Monday, October 6, 2014

Fedora 20 as a (viable!) Windows Desktop Replacement

So I've been bound to windows desktops for so long, that it's been my second nature for workstations. My de facto preference for most server environments are Linux, so I've been between both worlds for quite some time.

My Windows7 machine suffered an OS failure a couple months ago, after almost 4 years of constant everyday use. I installed Windows 8 and was relatively happy with it until it just decided to screw over my WIFI. Nobody messes with my WIFI.

I finally decided to chuck the 15 year Redmond tether and go for broke. I'm gonna run Fedora 20 as a desktop environment, and I'm never looking back. Or so I hope.

Anyhow, FC20 is nice, but to make the environment a bit more aesthetic and a bit more intuitive for use by longtime Windows users I've compiled a "Sanity list". These make everyday use a bit less complicated and quite easy to forget that you're running Linux, traditionally seen as a big, bad, complex beast.

I'll explain why in line, followed by the instructions to accomplish on Fedora 20. This assumes a base Fedora 20 installation has been completed, with a default Gnome desktop.

If you ever decide to take the plunge, this can probably help you break the windows habit ;)

Why Fedora?

Tweak List as of 06-OCTOBER-2014

- install cinnamon, a pretty good looking desktop environment.
This can be selected from the settings icon on the default login screen and it will be the future default afterwards.
sudo yum groupinstall cinnamon

- install infinality, some font eyecandy.
There are a number of styles, I prefer the OSX style on my 4 year old Dell Latitude display
sudo rpm -Uvh
sudo yum -y install freetype-infinality fontconfig-infinality
cd /etc/fonts/infinality/
./ setstyle osx 
(personal pref - more options are in README documentation)

- install MSTTCoreFonts
You have to admit that MS ships with some solid fonts. If you want to avoid formatting issues with opening MS Office docs with LibreOffice, this is a pretty good idea.

sudo yum install cabextract
sudo yum install
- install vlc
This is another personal preference; VLC is a solid media player and works great on Windows as well as Linux
su -c 'yum localinstall --nogpgcheck$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm'
sudo yum install vlc

- install flash player
As much as I didn't want to, there are still several sites that I use that are flash based. A necessary evil.
rpm -ivh --import /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-adobe-linuxyum check-updateyum install flash-plugin nspluginwrapper alsa-plugins-pulseaudio libcurl

- install google chrome
Chrome is a great addition to Fedora, compliments the use of Firefox, which I personally find to be a bit bloated now.
cat << EOF > /etc/yum.repos.d/google-chrome.repo
name=google-chrome - \$basearch
yum install google-chrome-stable

- install skype
Skype, almost a universal tool for free webcalling. I installed it because I use it a lot for international calling to the US for free.
wget yum install skype-

- install dropbox
I've been using dropbox on all my boxes, it's a great way to keep some personal docs on the cloud and have multiple versions for backup.
cat << EOF > /etc/yum.repos.d/dropbox.repo
name=Dropbox Respository
sudo yum install nautilus-dropbox

- install google talk
I consider this an optional item. You may or may not actually need this.
yum install google-talkplugin_current_i386.rpm --nogpgcheck
- install teamviewer
TeamViewer is an excellent desktop sharing/control tool that comes in handy to access my laptop remotely if needed.
Additional tweaks:

- tweak boot timeout behaviour
Shorten the time to countdown the OS selection
vi /etc/default/grub
grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub.cfg

- logind tweaks
These control some suspend/hibernate options when the lid is closed. You can decide if you need these.
vi /etc/systemd/logind.conf

- eyecandy that can be installed through the extensions menu
(Settings -> Extensions)

That's it for now. I'll add to this post and drop a datestamp with any new additions!
Image courtesy