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4. Changes in Fedora for Desktop Users

4.1. Fedora Desktop

4.1.1. Spanning Desktop

In the latest version of '''Xorg''' included in this release, if you have a dual monitor setup, your desktop display will span across them instead of using a cloned display by default. This matches the behaviour of other operating systems.

4.1.2. Better webcam support

The better webcam support feature for Fedora 10 did much to improve webcam support in Linux. We now have a library (libv4l) for decompressing various proprietary video formats in user space, and almost all applications that use webcams have been patched to use this library.
Fedora 12 contains a second push for better webcam support, comprising three pieces:
  • Lots of testing, fixing bugs, and improving of existing in-kernel drivers.
  • Add video processing to libv4l for better video quality for cams which lack any of the following in hardware:
    • White balancing
    • Gamma correction
    • Automatic adjustment of exposure (gain)
    • Recognize laptop cams which are known to be installed upside down and rotate the image 180 degrees in software
  • Clean up existing out-of-tree drivers, moving the decompression to libv4l where needed and merge them into the mainline, specifically the following ones:
    • qc-usb: stv0600 (and similar)-based cams, mainly Logitech QuickCam Express (done as of kernel 2.6.29)
    • ov51x-jpeg: ov511(+) and ov518(+) driver (done as of kernel 2.6.31rc1, libv4l-0.6.0)
    • qc-usb-messenger: st6422-based cams mainly Logitech QuickCam Messenger models (done as of kernel 2.6.31rc1)
    • sn9c20x: sn9c20x-based cams, many newer cheap cams (done as of kernel 2.6.31rc2)

4.1.3. ABRT

The ABRT automatic bug reporting tool replaces bug-buddy and kerneloops in the Fedora 12 desktop. ABRT has an extensible architecture and can not only catch and report segmentation faults and kernel oops, but also python backtraces. In contrast to bug-buddy, it can catch segmentation faults in any binary, not just GTK+ applications.
If you have manually modified the GConf settings for the bug-buddy GTK+ module before, you may see warning messages like the following from GTK+ applications:
Gtk-Message: Failed to load module "gnomebreakpad": cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
To stop these messages, run the following command in a terminal in your session:
gconftool-2 --type bool --set /apps/gnome_settings_daemon/gtk-modules/gnomebreakpad false

