Canon S500 in Fedora Core

I had written a really simple camera mini-guide for how I use my Canon S500 digital camera in Fedora Core 3. The other night I decided to update and make sure everything still works in Fedora Core 4 – and it did.

Guides like these, to me, are almost not necessary. I would tell someone, just make sure you have Gnome and gPhoto and your USB setup and your camera will “automagically” work. But that advice, to me, does not seem very tangible. In the Windows world, people are reassured by the fact that their hardware or peripheral comes with an installation CD. That seldom happens in the Linux world. People who are unsure whether or not hardware works correctly with Linux need some sort of valid proof that there is Linux support – this always seems to come from the community as opposed to the manufacturer. Personally, I research Linux compatibility for all of my hardware prior to purchasing. Guides like the one listed above, I hope, make someone feel more certain about their purchase.

MPlayer from CVS in FC4

I’ve been following along with the improvements made by the MPlayer development team through their mailing list. When Fedora Core 4 came out there were some (I think many) issues with the choice to use GCC4 (the GNU Compiler). Many applications, such as MPlayer, were not yet supported. There were patches from other groups, but the MPlayer team did not officially support it. As usual I compiled from source, but I used GCC3.2. I’ve never had any problems.

A week ago I pulled a CVS snapshot through their website and decided to compile and test a developmental version to see anything new. I installed along side my current version of MPlayer v1.0pre7. (I used ----prefix=/opt/mplayercvs/ during the configure step.) It all seemed to work perfectly with GCC4. Some basic things I noticed were better support for some media formats and full support for many output plugins that didn’t work with the GCC3.2 workaround. Finally they also have ported the GUI to GTK2. The forever old (and still very poor) gui was using GTK1.2 and has now been deprecated. Although I don’t see any new features in the GUI, it is nice to finally have a consistent GTK/Gnome interface – fonts, themes and all.

Basically good progress, but not recommended for average users. I am looking forward to the new release, even though lately it seems Xine has seemed like a better alternative.

Fedora Help Forums

Quite possibly the most useful Linux and Fedora forums on the internet are LinuxQuestions.org and FedoraForum. I prefer the first one since it has been around much longer and has a great deal more content for Linux in general (not just Fedora). However the second one has been dubbed the “official support forum” for Fedora, so I guess it will have quite a good number of helpful people as well. Of course, my main gripe with forums in general is having to continuously checking for updates on threads, making sure you ask the “right questions” and dealing with arrogant admins. Oh well.

Anyways, as my first foray in the world of aggregation and RSS, I’ve setup a simple Fedora Help Page from the help forums which indexes new posts from the above sites. I set it up mostly as an experiment, but I found myself using it. I might add others, but for now I hope someone finds it useful.

PHP4 on Fedora Core 4

EDIT (Dec 19, 2005):
I have written a formal guide on PHP4 on FC4.

One of my biggest difficulties with using Fedora Core 4 was that it packages PHP5 with the Apache webserver. Any experienced person should know that Fedora Core is probably a terrible Linux Distribution to be using for a large scale Web Server on the Public Internet. However, it may be sufficient for home or Intranet usage.

What I like to do is, I mirror my public main site mjm wired on my home Linux computer. This was very easy with FC1 – FC3, however PHP5 broke several things in my PHP code. I tried fixing most of them, but it wasn’t worth the effort since my current hosting provider is still on PHP v4.3.10. Anyways, I tried meddling with the PHP4 RPM in FC3 – that was no good. Then I tried recompiling the source RPM for FC3 (src.rpm), but that caused too many compiler errors and with over 60 lines of configure options to compile I couldn’t figure out all the dependancies and flags to satisfy the compile. I had some problems with some XML libraries.

In the end I just compiled the tar.bz2 with some minimal settings. I set the install directory to use /opt/php4 so as not to disturb PHP5. It properly installs the PHP4 Apache Module in the correct location. Then I had to edit /etc/httpd/conf.d/php.conf to disable PHP5 and enable PHP4. So now Apache2 on FC4 runs PHP4 correctly for me. I know there is some way to run them in parallel with controlling certain directories and controlling certain Types (.php, .php4, .php5), but I don’t require this at the moment.

I might write a formal process on this later when I get the time. However, I do think that there MUST be a better way to do this, I am open to suggestion or tips.

Toying with Kernel 2.6.13

Since the 2.6.13 kernel was released some time ago, I’ve heard plenty of negative commentary about changes within it. From referring to the Fedora-list mailing list, it appears as though there were plenty of rough edges. Anyways, using my FC4 Kernel Notes, I followed through my procedure and installed version 2.6.13.2 from source.

The first observation I noticed was that it didn’t seem much different from my last 2.6.12 kernel or my last 2.6.11 FC4 kernel. The only major thing was that my ACPI was broken for S3. I can enter Suspend to RAM (STR) but it won’t resume properly. Normally on previous 2.6.9 and previous kernels, the OS would resume, but I lost input, screen, mouse or some other hardware. In this case not even the PowerButton works correctly. I need some more experimentation here.