Fedora release 16 (Verne) Upgrade Notes

I upgraded to Fedora 16. This laptop started out on FC14 and now is running FC16. I’ve managed to do it without a re-install.

Gnome is steadily improving, in a direction I am not interested in going. The UI continues to be unappealing, the lack of themes and configuration for keybindings (which continually have my hacks reset) makes Gnome worthless trash for a serious Linux user. The theming community produces the most hilarious amounts of bitching with comments similar to “Oh killer theme, how do I downgrade GNOME so I can use it?” Even the hacks don’t carry over. This continues on with GNOME into FC16 and it’s clearly GNOME’s problem.

KDE on the other hand, seems to get broken somewhere between FC16 and FC16’s upgrade to the newer 3.1 kernel. (3.1.0 versus 3.1.1). At least part of this is due to the intel graphics chipset in my laptop taking a huge crap on the kernel upgrade, so X didn’t come up correctly the first few times. The fix follows to be run as root:

  1. init 1
  2. rm -rf /tmp/*
  3. rm -rf /home/knarrj/.kde.*
  4. yum update intel\*
  5. yum reinstall kdebase


Start KDE in safe mode, disable compositing, let it settle. The stupid neopumk or whatever it’s called semantic desktop service will cause the machine to chug. Disable that trash since it can’t be uninstalled and your desktop will be a lot faster.

Post configuration crap – all your network settings will be gone. Your desktop theme will most likely be gone. However, if you got bit by the KDE not working correctly after upgrade bug where KIO kills itself, then your fix is here!

User Guide: How to Theme Gnome 3

If you’re running Ubuntu, you’re probably running Unity. Stop now and install a real distribution. Candidates include OpenSuSE and Fedora.

Alright now that we’re done that part, how do we fix the crap they shipped Fedora with? I know there’s potential in here somewhere, but it’s hard to find under the absolutely giant title bars on the windows. In fact, once you get used to pressing “logo” and typing something, it’s pretty cool. I still haven’t figured out how to unpin the favorites bar from the right hand side, but I’m sure it will come along. What I want to cover is how to install and use themes.

Step 1: Install gnome-tweak-tool. If you’re using fedora, it’s in yum.

Step 2: Find a theme you like. Places to check – Webupd8 or DeviantArt or More DeviantArt or Gnome Look. You’re looking for Gnome Shell themes (which change the notification bar and Activities pull out) and GTK 3 themes (which change the look and feel of apps).

Step 3: Grab and install ThemeSelector. Note that this is all beta, but it’s also the nicest version of a theme selector I have seen.

Step 4: GTK themes go in /usr/share/themes and gnome shell themes go in .themes (or also /usr/share themes). Pick one. I suggest /usr/share/themes since this is where legacy themes look for their resources. After adding a theme, restart gnome shell (ALT+F2, r).

My gnome shell is Ubuntu Ambiance Dark. My GTK theme is Hope. If you use gnome-tweak-tool, the window title bar is governed by the Windows tab’s current theme entry. The Interface tab will let you set the GTK+ theme. The Shell tab will let you set a Gnome Shell theme, but it seems to be less capable than the Theme Manager. The Theme Manager appears when you mouse top-left and select the themes tab. I know it’s more compatible than gnome-tweak since gnome-tweak throws out anything it doesn’t think is a theme, leading to much frustration.