Sunday, 19 April 2009

Random Leonidas Goodies

The Leonidas (Fedora 11) release is drawing near and I am currently using it as my primary system (with the Fedora 10 release as backup). And so I thought I'd highlight what improvements I find especially useful/interesting to me.

Intel Kernel Mode Setting working

And that means flawless transition from plymouth to gdm. Plymouth still hasn't been updated to the Leonidas theme, but I am eagerly waiting since I've seen some screencasts of what might it look like. But back to the KMS. I have intel graphics and on F10 this has been disabled which meant that in order to have nice graphical boot I needed to pass vga=0x318 to kernel line in grub. It had the drawback that while the screen resolution is 1280x800, the resolution used for plymouth was 1024x768 which meant no nice transition to gdm. This is no longer true in Rawhide and as soon as plymouth starts I'm having 1280x800 res. until the time I shut the laptop down. And what's more, gdm nicely fades in over the plymouth which is really cool.

IntelKMS feature page says it's 87% complete, but for me it's now working flawlessly (and recently even metacity started being fast again with compositing manager enabled). Kudos to everyone who worked on these two things for Fedora 10 and 11!

Booting faster and faster

Yes, after selecting my usual set of services (combination of server and laptop services) and enabling ext4 I can clearly see some improvements in the boot time speed over F10. It's not the same time as the 20SecondStartup feature advertises, but it seems to be a little over 30s which is pretty good with my slow disk and the kind of services I start.

And again, kudos for the people working on this. Since around Fedora 8 the boot time gradually improves for me. Keep up the good work. But even then there are still things that need attention, like slow logging into the desktop (partly due to having a lot of things in panel) and still slow (a few seconds) X start. So I am eagerly awaiting what Fedora 12 brings ;-)

Internal USB camera finally working

Yes, that was the last piece of hardware I have that wasn't working in Fedora. It's some weird one and in Fedora 8 or so I was even trying to get it work myself (without success) but now it works out of box. Kudos again for the work being put even into these parts of linux :-) I'd still like to know, how to turn it off, the always shining green light isn't exactly comfortable at night...

Touchpad tapping

While I am in the hardware section I though I'd mention this. I use touchpad mainly at train and consider tapping and scrolling to be one of the most important featrues. Unfortunatelly in F11 it is disabled by default and I was over too lazy to try to enable it (since at least in all previous releases it required either installing non-official package or edditing some config scripts). But today I've decided to google for solution and found a not-so-much-advertised really easy solution. There's a new touchpad tab in mouse preferences which makes touchpad configuration fast and easy.

"Updates updated"

It seems there are two interesting improvements coming for the update system. One makes the graphical updates via PackageKit much better experience, as shown in hugsie's post. Looks like I'll finally switch from yum update to PackageKit updates, it now shows all the info I like (like what package is currently being downloaded/updated/cleared...) plus it shows update info (like changelog or stuff from bodhi).

Another one is Presto. This is great especially for people with low bandwidths because what it does is basically using diffs instead of whole rpms. Note that each repository need to have this feature enabled, because if you don't have a place to download diffs from, you'll endup downloading whole packages. The coolness is that, thanks to downloading only diffs, usually a lot less of download is needed (usually about 70% less).

Updated webkitgtk

Well, one of the things I cannot leave out is webkitgtk. The webkitgtk guys started doing regular releases (as oposed to nightly builds) and Rawhide is pretty much kept in sync with them. This basically means much stabler webkit than in F10 (and currently even stabler than firefox in rawhide). Next, the all the coolness of webkitgtk download comes bundled within as well and we can expect more cool features, like integrated spell checker, in near future as well. I'd say webkitgtk is progressing nicely.

Some days ago I've also read a short post about open media coolnes in Firefox 3.1(3.5). Well, while the mozilla guys make it sound like they're leading the wagon here, they're rather more or less on par with webkitgtk. Just open this page in midori and in firefox and see for yourself. Except for the fact that they have an ugly check for exact gecko version and thus hide one of the goodies from webkit users (even though it would most likely work) the rest works there:

That said, webkitgtk has still a long way to go before it can be the only web rendering engine for me. Maybe I'll put together a list of features I'm still missing there, but that's for another post ;-)

And much more

Yep, I've highlighted a few features/improvements in Leonidas that I noticed and deemed interesting enough to write about them, however the Feature list for F11 is much longer. To name a few others I find interesting: Automatic Fonts and Mime Installer, DeviceKit, Ext4 Default Filesystem, iBus or Brand New Volume Control.


Mace said...

Unfortunately, not all Intel chipsets are working in a usable manner yet (Bug 496516, among others).

Martin said...

Mace, yep, looks I've had a rather lucky hand when picking my current laptop. The Intel GMA950 chipset has been always working pretty well in Fedora...

Israel R. Alonso (israrace) said...

Good! now my only problem is make my wacom tablet work :)