Chrome 28 and newer for CentOS 6

Officially Google no longer support Chrome for CentOS 6 (ref). The recommendation (for now) is to either switch to Firefox or Chromium. I decided to go with the second option.

Obtain the YUM repository settings here: chromium-el6 repo.

First uninstall Google Chrome

# sudo yum remove google-chrome

To install:

# sudo wget -O /etc/yum.repos.d/chromium-el6.repo
# sudo yum install chromium

Do not launch Chromium immediately, if you want your Chrome settings to transfer over do the following:

# mv ~/.config/google-chrome ~/.config/chromium

(Alternatively you can copy cp -a or link ln -s)

If you want the Google Chrome PDF and/or Flash plugins (I did), then the extra step(s) are required:

# cd /tmp
# wget
# sh
# cd /tmp
# wget
# sh

I am not happy with Google’s lack of support but I have become dependent on Chrome sync across all my computers and devices. I hope that Google changes/updates their process or that RHEL7 releases soon.


Fedora Desktop and Computing

Fedora 18 was released this week and I finally got around to installing it today. To be honest, on either my laptop or desktop I have not really used Fedora much since Fedora 14. I have been incredibly happy with CentOS for over a year and a half now, and I (begrudgingly) accepted Windows 7 on my laptop.

Today’s installation of Fedora 18 made me question my use of time. I switched jobs exactly 2 years ago and found myself in the precarious position of having little to no spare time. I tried my best to optimize. Giving up dual-booting in favor of virtualization (VirtualBox and KVM) helped greatly. However I could never get Fedora18 beta or RC to boot up inside KVM. But that wasn’t the problem that bothered me. Re-running through the installation multiple times using the new Anaconda installer just got me tired of trying to understand a poorly thought out workflow. I kept questioning myself if I had in fact selected the correct options. I don’t think I would ever install Fedora 18 on some of my more complex dual-boot setups in the past.

To be fair for a clean install on a new computer for most people the installer might be a joy, but for me it just wasn’t. I’m not really complaining. I have multiple computers running some form of Linux or if I must, Windows. My existing setup works fine for me. However I just don’t think Fedora’s goals and my needs line up anymore.

I was reminded of this when I was reading Richard WM Jone’s blog post on using Fedora 17 on a Chromebook. The first bullet point is what gives me pause:

Suspend pretty much doesn’t work.

I too own a Chromebook and just like many others I have quite a few things I dislike about, but where it never fails: power management. It suspends and starts up in seconds, lets me do my browsing/work and then I can close the lid and forget about it. The last time I had this experience with a laptop was with Fedora 9. After so many years, I’m disappointed problems can still exist for power management. My desktop CentOS suspends and hibernates perfectly, so I know things can be made to work, but I just don’t have the time to find out how.

Outside of work, I spend most of my time on my Android smartphone. Occasionally I monkey around with a tablet, but the Chromebook is incredibly nice for quick tasks. And then when I have the dedicated time: I will use my desktop or laptop for more major work. What do all of these devices/setups have in common? – Answer: they don’t change much. As we all know, change is the heart of Fedora – the latest and greatest software. I commend the Fedora team and all the volunteers who manage to somehow keep it all together.

If ever find the time, I would love to come back to Fedora. I finally got it working in my Virtualbox and I’ll write up some of my notes eventually. If you plan on installing Fedora 18, the official Fedora Installation Guide has evolved amazingly. I highly recommend reading it.

Improve Fonts in Chrome in CentOS 6

I am currently running the latest version of Firefox (8.0) and Google Chrome (15.0.874.121) in CentOS 6 64-bit using the Gnome 2.28 desktop.

Both work fine, however Firefox renders fonts significantly better than Chrome.

The Fix: The following steps fix the problem.

1. Open the file .fonts.conf in your home directory, if it does not exist create it:

$ touch ~/.fonts.conf

2. Add the following contents to the file:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
        <match target="font">
                <edit name="autohint" mode="assign">

3. Log out completely from Gnome (reboot not required).

Before and After

CentOS Desktop

I’m migrating away from Fedora as my desktop operating system. I’ve been testing CentOS 6 which was released recently and I feel I would be much more efficient using it instead of Fedora.

