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Fedora 7 Tips and Tricks (v0.8)
Last modified: Monday December 10, 2018

This is based on my Fedora Core 6 Tips and Tricks page. This is in maintenance only mode since there is now a Fedora 8 version of this guide in the works. Recent changes are highlighted in yellow.

I've started to add x86_64 specific instructions below when they differ from traditional 32-bit instructions. The biggest issue is with multimedia plug-ins which are still often available only in 32-bit versions.

Add support for other repositories

Fedora comes with a ton of software but there are still plenty of packages of interest to most users that are not included for a variety of reasons. This is where you find the MP3 plug-in and a ton of other packages.

These instructions can vary depending on 32bit or 64bit architecture. If there is a difference it will be noted. If you don't know which architecture you're running you can run the following command:

$ uname -m
I'm still working on the 64 bit specific instructions so your feedback is very important.

Before you add repositories it's probably a good idea to make sure your system is fully updated first. At this point I'm prefering the Livna repository as it's the most useful and complete but at some point I might need to add another one for things that are lacking there. The easiest way to get started is to install the livna-release packages:

# rpm -ihv http://rpm.livna.org/livna-release-7.rpm
Please note: If you are upgrading from a previous release this command will fail with a conflict. Skip to the next section on upgrading from a previous release instead.

When adding additional repositories be very careful as many respositories don't mix well. It's ok to add specialized repositories such as the one for Flash below, but when mixing general repositories such as FreshRPMs, Livna or ATrpms there are often conflicts that are difficult to recover from.

You can browse the packages available there at http://livna-dl.reloumirrors.net/fedora/7/.

Upgrading from previous Fedora

There are a few things you need to do when upgrading from a previous version of Fedora. This was tested only with Fedora Core 6 so older versions may not work quite as easily. The first thing you want to do is upgrade the repository package for the newer version.
# rpm -Uhv http://rpm.livna.org/livna-release-7.rpm

Fedora 7 comes with a much improved font package which does NOT get installed when you upgrade for some reason. You'll first want to remove any of the Microsoft fonts first if you had installed them previously then install the new Red Hat provided fonts:

# rpm -ev msttcorefonts
# yum -y install liberation-fonts
# service xfs restart

And finally you're going to need to do an update of the whole system. This will most likely pick up official Fedora updates as well as updated packages from the Livna repository. This might take a while.

# yum -y update

Install MP3 Plug-in

Since you've been following along this next step is about as easy as it gets. Just use yum  to automatically install the MP3 plug-ins for xmms and Rhythmbox like this:
# yum -y install xmms xmms-mp3 xmms-faad2 gstreamer-plugins-ugly \
	gstreamer-plugins-bad libmad libid3tag
While you're here you might as well install my personal favorite (this week at least) music player Banshee:
# yum -y install banshee
The -y  flag is to automatically answer yes to any question. If you want to be able to say no you can ignore that flag.

While you're there I highly recommend the grip CD ripper which supports both MP3 and Ogg formats. Once again installation is quite simple:

# yum -y install grip

Install Macromedia Flash/Shockwave plug-in

Flash Plug-in 9.0
32-bit instructions:
To automatically install/update the Macromedia Flash version 9.0 plug-in install the YUM configuration RPM direction from Adobe:
# rpm -ihv http://linuxdownload.adobe.com/adobe-release/adobe-release-i386-1.0-1.noarch.rpm
You can read more about Adobe's options for installing the Flash Plug-in at http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash.

64-bit instructions:
The Adobe repositories aren't set up to handle 64-bit architectures so you have to get the same package but from a different source. You need to download This File and copy it to your /etc/yum.repos.d directory.

# cd /etc/yum.repos.d
# wget http://macromedia.mplug.org/macromedia-i386.repo

Both architecture instructions:
One you have the correct repository you just have to do this to install the Flash plug-in version 9.0:

# yum -y install flash-plugin
You can get more information about this plug-in at http://macromedia.mplug.org/. Before the plug-in gets installed you'll need to agree to the terms of the license.

Special 64-bit instructions:
Now the problem with 64 bit, even on Windows, is that most plug-ins are still for some reason only available in a 32 bit version. This is a problem because a 64 bit version of Firefox can only use 64 bit plugins. There are several ways to solve this and the easiest method seems to change all the time. Until all plug-ins are available in 64 bit versions some type of hack will be necessary.

As several people have mentioned in the comments section below, the nspluginwrapper is becoming the preferred way of solving this problem. What this plug-in does is allow 32-bit plug-ins to be used in a 64-bit browser. Installing it is not complicated but you do have to be careful to "refresh" it any time you install/update any 32-bit plugins.

You can download the latest plug-in and viewer, BOTH are necessary, from http://gwenole.beauchesne.info/en/projects/nspluginwrapper then install them. If you had previously installed the 32-bit version of Firefox you'll need to remove that first. The versions are accurate as of the time I wrote this so you might need to update the paths below if the versions were updated and I haven't updated this guide yet.

