Don Marti

Tue 13 Nov 2012 06:49:59 AM PST

Fedora 18 Alpha on a ThinkPad T430

Updated 14 Nov 2012: added -R to based on a comment from Edward Morbius on Google+

Just put Fedora 18 Alpha on a ThinkPad T430. (This machine is, as far as I can tell, a 100% supported, zero-vendor-drama Linux box. And in normal use it's dead quiet.) Fedora 18 was an easy install, and boots really quickly.

Now for the GNOME 3 rant. Actually, not much of a rant. This is more like a couple of things I found to tweak.

Since I'm a lumper, not a splitter, I symlinked Downloads and Desktop in my home directory to "." and added a .hidden file to hide the stuff I don't want to show up on the desktop. My "system" is that there's stuff that's part of a versioned project (in Perforce or Git), and just one place for stuff which needs to be gotten rid of or added to a project.

I used gnome-tweak-tool for a couple of things.

Desktop: Have file manager handle the desktop: On

Shell: Arrangements of buttons on the titlebar: All

Typing: caps: Make Caps Lock and additional Control

Windows: Action on title bar double-click: Toggle Maximize Vertically

Windows: Window focus mode: Sloppy

Now for the fun part: fixing Alt-Tab behavior. (Greg K-H does this too.) Originally I was using one GNOME extension to do this, but that doesn't seem to be maintained any more. There seem to be a few choices, but I'm currently running Coverflow Alt-Tab which does a nice job and by default cycles among windows on all workspaces.

So that is my one GNOME extension so far.

Two basic setup tasks, adding the printer and a wireless network, went really smoothly. The UI for networking on here is much improved—just pick a network and it prompts for a password if necessary. Simple.

The wireless network config is pretty similar to Mac OS (the designers of the two systems have probably been peeking over each other's shoulders at coffeehouses). For the printer, though, advantage Fedora. I just hit "Printers" under System Settings, and it found the HP LaserJet 3055 on the home network and just worked. No pause to download or install any software. Easiest print setup ever.

I got baffled by the VPN setup, though. Trying to translate a working OpenVPN config file into the right config choices did not go well, so I just wrote a script to start OpenVPN and pass it the file. If I have time I will take another look at doing this the easy way, but for now the script Works For Me.

Getting out of GNOME territory, a few other tweaks.

I added a "" file to /etc/profile.d. It goes something like this:

export LESS=-X

I tightened up sshd configuration (yes I run sshd on the client, long story). Listen on lo only, PasswordAuthentication no. I also swapped out Sendmail for Postfix and set up the my_origin and default_transport lines in to tunnel outgoing mail out via ssh.

One puzzling thing was the result of nmap. Looks like rpcbind is running. A sudo yum remove rpcbind took care of that, but it's a little strange to see this service running. At least it shows that my long-standing "always nmap a fresh install" advice is still good.