Goodbyes and Hellos at Korora

Recently the Korora Project founder Chris Smart posted about the state of the Project. There was a response from the user who created the community releases. So while Korora is dormant there is a new Fedora remix to try. See the post on Korora’s news page for full details.

RIP Tilda, Long Live Tilda

UPDATE: Since I wrote this there has been some progress, although Tilda still isn’t available from the Fedora repos there has been some development work done on it. There is a new maintainer so go here for the latest details. You will need to build from source to have Tilda in current versions of Fedora or Korora but hopefully a new packager will emerge.

As many who have read this blog will know I’m a fan of drop down (aka quake style) terminals. I use Yakuake in KDE but in Xfce I’ve been using Tilda. I prefer its minimal style and features to the other options.

However when I installed Korora 19 I discovered that Tilda has been dropped from Fedora’s repos for 19 as it isn’t being currently maintained. In cases like this you have the choice of finding an alternative or building it yourself from source.

I found there is another way of installing Tilda in Korora or Fedora 19. Please note that this isn’t a procedure I would recommend for most packages but it works for Tilda. I ran Fedup on one of my systems but did a clean installation on another. Initially I didn’t notice the Tilda hadn’t been updated by fedup as it was still working. Only after I installed on the other system was the lack of Tilda noticed. I realised that packages from the older version still worked. So that was how I got it working in 19.

First we need a rpm file to install. That’s easy as I found the version for 18 works in 19. One way to obtain rpms is with RPM Search. I’ve used it before to back date when updates break something and yum history hasn’t worked. Go to here for a 64 bit file or here for an i686 one.

Now, as root, change to the directory where the downloaded file resides and run ‘yum localinstall packagename’, obviously replace packagename with the name of the file you downloaded. Yum will handle the dependency and install Tilda for you.

Problem solved, you now have Tilda in Korora or Fedora 19. Hopefully someone will step up and package it again in future version but as development has been slow I guess that’s not likely. See Tilda on github for details on the current state of development.

KDE 4.10

Fedora (and therefore Korora) has just received the update to KDE 4.10.1. THere are a number of improvements claimed for the new version including better stability.

This has been the improvement that I have noticed the most. I had been having issues with KDE locking up after a short time. THere was no discernible pattern to the lock ups so I had found a solution. To be honest I hadn’t tried too hard. I simply switched back to Xfce which was rock solid as always.

One change I’ve made to KDE is that I added the Daisy plasmoid as a Launcher panel. It is now included with Korora 18 and makes a nice addition.  It still needs some development as it is missing some features such as the ability to re-arrange icons but it is a nice addition.

KDE 4.10.1 is a recommended update for KDE users and if my experience is a guide it is worth the update.

Geotagging in Linux

You may ask why geotag images? I have some images I took on film 20 years ago and would love to know where they were taken. Often I have a rough idea but I couldn’t find my way back there if I wanted too. One image is marked ‘beside the Croydon to Georgetown Road, Queensland’. Not very helpful when you think those 2 towns are nearly 150k apart, that’s almost 95 miles for those from non metric places.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with automatically geotagging my photos, also known as GPS Co-relating. This requires having a gps track of where I have been and an application that can match that track with the appropriate photos.

First thing is to create a gps track. This can be done with a dedicated gps unit or with some other device. I chose to use my android phone because I always have it with me. To record the track requires an app. There are many available but I use ‘Open GPS Tracker‘ because it is open source, it’s free and it works. It has many options that I don’t use including real time streaming. It has the option to output .gpx files which is what the co-relating applications require.

After you have the track you need an application to read it and match it to your photos. As always there are a number of options in Linux. Digikam has this option but I couldn’t get it to work reliably so I use ‘GPS Correlator’. It is available in the repos of many Linux distros, just needs a ‘yum install gpscorrelator’ in Kororaa (and Fedora). It has more options than Digikam which is how I got it working.

One thing I should mention is that your camera and gps unit (phone in my case) must have the time settings synchronised as accurately as  possible. Doesn’t need to be to the second but as close as you can get it. As most phones handle their time settings automatically this means changing the setting on your camera. Check it before each use particularly if you live in an area with daylight saving.

In the gpscorrelator screen you can select photos to process then the gpx file you got from your gps unit. You should set the time zone your camera is set to as gps data is always in UTC. You can also set the time difference and offset. Fortunately gpscorrelator has tool tips which describe how to use these options. If you still get no match on some images try selecting the ‘Between Segments’, it compensates for any gaps in your track. Particularly useful for areas with poor gps reception like cities and wooded areas.

Gpscorrelator also has an option to remove gps data from images if you want your location to remain private. This is handy for phones and other cameras that automatically record your location. For images taken at home and at friends’ places you might prefer to keep the location private when you post them on photo sharing sites.

There are a couple of things I’ve learnt so far. First is allow some time between starting the tracker and taking your first image. Also between taking the last image and stopping the tracker. First time I tried it I stopped the tracker when I got back in the car after taking the last images. None of the images taken there would match as the last point in the track was some time before the images were taken. Today when I got it working I started the tracker when I left home and stopped it when I get back.

