Howto: create a custom spin of Fedora 13

Much of the documentation I read on the World Wide Web suggests using revisor to create a custom Spin of Fedora. I find that revisor is not well suited to my needs. I use LiveCD Creator. To install it:
yum install livecd-tools -y

I suggest you install the fedora-kickstarts and spin-kickstarts packages as well.
yum install spin-kickstarts* -y

Another tool I use is liveUSB-Creator.
yum install liveusb-creator -y

Once you have those installed you can use your favorite text editor to modify the existing Kickstart files to suiit your needs.
The files are installed by default to the /usr/share/spin-kickstarts/ directory. Be sure to save the files as different file names once you have edited them to suit your needs.
I save them as fedora-custom-base.ks and fedora-custom-kde.ks

Once that is completed you can run the liveCD Creator to create the custom spin in the directory you wish to save the .iso image to.
setenforce 0
livecd-creator
--config=/usr/share/spin-kickstarts/fedora-custom-kde.ks
--fslabel=F13x64-Custom

If that command completes successfully, you will have a F13x64-Custom.iso in the directory. If it does not, the kickstart file has an error.

Next you can use the LiveUSB-Creator tool to burn that custom image to a USB drive. Be sure to create an overlay when doing so. I use 1024M as my overlay size.

For a more detailed article on creating a LiveUSB drive visit the following:
Howto LiveUSB

Howto: Fedora® LiveUSB

What is a LiveUSB?

It is a condensed (Live image) version of Fedora® you can install to a flash drive. You can then boot to Fedora from the flash drive on any computer. You can also install Fedora to any system from the LiveUSB.

There is an easy to implement option. This may be a great way for you to try Fedora without installing it to your computer.

I even carry Fedora in my pocket on a LiveUSB. It weighs a lot less than my laptop. When you boot a LiveUSB stick it does not install any files on the computer’s hard drive(s).

You will need the following:

A flash drive. Preferably an 8G or larger unit but a 4G unit will work. 2G and smaller not recommended.
The LiveUSB utility from the Fedora web site.
A Live image of the version of Fedora you wish to use.

1) Determine whether you would prefer the 32 bit version or the 64 bit version. If you are going to use the LiveUSB as your OS in your pocket the 32 bit version is a better choice. You can use the 32 bit version on just about any computer on the planet. The 64 bit version will not work on older computers.

2) Determine which Desktop manager you would prefer. KDE and Gnome are the standard desktop managers and I prefer KDE.

3) Download the appropriate Live image. Save it to a hard drive.

4) Download and install the LiveUSB creator tool.

5) Use the LiveUSB creator tool to install the live image to your flash drive. Be sure to include a 1024MB or larger overlay.

Here are the various downloads:

Fedora KDE Live Images

Fedora KDE 32 bit Live Image
Fedora KDE 64 bit Live Image

Fedora Gnome Live Images

Fedora Gnome 32 bit Live Image
Fedora Gnome 64 bit Live Image

LiveUSB creator

LiveUSB Creator for Windows
LiveUSB Creator for Fedora – Use yum or yumex to install the liveusb-creator package.

Howto: install Fedora® 13

This is a  simple walk through on how to install Fedora® 13.
I presume that you already have Windows installed on your system.   This is not intended for laptops.  If you find that this procedure works for your laptop,  great.  Laptops have a wide variety of wireless devices that can be difficult to configure and are beyond the scope of this walk through.

1) First determine whether you would prefer the 32 bit or 64 bit version. If you are uncertain, select the 32 bit version.  If your system is less than 2 years old, you could install the 64 bit version for added performance.  If your system does not have an AMD or Intel Core 2 Duo or newer processor, use the 32 bit version.

2) Download the .iso file for the installation:

Download for 32 bit version

Download for 64 bit version

3) Once you have downloaded the .iso file you will need to burn the .iso to a DVD.
You can not use a CD burner for this. You must have a DVD burner, and a DVD burner program, such as Nero, Roxio Easy CD and DVD creator, or Nero Lite.

4) Next you need to boot your system using the DVD you created in step 3. Most systems allow you to press F8 (some use F2 and some systems require changing the default boot devices in the BIOS) during boot for the boot menu options. Then select your DVD drive from the menu. Next you will be prompted to either check the DVD for errors or skip forward to begin installation. It is always a good idea to check the media of the DVD the first time you use it.  This will verify the DVD was burned correctly and has the necessary files for the installation. If the DVD integrity check fails toss it in the trash. Repeat step 3.

5) After you have verified the DVD successfully, you will be prompted for the language you prefer, a root password and your time zone selections.  If you are planning to dual boot between Windows and Fedora, be sure to deselect the system uses NTC time box.

6) Next up you will be presented with a choice of which drive types. Standard is the default choice. Next a menu will offer various partitioning schemes.   I always choose CUSTOM.  Then the partitioning menu will be presented. A standard SATA or IDE drive can have 4 primary partitions maximum. Your system may have 2 partitions already.  One for Windows and one for a recovery partition. DO NOT modify the recovery partition.  Select the custom layout and then re-size your OS partition to a smaller size. This is done to create the room for a new partition for the Fedora installation. I use EXT4 to format the new partition and create a separate swap file partition.  Fedora requires a lot less hard drive space than Windows does.
I create a  Fedora EXT4 partition between 20G- 100G. Your swap partition needs to be roughly the size of the amount of ram of your computer. When in doubt make the swap partition 8G. There is very limited value in making a swap partition larger than 8G unless you have 16G of RAM.  A typical Fedora 13 installation will only occupy about 4-8G of hard drive space.