I still have quite a few quirks to resolve, but I have no doubt I’ll find the solutions.

I bought a new desktop some time ago with the intention of running virtualization, so I plan to still test and use Fedora time to time, but I can no longer keep up with the rate of change. If things stabilize to some degree I might come back, but for the time I am quite content with CentOS.

People are still welcome to contact me regarding Fedora stuff and any of the content on my site. I will do my best to support it.

LCD Monitor Recommendation

I have been on a 3 year quest to dump my old Sony CRT monitor and replace it with an LCD monitor, but I keep getting sidetracked.

I am looking for suggestions (recommendations really) for a high end/quality LCD monitor.

Resolution must be 1920x1200 or higher (NOT 1080), and most likely 24in display.
It would be really nice with dual-inputs so I can add both my desktop and laptop.
A built in USB hub would also be pretty useful.

Price is not an issue (it is, but I care more about quality), so I have an open mind. I don’t care for another TV, just more screen space.

My top picks are the Dell UltraSharp U2410 and the NEC MultiSync EA241WM. I’ve always been interested in Samsung but too lazy to figure out which series are cheap and which are quality.

If you own or use any of the above monitor or know of one you really love please let me know. I want to buy something in the next 1 to 2 weeks. (Apologies for all the messages).

Leave a comment or Contact me.

Wikipedia Migrates from Fedora to Ubuntu

The admins running Wikipedia are almost complete in migrating their servers from a mix of RedHat and Fedora to Ubuntu. The primary reasons behind the switch, according to Brion Vibber (Wikimedia CTO), were personal preference, Ubuntu availability on the desktop and better support/stability compared to Fedora. As a server, one might think that an enterprise option like RHEL or CentOS might make for a better choice, however both of these lack the appeal of Ubuntu and the flexibility in support.

Regardless of the reasons for the switch, this is another opportunity for people to question Fedora’s fast moving development pace (i.e. “bleeding edge”). Fedora user know that Fedora requires constant updating/upgrading and Fedora developers are obviously quite accustomed this and welcome it. An interesting thread on the Fedora development mailing list raised this topic and spawned a great deal of discussion. Some users/developers think that if Fedora provided a LTS stable release then perhaps situations like Wikipedia’s could have been avoided. Jesse Keating, Fedora Release Engineer, chimed in with a very well worded point:

Given the amount of churn we allow maintainers to introduce into our
“stable” releases, I highly doubt Fedora would be suitable for any
situation where a “LTS” was desired. There is just too much major
version upgrading
, behavioral changes, massive amounts of updates,
rapidly invalid documentation, and high chance of regression in the
“stable” updates. We should address *that* problem before ever thinking
about extending the life.

Even if Fedora could address that problem, big organizations most likely won’t change their opinions. However if those issues could be addressed, many users probably wouldn’t be migrating away, and more importantly they would just have a much better operating system!

(As a personal point, I no longer use Fedora as a server. I recommend CentOS.)

Fedora 9 Review

After spending a good deal of time configuring Fedora 9 I thought I would take this opportunity to provide my thoughts and feedback. The following is my Review of Fedora 9 (F9).

“Sulphur” smells only just a little.

Installation Media

The first thing I was happy to see was that the team finally decided to offer Fedora 9 in multi-CD installations in addition to the DVD installation. This has been missing since Fedora 7. I’m glad someone realized that Live image installation is NOT the same. I chose the DVD installation.


Note: For the first time I simultaneously installed Fedora on both a Laptop and Desktop. Additionally I used both 32-bit and 64-bit versions for installation.

As always the Fedora installer always seems to slowly lose features. Although in this case some very useful features got added. This release saw the addition of partition-resizing in the installer as well as encrypting your file system. While I do not think that majority of users require the encryption, the re-sizing ability is welcome as it accepts the possibility that many people wish to dual-boot or are not yet ready to abandon Windows. Unfortunately, I did not trust the Fedora installer to re-size my (pre-setup out) partitions.

For Package Selection I was fairly pleased with the default set of packages. I find that with each release there are less changes I need to do. Although I would still prefer if KDE, thunderbird, and k3b were installed by default. Oddly my install later added up to be a whopping 4.8GB! Almost 1GB bigger than I recall the similar installations for either F8 or F7! Not sure what was added!

