You Can Hotfoot away Your Hat On

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You Can Hotfoot away Your Hat On
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A little bit of while within the past I wrote about my homelab, and one in the entire lot I discussed in passing became as soon as that I dawdle a Linux desktop container there as a miles-off construction atmosphere.

To this level it’s been nothing valuable, delicate a living of minimal packages with Window Maker on top, accessible over RDP from anyplace.

But just a few days later I attempted NEXTSPACE and relatively cherished the equipment possibility interior Fedora 35, so I made Up my thoughts to give Fedora itself a disappear earlier than Ubuntu 22.04 arrives around mid-April.

Then the quite a lot of shoe dropped – all of the object coincided with news that the Classic founders had been breaking apart. Since I quite treasure Classic lots but am cautious of getting caught by niche solutions, I now had added motivation to verify vanilla GNOME.

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Now that just a few weeks absorb long gone by, I believed I’d put Up my notes for not original consumption.

A runt caveat: Fedora ships with GNOME 41 (and at the time I had no clue that GNOME 42 became as soon as delicate coming out), but I don’t inform it would develop valuable of a difference – though I could perchance additionally revisit this if anything else racy turns Up.

Environment Up The Container

To accept the Fedora container, I followed ample valuable the identical steps as outlined in my notes on NEXTSPACE – delicate fished out the linked LXC container image, bought a shell going, and installed it as soon as, making notes so I could perchance additionally inaugurate over with a reproducible setup.

So this half is the outcomes of my 2d scuttle at it, and yielded a usable container that I then mapped my Sync folder into. That folder, because the name implies, is synced across a few containers by SyncThing working on the KVM/LXD host itself1.

Need to you treasure to favor to be conscious Up at residence, this dnf invocation can absorb to yield a working GNOME atmosphere, plus just a few apps I normally exercise and a few packages I knew I’d need:

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sudo dnf set Up @"Fedora Workstation product core" avahi binutils cabextract docker fira-code-fonts  gnome-shell-extension-dawdle-to-dock gnome-tweaks htop keepassxc secure-instruments nss-mdns openscad setroubleshoot rsms-inter-fonts tmux vim xorgxrdp xrdp zsh

# Lighter different
# sudo dnf set Up @GNOME avahi binutils cabextract docker dnf-plugin-config-manager fira-code-fonts firefox gnome-shell-extension-dawdle-to-dock gnome-utility-rpm-ostree gnome-tweaks htop keepassxc keychain secure-instruments nss-mdns openscad setroubleshoot rsms-inter-fonts tmux vim xorg-x11-font-utils xorgxrdp xrdp zsh

sudo timedatectl living-timezone Europe/Lisbon

Creature Comforts

It’s been a lengthy time since I’ve feeble vanilla GNOME, and the supreme news if (treasure me) you engage a macOS-treasure abilities, is that you may perchance presumably presumably additionally tweak it quite without complications into something that acquired’t be jarring
(though you’ll favor to develop some allowances):

GNOME 41, themed to cater to my whims

Apart from the personalized theme and window widget locations (living thru gnome-tweaks), eagle-eyed viewers will look the macOS-treasure dock (gnome-shell-extension-dawdle-to-dock) and the utilization of Inter and Fira Code fonts.

Though this requires more manual setup than Classic and is prone to be broken by GNOME 42, plenty of the specified packages ship with the system and I quiet know my technique around it, so… OK, it’s nearly admissible as a baseline since I didn’t tweak anything else else (for occasion, I didn’t bother with subject matters for Qt apps and varied minor eyesores that are traditional in a Linux desktop).

Fonts

As soon as window decorations stopped being a distraction, I grew to turn out to be to text.

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I spent a lengthy time doing print work at some level of school, so I need to absorb readable text and don’t treasure the (serviceable, but very distracting) font substitutions that attain with browsing the secure on Linux.

Not like Ubuntu (which has an installer equipment for the MS Core Fonts), I had to manually set Up an RPM from SourceForge2:

sudo rpm -i https: //downloads.sourceforge.secure/project/mscorefonts2/rpms/msttcore-fonts-installer-2.6-1.noarch.rpm

…and later dropped a living of Segoe UI fonts in, for appropriate measure.

But (and right here is the supreme news, I inform) I felt zero favor to tweak font rendering, as became as soon as wont of Linux desktops of ages past.