4.1.4. GNOME 2.28

The GNOME 2.28.1 desktop is part of this release, and is the default environment used in the Fedora Desktop Live image. The Desktop Live image is a downloadable CD you can use to test the new GNOME environment with or without installing it. The image can be written to CD, or to a USB flash disk; for instructions, refer to Icons in menus and buttons
Icons in menus and buttons are not shown by default in GNOME 2.28. To get the old, icon-rich appearance back, select SystemPreferencesAppearance, click the Interface tab and enable Show icons in menus. There is, however, no menu interface to enable the icons for the buttons. To set the corresponding GConf keys instead for enabling both the menus and buttons to have icons:
gconftool-2 --type boolean --set /desktop/gnome/interface/buttons_have_icons true
gconftool-2 --type boolean --set /desktop/gnome/interface/menus_have_icons true Additional imrpovements in GNOME 2.28
Compared to previous Fedora releases, there are a number of other changes in the default configuration of the GNOME desktop:
  • The 'Windows' preference dialog is no longer installed by default. It is still available in the control-center-extra package
  • The 'Main Menu' preference dialog is no longer installed by default. It is still available in the alacarte package
  • The user switcher has been moved to the far right of the top panel
  • The 'Show Desktop' button has been removed by default. If you prefer, you can add this panel applet back with right click, "Add to Panel..." and selecting "Show Desktop".
  • The number of workspaces in the 'Workspace Switcher' has been reduced to 2
  • The panel now adds padding between applets and between icons in the notification area. The padding can be removed with the following commands:
    gconftool-2 --type int --set /apps/panel/toplevels/top_panel/padding 0
    gconftool-2 --type int --set /apps/panel/toplevels/bottom_panel/padding 0
    gconftool-2 --type int --set /apps/panel/applets/systray/prefs/padding 0
Gnote is installed by default in GNOME for this release replacing Tomboy. Gnote is a port of Tomboy from Mono to C++ and consumes fewer resources. Gnote is both an applet that can sit in your GNOME panel as well as a individual application you can run within other desktop environments. Fedora Desktop Live CD since the Fedora 10 release has excluded Mono and hence Mono-based applications like Tomboy due to lack of space. Gnote will be installed by default in the Live CD as well in this release. Tomboy is still available as a optional alternative. If you are upgrading from the previous release you will not be migrated to Gnote and will continue to have Tomboy. Tomboy users can migrate easily to Gnote as it shares the file format and a plugin is available in Gnote that will automatically import Tomboy notes on first run. Many of the Tomboy plugins have been ported to Gnote. The following plugins are available as part of Gnote:
  • Bugzilla Links
  • Tomboy Importer
  • Fixed Width
  • Insert Timestamp
  • Export to HTML
  • Printing Support
  • Sticky Notes Importer
  • Backlinks
You can copy the notes from Tomboy to Gnote using the following command in your home directory:
cp -r .tomboy .gnote
The sticky notes applet is not provided anymore since Gnote provides a better note taking utility and is available by default in this release. Sound preferences
The GNOME sound preferences now supports profile switching. Empathy
Empathy replaces Pidgin as the default instant messenger in GNOME. Empathy is better integrated with GNOME and provides audio and video functionality for users of the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP, formerly Jabber) with more improvements planned. Empathy supports importing accounts from Pidgin on first run so you can migrate more easily. If you are upgrading from a previous release, you will continue to have Pidgin by default. Pidgin continues to be available in the repository and is actively maintained.
The major advantages and disadvantages of Empathy are:
  • Better GNOME integration. Passwords are stored in the keyring instead of plain text like in Pidgin
  • Voice chat with GoogleTalk. Voice chat requires extra gstreamer codecs and manual firewall reconfiguration and Pidgin now uses the same framework as well.
  • Account migration support from Pidgin has been added to Empathy.
  • Support for collaboration with Abiword and other programs
  • Geo Location (very recent feature)
  • Missing plugin system, so many of the add-on features available to Pidgin (like encryption) are not available to Empathy
  • No proxy support Totem
Totem only supports a gstreamer back end now. The totem-xine back end has been removed completely. Epiphany
Epiphany in this release is now using the WebKit engine instead of the Gecko engine from Firefox. GNOME Shell — preview of GNOME 3
A very early version of GNOME Shell is now available in the repository. GNOME Shell is a key part of GNOME 3 and is in active development with the heavy involvement of Fedora developers and interaction designers. A simple way to try out GNOME Shell is to install the desktop-effects package:
yum install desktop-effects gnome-shell
Then, click SystemPreferencesDesktop Effects
If you would like to configure it manually, run
mkdir ~/.config/autostart
ln -s /usr/share/applications/gnome-shell.desktop ~/.config/autostart
You can also run the following to invoke it directly.
gnome-shell --replace &

4.1.5. KDE 4.3

KDE 4.3 is part of this release and is the default environment in the Fedora KDE Desktop Live image. The KDE Desktop Live image is a downloadable CD you can use to test the new KDE environment with or without installing it. You can write the image to a CD or to a USB flash drive.
KDE 4.3 is the latest release of KDE 4, with many enhancements and new features. Plasma has a new Air look, improved job and notification management and fully-configurable keyboard shortcuts. There are also new Plasma widgets and existing ones are improved. KWin is optimized for performance and brings new desktop effects to KDE. KDE now contains a new bug reporting tool, making it easier to report bugs to the KDE developers.

4.1.6. Moblin Desktop

The Moblin Architecture is designed to support multiple platforms and usage models ranging from Netbooks and NetTops to Mobile Internet Devices (MID) and various embedded usage models, such as In Vehicle Infotainment systems.
A preview of the Core Moblin 2 desktop environment for NetBook/NetTop/MID devices is available for testing in Fedora.
The Moblin Desktop may be installed as a group with yum:
sudo yum install @moblin-desktop