Fedora 16 was released earlier this week and I decided to update one of my systems to it. Regular readers will know I usually run Kororaa, a Fedora remix. But I decided it is more than I need on my netbook. I wanted a simple light system with few options. I decided to go for F16 Xfce spin this time. Xfce has come a long way since I first saw it a few years ago. It is now at version 4.8 and is quite a well featured desktop. It has enough to be useful and look good but is still light on resources, at least compared to KDE and Gnome.
Installation was easy. I had previously partitioned my hard drive with a separate home partition and I kept it, saving the hassle of restoring all my data. I had backed up though, just in case.
The one problem I found was that I need to add an extra option to the boot line. Without ‘i8042.nomux=1’ I don’t have a working touchpad. F16 uses Grub2 so I had to learn how to edit the command line. I found a few references to editing /etc/default/grub and then running ‘grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg’. Both commands need to be run as root. That solved that problem.
The only other problems aren’t related to Xfce. First, I love drop terminals especially on netbooks. In KDE I use yakuake but to install that would pull in most of KDE. I had previously tried tilda on F15 and although basic it worked well. In F16 it crashes with a segfault. A bug report has been floating around for a couple of months. I will look at alternatives, maybe Guake. Any other suggestions?
The other small problem is turning on tap to click. Xfce doesn’t have a touchpad configuration gui so I looked for further information. I found a couple that required editing xorg config files. But each time I tried it X wouldn’t load. Further investigation is required.
Xfce has configuration options for much of the look and operation of the desktop. It even has it’s own compositor which gives basic desktop effects. I like setting inactive windows to be transparent as it makes seeing what is in focus so much easier. Xfce handles this well. It doesn’t have the fancy options of Kwin or Compiz but they aren’t really necessary. One new thing in 4.8 is the option to make the panels transparent without affecting the icons etc. on the panel. With the compositor turned on there is an option to adjust Alpha on the Appearance tab of the Panel settings.
Fedora 16 is the first Fedora to use the 3.* kernel without it using an alias. In F15 the 3.0 kernel identifies itself as 2.6.40 so as not break parts of the system. F16 doesn’t need this.
Overall the update to F16 is good. Kororaa has promised a 16 beta soon so I am looking forward to that.