7) After you have set up your partitions, you will be prompted for the installation type. If you accept the defaults, gnome will be installed as your desktop manager.  I prefer KDE as my desktop manager. I often leave gnome installed in case KDE has a problem.

8) The installation should begin and may take approximately 45 minutes.  You will not be prompted again, until the installation is complete.

9) Once the install is done there will be a reboot now button.  Press it.

10) When your system reboots after the installation, you will boot directly to Fedora the first time and be prompted to create a user name and password and select your time zone and send system hardware data to Fedora.  After you reboot again, you should see a prompt saying booting to, then either Fedora or Other or Windows. You can press the up and down arrows at that point to select which Operating system to boot into.

Congratulations you now have a system that will dual boot Windows and Fedora.

Fedora 13 is ready

Most software is released before it is ready for prime time.   If you have used computers for any length of time you may have encountered some of the issues as a result.  An icon that is a question mark.  The blue screen of WindowsME® at a trade show.   The sluggish reboot.  And so on.

Many seasoned network administrators wait a considerable time to embrace new versions of operating systems.
When implementing Microsoft® server software, I often recommend waiting for the first service pack.

Cost and time issues typically prevent a thorough and complete error free build on release day.  Fedora® 13 still had several issues on release day.   As a result of the latest updates I find that I have only one minor issue with Fedora 13  x64 at this time.   The issue only effects Intel® Core i3, i5, and i7 based processors.    This issue is a minor nag error message at boot time that does not have any actual impact on system stability or performance.   It is merely an annoyance.  The error is:

alg: hash: Failed to load transform for ghash-clmulni

All of the applications and daemons that I use on my workstations and servers are behaving well. The performance of the current kernel is fast and stable. If you have been waiting to try Fedora, this may be a good time to take the plunge.

Fedora 13 slips another week.

The release schedule for Fedora 13 has been pushed back another week. The current release schedule indicates May 25, 2010 as the release date.

I would much prefer to see a product released well tested than as a beta. Microsoft could learn a lesson from Fedora in this regard.

Howto: Intel HD Video for Fedora 12

There is a way to install Fedora 12 on a computer that uses an Intel High Definition Video card.   This applies to most i5 and i7 processors using the integrated Intel HD video.   If you have a PCI express video card or an AMD processor, this does not apply.

Book mark this page in case you need to reverse the procedure.

You will need the full install Fedora 12 DVD.  I use the x64 version, the 32bit version works as well.  LiveCD or LiveDVD or LiveUSB will not work.

1.  Boot the system using the Fedora 12 installation DVD.

2.  When prompted select the “install system with basic video driver” installation method.

3.  Proceed and install as usual.

4. Reboot.

5. Update all packages with yum.   Be sure that the xorg-x11-drv-intel package is installed or install it.

6. Reboot again.

7. Open xorg.conf with your favorite editor   /etc/X11/xorg.conf and modify the line that indicates “vesa” to “intel”.

8.. Save xorg.conf.

9. Open menu.lst with your favorite editor  /boot/grub/menu.lst   Create a new stanza based on the top stanza without the “nomodeset” option.  The nomodeset is typically set on the same line as the kernel information.

10. Save menu.lst

11. Reboot.

You should now have the full benefit of the Intel HD Video driver for your Fedora 12 system.  You may want to add compiz and mesa libraries as an enhancement.

If this workaround does not work, add  “vesa”  back to xorg.conf and use the “nomodeset” switch in the menu.lst file.

Rawhide nears Alpha

I have recently been putting the Fedora rawhide software through it’s paces. This is the software that will become Fedora 13 in June. At this point it is nearly feature complete. While it runs very smoothly on most platforms, the latest update of the glib2 package creates real problems with Nvidia chipset based motherboards. The update renders USB keyboards and mice inoperative at the launch of kdm. This leaves a system without any form of input device. This issue has not existed for Intel and Via based chipset motherboards. This issue required serious isolation testing.

Now my F13 testing platforms rattle and hum. I will have to compile some benchmarks comparing Fedora 12 to Rawhide soon.

Nvidia “Fake” RAID0 identical in speed to Fedora 12 Soft RAID.

Test Results
I have often read that Fedora Logical RAID has better performance characteristics than a “BIOS” or “FAKE” RAID. That may be true in some cases. Today I dispelled that myth in regards to Nvidia BIOS RAID0 versus Fedora Logical RAID0. The test results were identical. Results were obtained with the latest Fedora 12 updates applied, and EXT4 was the format of the file systems. Note that in all but one test of the series, the Nvidia C55 based ASUS P5N-E SLi E8400 system using a standard WDC 5000AAKS running Fedora 11 with an EXT3 partition outperformed an Evga 780i FTW QX9650 system using two WDC 5000AAKS in RAID0 AND using an Intel X25M SSD. Check the results at the link at the top of this article.