The First Boot did see some minor changes. The security settings for both the Firewall and SE-Linux (Security Enhanced Linux) were removed. I would guess that many people possibly just disabled them upfront instead of actually learning to use them. I guess this is probably a smart move for Fedora.

Software: Fedora Desktop

After the First Boot configurations were set I made it to the login screen. This is where I will use the phrase: “Familiarity Be Damned!”. I follow the Fedora defaults of using Gnome but this release really had some major changes in software components.

The new verion of GDM (which manages logins) requires you to double-click your name and has this annoying animation after selection. There is an option at the bottom for selecting alternative desktops (e.g. KDE). Overall the login screen seemed incredibly clunky and unpolished. I felt it was a minor detraction, since technically I did not see any major functionality lost.

After logging into Gnome, my first reaction was that nothing major had changed. Which from the perspective of the GUI seemed to be true. I did notice 2 new applets on the top-right. The first was PackageKit and the second was NetworkManager.

PackageKit seemed to give a pretty simple interface for accepting new updates. I liked it for the most part, it reminded of a similar feature in Ubuntu. Although, if one saw over a 100 I doubt there would be much usefulness in “Reviewing” an update before install. Overall positive improvement.

NetworkManager which I was believe was available in FC5 is finally enabled by default in Fedora 9. The previous network service is disabled. This is a potentially problematic issue. Some setup’s (like my desktop) may find NetworkManager a nuisance. I ended up disabling NetworkManager in Fedora and concluded that this option was still too beta-quality. That is until I tested the same on my laptop. I enabled the WiFi and clicked on the applet which showed my WPA2-PSK access point. I entered my pass phrase and I was connected! No configuring, no tweaking, no firmware-ing, no ‘yum-ing’. My Intel Pro ABG3945 Wireless worked out of the box! So, I can only conclude that NetworkManager, while not perfect for all configurations, is definitely worthwhile for some.

Firefox 3 – While I did not go through all the new applications, I am not very impressed with Firefox 3 (not Fedora’s fault). The interface seems a little annoying and only 2 of my 10 extensions work, which makes surfing a little difficult in Fedora 9.

Otherwise the GNOME setup seemed satisfactory. The only other quirk I had was that point-and-click NTFS partition mounting did not work for me like it did in Fedora 8. As usual I just prefer to have all my NTFS partitions fixed and mounted at boot. Also occasionally after I login I find that my time is several hours off? I do have NTP running. This causes a nuisance for dual-booting.

Software: Java

Fedora 9 ships with OpenJDK instead of IcedTea that was shipped in Fedora 8. I want to believe that the development is moving closer to be functionally same as the popular Sun Java, but I am confused. OpenJDK is version 1.6 while IcedTea was 1.7? Okay, no biggie. What was the biggest disappointment was the OpenJDK web-browser plugin did NOT work on the popular Java Test Page. Why does this bother me? Because IcedTea in Fedora 8 worked like a charm.

Software: KDE 4

Although I was initially excited about trying KDE4, that excitement quickly faded after using KDE for a few minutes – “Familiarity Be Damned!” Simply put, it is missing too many features and there are enough changes to frustrate you. While again, I do not blame the Fedora developers for including this, it does add to the feeling that many software components in Fedora 9 may seem incredibly unfamiliar or just NOT ready.

System Issues

While there may be many software updates at the system level, I did not notice anything new that would significantly change the user experience. I would say on a very positive note that sound seemed quite issue-free. The PulseAudio (first included in Fedora 8 ) worked great for me. While not a big deal, the doc writers should have made sure to add libflashsupport in the Release Notes to get sound in Flash working.

Now to SELinux – the super security tool everybody loves to hate and nobody has the patience to learn. For the first time I found running Fedora with SELinux set to Enforcing has NOT caused a single problem. All plugins, drivers, 3rd party and proprietary apps ran without issue. This was 3 different hardware installs! First time ever! It only took 4 years!!! Well, I’ll wait till a SELinux policy update renders my system useless. But overall, I was quite pleased.

