Friday, 4 January 2008

My checklist for Fedora desktop

I have been using GNU/Linux since 2001, and experimented various versions of RedHat Linux and Fedora and currently using Fedora 8. Whenever I upgrade( or sometimes do a fresh install) it's very difficult to setup the commonly used applications, so I have compiled a list of applications in a text file in my desktop. I thought that this would be helpful for others also, so I added some brief notes.

1. Xine - Multimedia player:
xine has been my favourite multimedia player for several years. Unfortunately due to legal issues xine is not included in the Fedora repository but it is available in the Freshrpms fedora repository. The Freshrpms also contains several other add-ons for Fedora. It's quite easy to setup the yum to access Freshrpms repository, just run the following command from a terminal:

rpm -ivh

Once the repo is enabled the following command can be used to install xine.
# yum install xine

2. xmms-mp3 - MP3 plugin for xmms:
XMMS is one of the simplest audio player available for GNU/Linux. The XMMS package should be installed prior to xmms-mp3. This apckage is available in freshrpms repo. I used the following command to install xmms and it's plugin.
# yum install xmms xmms-mp3

3. dvdrip - DVD ripping utility
This package is also available in freshrpms. The following command will install dvdrip.

# yum install dvdrip

4. gstreamer-plugins-ugly - Proprietary codecs for gstreamer
Totem and other native gnome media players doesn't play the media files enoded in proprieatary formats. gstreamer-plugins-ugly will help you to overcome this limitation.

# yum install gstreamer-plugins-ugly

5. rar and unrar - compression utility
Occassionaly some of my friends sent files compressed using the M$ Windows compression utility. Freshrpms has the rar package which can be used to compress and decompress files in rar format.

# yum install rar unrar

6. libquicktime - Library for reading and writing QuickTime files
The libquicktime package is necessary for reading quicktime files(*.mov) in GNU/Linux. This package is also provided by Freshrpms.

# yum install libquicktime

7. Flash Player:
Even though I'm not a big fan of flash movies, occasionally I have to visit websites that supports flash movies. The adobe website provides a yum repository of the flash plugins so that you can view flash movies in your web browser.

Install the adobe-release package using the following command:
rpm -ivh

Now you can install flashplayer using the following command:
# yum install flash-plugin

8. Java:
Java can be downloaded from java official website. I prefer to install sun java in /opt since Fedora already has a java version (icedtea).

9. Malayalam support:
Using Malayalam in my computer was my dream and it seems that it's almost perfect now. Most of theissues are resolved but I have to do some kind of tweaking to read and write Malayalam in Fedora. I have to install the latest updates of pango and libicu packages from the smc repository. (The packages in this repository will soon be available in the official fedora repository also). Pango is the rendering engine for GNOME and libicu is the rendering engine for
Download the smc repo file from here and copy it to /etc/yum.repos.d/.
After setting up the repository update the pango and libicu packages using the following command:

# yum update libicu pango

The lohit-malayalam fonts distributed with Fedora is buggy and you have to install the Mal0tf or Rachana_g02(traditional) fonts to render malayalam properly. You can download these fonts from here . The installation instructions can be found in my previous post.

10. Firefox Padma
There has been issues in reading Malayalam websites (, etc ..) which uses the dynamic fonts. The Firefox community has come up with an add-on called Padma, which can be used to convert the dynamic fonts to unicode fonts so that they can be read correctly. To install Padma in your firefox, open the url in Firefox and click the "Install Now" button.

11. K3B
Even though my favourite desktop environment is GNOME, my all time favourite in KDE is K3B, which is the superior CD/DVD burning software in GNU/Linux. K3B is available in the official Fedora repository and it can be installed using yum.

These are just the preliminary list. I will keep on adding to this whenever I get time.