Second is if you are constantly moving you might need to adjust the ‘Logging Precision’ in ‘Open GPS Tracker’s settings. It defaults to normal but if you find this doesn’t give enough points try a more precise setting or set you own custom interval. Experimenting is the only way to know what works for you. Explore the settings for other options that may improve your accuracy or that you might find useful too.

If you are using the tracker for a long period, e.g. most of the day, you might need to consider battery life. So far I’ve been in the car and I can plug the phone into a charger so that isn’t a problem. But without the external power recording a track for several hours may result in a dead phone battery. This maybe a good use for an old android phone if you have one laying around, maybe you know someone who has recently updated?

Adding location tags to your images is useful now and so easy to do why not try it.

Favourite Linux Applications

Below is a list of the applications I use regularly. I don’t claim they are the best but they are the ones I prefer. Many are KDE based but there are fewer of them than previously. I use both KDE and Xfce as my desktop environments. The apps that come with Xfce are pretty basic so I prefer alternatives.

One of the complaints I have about many of KDE’s apps it that they have been combined with KDEpim which means you can’t install single apps. If you don’t use Kmail and its brethren then I would avoid Blogilo and Kjots, both of which I have previously used.

Chrome / Chromium is my browser of choice. Not perfect, it doesn’t integrate into the desktop too well. But it is fast and has the main extensions I like.

Conky – just calling Conky a system monitor really understates what it can do. Conky can do so much that it requires its own post. Since it introduced real transparency it greatly reduced the problems running it under KDE. One of the first things I set up on a new installation.

Krusader – twin pane file manager. Dolphin is good especially with the split feature but I like the power and retro style of Krusader. I’ve tried others like Midnight Commander which is quite good but nothing comes close to Krusader.

Gimp – it is all you need to edit images. To work with raw files just add ufraw and ufraw-gimp.

Digikam – adds digital asset management aka photo organiser. Has editor which works better for raw images than ufraw but I prefer Gimp. Has export to almost anything you can think of.

Cups-pdf – while Koffice and LibreOffice can create PDFs adding cups-pdf allows you to create them from anything that can print.

Kdenlive – the most stable video editor under Linux. A good balance between power and ease of use. Not perfect but there is nothing better at the moment.

Tilda – a drop down terminal emulator. Makes accessing the terminal so easy and you can hide it and let it get on with what is doing. KDE provides Yakuake which has many options and is a great application.

LibreOffice – the most polished FOSS office suite there is. If only Base was up to the standard of the rest of the suite.

Clementine – what can I say, can’t work without some music. A good mix of features and performance.

Zim – note taker / desktop wiki. I used Kjots for a while but it was integrated into KDEPim which meant it was near impossible to sync it between 2 systems so I switched to Zim. Just as good maybe better but I don’t use all its features and it has fewer dependencies.

So that is it. There are other applications that I use from time to time which work well too, things like Yumex and VLC but the ones above are those I like and use nearly every day. They are all available in Kororaa, a couple require extra repos to be installed in Fedora though.

Kororaa 17 Released (Finally)

Chris Smart announced finally announced the release of Kororaa 17 today. It had been delayed by a couple of weeks waiting for enough mirrors to sync the iso’s but he obviously didn’t want to wait any longer. Full details can be found at the Kororaa site.

The new Cinnamon desktop is a great addition. As expected Kororaa 17 comes with all the extras that we come to expect. It is still based on the current Fedora and so has all the latest applications and access to one of the largest repos around. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Fedora 12

I have been trying out the new verison of Fedora since it was released a couple of weeks ago. This version is more of a evolutionary update rather than a major change, at least in KDE. F12 comes with the same version 4.3.2 that F11 was running. An update to 4.3.3 has been released for both versions since then.

That is not to say there haven’t been changes just that the majority are behind the scene improvements. A list of the changes are on the release notes.

Moblin Added

One of the changes to F12 is the release of Moblin for Fedora. Unfortunately it is currently based on Moblin 2.0 instead of the current 2.1. I installed it on my netbook and gave it a run for a few days. It is obviously in the early stages of development as some of the basic features are missing. There is no way to log out for example.

I liked the basic concept but don’t think it is quite ready for day to day use yet. I went back to KDE.

Network Manager

For a few versions now Fedora has worked well with Mobile Braodband but this verison includes some big changes in that area.

One big improvement is the provision of preset configuration for many Broadband providers. When you connect for the first time it asks you for your country and isp as well as type of service and then it connects with the correct setup.

It seems to work well. However one problem, probably not associated with the changes, is it is not possible to reconnect should you disconnect. You need to unplug the modem and plug it back in again. An irritation but not a major problem unless you are working in an area with poor reception.

Nvidia Cards

The open source nvidia driver nouveau has been improved for this version. Reports are that it is much more stable than previous versions. It still doesn’t do 3d so you need to install the propriety drivers if you want Google Earth, desktop effects or other 3d apps. There is a how to on the Guide section of the Fedora Forums. There is some extra steps due to a new version of x.org.

Atom Processors

Atom processors are common in netbooks and this version of Fedora has been optimised for them. I noticed some improvement in the performance of my netbook. I am using KDE on there now and find it is performing so well I haven’t felt the need to install Xfce which I did in F11.

Overall I would say this is a good update of Fedora especially if you use netbooks or Mobile Broadband. If you are using F11 and it is working fine for you there is no hurry to update though.