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In last weeks post I mentioned Fedora 11. Here is a slightly deeper dive.


The reason I was personally looking at Fedora 11 is that I wanted to see what the very latest MAPI setup in Linux looked like. Fedora is not only the most recent release of the major distros: Fedora also prides itself on being the most bleeding edge of the Distros. Fedora makes no pretense about being an enterprise desktop, or even useful as a daily use platform. Fedora is about being out on the edge and testing the latest and greatest... unless you are in Rawhide (Fedora's development channel) then one is supposed to be the most leading, ragged edge of Linux when using Fedora. Lean forward a bit (into Rawhide) and you can see them writing the code that is flowing into your Linux computers veins.


In theory then, since Fedora just released, and since it is so edgy, if there is new Gnome / Evolution / MAPI stuff integrated, it should be here.


Not so much.


F11, Evolution, and MAPI


First the packages:


[steve@f11-steve ~]$ rpm -qa | grep -i evolution


My Ubuntu 9.04 daily driver looks like this:


steve@bock:~$ dpkg -l | grep -i mapi
ii  evolution-mapi     Evolution extension for MS Exchange 2007 ser
ii  libmapi0               1:0.8-2ubuntu1          Client library for the MAPI protocol
ii  libmapiadmin0     1:0.8-2ubuntu1          Administration client library for the MAPI (


Evolution is at 2.26.0 as well.


Point releases can mean a great deal sometimes, but in this case, I can see no difference between the MAPI functionality of F11's 2.26.2 (MAPI is at 2.26.1...) and Ubuntu's 2.26.0. Both need to have the server IP address rather than the name just to hook up to the Exchange server, and load the Inbox. Neither can reply to email. Fedora can't even send email if you type in a valid address in fact. No calendar. No address book (GAL).


I do not know what the last .2 that Fedora put into the Evolution / MAPI packages is. It does not make MAPI viable yet though.


Fedora is Not Meant to be an Enterprise Desktop


I think I should stop here and reiterate that Fedora in not an enterprise desktop. Fedora makes no claims that it is, and RedHat, the corporate sponsor of Fedora, will tell you that they take the technology developed and tested in Fedora and roll it into their RedHat line of products when and if it is supportable. No one would claim Linux MAPI support is ready for primetime I think. If you want a simple thing like Flash or MP3 playback, you have to modify the Distro. It is easy to do, and resources like the Unofficial Fedora FAQ take you through it. It is not made more stable and more supportable that way though.


I mention this here because even though I kinow better, I have a tendency to think of the big three Linux Distros as Ubuntu (and its kin like Mint), OpenSUSE, and Fedora. I might even be forgiven that because those are in fact the top three over at Distrowatch as I type this. The truth is that of those three, only Ubuntu can be considered for Enterprise use, since you can buy support for it from Canonical.


OpenSUSE works well enough, and integrates with enough management tools that I think one could make a case that it could be an Enterprise desktop, though Novell will most likely tell you that is really their supported Novell Linux SLED.


I was looking at Fedora for pretty much the exact reason it exists: I wonted to do a technology evaluation of MAPI. Since I was there though, how about the rest of it? Anything interesting going on in Fedora 11?


Fedora 11


I downloaded the LiveCD from one of the install mirrors: I like to be sure that the OS looks like it will work on the system before I install it. That means that the installer is not exactly the same as the one that is used in the older style boot-and-install style disks. It is a simple process to get started once the LiveCD is booted: Just clcik the install icon. Then the fight starts.


I suppose if I had let it just take over the boot disk, and lay it out however it wanted it might have gone better, but this system also has Vista Service Pack 2 on it, and I needed it to dual boot. The back half of the disk is set aside for Linux, and that should be all it needs. It took three installs before I had one that would stay installed. It kept forgetting the disk layouts. It would boot once, but if I installed new kernel or something, it would not reboot, and a quick look at the disk showed that it appeared that the disk partitions were not as I had set them. They were not gone either. Vista was never affected. But the systems was not bootable.


All of it appears to revolve around the fact that the LiveCD uses Ext4 as the default file system for '/'... but Linux can not yet boot an ext4 file system, so there had to be a special 200 MB '/boot' set up as Ext3. This meant that my standard dual boot config did not work. I could not do a Windows | / | swap | /home layout. Having more than four partitions mean extended partition or LVM. I tried extended but that appeared to fail, so I finally ended up in an LVM config:


[steve@f11-steve ~]$ df
Filesystem           1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
                      10077504   3655204   6320024  37% /
/dev/sda2               198337     21964    166133  12% /boot
                      81787616    407736  77225308   1% /home


/dev/sda1 is Vista still..


Once I was able to stay up past a simple reboot, I updated everything with "sudo yum update" (after I used "visudo" to add myself to the '/etc/sudoers' file of course).


The Scenery


Once up and logged in, the view is that of a clean, simple Gnome 2.26 desktop. No messing around and adding the Mint or SUSE modes that make Gnome look more WIndows-y. on this Dell 745 with its ATI  (lspci says: 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc RV516 [Radeon X1300/X1550 Series]) desktop effects were not enabled by default. When enabled via System / Preferences / Appearance, it was a pretty reduced set of effects, and none of the ones I care about. Wobbly Windows: Meh.


I used Yum to install Compiz-control-center so I could get control over what effects were on. I wanted Expo and Windows Preview. I Also loaded up something called OpenGL Desktop. When I try to use the later I get a nasty error about not being able to save my preferences, so while Compiz is up, it is not doing what I want it to:




It has been a while since I had loaded up Thunderbird. Since Evolution was no more useful than what I had on Ubuntu already, I decided to see how Thunderbird had changed. F11 ships:


[steve@f11-steve ~]$ rpm -qa | grep -i thunderbird


I added Lightening to get a calendar going. I was sort of sorry, as it would not let me dismiss any alarms for meetings. For fun, I installed the same on Ubuntu, and it worked fine over there, so I assume it was because F11 was shipping the Beta, and this was a bug that had not been dealt with yet. One of what was turning out to be the many bugs not dealt with yet.


I used to live in Fedora. I loved it because it taught me so very much about Linux. Great forums and general information on the Internet and by being totally open source, everything is there to see. I must be getting old, because these days, after using Ubuntu and Mint, Fedora's rawness is something I have to remind myself is a more or less intentional act.


Interesting Fedora 11 Happenings


There are two Fedora efforts under way that have my interest. One is that there is going to be a Fedora 11 spin against the mainframe. Here was the recent announcement about this on the Linux-390 list:



The Fedora s390x team is pleased to announce a first preview of Fedora
11 for s390x
in form of a prebuilt hercules image and as a tarball which can be
unpacked on
a free DASD of your z9 or z10.
We currently have ~11600 binary packages of Fedora 11/s390x and are
working on
getting real boot images.

Hercules images with instructions can be downloaded from

Individual packages are available at

More info will be added in the next few days at

If you're interested, please join our mailing list at
or our IRC channel #fedora-s390x on


     Karsten Hopp, s390x secondary arch maintainer<>


As a mainframer (if not a currently active one) I thought that was very very cool. The other thing I found interesting was that, as an owner of OLPC's XO-1 there is now a Fedora 11 install for it:


My XO-1 is in a practically unusable state at the moment from all my experimenting with it, so this looks like a way to get it back into a functional state. Not only that, but to move to a Gnome desktop from Sugar. I get why Sugar exists, and for kids that have never used a computer before I think it is brilliant. It drives me nuts. I sense Fedora 11 in my XO-1's future....