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Everything became as soon as excellently rendered regardless of whether I feeble RDP (with or without retina resolutions) on my desktop or notebook computer shows, including a crummy 1366x768 panel. And you accept fractional font scaling (thru gnome-tweaks), so relatively just a few my extraordinary gripes with Linux desktops seem like long gone.

Remote Audio

One in every of the things I engage to absorb is audio thru RDP, if delicate for desktop alerts and the occasional click on-thru to a video.

Fedora uses pipewire as its audio system, and though it ships a shim known as pipewire-pulseaudio, I couldn’t accept it to work with the RDP pulseaudio modules, so I merely removed pipewire and installed pulseaudio in my container.

General Abilities

As soon as plenty of the above became as soon as sorted out, I feeble the container for practically two weeks as an anti-procrastination mechanism: I shoved Slack, Twitter, HN and all my doom-scrolling into Firefox.

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As expected, this enticing valuable ensured I’d absorb a session to it working for hours every single day.

Apart from my personal project tooling (which in fact technique VS Code and OpenSCAD appropriate now) I additionally installed Bitwig, Godot and a few more things for the sheer tinkering pleasure of it.

I linked to it from my Mac, my House windows machines, my iPad and my Linux desktop, and except when working Up against minor graphics performance or audio issues from RDP I ample valuable forgot about where thing had been working and serene feeble them, which is large.

Extra to the level, neither GNOME nor Fedora in fact bought within the technique (but imagine I’m not a UX zealot–I delicate take care of consistency and polish).

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Apps

I’ve came upon the baseline GNOME apps to be OK in a pinch, but nothing to write residence about. I did strive a pair of things I’m prone to exercise if I ever favor to spend a major length of time in Linux, and most of my impressions had been determined:

  • Geary, the e-mail consumer I’ve been enjoying with on and off on every occasion I strive a Linux desktop, now appears to absorb much less tough edges (but I haven’t in fact feeble it, delicate verified it can now learn just a few of my e-mail).
  • The default text editor is terribly serviceable (I typed a appropriate deal of this draft in it earlier than tidying Up in VS Code).
  • The built-in Connections RDP consumer is… OK in a pinch, but considerably buggy.
  • GNOME Maps, for some unfathomable cause, would not zoom with a mouse wheel on one in all my machines, and Evening Mode doesn’t work on any of them.
  • The “native” app ecosystem appears to be exciting ample. For occasion, I came upon a adorable, easy KeePass-successfully matched password manager.

Annoyances

To this level, GNOME has been… OK… but… normally I delicate place a quiz to myself why it’s so obtuse.

For occasion, I don’t in fact accept why hitting the Uncover (or Gigantic) key to invoke the applying launcher causes the total show to animate and present me exciting workspaces, residence windows, and all the pieces else earlier than I even form a single letter to, disclose, inaugurate a terminal.

After the initial shock it invent of works for me, but I secure it totally non-intuitive and a trifle behind over RDP on tall shows (especially when I in fact absorb it blown as much as 5K).

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To be merely, I’d absorb most smartly-preferred a undeniable and simple Highlight-treasure overlay for a launcher, or even (gasp) an application menu by default (there’s an extension that will give you one, but I punted).

But since I don’t depend upon relatively just a few desktop atmosphere performance and (varied than window decorations and icons) I haven’t tweaked anything else of substance, the best thing that in fact frustrated me for all of the 2 weeks is a relatively minor nook case:

Timezones are Laborious

Evidently as soon as you occur to subscribe to an ICS calendar with timezone information, the Calendar app totally messes Up your appointments and alerts – but, satirically, the overview panel you accept as soon as you occur to click on on the clock appears dazzling, lulling you into a unsuitable sense of safety.

This drove me totally nuts since I in fact absorb a ample aggravating agenda and favor to overlay personal, work and project calendars, and it would had been effective to absorb fixed alerts when I’m immersed in a miles-off desktop.

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Container-Particular Fixes

Moreover, my quite uncommon atmosphere, posed just a few challenges, just a few of that are Fedora-linked and due to the their packaging selections.

For occasion, to accept the GNOME Instrument Updater to work interior LXD, I had to trick fwupd to work interior a container, as a end result of for some cause gnome-utility merely refuses to work even as soon as you occur to don’t absorb fwupd installed (there is a malicious program someplace filed for it).

The fix is ample easy, though – delicate let it dawdle even though it’s not doing anything else:

sudo vi /usr/lib/systemd/system/fwupd.provider
# comment this line
ConditionVirtualization=!container

In the case of two weeks in, things had been working successfully ample that I felt encouraged to give Fedora any other disappear, but on true hardware–in fact, the true identical Acer C720 that I installed Classic on six years within the past, and that I mostly exercise as a thin consumer for the time being.

