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Fedora 7 Throws a Curve Ball

Posted 08-01-2007 at 04:09 PM by mowestusa

When you try something new, it sometimes means relearning what you have taken for granted. I decided to try Fedora 7 as my easy to use work desktop this week. I had been using Ubuntu with Ion3 as the window manager. Thanks to a recent stash of cast of computer parts, I discovered that I could put together out of odd parts a new desktop that had a 1.1ghz processor and 320megs of RAM. I decided that I should use this opportunity to learn something new. So after putting together my "new" computer from the pieces of 4 different computers, I installed Fedora 7. There was some trouble with the install, but it was a hardware configuration issue, not the fault of Fedora 7.

I'm enjoying my experience so far with Fedora 7. The following are little issues that I had with Fedora 7.
  • Fedora 7 failed to set up my graphics resolution properly. Fedora dumped an 800x600 resolution on my 1280x1024 19" LCD. I believe the biggest issue here was the off brand LCD which was not in its database an Envision. Running system-config-display and fixed that issue after restarting the x server.
  • I could not use ifconfig as a regular user. This is because /sbin is not in the PATH of a normal user. Even if you su this will not help because then the root user will use the PATH of the normal user. You need to su - to use the root user's PATH. This was fixed easily with an edit of the .bash_profile where I added /sbin to the PATH and logging back in again.
  • Enscript did not function as expected. See below for a fuller explanation.

Normally, I would run the following on the CLI to get a print out of my weekly calendar from Ubuntu.

remind -c+1 -w90 ~/.reminders 29 Jul 2007 | enscript --media=letter --font=Courier-Bold11
This returned the error, enscript does not recognize media type letter. I realized that the enscript used by Fedora 7 must be slightly different than the one used by Ubuntu. If I failed to specify --media=letter then enscript in Ubuntu would try to print out the calendar on A4 paper which I don't have in my printer.

By running the following command and reading the man page I discovered that Fedora 7 enscript defaults to using "Letter" as the default instead of the Ubuntu which defaults to using A4 as the default. Notice that it is "Letter" with a capital "L" as well. This was confirmed by the following:

enscript --list-media
So I simply dropped the --media=letter thinking that all issues would be solved, but then I found out that the Fedora 7 version of enscript uses different default margins which are larger than the defaults under Ubuntu's enscript. This would not do. So I had to add --margins=20:20:36 to the command line in order to get margins that were small enough that my calendar would not have wrapped lines.

One other curve which Fedora 7 threw at me was the lack of wyrd in its repositories. I can not live without this wonderful command line calendar program. I use wyrd as my front end to remind to keep my weeks organized. Thankfully after making sure that I had ocaml packages installed, wyrd compiled without issue. I did have to add the $EDITOR variable to my .bash_profile in order to allow wyrd to use the default CLI editor of my choice, which is vim, of course.

So now I'm keeping track of my calendar in Fedora 7 and printing out my "mobile" copy from Fedora 7 as well. It will be interesting to see what other issues I run across as being different. I just started using Fedora 7 as my primary work desktop this week, so it is a rocky transition as I move things over from my old Pentium 500 with 320megs of ram.
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