Fedora 27 Beta

Some Informal Notes

Fedora

I've been using the Fedora Linux distribution since, well, since there was such a thing as Fedora. (Wikipedia dates this as November 2003.) Over the past couple years, I've taken to installing pre-release versions. Occasionally Alpha releases, but they stopped doing that. Fedora 27 Beta (F27) was released on October 3, I installed it on my home workstation that very day, and it has been "in production" since.

This is not an installation tutorial—other people out there do that better—but I did run into a "gotcha" that may affect a handful of folks. Unfortunately, it requires some background explanation.

I would probably fail a Linux geek purity test, because I don't install Fedora on "bare metal". Instead, I run Oracle's (free) VirtualBox software on a Windows 10 host, and install Fedora as a virtual guest. I started using this method back on my pre-retirement work computers, and it worked so well-like having two computers, one Windows, one Linux, at my fingertips—I continued the scheme at home, post-retirement.

Also: over the past few releases, I've grown fond of the Cinnamon desktop over the default GNOME desktop Fedora provides. Your mileage may vary, and that's fine, but there's a reason that (as I type) Googling "arrogant GNOME developers" gets "about 85,900 results".

I have, by now, ritualized the upgrade method. Which, oddly enough, doesn't involve an upgrade of the existing system. There are a lot of advantages to virtualization, and one of them is that it's easy to generate a new OS installation from scratch, keeping the previous one in reserve in case you mess up.

One of the goodies of Virtualbox is its so-called Guest Additions, which installs into the guest OS and provides (among other things) "shared folders", directories available to both the host and the virtual guest. That's useful to an easy upgrade, as we'll see.

An outline of my upgrade process:

  1. Save my custom configurations and data from Fedora N to a shared folder. (I have a script to do this, so I don't forget anything.)

  2. Shut down Fedora N.

  3. Install Fedora N+1 in a new virtual guest. (The sainted Fedora developers make this easy for Cinnamon-preferers: they provide a Fedora Cinnamon Spin on the same release schedule as default Fedora.)

  4. Install any and all necessary custom packages not included in the default install.

  5. Install VirtualBox's Guest Additions and restore the shared folder configuration.

  6. Restore the saved configurations and data from the shared folder in step 1 into the new guest.

And that's it! I'm eliding a lot of gory details. But…

In Step 4, it's not always obvious what non-default packages you should install, for two reasons: First, the default installation package set always changes between releases, so you might need to explicitly install something you didn't have to previously. Second: You don't want to install something you don't need. So, in practice, it's an iterative process; you observe some breakage due to something you missed, you go back to figure that out. (To a certain mindset, this detective work is kind of fun. As long as you're not racing against the clock to fix something critical to your organization. But I'm not in that position any more.)

But what happened this time is Step 5 failed silently. Why?!

Two reasons:

  1. Cinnamon (apparently) has a new default terminal emulation application: tilix. Which is fine (this isn't Russia) but as near as I can tell, they don't install any other terminal applications.

    Problem occurs when the Guest Addition script runs: as it turns out, it looks for a terminal emulation program using a list of fixed names: Konsole, gnome-terminal, mate-terminal and xterm. So the script fails. Silently.

    So: install xterm and try again…

  2. And we fail again, because the Guest Additions installation requires the dkms (Dynamic Kernel Module Support) package to be installed. Also no longer in the default set of installed packages. So install that and try again. (This also drags in the C compiler and kernel development packages.)

And then things worked. Yay!

Finally, not that it matters, but: tilix is not my cup of tea. I've grown used to/fond of a gnome-terminal feature: tabbed sessions in a single window. You can't do that in tilix, and the developers say: Sorry, no.

The Crossing

[Amazon Link]

I continue to consume Michael Connelly novels. Have I mentioned that he's a masterful storyteller? Only a few dozen times, I imagine. This is billed as "A Bosch Novel", as in Connelly's prime protagonist, Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch. But Harry's half brother, defense attorney Mickey Haller, shows up prominently too.

Harry is no longer working for the LAPD, thanks to a small mistake he made in the previous book that allowed his departmental enemies to wreck his career. Well, he was getting close to retirement anyway, so he's been working on restoring an old Harley-Davidson bike. But we know something he doesn't: his heart isn't in it.

