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2. Changes in Fedora for Desktop Users

2.1. Desktop

2.1.1. GNOME

Fedora 15 includes GNOME 3. It brings the first major overhaul of the GNOME user experience in 10 years. As with the GNOME 2.0 platform, the GNOME 3.0 release is the starting point and several enhancements are planned for upcoming revisions.
Many of the following notes are reproduced in the online help for GNOME 3. To start the help application, move your mouse to the Activities hotspot at the upper left. Then type "help" to find the application, or choose Applications and locate Help in the menu. GNOME Shell
The new GNOME Shell is a new way for users to interact with their systems and be productive. The shell features a completely redesigned interface and tools for elegance and ease of use:
  • A top bar that provides immediate access to settings, calendar, and major hardware
  • An Activities hot corner on the top left provides easy access to all applications and searching, as well as a dock for favorite apps
  • Notification improvements, such as messaging support without having to switch context to another application
  • Access throughout the shell for keyboard-centric as well as point-and-click users
  • A control panel that integrates system and personal settings in one location
  • Many other improvements; complete information is available at and
The following wiki pages describe the major changes and explain different workflows.
The new GNOME 3 user experience requires a video card capable of 3D acceleration. Fedora 15 supports the widest possible range of these cards through free software drivers, including the nouveau driver for NVidia graphics cards, the radeon driver for AMD graphics cards, and the intel driver for Intel graphics cards. In situations where properly supported 3D acceleration is not detected, GNOME 3 offers a fallback mode that models the GNOME Shell behavior. 3D support in Nouveau is now available by default, and the mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package no longer needs to be installed. How do I find applications?
Go to the top left corner to activate the hotspot and then click on Applications. Alternatively, click on the Super key (also known as the Windows key) or Alt+F1, and start typing the name of the application or a related term. How do I change settings?
Click on the user menu at the top right and select System Settings. For more advanced preferences, install the gnome-tweak-tool package. How do I shutdown/power off or restart the system?
Hold down the Alt key and click on the user menu. The Suspend menu item at the end of the menu will change into Power Off.... While holding down the Alt key, click on that item. You will get options to shutdown or restart the system. How do I change the behavior on laptop lid close?
The default behavior when a laptop lid closes is for the system to suspend. This default can be changed (and made different depending whether the system is running on battery or mains power, if desired).
Use gnome-tweak-tool or use either or both of the following commands:
  • gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.power lid-close-ac-action "blank"
  • gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.power lid-close-battery-action "blank" How do I maximize or minimize windows?
Owen Taylor from Red Hat, one of the primary developers of GNOME Shell, explains the rationale here for removing these buttons by default. Minimize and maximize are still available on the context menu if you right click on the window title or hit Alt+Space. You can also maximize by double clicking on the window title, or dragging the window over the top edge of the desktop. If you want to configure button appearance, use gnome-tweak-tool. Is there any way to tile windows?
You can tile windows by dragging them against the left or right side of the desktop. The window is automatically sized to take up that half of your desktop. How do I make the panel display the full date/time?
Use gnome-tweak-tool or use either or both of the following commands:
  • gsettings set show-date true
  • gsettings set show-seconds true What happened to applets?
Traditional GNOME panel applets are not supported in gnome-shell as explained here. The general design of GNOME 3 puts more emphasis on full applications, instead of squeezing too much into a small strip or space at the edge of your screen. There are, however, people working on an extension mechanism for the shell, similar to Firefox extensions. The code lives in this git repository. We don't expect this to be available in polished or packaged form for GNOME 3.0, though.
Any existing applets that have been adapted to use the new libpanel-applet will be available in fallback mode. However, fallback is not considered the default mode of operation and will not be actively developed in the future. For more information on applets and transitioning to gnome-shell, see this GNOME wiki page.
Some applets support a -w switch that allows them to run in a dedicated window if needed. How do I start more than one instance of the same application?
Right click on the icon in the dash bar on the left side and click on "new window". You can do the same action from the applications window. Also several applications themselves offer a option to open a new window within the file menu. How is multi-monitor support?
Great! Refer to this blog post for more details. What about themes?
GNOME Shell does not support theming by default. There are extensions that support themes via CSS, however. Themes can be changed system-wide or per user. As an example, a reference for a theme is provided below and instructions on using them:
Advanced users:
For per-user changes, a GNOME Shell extension is available. If the extension is installed, you can use gnome-tweak-tool to change the themes. What about hardware/drivers without acceleration support?
For such users, GNOME offers a fallback mode that uses updated versions of Metacity and GNOME Panel, and works without any hardware acceleration. Fallback mode is automatically activated if GNOME Shell cannot be started. Note that fallback mode is not the same user experience as GNOME 2.x. It follows the user experience of GNOME Shell as much as possible. Adam Jackson from Red Hat has been working on making GNOME Shell work just using software acceleration and made some progress already. Does GNOME Shell work under a virtual machine?
If your virtualization solution supports hardware acceleration, then yes. Otherwise it would automatically use fallback mode. How can I force fallback mode?
Click on the user menu on the top right, Select System Settings -> System Info -> Graphics and toggle the Forced Fallback Mode switch to on. What happened to the Fedora 14-vintage GNOME shell design?
It was an experiment that was part of the iterative design and learning process leading to the final GNOME 3 design. The code has developed beyond that design to make the GNOME Shell more usable. Where is the desktop?
The desktop workspace no longer displays the contents of the user's ~/Desktop directory. That directory and its content are still accessible through the Files application. To access the Files application, move your mouse to the Activities hotspot, use the Super key, or use the Alt+F1 key combination to see the overview. Then type "files" or select the Application menu and choose Files. You can attach the Files application to your dash, the set of favorite applications on the left side, if desired. How I start programs automatically when logging in?
Use gnome-session-properties to configure programs to start automatically. You can also create a desktop file or copy one from /usr/share/applications to ~/.config/autostart in your home directory. How can I turn caps lock into an additional control?
Click on the user menu on the top right. Select System Settings
Region and Language -> Layouts -> Options -> Ctrl key position -> Make Caps Lock an Additional Control Screen recording
The Shell includes a built in screencast recording function. To activate recording, hit Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R and a recording icon appears at the lower right hand corner of the screen. To finish recording, hit Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R again. By default screencasts are recorded in a file named shell-YYYYMMDD-N.webm, where YYYYMMDD represents today's date and N is incremented for each additional screencast. Help! My network doesn't work
For all but the most simple networks, users rely on the Network Connections application to set things like static IP addresses, gateway addresses etc.