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So I flashed it to a USB drive, slotted it in and went thru the installer using the defaults (which I in fact shouldn’t absorb, as we’ll discover when it comes to swap living…).

Developing eCryptFS

One in every of the necessary issues I tackled became as soon as encrypting my residence directory–though most Linux installers can living Up plump-disk encryption out of the sphere, I very seldom exercise it as a end result of the user abilities is unpleasant (especially if or not it would be a truly noteworthy to portion the machine with any individual) and most of my Linux laptops (not lower than until my Lenovo) had been in fact low-resource throwaways where plump-disk encryption does develop the system appreciably slower.

So I spent just a few hours poring over exactly why the tried and serene setup I’ve been using with every single Ubuntu and Debian variant didn’t work on Fedora–and as it appears, SELinux became as soon as to blame–or, quite, the Fedora ecryptfs packages be triumphant in not be triumphant within the roughly additional housekeeping Ubuntu ones be triumphant in.

To living it Up successfully, I living Up a secondary administrative tale and resorted to setroubleshoot:

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# this may perchance perchance additionally log instructed policies
sudo dnf set Up setroubleshoot
# strive and login, then check the logs and discover what desires to be utilized
sudo journalctl -b0

…and after just a few iterations, things started working.

Fixing zram Swap

Fedora has made the quite amusing resolution of using zram for swap, it sounds as if on the grounds that it’s been understanding dazzling for Fedora embedded and is valuable sooner than true I/O.

On the different hand, it is a spectacularly bad idea to strive and exercise it on a desktop system with 2GB of RAM treasure this Acer C720, and things would delicate blow Up when I loaded Firefox, VS Code and anything else else–progressively removal all of the shell.

Some standalone apps delicate wouldn’t dawdle at all. For occasion, I on a frequent basis loaded Up Bitwig on this machine working Classic (delicate for twiddling, not for any excessive music modifying), and under this setup it would delicate rupture (both flatpak and re-packaged RPM versions).

Since the default partitioning plot ate Up all my disk with a single btrfs quantity (discover, that’s why that you may perchance absorb to by no technique believe Linux installer defaults…), easy LVM resizing wasn’t on the playing cards. I ended Up adding a not original swapfile as a substitute:

sudo btrfs subvolume accept /var/swap
sudo chattr +C /var/swap
sudo fallocate -l 4G /var/swap/swapfile
sudo chmod 0600 /var/swap/swapfile
sudo mkswap /var/swap/swapfile
# brief vi session so as to add it to /and plenty of others/fstab
cat /and plenty of others/fstab | grep swap
/var/swap/swapfile swap swap defaults,sw,nofail 0 0
sudo dnf decide away zram-generator-defaults

This “works” within the sense that I will now dawdle more than one app in those 2GB, but I quiet accept some stutters and “caught keys” while modifying code (which I didn’t under Classic).

SyncThing

My containerized workspace doesn’t favor to dawdle SyncThing, but I had to set Up it on the Acer. Thankfully, there is a effective GNOME shell extension to control it, with the caveat that the extension doesn’t autostart it itself.

Conclusion

After just a few weeks of using Fedora and GNOME this technique–reading news and Slack interior Firefox, making notes on xMind and engaged on assorted personal projects with VS Code and OpenSCAD, I inform it’s likely that I’ll stick with GNOME as my “default” Linux desktop atmosphere any more, even though I did favor to customize it quite more than I would in every other case be triumphant in with Classic.

As an apart, I cannot abide Ubuntu‘s Cohesion and became as soon as by no technique ready to accept the Classic/Pantheon desktop working interior an RDP server to my pride, so having GNOME work completely thru RDP became as soon as delicate icing on the cake.

The right downsides for me are the UX and packaging quirks from both GNOME and Fedora, but as a studying abilities, this became as soon as OK. Among the abilities I acquired tussling with Red Hat techniques within the deep past came in to hand, but fixing just a few of these objects became as soon as a appropriate reminder of why I’ve caught to Ubuntu all these years.

I is regularly rebuilding both my desktop container and going abet to Ubuntu 22.04 indirectly, but presumably not delicate yet… If perfect as a end result of this would be safer to reduction for 22.04.1, as extraordinary, and I could perchance presumably in fact rebuild my KVM host within the length in-between.

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