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Last weekend I upgraded my laptop to FC5. I had been running Ubuntu Breezy since January. In general it was fairly good, but I was really looking forward to FC5 and getting rid of a few annoyances I had with Ubuntu. Plus I really wanted to switch over to the encrypted home directory.

Unlike everyone else, I seemed to be able to avoid the annoying release announcement until just a few hours ago when I read Kevin's blog entry that linked to it.

The install went really smoothly. I totally re-installed on a new hard drive, because I had a 100GB 7200RPM to put in anyway. So, I just put the new drive in and did a fresh install. I left space for the /dev/hda4 partition for /home, but didn't create it in the installer.

Then I did the install and created the encrypted home directory. I put my old hard drive in an external USB enclosure I had laying around, and copied the old home directory off to my new encrypted home directory. I also copied off the old root partition so I would have my old configurations and extra things from /usr/local on the new system. That copy went quickly, but I started it around 4am, so I just let it run while I slept. It looks like the 70-ish GB I copied off took around 2 hours. For a respectable rate of around 10MB/sec, not bad for copying one file-system to another.

The only things I couldn't get off Fedora or Extras were pygame, and wifiroamd. Of course, wifiroamd is part way to getting into Extras, so that will be solved quickly enough. I plan then to work on getting pygame in there. For those of you that don't know, pygame is a Python interface to SDL, which makes writing graphical programs in Python really easy.

I had forgotten to dump off my PostgreSQL database before doing the re-install, so I did a “chroot” to get it so I could import it into PostgreSQL 8.1. I was getting an error on importing about illegal characters, and I had to use “iconv” to convert the database dump so 8.1 could read it. See the entry on “iconv” in the PostgreSQL 8.1 release notes, right above section 4.3.

This completely fixed the error I was getting: ERROR: invalid UTF-8 byte sequence detected near byte 0xXX.

After the install and getting my encrypted home-directory working, things were really smooth. Mostly, in order for my laptop to be usable again after an upgrade I need to have my VPN, UUCP, and Postfix working.

I ran into a weirdness with UUCP where the “y” protocol was giving errors. Once I tracked it down, I just removed the “y” protocol from the list of available protocols, and it got happy. My old Postfix configuration just worked. OpenVPN I re-arranged some files, and that started working just fine as well.

One issue I've had has been the ATI video card. Up until today, the stock kernel had issues with running the ATI accelerated driver. The stock xorg driver in FC5 was pretty slow. Text works well, but switching virtual consoles and pygame was extremely slow. I hope to get the new driver installed in my new kernel (which I upgraded to tonight) working in just a bit.

Beagle is one of the things that I'm really looking forward to. It's a desktop search engine thingie, and I have a lot of stuff to search. Mostly I search e-mail, and have that covered. A bit better searching of more wide sets of data would be great. It looks like it indexes pages I've browsed in firefox, which is probably the biggest thing I feel like I'm missing.

I've had one deadlock so far, on Monday. My system has been up for over 3 days since then without problems. I'm not sure what the problem was then, totally locked up with no opportunity for seeing what it was. Nothing in the logs… I'll have to watch it.

Suspending with the default setup caused no video on reboot, but pressing the power button would cause a clean shutdown. I had to add “acpi_sleep=s3_bios” line to the kernel, and suspend has worked fine. Though the lockup I had did occur a few minutes after a resume. I've done probably 20 to 30 suspends.

yum includes a plugin called “fastestmirror”, which tries to improve the speed of downloads. It seems to work somewhat ok, but I wish it picked our mirror more often. I'll probably switch back to statically pointing at our mirror. Mostly it's been working fairly well.

As Kevin mentioned, SELinux seemed to have lots of problems. More than in the past. Installing new software was generating errors when doing “useradd” in the RPMs, for starters. I ended up disabling it. I was a bit disappointed in this, because I was hoping to completely use it now, but it looks like on my laptop it's going to be more trouble than I'd like. For a server that has strong security requirements, it's very useful, but on a development laptop, it may be a problem.

Another nice thing in FC5 is byzanz, a program that will record slideshows of what's going on on your screen into an animated GIF. Unlike vnc2swf, byzanz seems to cause fewer browsers to crash, and should just work everywhere.

Firefox 1.5's upgrade from the 1.0 I had in Ubuntu went extremely smoothly. It detected all my plugins and updated them with the click of a button. It doesn't seem to be eating up as much memory as the last time I used Firefox 1.5. That's quite a refreshing change. It was usable before, but annoying to be soaking up 1GB after 3 to 5 days. The only thing that saved it before was that you could stop and restart it and return exactly where you were. Now it doesn't seem to need that. A huge improvement. And the fast forward/backward is great.

It's been working pretty well, but there are a few rough edges, but it's working quite well for me.

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