Enter Mickey, who's famous for getting his guilty clients off on technicalities. But he has a sympathetic client he really thinks is being framed for a brutal murder. And his usual investigator, Cisco, has been sidelined by a nasty bike accident. (Except we know, from page 4, that it really wasn't an accident at all.)

Harry's reluctant; he would be "crossing" over to work for one of the LAPD's bêtes noires. But after a few looks at the evidence, he sees some loose ends. And there's nobody better than Harry at pulling at loose ends until the whole nasty mess unravels.

Yes, it's really good. Of course. Keep 'em coming, Mr. Connelly.


Last Modified 2017-10-17 1:32 PM EST

URLs du Jour

2017-10-17

Proverbs 20:29 shows that the wisdom of the Proverbialist was not confined to musings on God, kings, sins, and virtues. No, sometimes the Proverbialist just wants you to know what he likes:

29 The glory of young men is their strength,
    gray hair the splendor of the old.

So there you have it. But that's not why we have Bernie Sanders in our Pic du Jour. It's because of…


■ … this story in the Concord Monitor: Sanders making second trip to NH in less than two months, fueling 2020 speculation.

The longtime independent senator from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate will headline the Strafford County Democrats’ Fall Celebration this Sunday at the American Legion Hall in Rollinsford.

I would not mention this otherwise, but the Legion is literally within easy walking distance of Pun Salad Manor. Specifically, I usually walk the dog down that way every morning; we take a loop around the ball field, along the banks of the Salmon Falls River. It's quite nice, and he likes to poop there.

Unfortunately, the Strafford County Democrats are charging a cool $20 for admittance, and that's about $18 more than I'm willing to pay to hear a crazy old statist, even one who has a splendid mane of gray.

But the Monitor article helpfully lists other incoming Threats to Liberty:

Sanders is far from the only potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to pay a visit to New Hampshire so far this year. That list includes former Missouri secretary of state Jason Kander, the founder and president of Let America Vote, a newly-created voting rights organization. Kander has made five trips to New Hampshire. Former Maryland governor and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley has been to the state three times.

Other possible 2020 Democratic presidential contenders who have already visited New Hampshire this year are former vice president Joe Biden, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Congressman John Delaney of Maryland (who has already announced he’ll run for the 2020 nomination) and Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, who will return to the Granite State early next month to headline a Manchester City Democrats event.

That list raises a lot of questions. Well, two questions: for Biden, it's "Can't he just go away?" And for everyone else, it's "Who?"


■ SF writer Sarah Hoyt writes at PJ Media on Slavery and Freedom. She pulls worthwhile lessons from Heinlein:

In both of Heinlein’s novels dealing with slavery [Citizen of the Galaxy and Friday], the characters finally feel themselves to be free when they realize they are the same as other humans: whatever their history or their mode of birth, they’re just humans like everyone else. Their freedom and their achievements, from then on, depend on themselves alone, and they can’t be enslaved again. No matter how many circumstances are against them, or what others think of them, they are free.

This is a dangerous message. It’s the message encapsulated in one of Heinlein’s other quotes as “You can’t enslave a free man. You can only kill him.”

That's a slightly longer version of "Live Free or Die". But we'll take it.


■ Good News from the Great White North: the Toronto District School Board will remove ‘chief’ from job titles out of respect for Indigenous people. Ryan Bird, apparently a board member, is quoted by the Globe and Mail:

"It may not have originated as an Indigenous word, but the fact is that it is used as a slur in some cases, or in a negative way to describe Indigenous people," he said in an interview Wednesday. "With that in mind, as it has become a slur in some cases, that's the decision the administration has made to be proactive on that."

Pun Salad has always been good at pointing out the obvious, so let's do that: the Toronto District School Board has way too much time on its hands. For other commentary let us defer to NRO's Katherine Timpf for commentary:

I’m sorry; I’m all for sensitivity, but this? This is stupid.

If a word is being used offensively, then of course you should be against that usage. No good person wants to hurt anyone else. But honestly, I just have to ask: What in the hell is the point of stopping people from using a word in a way that is not offensive — seeing as it is, you know, not offensive?

But that's not as much fun as being "proactive".

Ms. Timpf also has some fun with the word "princess", which, come to think of it, is far more problematic.