Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Fedora 16 - Kile installation

Kile is a fantastic editor for creating LaTEX documents. It is part of the KDE suite of applications, but runs perfectly fine under Gnome when the KDE libraries are installed.

Unfortunately, the Kile package in Fedora 16 appears to be broken. When trying to start the application, a dialog box pops up with the message: "No editor component found. Please check your KDE installation". The application still manages to load, but is missing all icons. Attempting to open a file causes Kile to crash.

Through trial-and-error and a nudge in the right direction from the Arch forum (, I managed to fix Kile by installing two more packages.

sudo yum install kate-libs libkate

Monday, 14 November 2011

Enable graphical plymouth boot in Fedora 16 with nvidia drivers

Installation of nvidia drivers under Fedora is well documented. (See In previous versions of Fedora, enabling the plymouth graphical boot was quite easy. All one had to do was to add the following kernel arguments to grub.conf.
rdblacklist=nouveau nomodeset vga=ask

Starting from release 16, Fedora uses Grub2 as the bootloader. The unfortunate side effect of this change is that the vga parameter is now obsolete. I absolutely hate the ugly text based boot screen - but going back to the nouveau driver was not an option. (Simply because I am stubborn like a mule). So after a lot of tinkering, here's how I managed to get back the graphical boot screen.

DISCLAIMER: Modifying Grub configuration files could make your system unbootable. Proceed at your own risk.
  1. Find the video modes supported by the vbe driver. To do this, press "c" at the grub menu to launch the grub console and run the following commands:
    set pager=1
    insmod vbe

    vbeinfo command will list all the accessible video modes it finds. Choose one that you like. Eg. 1280x800x24. Press ESC to exit the console and hit ENTER to boot the OS.

  2. Create a Grub2 font. I chose the excellent DejaVu font as the example here. Feel free to choose a different font in it's place.
    sudo grub2-mkfont --output=/boot/grub2/DejaVuSansMono.pf2 --size=24 /usr/share/fonts/dejavu/DejaVuSansMono.ttf

  3. Edit /etc/default/grub and add the following lines to the end

    replace GRUB_FONT_PATH with the correct filename of the font you generated in the previous step. GRUB_GFXMODE should be the mode you chose from the output of the vbeinfo command.

  4. Backup /boot/grub2/grub.cfg and regenerate it using the new settings.
    sudo cp /boot/grub2/grub.cfg /boot/grub2/grub.cfg.bkp
    sudo grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

  5. Reboot and enjoy the graphics.

Firefox font smoothing in Linux

After upgrading to Fedora 16, I noticed that the font rendering looked awful in Firefox. Even an upgrade to Firefox Aurora made no difference. Purely out of desperation, I tried a method I had used previously to fix a similar issue with Chrome, ( and hit the jackpot!.

The original post by Zach Beane can be found here and all credit should go to him.

Save the following to ~/.fonts.conf:
<match target="font">
<edit name="autohint" mode="assign">
<edit name="hinting" mode="assign">
<edit mode="assign" name="hintstyle">

Installing Caffeine 2.4.1 on Fedora 16

Regular readers probably know that I am a big fan of the Caffeine project ( I even contributed the Gnome Shell patches to it ( After a fresh install of Fedora 16 "Verne", I attempted to install the latest version of Caffeine from the project page - which at the moment is 2.4.1 - and ran into a few problems. So for anyone interested, here's how to install the latest version from source.

  1. Download the tarball from Launchpad and extract it:
    mkdir caffeine 
    tar xvf caffeine_2.4.1%2B419~oneiric1.tar.gz --strip-components 1 -C caffeine
    cd caffeine
  2. Run the setup scripts:
    python build
    sudo python install
  3. Update the icon cache and GSetting schemas:
    sudo gtk-update-icon-cache /usr/share/icons/hicolor/
    sudo glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/
  4. Correct the permissions:
    sudo chmod 744 /usr/share/caffeine/images/*
    sudo chmod 744 /usr/share/caffeine/glade/*
  5. To add Caffeine to startup items, run the following command and click the "Add" button. The path to the executable is /usr/bin/caffeine