Network Connections icon is hidden

The Network Connections icon is not immediately apparent.
To find the Network Connections icon, go to the Search box at the upper right of the Activities screen and type nm-connection-editor. The Network Connections icon will appear.
In fallback mode, open a terminal window ( Applications -> System Tools -> Terminal) and type nm-connection-editor&. Check known issues page

Check known issues

GNOME 3 involves many new and unfamiliar features. If you are having difficulty, be sure to check the Common F15 Bugs page on the Fedora wiki at
This page is updated as new issues are discovered and one ones corrected. GSettings and dconf
GConf is a legacy system for storing application preferences used in previous versions of GNOME. It has been replaced by GSettings in GNOME 3.0, and many core programs have already migrated. Fedora 14 was the first Fedora release to include GSettings. GSettings supports multiple backends, and the default in Fedora 15 is dconf. The gsettings command line utility is the equivalent of gconftool-2 in previous releases, although gsettings is more functional since it supports automatic completion of schemas and keys at the command line. The dconf-editor provides a graphical editor for managing settings similar to gconf-editor in previous releases.
Some examples of using gsettings follows:
	gsettings COMMAND [ARGS...]

	help                        Show this information 
	list-schemas               List installed schemas 
	list-relocatable-schemas  List relocatable schemas 
	list-keys                   List keys in a schema 
	list-children              List children of a schema 
	list-recursively           List keys and values, recursively 
	range                       Queries the range of a key 
	get                          Get the value of a key 
	set                          Set the value of a key 
	reset                        Reset the value of a key
	writable                    Check if a key is writable 
	monitor                     Watch for changes

	Use 'gsettings help COMMAND' to get detailed help.
	gsettings list-schemas
	gsettings list-schemas | grep shell
	gsettings list-keys
Example: Using gsettings to tweak the digital clock on the top panel to show the date and seconds
  • gsettings set show-date true
  • gsettings set show-seconds true GTK+ 3.0
GTK+ 3.0 is also part of Fedora 15, which features numerous enhancements for application developers. Changes in the toolkit include:
  • Modernized handling of input devices
  • Improved and simplified drawing through Cairo rather than wrappers around old X11 methods
  • A new theming API with a familiar CSS syntax
  • Early stages of easier application support, such as window tracking and ensuring uniqueness

2.1.2. IcedTea

Fedora 15 includes an updated IcedTea Java plugin. For more complete details refer to the Java section of this document.