Fedora included Upstart which is Ubuntu’s new startup system. While I know that this opens the door to many optimizations during startup, I did not notice any major changes. I think this will be gradually improved over time.

Hardware Support – Laptop

While I do not have much new hardware on my desktop, I do have a Thinkpad Laptop. I was shocked that almost every single feature worked out of the box for my laptop: video resolution, sound, touchpad/pointer, SD card, wireless, battery, volume, brightness and hibernate. While my mute button still does not work correctly and the suspend is a little buggy, I have not really debugged them. Even so, the amount of time in the past I would have to configure all of the previously mentioned options was days of tweaking, researching and kernel compiling. I was really pleased with how well Fedora 9 – 64-bit worked on my laptop.

System Issues – Xorg X-server

Unfortunately the release of of Xorg 1.5/7.4 was not ready in time for the release of Fedora 9 so a development version 1.4.9999999999999 was shipped (not sure how many 9’s). While there is nothing technically wrong with this, the Nvidia binary driver (must have for 3-D and compiz effects) will not work correctly with this release. Since no one knows the Nvidia’s release schedule or the internal working of their hardware, basically you cannot do 3-D or effects in Fedora 9 if you are an Nvidia user (like myself). I wish the Xorg release was ready. I’m eagerly waiting to fix the last remaining quirk on my Fedora 9. Annoying, but people should have patience.


I’m not a big fan of shipping development versions of software, but in the open source world – everything is development software. Overall I am not super thrilled with Fedora 9 on the desktop but the drastic improvements on the laptop front are well worth it. Obviously I don’t plan on using Fedora as a server.

I don’t think I will ever agree with some of the default decisions (e.g. NetworkManager over network) but nothing seemed too difficult to resolve. I think this release was definitely moving in the right direction. Much better than Fedora 8. I feel Fedora is trying real hard to catch up to Ubuntu’s polished quality.

I personally would recommend that people wait for at least the update to Xorg. This seems to be a big road block for many. I do not think that there was a major lack in quality in the distribution as a whole (like in many past releases). I just think that many of the components shipped in Fedora 9 just need a little catch up time.

Glad I tried multiple different installs, it broadened my perspective. Maybe Fedora 9 “Sulphur” will do the same for you? Happy installing!

Resuming USB after F7 ACPI Suspend

As mentioned in my Fedora 7 Review, there were some ACPI regressions in functionality. The basic problem is as such: Before I hit ‘Suspend’ my mouse is working fine, however the mouse fails to activate after the computer is resumed.

To get the mouse to work again, I must run the following, after which the mouse works perfectly.

[mirandam@charon ~]$ sudo su -
[root@charon ~]# modprobe -r ehci_hcd
[root@charon ~]# modprobe ehci_hcd

How do I know which module to pick? Trial and error. There are only 3 USB modules that I considered:

[mirandam@charon ~]$ /sbin/lsmod | grep hcd
ehci_hcd               35405  0 
ohci_hcd               23749  0 
uhci_hcd               26833  0

I went through each and loaded and re-loaded it at the terminal line until I found the correct one.
(How did I get to the terminal with no mouse? Quick Tip: Create a shortcut key combination in Gnome: System > Preferences > Personal > Keyboard Shortcuts).

The Fedora FAQ says to use the “Quirks Page” to try to diagnose the problems. The site is a little “dumbed” down but it might be helpful to newbies.

The information I required was how to unload modules prior to suspending. This is mentioned in the site. The proper method is to add a file unload_modules in the /etc/pm/config.d/ directory. The file should have 1 line listing the modules you want to unload (separated by spaces) in a specific format. In my case this would be:

Hence I ran:

[mirandam@charon ~]$ sudo gedit /etc/pm/config.d/unload_modules

Added the above line, and presto!, my USB mouse propely resumes after an ACPI suspend (S3, Suspend to RAM).

The above quirks page may not be entirely comprehensive but should provide many common tips. Unfortunately power management (including suspend and hibernate) are ever changing in Linux. The current structure does seem like progress (even if it does create regressions as in my case).

For reference I have an ASUS A8V, Athlon 64 running 32 bit, kernel 2.6.21-1.3228.fc7, with a Logitech MX 400 Laser Mouse.