes). C++11 is enabled with the -std=c++11 command line switch; it's not on by default. I'm chasing C++11 support in Visual Studio 2013 Preview as well.

Yes, I'm an old nerd. So sue me.

Update

Well, that didn't last long. While Gnome 3.8 puts on a good show, it's still highly annoying and unproductive to an old nerd like me. After installing NetBeans I attempted to add it to the left dock. I searched the local Gnome help, I searched the web, but found no way to add it. So I finally broke down and installed Cinnamon desktop, which turned out to be another annoyance under Gnome. I tried to use the official software management applet, but it quietly failed to install the metapackage (due, no doubt, to my not being root when I ran it). So I did what I always do in situations like this, I sued to root and installed Cinnamon via yum.

And then I ran into another problem. Normally when I install a new desktop I just log out of the current one and back into the new. Lo and behold I discovered I couldn't log out of Gnome. I could power off, suspend, or reboot, but not log out. Cue the Eagle's "Hotel California"... So I rebooted the VM to get back to the login screen. Look at the login screen and select the administrative account to get the login where I can select the Cinnamon desktop. Select Cinnamon, type in my password, and finally hit Cinnamon and sanity.

To add insult to injury, the NetBean's icon is on the Cinnamon desktop and it's in the Cinnamon menu. And I can drag the NetBeans icon down to the panel where I like to keep it, for single-click launching.

I host all of this on top of Windows 8. As "radical" as Windows 8 has been, it's still allowed me to work productively. I installed the same version of NetBeans on top of Windows 8 without a single issue. I really don't ask for much, but when an application like NetBeans knows enough to add its icon where Cinnamon can find it and display it, then Gnome 3.8 should be able to do the same. In fact, it would have been nice to have a 'pin' entry on the Gnome 3.8 dock so that a right click over an icon would bring up the menu and allow you to pin it there. It showed the NetBeans icon when it was running, but not after it was closed. That would have been ideal.

Oh, and in the future, give back the simple ability to log out, even if there's just one account. I mean, it was there at one time. Did they give the ability to power off, but remove the ability to log out on the account drop-down menu? What kind of sadistic Gnome developer decided to do that?

And the final insult: Fedora 19 runs a lot faster and smoother with Cinnamon than it did with Gnome 3.8. Typing 'free' at the command line shows that the memory footprint after boot has dropped about 40% with Cinnamon as the desktop. I'm not like Linus who can fix the problems with Frippery and the gnome-tweak-tool. It either works reasonably after initial install or it doesn't, and if it doesn't I'll find a desktop environment that does. I note in finishing this rant that I have Cinnamon as my DE on Linux Mint 15 for the same reasons I have now on Fedora 19. And I should further note that's what I eventually migrated to on Fedora 18.