2.1.3. KDE

Fedora 15 features the updated KDE 4.6 Software Compilation. The Software Compilation contains three parts:
  • Plasma Workspace: What you see when you log in to KDE.
  • Applications: Applications maintained by the KDE project.
  • Platform: Software that helps the plasma workspace and applications. The platform is not directly visible to desktop users. Plasma Workspace
  • Activities are easier to use. An activity is a number of different applications that open and close at the same time. In Fedora 15 with KDE 4.6, you can add an application to an activity by right-clicking on the window title. You can also manage activities by clicking on the Plasma Toolbox in the top-right corner of your desktop.
  • The "Power Management" panel in System Settings is easier to use. The power management program has been rewritten so that it is faster and has fewer bugs.
  • The KDE window manager, KWin, has a new scripting interface. KWin detects graphics hardware and adjusts performance to suit your computer.
  • You can "pin" open applications to the Task Manager. When you close "pinned" applications, the Task Manager will still show them.
  • The Plasma Netbook interface works better with touch-screen monitors. Applications
  • Dolphin offers a search bar and "filter" sidebar. Now you can easily search your files with Nepomuk and "Semantic Desktop" tags.
  • Kate is available in the kdesdk package. There are many new plugins for Fedora 15:
    • GDB (GNU Debugger)
    • Add scripts to the menu
    • SQL database connection
    • Recover unsaved data if Kate crashes
  • Gwenview, KSnapshot, and other graphics applications can export photos directly to social networking websites like Facebook and Flickr. Platform
  • The platform relies less on other software, so it uses less memory. This is useful for low-power computers like netbooks and smartphones.
  • Users can backup the Nepomuk library. Nepomuk is the file indexing and search utility.
  • UPower, UDev, and UDisks are used instead of HAL. This change does not affect users now, but there will be more features in future releases.
  • You can use the new Oxygen-GTK theme for GTK+ applications. KDE-designed and GNOME-designed applications will look the same when you log into KDE.

2.1.4. Sugar

Sugar has been updated to the latest version 0.92 in Fedora 15. This version provides major usability improvements for the first login screen and the control panel, as well as new features such as support for 3G networks.

2.1.5. Xfce

Fedora 15 sees the introduction of Xfce 4.8. This new release remains true to Xfce's goal of providing a fast, lightweight yet user-friendly desktop environment, while adding a range of new features and incremental improvements:
  • Remote share browsing: Thunar, Xfce's file manager, now has support for GVFS, allowing easy remote access to files and folders on Windows shares and FTP, Webdav and SSH servers;
  • New Xfce Panel with improved positioning and size handling, alpha transparency, a new item editor and drag'n'drop launcher creation;
  • New Panel plugins such as window buttons, which merges the features of the icon box and the tasklist into a single configurable plugin, and directory menu, allowing quick browsing of a folder's tree structure;
  • Easy application menu editing with any Freedesktop-compliant menu editor, such as alacarte;
  • Improved multihead display configuration including a quick setup dialog;
  • Improved keyboard layout selection - wave goodbye to cryptic langauge/variant codes, and select the keyboard layout for your language in your language!
  • And, in the venerable tradition of Xfce releases, a new clock mode - fuzzy clock mode!

2.2. Productivity

2.2.1. Firefox

Firefox 4 comes to Fedora 15. In addition to a new look and improved performance, Firefox 4 includes features such as improved password and add-on management, easy protection of your browsing history, and web site identity checking. The synchronization add-in is now part of the base Firefox so you can keep all your bookmarks and password consistent across systems.

