Installing Fedora 18

This past week I installed Fedora 18 on a Frankenputer for my brother, yes, *that* brother who is my linux expert, because, well, I’ve been exclusively using a linux desktop since 2006 at home and at the same time he had gravitated away from using a linux desktop back to “another” system.

After having swiftly changed my own Gnome 3 desktop to Mate this past week in order to work out the kinks, I was ready to install his system. I expected or at least hoped that this setup would be a bit easier than my experiences under Fedora 17 since at least under F18 Mate is an officially supported desktop, while under Fedora 17, Mate is merely fully available (and functional) from the Fedora repositories. Interestingly, it was an identical experience — besides the parts about doing a “yum groupinstall mate-desktop” on my system and installing it under anaconda under F18; I still had to add a bunch of packages, tweak here, adjust there, etc. in the same ways. A quick look at versions numbers between the two systems suggests that many of the packages are the same version number, just recompilations for each version of Fedora.

So after his having spent hours going through four junkers, interestingly all having come from me over time, including one on which we had installed Fedora 14 a couple of years ago, and not being able to get any of them to work, we managed at the last minute to secure two more junkers — essentially, stripped carcasses which were cast offs from a local guy who does a lot of business doing virus & spyware removals, “reinstalls”, selling good-quality used laptops, and dealing in spare parts both to locals (such as myself and my brother) and over the internet through the likes of eBay, we start working on the install. Spare parts from other junkers as well as a new 2T drive are inserted into “Door #1”.

“Door #1” appears to be an Intel Core 2 Duo or some such, so this is so far the most advanced processor with which I’ve ever knowing worked at least up close. To me it seems clear that it’s a 64bit machine; I’ve caught the 64-bit religion, which is pretty gratuitous under linux, since just about *everything* is available under 64 bit. A 64bit Fedora Net Install ISO is downloaded and burned.

Frustratingly, “door #1” proves to be a doorstop: it powers up, rather loudly, but being able to do little else beyond turn on and make a lot of noise in the process, and not even boot through the BIOS. At this first glance it seems to be little wonder that our local tinkerer had stripped out the parts he thought he could sell on eBay or otherwise use to build his own Frankenputers in a reverse “2 for 1” deal. Time is running out on closing time for the local stores, so we move on to “Door #2”.

“Door #2” again appears to be a dual core or some such, so this is so far the most advanced processor with which I’ve ever knowing worked at least up close. To me it seems clear that it’s a 64bit machine; I’ve caught the 64-bit religion, which is pretty gratuitous under linux, since just about *everything* is available under 64 bit. The aforementioned CD is thrown in and things boot up until it hangs a few times at the point that the graphical part of Anaconda is supposed to kick in. After a few stalled attempts, we download and burn the 32-bit version, and everything works. Phew, just under the wire.

The visual changes in Anaconda made things seem more direct. Setup goes through cleanly.

Then I go through my list of things to install and remove, some of which date back to my install of Fedora 12 — yes, I still have some notes from then (paper works!) — while others dating back to the past week or so when I installed Mate on my machine and learned about what I wanted, needed, didn’t want, and so on.

The whole process took about 6 to 7 hours.

And, apparently, my brother, the master surpassed by his student, tries things out and loves it, after a few years of not having a linux desktop. Maybe there’s a renewed hope for him.

Go figure.

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