Linux Changes, July 2006

This page is for sharing information regarding the Fedora 5 upgrade during summer 2006.

Test machines

There are currently 2 designated test machines. A regular office workstation is available (f5beta1) and a computational sensor style machine (f5beta2).

-- JamesRoche - 10 Jul 2006

sendmail client configuration

Our fedora 5 workstation installation will contain a new sendmail client configuration as part of the continuing department email infrastructure upgrade process. This should be completely transparent to users. I announce this here simply to notify users that if they notice a problem or unexpected email behavior when sending email from a fedora 5 workstation it should be reported to labstaff so it can be addressed promptly. The configuration has now been installed on the two beta machines for testing before deployment. note: If your email client does not automatically append a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) to email addresses before sending mail you should consider updating your local aliases to include them ('' rather that just 'somebody'). In most cases the sendmail service will attempt to figure it out for you when mailing to local addresses but it is better practice to explicitly provide it.
-- DaveCostello - 14 Aug 2006

VNC Server setup

If you run a window manager under VNC Server, you might experience trouble starting it up (as I did). This is because X11R7 / Fedora 5 shifts around the directory structure a bit. The fix involves manually specifying the location of the fonts (previously in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts and now in /usr/share/X11/fonts) and the color table (now also in /usr/share/X11). The vncserver wrapper script for the Xvnc server has commented lines to do this; see /u/post/r/bin/vncserver (lines 154 and 155) for the appropriate adjustments, or just use that script directly. Until I did this, windowmaker crashed repeatedly on startup.

-- MattPost - 30 Aug 2006

gcc output encoding

GCC now encodes its output as non-ASCII text, so you need to set your language environment to be able to read it. As suggested by the first Google hit for {gcc unicode}, this can be done by setting your LC_ALL environment variable to "C".

-- MattPost - 30 Aug 2006

Pre-deployment Testing and Observations

gcc version changes

Fedora Core 3 uses gcc 3.4.4 but Fedora Core 5 will upgrade gcc to version 4.1. While testing recompilation of your source code here is a link to the changes, features, and fixes you'll find in gcc 4.1
-- DaveCostello - 28 Jul 2006

POSIX: sort and tail

Warning: sort +N and tail +N no longer work - use sort -k +N and tail -n +N instead.

=sort and tail

Actually, you don't need the '+' on the numeric field with the new style of arguments.
sort -k 2 will sort on the second field. (So will sort -k +2.)
tail -n 5 will output the last 5 lines. tail -n +5 will output beginning with line 5.
-- MichaelScott - 14 Aug 2006

testing fedora 5 desktops

It appears to be safe to login to the console of the test machine f5beta2 to test-drive the latest gnome and kde desktops in terms of not destroying your current desktop settings when logging back in later on a fedora 3 machine. I have only performed a quick test on an account that did not have a significantly customized desktop, but things seem cross compatible. I would avoid making custom changes to the fc5 version before the actual rollout though. You will notice a Link to Old Desktop icon added. Gnome test was pretty uneventful but the first fc5 KDE login hesitated for a minute or two during "init system services" and then complained about a SIGSEGV signal 11. Logging out and back in again, with a KDE session, the problem went away so it appeared to be a one time personal config update issue.
-- DaveCostello - 11 Jul 2006

Xorg and Xwindows Development X11R7.0 is included in Fedora Core 5. The new modular architecture of R7.0 enables easier driver upgrades and simplifies development. This also introduces several changes that could affect building X based applications. Old code that depends on hard-coded paths may need to be rebuilt.
From Fedora Core 5 Release Notes:

21.4. X11R7 Developer Notes

This section includes a summary of issues of note for developers and packagers, and suggestions on how to fix them where possible.
21.4.1. The /usr/X11R6/ Directory Hierarchy

X11R7 files install into /usr directly now, and no longer use the /usr/X11 R6/ hierarchy. Applications that rely on files being present at fixed paths under /usr/X11 R6/, either at compile time or run time, must be updated. They should now use the system PATH, or some other mechanism to dynamically determine where the files reside, or alternatively to hard code the new locations, possibly with fallbacks.
21.4.2. Imake

The imake utility is no longer used to build the X Window System, and is now officially deprecated. X11R7 includes imake, xmkmf, and other build utilities previously supplied by the X Window System. X.Org highly recommends, however, that people migrate from imake to use GNU autotools and pkg-config. Support for imake may be removed in a future X Window System release, so developers are strongly encouraged to transition away from it, and not use it for any new software projects.
21.4.3. The Systemwide app-defaults/ Directory

The system app-defaults/ directory for X resources is now %{_datadir}/X11/app-defaults, which expands to /usr/share/X11/app-defaults/ on Fedora Core 5 and for future Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems.
21.4.4. Correct Package Dependencies

Any software package that previously used Build Requires: (XFree86-devel|xorg-x11-devel) to satisfy build dependencies must now individually list each library dependency. The preferred and recommended method is to use virtual build dependencies instead of hard coding the library package names of the xorg implementation. This means you should use Build Requires: libXft-devel instead of Build Requires: xorg-x11-Xft-devel. If your software truly does depend on the X.Org X11 implementation of a specific library, and there is no other clean or safe way to state the dependency, then use the xorg-x11-devel form. If you use the virtual provides/requires mechanism, you will avoid inconvenience if the libraries move to another location in the future.
21.4.5. xft-config

Modular X now uses GNU autotools and pkg-config for its buildsystem configuration and execution. The xft-config utility has been deprecated for some time, and pkgconfig *.pc files have been provided for most of this time. Applications that previously used xft-config to obtain the Cflags or libs build options must now be updated to use pkg-config

-- DaveCostello - 17 Aug 2006

Mounting CDRom or USB devices

CDroms should automount when the disc is inserted into the drive which should provide reasonable convenience for most desktop users. The manual mounting system has changed however in FC5. For desktop users, removable media devices such as cdroms, floppies, and USB devices are no longer added to /etc/fstab and so can no longer be mounted via the mount(8) command (except by the root user). Unprivileged users must now use the


commands to mount, unmount, and eject media. See

gnome-mount --help

-- DaveCostello - 22 Aug 2006

Linux Threads vs. POSIX Threads

LinuxThreads support has been removed. Fedora Core 4 was the last Fedora release to support LinuxThreads. The Native POSIX Threading Library (NPTL), which has been the default threading library for several RedHat/Fedora releases, has now replaced LinuxThreads completely.

-- DaveCostello - 22 Aug 2006

Some New Stuff in Fedora Core 5

valgrind got a leak?

Summary : Tool for finding memory management bugs in programs
Description :
Valgrind is a tool to help you find memory-management problems in your programs. When a program is run under Valgrind's supervision, all reads and writes of memory are checked, and calls to malloc/new/free/delete are intercepted. As a result, Valgrind can detect a lot of problems that are otherwise very hard to find/diagnose.

firefox 1.5

Finally the contemporary version that can use newer extensions Fedora does include Mozilla 1.7 for browsing but it will not be distributed in the future. Mozilla Firefox is the new improved browser you'll want ot use.

thunderbird 1.5

You won't find Mozilla mail from the mozilla suite. Mozilla Thunderbird is an excellent graphical email client with lots of features and great personalized Junk mail control.

gnome desktop 2.14

Latest gnome desktop enhancements.

kde desktop 3.5

Latest KDE desktop enhancements.

subversion 1.3

update version of subversion source code control

-- DaveCostello - 22 Aug 2006

page created JamesRoche - 10 Jul 2006
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Topic revision: r9 - 2006-08-30 - MattPost
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