How to install Fedora Core 5 on a new computer and get it to do something useful

The problem with most Linux distros, is that you need to do a lot of things after the install to get it to do something useful (say, connect to a wireless network, play multimedia, etc’).

So here is what to do to get FC5 up and running in no time 🙂 :

  1. Grab a DVD for FC5, from one of these mirrors.
  2. Installation should be pretty easy, even if you haven’t installed an operating system before. The only issue might be the partitioning. If you have a Linux system that you want to delete then choose “Remove Linux partitions”. If you only have windows – and if you want to keep it – then the best way is probably to get a Mandriva Download Edition CD 1 from here, boot it first before starting the FC5 install, get to the partitioning stage and use the Mandriva DiskDrake partitioning software (which is much better then Fedora’s) to resize your windows partition (It works for NTFS as well as FAT partitions). After you finish and save the new setup by hitting “OK”, then just reboot the system and stick in the FC5 DVD
  3. After the install, complete the “first boot wizard” and log in to your account (not as root)
  4. In order to install extra software, that is not available from the Fedora official repositories, we’d need to configure our system to pull software from external software sites:
    • To configure the Livna Repository, open a web browser (the earth-like globe at the top panel near the “System” menu). Type in the firefox location bar: livna rpm configuration. In the page that opens, click “Fedora Core 5”, and then click on the “livna-release-5” link under “Yum, Smart, APT-RPM”. When firefox asks what to do, just hit OK, type in the root password and hit Apply to install the Livna release configuration.
    • For the Grey Sector repository (which contains the Official MPlayer RPMs among other things), install this RPM (I’m working to get it into the Grey Sector repository itself so you won’t have to trust me on this 🙂 ) – like with Livna, click the link, tell Firefox “OK” and hit “Apply” in the window that opens. Possibly a dialog will pop up saying that Fedora can’t verify this package – this is because I didn’t “sign” my package, just tell it to install anyway.
  5. Next, lets update the newly installed system with updates from the internet. Start by opening Add/Remove Software under the Applications menu. When that runs, search for and install “yumex” (which is a much better software management interface then the default), and let it complete the install
  6. Once yumex is installed, close the Fedora software installer, and start yumex – which you will find under Applications->System Tools. Let yumex refresh its repositories. Once it is done, go to “update” mode, press “Select All” and “Add to queue”. Now go to “Queue” mode and hit “Process Queue”. When the confirmation dialog comes up, hit “OK”
  7. Once the update is complete, we’re going to install some multimedia programs to allow us to play media files that we are expected to see “in the wild” such as MP3 music and WMV videos – go to “install” and search for, select and “Add to queue” the following software:
    • gstreamer-plugins-ugly (mp3 playing with totem)
    • gstreamer-plugins-good (ogg playing with totem)
    • akode-extras (mp3 playing with akode)
    • kdemultimedia-extras-nonfree (mp3 playing with kde)
    • amarok-extras-nonfree (mp3 playing with amarok)
    • mplayer (very good movie player)
    • mplayer-gui (GUI for it)
    • mplayer-fonts (more fonts for subtitles and stuff)
    • mplayerplug-in (so you can use mplayer to play video in web sites)
    • mplayer-codecs
    • mplayer-codecs-extra

    Then go to “Queue” and “Process Queue” to install them.

  8. The next stage is to install the Adobe Flash plugin. In your web browser, type “fedora core flash-plugin rpm”. In the page that opens, click either “USA” or “Europe” and then click the link for “flash-plugin” for “Fedora Core”, and install it normally
  9. In case you have an ATI graphics card or a Nvidia graphics core you’d probably want to install the binary drivers for your card. Go back to yumex and search for “fglrx” if you have an ATI card or “nvidia” if you have a Nvidia card. Select, add queue and process the xorg-x11-drv package for your card
  10. To behave nicely in a windows network (resolve computer names and participate in sharing), install “samba”. After you do that, go to System->Administration->Services (type your root password if needed). In the list, scroll down to “smb”, select it, mark the check box and click on “Start”. Also, while you are here – for better networking experience, scroll up to “NetworkManager” and check and start both “NetworkManager” and “NetworkManagerDispatcher”. Now hit “Save” and close the services dialog
  11. The next step is tricky, but should still be easy to follow – if you have a local (home) network with some computers running Windows(tm) operating system, which you want to talk with (maybe share files or printers), you want to get windows networking name resolving, so that you can refer to other computers by name. To do that, after installing “samba” as above, open a terminal from the main menu’s Applications->Accessories. In the terminal type “su -” and hit enter, and then your root password. From the root prompt (identified by a ‘#’ sign in the prompt), type “gedit /etc/nsswitch.conf”. In the editor that opens, go down to the line that starts with “hosts”, and add at the end of it (after a space from the previous word), the word “wins”. Now save and close the editor, and close the terminal.
  12. The last stage is to reboot your system to get your new kernel with the new binary graphics card to work

Other programs you might want to install (with yumex) for a better experience:

  • fonts-hebrew and fonts-hebrew-fancy – culmus font package, otherwise hebrew looks crappy
  • brightside – assign hot spots at the corners of the screen for special actions such as “disable screen saver”
  • f-spot or digikam – very useful photo management software
  • mail-notification – a biff (e-mail notifier) that sits in your notification area (system tray) and supports all protocols including GMail
  • deskbar – a panel applet that provides a convenient program launcher (guesses programs from partial names), dictionary, search utility and more
  • If you have an Intel Pro 2200 or 2100 wireless adapter, then you’d want to install “ipw2200-firmware” or “ipw2100-firmware” in order to get wireless networking working (Its part of the external Livna repository and hence not installed by default).
  • If you have a ThinkPad laptop, you might want to install “tpb” to support your extra hardware buttons, such as volume up/volume down.

Update 1: added GreySector repository, no need to hunt for mplayer-codecs packages anymore. More info on what we do and why.

2 Responses to “How to install Fedora Core 5 on a new computer and get it to do something useful”

  1. טל:

    מדריך מעולללה
    זאת פעם שניה שאני מתקין את ה-אפ-צי-פינף שלי
    ובהשוואה למדריכים אחרים, זה מדריך ממש פשוט וקליל

    תודה רבה למי שכתב את זה !

  2. Guss:

    When setting up network time protocol for synching the clock (which I recommend), do remember to turn off “local time source” under the advanced options frame (hidden by default). For some reason FC5 has it on be default, and while its almost never ever useful (who really have a local radio clock connected to their computer ?), it can mess up time sync on some computers.

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