# rpm -ev firefox-32
# rpm -ihv http://gwenole.beauchesne.info/projects/nspluginwrapper/files/nspluginwrapper- \
If you do update/add/remove any 32-bit plug-ins you'll need to run a command line program to make sure the wrapper catches the update:
$ nspluginwrapper -u

Install DVD player

Currently I find the DVD player that works best is the Xine Multimedia Player which is found in the Livna repository so installing it is just this simple:
# yum -y install xine xine-lib xine-skins xine-lib-extras-nonfree libdvdcss
This will install the xine DVD/VCD/CD player. Now to get xine to automatically play a DVD upon insertion instead of the Totem player which can't actually play DVDs, you can simply use the gconftool-2 utility as follows:
$ gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/volume_manager/autoplay_dvd_command \
'xine --auto-play --auto-scan dvd' --type='string'

Install MPlayer Media Player

At some point you're probably going to want to play a QuickTime, AVI or ASF file so you'll want the MPlayer media player. Fortunately with the FreshRpms repositories it's also very easy to download and install. Then you can go ahead and install mplayer and all it's dependencies:
# yum -y install mplayer mplayer-gui mplayer-skins mplayer-fonts mplayerplug-in
This command line will download the whole kit and kaboodle, command line utilities, plug-ins, etc. If you want to play content from a command line you will want to use the gmplayer  version which will include a skin-able control panel. Restart your web browser after that whole mess is done installing and you'll also have a plug-in for Mozilla so you can play embedded content. While you're at it be sure to configure mplayer to use the ALSA sound system rather than the default. It just works better. Edit the file ~/.mplayer/config and add the following line:

You can enable support for mms streaming by opening Firefox and click on the special URL about:config. Right click on the list and choose New then choose String. For the preference name enter network.protocol-handler.app.mms then for the string value enter gmplayer.

Special 64-bit instructions:
The above installs the 64-bit version of everything but because your other plug-ins are 32-bits you need to run the 32-bit version of Firefox, which won't be able to use the 64-bit version of the plug-in you just installed. The plug-in can use the 64-bit version of the mplayer application just fine so all you need to do then is to install the 32-bit mplayerplug-in plus a dependency it requires. If you know of any easier way to do this please let me know below.

# rpm -ihv http://ftp.freshrpms.net/pub/freshrpms/fedora/linux/7/mplayerplug-in/mplayerplug-in-3.40-1.fc7.i386.rpm
Both 32-bit and 64-bit instructions:
And finally you'll probably also want some additional codecs to play all that proprietary video that seems to have infected the Internet. Go to the MPlayer Download page and download the essential Binaries Codec Package. You'll need to install those files in /usr/local/lib/win32. Here are the steps. Remember the exact file names may change at some point. If you also installed xine you will need a symlink since it expects codecs to be in a different directory.
# gtar xjvf essential-20061022.tar.bz2 
# mkdir /usr/local/lib/win32
# mv essential-20061022/* /usr/local/lib/win32
# ln -s /usr/local/lib/win32 /usr/lib/win32
# ln -s /usr/local/lib/win32 /usr/local/lib/codecs
# ln -s /usr/local/lib/win32 /usr/lib/codecs

Install VLC (VideoLAN Client)

Multimedia can be the achilles heel of Linux, but with just a little work you should be able to play just about anything your friends can. Besides Mplayer the other great video player is called VLC. It too is trivially easy to install once you have your repositories set up:
# yum -y install videolan-client
Once the client and a zillion dependencies get installed you can play a huge variety of video formats easy with the command vlc 

Install RealPlayer 10 Media Player

This one is a little tricky only because the latest official release is horribly out of date and doesn't even use ALSA for sound. So rather than deal with annoying workarounds I think the easiest thing to do now is to just use the latest daily build that's available. I'm currently using RealPlayer- which you can just download and install. This one pretty much "just works" and doesn't seem to have any bugs I can see.

Just install it:

$ rpm -ihv RealPlayer-
Then whenever you want to view something just use /usr/bin/realplay. Here is a link to a cute test video to make sure it's working for you.

If you also installed Mplayer above then you will likely run into a problem where the Mplayer provided Real Media plug-in will be run instead of the one installed by the RealPlayer package. The mplayer verison of the plug-in does not work correctly in most cases and causes more problems than it solves. The only way I've found to get rid of it is to just simply delete the plug-in files:

# cd /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins
# rm mplayerplug-in-rm.*
You'll of course need to do that again should you re-install or upgrade the mplayer plug-ins.

Install Java J2RE and Mozilla Plug-in

It's also very handy to have the Java run-time environment available and most importantly a Mozilla plug-in so you can view dynamic content. It's unfortunate that Mozilla will actually crash if you go to a site containing Java and you don't have the plug-in installed. The libraries in Fedora 7 are newer than the ones used by Sun's build so you'll also need to install a compatability library.

Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 Update 2 (at the time I wrote this) from Java.com. You'll want to grab the Linux RPM in self-extracting file. Then you want to install it with:

# yum -y install compat-libstdc++-33
# sh ./jre-6u2-linux-i586-rpm.bin

Then you'll probably want to enable Java Plug-ins and here once again there is no easy way:

# ln -s /usr/java/jre1.6.0_02/plugin/i386/ns7/libjavaplugin_oji.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins
And finally you'll need to tell Fedora that you wish to use this version of Java as the preferred interpreter rather than the Open Source version that's installed by default. You'll of course need to adjust the full pathname if you install a newer version of the jre than the one in this example:
# /usr/sbin/alternatives --install /usr/bin/java java \
	/usr/java/jre1.6.0_02/bin/java 1602
# /usr/sbin/alternatives --config java
There are 2 programs which provide 'java'.

  Selection    Command
 + 1           /usr/lib/jvm/jre-1.5.0-gcj/bin/java
*  2           /usr/java/jre1.6.0_02/bin/java

Enter to keep the current selection[+], or type selection number: 2
# java -version
java version "1.6.0_02"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_02-b05)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.6.0_02-b05, mixed mode, sharing)
If you know of an easier way please post it to the Comments section below.

After you re-start your browser you can test the Java plug-in installation at http://java.com/en/download/installed.jsp

Install NTFS driver

With the repositories it's now very easy to add NTFS support to Fedora:
# yum -y install ntfs-3g-devel ntfs-config
Then you can simply mount NTFS file systems just like any other filesystem. You can find more detailed information about this driver at http://www.ntfs-3g.org/ The ntfs-config package contains applications that allow you to more easily manage NTFS partitions.

Install Internet Explorer

I know what you're saying, why would I ever want Internet Explorer installed on my perfectly good Linux system? If you don't have your own answer to that question, feel free to just skip this section. For everyone else, it's actually quite easy thanks to some very handy scripts from IEs4Linux. Before you start you'll need to make sure you have wine and cabextract installed:
# yum -y install wine cabextract
Then just download the latest script, extract and run it. The example below is based on version 2.0.5, just adjust the version number as necessary. Please note that you will want to install and run this as your own user, NOT as root. I used the defaults except that I installed all the versions of IE. I do some web development and I always find myself needing to resolve some goofy incompatibilites with older versions of IE.
$ gtar xzvf ies4linux-2.0.5.tar.gz
$ cd ies4linux-2.0.5
$ ./ies4linux
Welcome, greg! I'm IEs4Linux.
I can install IE 6, 5.5 and 5.0 for you easily and quickly.
You are just four 'enter's away from your IEs.

I'll ask you some questions now. Just answer y or n (default answer is the bold one)

IE 6 will be installed automatically.
Do you want to install IE 5.5 SP2 too? [ y / n ] y
IEs 4 Linux installations finished!

To run your IEs, type:

You can read more about this feature on my Internet Explorer with ActiveX on Linux page. It goes into a little more detail about using IE on Linux.

Install Other Odds and Ends

This section used to have information on installing additional fonts. With the font improvements in Fedora 7 they really aren't needed any more.

Other Handy Utilities

Here are a few other tools that aren't installed by default but a lot of people find handy:
# yum -y install  gnomebaker testdisk thunderbird \
         screen cups-pdf filelight unrar boost
boost - Advanced graphical Bittorrent client
cups-pdf - Add-on to CUPS which creates a PDF Printer which you can use to print any document in PDF format. The file is written to your Desktop.
filelight - A wonderful graphical viewer of where your disk space usage is. Very handy for cleaning up your home directory. gnomebaker - GTK based CD/DVD burning utility
screen - If you do a lot with the command line you'll find screen invaluable
testdisk - Two command line utilities to recover lost partitions and undelete files on FAT filesystems. VERY handy for undeleting files on flash memory cards.
thunderbird - Excellent E-mail client that complements Firefox
unrar - Useful utility to extract RAR archives

Other Useful Resources

I've tried to not just copy other people's tips so I've included a list of other people's tips and tricks I've found to be useful. There should be little or no overlap.
FedoraForum - Linux Support Community - This is now the official way to get community support of the Fedora Linux system. There is no official Red Hat mailing list for any version of Fedora any more.

Mauriat Miranda's F7 Installation Guide - Great guide that goes into more depth of selecting options during the installation process. If you do need the MS TrueType fonts for whatever reason this is also the source for them.

The Unofficial Fedora FAQ - Another great guide that should answer most general questions about Fedora. Fedora 7 doesn't seem to be addressed there yet but most answers are the same for both FC6 and F7.

This Fedora 7 Tips & Tricks translated into Italian - Thanks to Guido for translating this guide into Italian. Please contact me if you wish to translate this guide into other languages.

The comments section below is only for comments, suggestions or corrections for this guide only. Please do not use this for general Fedora/Linux support. If you do require support for something other than what's described here I recommend using Fedora Forums.

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