2.2.2. Ledger

ledger is new to Fedora 15.
From the project's github: "Ledger is a powerful, double-entry accounting system that is accessed from the UNIX command-line. This may put off some users, as there is no flashy UI, but for those who want unparalleled reporting access to their data, there really is no alternative."
For more information refer to

2.2.3. Libre Office®

LibreOffice® is an office productivity suite that replaces OpenOffice®. It is completely open source and driven solely by the community supporting it. It has a word processor, presentation creator, spreadsheet creator, database creator, formula editor, and drawing editor.

2.2.4. recoll

recoll, a personal, full-text search tool, is new to Fedora 15. recoll searches most common document types, including compressed files and email attachments. Details may be found at

2.3. Networking

2.3.1. Network Device Naming

Servers often have multiple Ethernet ports, either embedded on the motherboard, or on add-in PCI cards. Linux has traditionally named these ports ethX, but there has been no correlation of the ethX names to the chassis labels - the ethX names are non-deterministic. Starting in Fedora 15, Ethernet ports will have a new naming scheme corresponding to physical locations, rather than ethX. Ethernet ports embedded on server motherboards will be named em<port_number>, while ports on PCI cards will be named p<slot_number>p<port_number>, corresponding to the chassis labels. Additionally, if the network device is an SR-IOV Virtual Function or has Network Partitioning (NPAR) capability, the name will have a suffix of _<virtual_function> or _<partition>.
By changing the naming convention, system administrators will no longer have to guess at the ethX to physical port mapping, or invoke workarounds on each system to rename them into some "sane" order.
This feature affects all physical systems that expose network port naming information in SMBIOS 2.6 or later (specifically field types 9 and 41). Dell PowerEdge 10G and newer servers (PowerEdge 1950 III family, PowerEdge R710 family, and newer), and HP ProLiant G6 servers and newer are known to expose this information, as do some newer desktop models. Furthermore, most older systems expose some information in the PCI IRQ Routing Table, which will be consulted if information is not provided by SMBIOS.
Fedora running as a guest virtual machine will continue to use the ethX names.
Existing installations upgraded to Fedora 15 will not see a change in names unless /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules is deleted and the HWADDR lines are removed from all /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-* files, and those files are renamed to use the new device names.
You may continue to write rules in /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules to change the device names to anything you wish. Such will take precedence over this physical location naming scheme. Such rules may look like:
SUBSYSTEM=="net", ACTION=="add", DRIVERS=="?*", \
ATTR{address}=="00:11:22:33:44:55", ATTR{type}=="1", \
KERNEL=="eth*", NAME="public"
This feature may be disabled by passing "biosdevname=0" on the kernel command line, in which case, behavior will revert to using ethX names.

2.3.2. VPN default visibility

By default, a new network connection using NetworkManager in GNOME 3 has the Available to all users option enabled. This default selection includes new VPN connections. This allows a laptop user to restart the session without having to select the VPN and enter credentials again. However, it may not be desirable to some users. To remove this option, turn off the Available to all users checkbox when setting up the network.
To change the option after a connection has already been created, select the NetworkManager icon in the top-bar, and select Network Settings in the network menu. The Network settings window appears. Select the desired connection and then select the Options button. At the bottom of the connection window, turn off the Available to all users checkbox, and select Save... to save the configuration.

2.3.3. Wireshark permissions changes

Wireshark in Fedora 15 uses Linux capabilities instead of console helper. As result, the Wireshark users are no longer required to enter the root password. To grant a user permission to capture network traffic using Wireshark or tshark, the system administrator should add the user to wireshark group. The Wireshark or tshark application then runs as ordinary user, only the capturing backend runs with permission to sniff on the network.

2.4. I18n

2.4.1. Indic Typing Booster

Indic Typing Booster is a predictive text input method for Indic languages. It is presently supporting Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati languages. More information available on the feature page.

2.4.2. Rupee Sign

Fedora 15 has support for displaying and inputting the new official Indian Rupee Sign currency symbol (Unicode point U20B9).

2.4.3. Chinese Support package groups

In Fedora 15 the "Chinese Support" package group has been separated into "Simplified Chinese Support" and "Traditional Chinese Support" package groups for better Chinese support.

