CentOS 7 is here!

I’ve just installed the latest major version of CentOS enterprise Linux. Unlike some recent versions of Fedora, the installation and configuration went very nicely. I continue to think seriously about switching to CentOS as my primary server operating system.

Some other things I’ve been working on this summer:

Added reboot and restart aliases for root.

Kernels page now has three columns.

Created new phpMyAdmin 4.x tables and config options.

Added error reporting message to more admin pages.

Fixed minor formatting problem on admin page 1.

NVIDIA driver and other items

Installed the proprietary nVidia driver. After a short time after login, GNOME Shell crashes! Another FAIL for Linux on the desktop with my 7300 LE card. This exact configuration worked just fine a couple of years ago.  🙁

Other recent activities:

Replaced fetchmail with getmail.

Fixed bug in list alias script.

Updated the Linux counter script.

Disabled logwatch fortunes.

Updated the Fedora upgrade checklist.

Fixed a sorting issue on the kernels page.

Cinnamon and more

Now that I’m using the Nouveau noaccel parameter, it seems Cinnamon is too slow and resource intensive for my use. That said, it remains the most impressive desktop environment, except for possibly GNOME. I’m fairly sure I’ll be trying it again in the not-too-distant future.

And some other recent items:

Installed hwinfo hardware information and cron script code.

Added Fedora 10th anniversary graphic/link to home page.

After two years, finally activated WordPress Akismet plugin.

Updated Jetpack WordPress plugin to address security vulnerability.

Niced more commands in cron scripts.

Bolded package line on karma check page.

GNOME Desktop working again

Early this month I determined the desktop would work again by adding the kernal parameter nouveau.noaccel=1. The desktop is not as snappy, but no other strangeness is noted. For my hardware, the Linux desktop is surely not as viable as my Windows desktop.

Other recent things I’ve done:

Added Nagios Roundcube Webmail check.

Removed the ProFTP ftp server.

Disabled Internet access to telnet server.

GNOME Desktop not working with 3.13 kernels

I’m now booting the 3.13 kernels, but the desktop fails to start. GNOME worked fine with alll F20 3.11 and 3.12 kernels. I have received no help from the community with this, nor have my Google searches produced a solution so far. I will probably look into this further, but it’s yet another Linux desktop disappointment. While I know my GeForce 7300 LE is getting old, I thought Linux excelled at supporting older hardware?

Also in the last couple of weeks:

Moved updates testing message to admin 2.

Admin 1 Clear All button is now shown whenever there are new version flags.

Several improvements to new koji kernel check.

New koji kernel flag now cleared when the new kernel is booted.

Kernel 3.13.2

I attempted to run the first 3.13 Fedora kernel yesterday. GNOME did not seem to start. No login screen. Everything else seemed to be OK. I posted a message to the Fedora kernel mailing list, and left -1 karma. Rolled back to 3.12.10.

Also on the subject of the desktop, GNOME seems to work satisfactorily on Fedora 20. There are still some video glitches. Maybe now that nVidia is helping Nouveau things will get better. We’ll see!

A whole lot of changes

This is a list of the many changes since Thanksgiving:

WordPress notes admin page now has “there are no notes yet” message.

Clear button on wordpress notes page erases all notes on page.

Users connecting from unknown hosts no longer generate Nagios email warnings.

Internet IP now changes color with multiple tries.

Moved MariaDB database backups to nightly backup script.

New koji kernel flag deleted when the new kernel is running.

Server signatures only appear on admin pages to increase security.

Default text editor now set in global bashrc.

Fixed file count on directory listing script.

Improved the Fedora upgrade checklist and related changes.

No longer automatically verify Plymouth theme since it may break GNOME.

Minor change to grub backup checks.

Fixed minor bug on kernels page.

Installed Fedora 20

After the usual Fedora install problems, Fedora 20 is completely installed. Problems included not formatting /boot caused issues with booting. Also, Fedora 19 kernels will no longer boot after F20 install. Since I’ve switched to the ownCloud in the Fedora repositories, there was some work involved there. Problems left over include dnsmasq caching no longer working with NetworkManager, and prelink of /usr/bin/perl hanging. And while better than F19, Nouveau continues to cause weird graphics glitches.

This was not the worst Fedora install for me, but it certainly wasn’t the best either. For me, Fedora installs are still cumbersome, and I think they could and should do better. I don’t really expect much improvement, but would be happy to see it! The six month update cycle continues to be more and more burdensome, and I am still thinking of making some changes.

With this update cycle, I created a long overdue Fedora upgrade checklist. I’m pretty happy with it, but I will probably continue to improve it in the future.

Trying out XFCE

After having various problems with the other desktop environments relating to Nouveau and nVidia, I’ve been running XFCE for a couple of weeks. So far it’s stable, which is a breath of fresh air (I’m looking at you Fedora and GNOME!). Hopefully things will be improved in Fedora 20.

I also updated several old WordPress plugins, which fixed an issue connecting with Firefox on Android. It is important to keep WP and its plugins updated!

Other work includes multiple sources now used for Internet IP checks, and kernels information was moved to admin page 2.

October changes and improvements

Created script to show file and directory totals for ‘l’ command alias.

GRUB backup status messages now on admin pages.

Minor fixes to GRUB backups.

Improved script that downloads and installs a new koji kernel.

Broke out admin page common PHP code to include file.

Version history now sorted newest entries first.

Install date and time added to kernels page.

Added footer to admin page 2.

Minor changes across several admin pages.

September improvements

Created an admin page 2 for future expansion.

Created header include file for admin pages.

Added set_time_limit() to several admin pages for df command taking
too long.

Switched to curl with timeout to improve Internet IP checks.

Admin header now shows Internet IP check retries if they exist.

Grub.cfg now backed up in /boot/grub2/.cfg/.

Created admin pages for the to-do list and notes.

Add page refreshed every x minutes to header of several admin pages.

Yum clean all now run before every updates testing check.

Replaced displayed date with “today” and “yesterday” on more admin
pages.

Display driver issues

At this time, Nouveau does not work well with either GNOME Shell 3 or Cinnamon. I also tried to install nVidia’s proprietary driver, but I was not able to make that work with Fedora 19. So I switched to the lightweight LXDE desktop, and that seems to work with my card. However, it doesn’t have the polish of the others. I need to try MATE, since it’s basically GNOME 2.

Unfortunately, this all reminds me that Linux is not really excellent on the desktop. I’ve tried to convince myself it is this last few years, but it just isn’t. Too much churn, too much breakage. One step forward, two steps back. Sometimes two steps forward, and one back. But always some back. Both Windows and OS X are dependable and have an excellent selection of mature apps. Linux desktop apps are always “just about mature”. I need to be able to rely on my desktop! The story isn’t fully written, but it may just be too late for Linux to do on the desktop what it’s done on servers and portable devices.

More updates for August

Internet IP checks now retry a couple of times if not successful.

A koji kernel check can now be requested from the kernels page.

Several improvements to koji kernel checks.

Removed koji link from admin page.

Karma check and available updates pages now have last check date/time as well
as elapsed time in header. Also improved last check error checking and
reporting.

Added prune history to update information and version history pages.

Added check link in header of available updates page.

Better version history checking on update information page.

Page creation date and time now in header of admin pages where needed.

Fixed karma checking bug on admin page.

Improved karma check script.

Improved header on version history page.

Created get_day_str() function that returns “today” and “yesterday”. Began
process of integrating it on admin pages.

All MySQL databases now back up together as well as individually.

Changed checks for old output files to 6 hours for hourly checks.