Computers, Linux, Software

Fooling Around with Feisty Fawn

Yes, it is an odd name. It is also the coolest release of Ubuntu yet. I have opened a terminal a total of 0 times and I have a running system with most of my setup tasks satisfied.

What is new?
Feisty Fawn codec installation

    • In a controversial move, Mr. Shuttleworth (founder of Ubuntu) has decided to actually make it easy to play multimedia. On a fresh installation, Firefox defaults to a webpage stored on your computer with links to official documentation, community docs, and the web forum. If you click on either documentation, you are taken to a page with information about multimedia support. You will be told the official Ubuntu repositories has a meta package for all of the “gstreamer” codecs, flash, and java packages. Check its box, click “Apply” and enjoy. Optionally, Windows codecs are also available. Why the don’t put them in the meta package, I have no idea.
    • Alternately, you could not read these instructions, jump the gun, and just double-click a multimedia file. In the past, Totem would happily report that it has no idea how to play the file. Now it catches itself, and asks for permission to install the missing codec packages.
    • NTFS volumes can now be mounted with write permissions in just a few clicks. The tool is called “ntfs-3g configuration”. I hope that this will be scheduled for inclusion by default, however it currently is not.
    • A new indexing application named Tracker is installed by default. It is so lightweight, I didn’t even realize that it was running. It is less exhaustive than Beagle, but the performance is worth it for some applications. This is also integrated in with the Deskbar applet.
    • Network manager is now the configuration applet by default, and with one package has Microsoft VPN support.
    • Significant work has been done on 3D acceleration. Although short of being enabled out of the box with the ATI binary driver, installation was moderately easy. There is a “fglrx” package in the repositories. You can find it by searching for “ATI Radeon”. You can install this, but it doesn’t complete the process required for direct rendering. You still will have to manually invoke “depmod -a”, and “aticonfig …”, then restart your machine. IMO, this should be handled by the package installation.

    What else is scheduled for inclusion?

    Many other specifications look promising for Feisty. Of particular note is the “bullet-proof-x” specification, that will allow the Xserver to gracefully fall back to more and more generic configurations. The goal is to prevent the Xserver from ever crashing – even on exotic hardware. The current print configuration system is going to be completely replaced by a port of printerdrakeoriginally for Mandrake. This promises better automatic discovery, and plug-and-print. Currently gnome-cups-manager is a mess in Ubuntu. Thanks to patches in the gnome-vfs packages, printers are no longer even displayed in Nautilus.

    So its all good right?

    There is still much work to be done. I want my printers back damn it! I am not sure what rubbed the maintainer the wrong way about displaying non-file objects in the Nautilus file browser, but he just cut off the best way to add a printer. I have gone so far as to receive a patch upon request from Frederick from the OpenSuSE project to apply against the gnome-vfs source packages to change this back.
    Also, I was expecting fglrx to be installed and running by default. It is logical to assume that most people want 3D acceleration, and this will be one of the first things they will fight with. Just take care of this. I know its a crappy binary from an unresponsive company, but if the community can get it in the repository as a .deb, they can have it installed by default. With bullet-proof-x, the chances of this screwing up a system installation should be non-existent.

    Its looks as though Ubuntu will be moving to the Slab menu for Feisty. This integrates in nicely with the new “Control Center” that has been added in the latest version of Gnome. Oddly though, Tracker, the default indexing client does not take advantage of Slab in the same manner as Beagle. Hopefully this will change in th near future.

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    4 thoughts on “Fooling Around with Feisty Fawn

    1. I’m trying to get a ubuntu install with parallels, but as soon as it boots, the mouse dies. There’s a message on the screen about power management bus something or another, and then once i click off the message the mouse stops being able to click.

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    2. Your error is probably about D-BUS, which is required to be running for Gnome-power-manager. The fact that you can initially click is positive, as it seems to be mapped to the right device. If you are talking about Feisty Fawn, it is still in alpha stages, with 30+ updates being applied every day. I would say try “herd 3” w/o any additional updates, or the latest stable version, “Edgy Eft”.

      Seems to be a known issue:
      http://forums.parallels.com/thread3207.html
      http://muffinresearch.co.uk/archives/2006/11/03/ubuntu-edgy-under-parallels-desktop-for-mac/

      If all else fails, check your /var/log/* files for clues…

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    3. actually, Feisty Fawn works, it was edgy eft that was causing the problems. Now it’s installed, and i gotta start working on some of the other problems, but that’s for later. I wanna check out one of the XGL / Compiz things, do you have one you recommend for ubuntu?

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    4. Hmm, the loaded question. Compiz is maintained by David at Novell, and its focus is 100% productivity assistance. It tends to be more stable, and have more sane defaults for actually doing work. (Lately, Beryl has had more sane default configurations as well)

      If you want to see what the limits of an accelerated desktop are, check out Beryl, a community-maintained fork of Compiz. There are hundreds of plugins (most completely useless).

      In my experiences, Beryl has been easier to setup than Compiz. However, once setup, Compiz seems to be more stable than Beryl. This line is blurring lately, as support for acceleration is becoming more supported. Compiz also feels more integrated, and could be run by someone without knowing they are using a composite manager. It uses the “Themes” settings from the Gnome control panel, etc.

      Here is Compiz’s website: http://www.go-compiz.org/

      And here is Beryl’s:
      http://www.beryl-project.org/

      I found this information to be helpful when setting up either:
      https://help.ubuntu.com/community/CompositeManager

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