Linux x86_64

I have been dipping my toe into x86_64 waters sporadically over the last couple of years. On each of the previous occasions it always seemed too immature, packages were way to hard to come by (I prefer precompiled binaries), half my hardware didn’t work, strange crashes etc. Seeing as this episode has been 100% successful, I thought this time I would document it.

Fedora
Fedora

My favourite distribution is Fedora due to it’s rapid development and ease of use. I downloaded via BitTorrent. (Obviously) make sure you get the x86_64 version. I always like to run the sha checksum to rule out that as the problem if something does arise later. I also make sure that my DVD verifies in my burning program after it has been burnt.

Now we are ready to install. Unless you have something really exotic you should not need any special drivers or anything (At least not until after the install), it should just work. The important parts of my hardware are:
Asus A8V-E SE (Not awesome, my awesome motherboard blew up causing me to downgrade to this one I had lying around) AMD Socket 939
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ CPU
nVidia GeForce 8600 GT 256MB PCIe

I use the onboard LAN and sound card, as well as 2 SATA drives, an IDE drive and an IDE CDROM.

So I installed Fedora from the DVD. You can again choose to verify the media, weirdly (And in previous versions as well) this check always seems to fail even though the sha check and burning software verification succeed, so either the check is broken or the motherboard/drive is broken. I have never seen this verification succeed in my life. Anyway, I skip it now and the options I select (At appropriate times) are fresh install onto a blank drive, “Software Development” profile/packages (You can probably turn off the other profiles, you can install any required packages individually later on when you are in the OS anyway). Next time I do an install I would love to try an upgrade install.

That should all install (You don’t have to get too serious about selecting the right packages right now, I find it easier to install “generally” what I need (“Software Development”) and then customise later) and you should now be logging into a fresh install of Fedora 10.

Initially I had some problems with an additional PCI sound card I had present due out of habit because I had never gotten my on board sound to work for any motherboard under Linux. Some programs were using the onboard and some where then using the PCI one, so I rebooted and went into the bios to disable the onboard one. Both still get detected. Apparently this is a common problem with this motherboard. I went to update the bios and wouldn’t you believe it, the bios updater is Windows only. Anyway, because the onboard sound card was being detected I just removed the PCI one and enabled the onboard one again. That fixed it up awesomely and I had audio, yay. Also removing PulseAudio can “unconfuse” applications and force them to use ALSA,
yum remove alsa-plugins-pulseaudio

I then noticed that I had some issues with audio playback stuttering, cycling through normal speed and then fast for a second and then normal again. I fixed it by following this tutorial.

Add the Livna repo by downloading and running the add repo rpm, it is not linked to on the main page, but the url can be built from the other releases. Add the RPMFusion repo by downloading and running both the free and non-free add repo rpm.
For my information:
RPMFusion provides additional packages that are not in the base Fedora repos.
Livna provides the same packages as RPMFusion, but also provides the libdvdcss package for watching DVDs.

I have never had much luck with ATI drivers for Linux. I had heard the nVidia ones were easier to install and configure and apparently faster to boot. Before you install drivers, you might want to get a benchmark of your FPS in glxgears before installation:
glxgears

I downloaded and installed the nVidia (Binary, proprietary) driver:
sudo yum install kmod-nvidia

Now reboot (It’s the easiest way to restart X). Test that hardware accelerate rendering is happening by looking for in the output of this command:
glxinfo | grep direct

And your glxgears FPS should be above 2000:
glxgears

Adobe recently released an x86_64 Linux version of Flash so we don’t have to mess around with nswrapper etc. any more. I downloaded it from here, extracted, su, cp ./libflashplayer.so /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins, restarted Firefox. You may want to test it also.

Nexuiz
Nexuiz

For my benefit for next time, I also like:
Neverball and Neverputt
VDrift
Torcs
Nexuiz
Open Arena
Urban Terror
XMoto

Transmission
Thunderbird
Rhythmbox
VLC
K3B
Wine
CMake
KDevelop

I have not provided any links to these as they are all present in PackageKit which comes with Fedora 10.

Also for my information:
Firefox Add Ons
Adblock Plus
Flashblock
NoScript
PDF Download
FireBug

Nightly Tools

Net Usage Item

Open links in Firefox in the background
Type about:config into the address bar in Firefox, then look for the line browser.tabs.loadDivertedInBackground and set it to true.

Automatic Login
su gedit /etc/gdm/custom.conf

And adding this text:
[daemon]
# http://live.gnome.org/GDM/2.22/Configuration
TimedLoginEnable=true
TimedLogin=yourusername
TimedLoginDelay=30

NTFS Drives
Gnome automatically finds and mounts NTFS drives/partitions, however in Fedora 9 and later, ownership is now broken. Each partition (And every sub folder and file) seems to default to ownership so even though some operations work such as moving files around, even adding and deleting, some programs will complain (I found this problem through RapidSVN not working). Nautilus reports that you are not the owner and even if you run Nautilus as root you cannot change to owner to anything other than root. The way I solved this was to install ntfs-config and run with:
sudo ntfs-config

You should now have valid entries in /etc/fstab:
sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.bak
gksudo gedit /etc/fstab

Something like this (One for each partition, the ones you are interested in are any with ntfs-3g):
UUID=A2D4DF1DD4DEF291 /media/DUMP ntfs-3g defaults,nosuid,nodev,locale=en_AU.UTF-8 0 0

I then edited each ntfs-3g line like so:
UUID=A2D4DF1DD4DEF291 /media/DUMP ntfs-3g defaults,rw,user,uid=500,gid=500,umask=0022,nosuid,nodev,locale=en_AU.UTF-8 0 0

Where uid=youruserid and gid=yourgroupid. You can find these out via System->Administration->Users and Groups (There is probably a command to find this out, actually I would say there is definitely a command for finding this out, but I’m pretty lazy). If you log in with different users perhaps changing to a common group would be better? Reboot to let these settings take effect. If you now to view your partition in Nautilus, File->Properties->Permissions should now list you as the owner with your group.

You now have a pretty well set up Fedora 10 installation. These steps should be pretty similar for future versions. I will probably refer back these when I install Fedora 11 or 12 in a year or two. I love Fedora because it is the total opposite of Windows. With Vista, Microsoft stagnated, waiting a year or two longer than they should have to release a product that by that time was out of touch with the target audience. In contrast, I had been planning to install Fedora 9 this time around after installing 8 only 6-12 months ago, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that 10 had been released. I would also like to try Ubuntu as I haven’t really used it much apart from at work, so I might give that a shot next time. x86_64 has certainly matured over the last 2 or 3 years, I would say it is definitely production server ready and probably has been for at least a year. The quality and variety of packages available for Linux is amazing, the community just keeps on giving. Fedora just keeps on amazing me. The future is bright, I can’t wait.

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