2.5. Multimedia

2.5.1. Design Suite

The 'Graphics' yum group has been renamed 'Design Suite'. This group includes not only traditional graphics tools like gimp and inkscape, but also video and audio tools.
Note that in spite of its name, this group includes no modelling, UML or other design tools. It includes only multimedia applications.

2.6. Entertainment

This section provides a selection of games and entertainments that have had a varieties of new features and development improvements with Fedora 15. Please refer to to know all games changes in Fedora 15.

2.6.1. Alien Arena

Alien Arena is an open source freeware deathmatch shooter.
Fedora 15, brings for its users Alien Arena 2011, version 7.50. with visible features such as two brand new maps (Annihilation and Neptune), new background musics and a renewed IRC client. The computer animation (Ragdoll physics) uses the Open Dynamics Physics Engine and the games grants faster particle rendering. For all details please refer to

2.6.2. Colossus Arena

Colossus Arena is a Java clone of the boardgame Titan, a turn-based fantasy wargame for 2-6 players.
In this version, the 0.12.0, among the features there is a new variant, "DinoTitan", an option to disable Warlock recruiting on the first turn and a new look for angels and captured legion markers; and global improvements after many bug fixes. For all details visit this page

2.6.3. F.L.A.W.

F.L.A.W. is a free top-down wizard fighting game that can be played by up to 5 players.
Fedora 15 ships F.L.A.W. version 1.2.4 that features a new tactical gameplay mode and more music; for slow computers, an optional low quality graphics mode, various AI improvements and fixes, such as joystick detection. For more informations, please refer to the website,

2.6.4. Freeciv

Freeciv is a free turn-based multiplayer strategy game.
This release is version 2.4 with a lot of changes passed respect to previous one 2.2, as the capability to have a major numbers of simultaneous players up to 126, with map size increased from 30,000 to 128,000 tiles; better map resolution whose linear map dimensions had increased from 254 to 512. New rewriting on the server/client side have added new features for customizing the game play. And new looks and rules for emazing the player experience. For all details (and they are many!), please refer to the upstream web site at

2.6.5. FreeCol

FreeCol is a turn-based strategy game based on the old game Colonization, and similar to Civilization.
With Fedora 15, FreeCol is upgraded from version 0.8.3 to 0.9.5. In the meantime, as release 0.9 was launched in jan 2010, the developers have introduced more efficiency on the elaboration side (AI); new building graphics, new images for forests and beaches, redesigned panels and dialogs (using MigLayout) and better integration in small displays (1024x600) on the graphic side; and new rules for players. Please refer to the website at

2.6.6. FreeDink

GNU FreeDink is a free, portable and enhanced version of the Dink Smallwood game engine.
In Fedora 15 FreeDink has been upgraded from version 1.08.20100420 to v1.08.20101114, fixing a couple of crash, adding the new Turbo mode to triple the game speed and support to new languages. For all details, please refer to the web site, at

2.6.7. gbrainy

gbrainy is a brain teaser game and trainer to have fun and to keep your brain trained!!!
The version 1.52 of this GNOME game introduces eleven new logic games and enhances usability. For more information, please visit the gnome web-site at

2.6.8. supertuxkart

SuperTuxKart is a Free 3d kart racing game.
Fedora 15 distribute version 0.7 upgraded from 0.6.2. In addition to many bugfixes, this version of superTux comes with a new GUI, has kart and track animations, new and improved tracks, karts and items. It provides also shortcuts and alternative ways for tracks; developers have added support to Asian fonts. For all details please refer to the upstream project on

2.6.9. zaz

zaz is a puzzle game into which arrange balls in triplets.
In Fedora 15 zaz has been upgraded from version 0.7.0 to version 1.0.0 with a new splashscreen, new game levels, additions and updates for french, german, spanish, italian, hungarn, russian, polland and turkey locales and some bug fixes. For more information please refer to the Changelog on the project web site at

2.7. Live Image

XZ compression is now being used for live images. This results in about 19% better compression for the Desktop spin and about 9% better compression for the Games spin, allowing us to put more content on these spins. If you are making your own spins, you need to be aware that XZ compression is now the default, but will not work on kernels before 2.6.38. You can use the --compression-type=gzip on livecd-creator to get gzip compression which will work on older kernels.