Today I want to introduce a Fedora Lab dedicated to Astronomy. Whatever you’re a student, a full-time astronomer or just a passionate hobbyist, you will find this version special for you.
What is Fedora Labs?
According to their website, is “a selection of curated bundles of purpose-driven software and content as curated and maintained by members of the Fedora Community. These may be installed as stand-alone full versions of Fedora or as add-ons to existing Fedora installations.” Unlike the Spins, these remixes aren’t focused on the graphic environment but on tasks or goals to accomplish.
As many of you probably noticed, the Sciences Lab isn’t really about sciences in general but about maths. Therefore, natural and humanistic sciences are left out. To fix this, an astronomy student from the University of Marburg decided to create an Astronomy Lab to bundle together all the tools they use for their career.
It comes with KDE Plasma 5 as desktop and Celestia, INDI, VirtualPlanet and RedShift among many others. Its creator is Christian Dersch (Lupinix) who is a physics student at the Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany.
It’s well known that Fedora ships free software only, except for some firmware in order to boot. But unlike Debian that has a non-free repository, Fedora offers no options to those who want to install closed source software. This is because of legal issues; as Fedora relies on Red Hat Enterprise they have to follow the same rules and Red Hat, as a USA based company, has to avoid everything related to copyright.
This is why Fedora never shipped codecs except those that are open source. People who want to listen to their usual music files have to install some third party software or repository to get them working.
Every audio and video format needs two sets of codecs: for decoding and for encoding.
Patents don’t cover the file format itself, but the codecs you need to process it. This means that every file format has two patents, one for decoders and another for encoders.
Encoding means you’re editing a file and saving it in a specific format. Examples of this are the use of Audacity and KDEnlive.
Decoding means you’re listening or watching a file without modifying it. Examples of this are the use of Totem and Clementine.
The good news are that the patents for encoding and decoding MP3 and AC3 had expired, and Cisco made an agreement with RH related to H264, so now it is legally possible for Fedora to offer these codecs from repositories.
This means that those who install Fedora 25 will be able to listen to their music out of the box and can install the codecs needed for editing music from repositories. Those who installed Fedora 24 can install the codecs from repositories as well, if they didn’t install them via third party. And those who will install Fedora 26 will get all the codecs for free out of the box!
Happy listening, Fedorians and thanks for reading!
I installed KDE Plasma a week ago, tried it and left. Then yesterday I decided to play more seriously with it. I updated it to 5.9 and tried to use it.
It had a lot of problems and took me hours to solve them all. Just to find another issue that wasn’t critical but certainly annoying. But it was too late at night, so I cleaned the computer using Bleachbit and turned it off.
Today I turned it on and everything was working fine, so I assumed that some temporary file, cache or whatever was the cause. I used my computer normally and turned it off when I had to go out. So far so good.
And then it happened again.
Windows seemed to flicker and twinkle, often refusing to disappear when one would close them. Also minimise/maximise caused them to tremble and leave a ghost of window over the desktop. Often I had to click twice or more on the “Show desktop” button to get them to disappear. It was driving me insane when someone from the Fedora Telegram group sent a suggestion to fix it.
The solution to this weird and apparently random problem was quite simple. If you go to System Settings => Display & Monitor => Compositor you’ll find some options including the rendering backend. Set it to OpenGL 3.1 and apply. That should be enough to fix the “bug”. If the problem seems to come back, change the rendering from Accurate to Smooth (or any other that works for you).
Laptop: Dell Latitude E6500, with Nvidia video card, 500GB hard disk, 4GB RAM and Dual Core processor. System: Fedora 25 Workstation with KDE Plasma 5.9.
If you’re experiencing problems with USB ports, ABRT is throwing system error messages or you something odd related to USB during the boot, here you have two ways to find out what’s going on. Once you know there are two possible ways to sort it out. Let’s see.
If the error, or at least the error message, just happened, you can run this command:
and this will show you what just happened.
If you only notice the problem time later, you can run this another command:
and search for errors related to USB ports.
Looking for a solution
Now you know what happened you can search for it Google with a simple search, or in wiki pages or books, or in forums, groups and mailing lists. If it’s not urgent, always try the Google Search first.
Write down the solutions that worked in a note and keep it handy. That will save you time and headache in the next opportunity an error occurs.
As a plus and to help you to see what might be the best option for you, I leave here the same pictures after treated with the different methods I posted.
Note: The High Pass photo is grey because I preferred to leave it this way. The original colour of these statues is greyish, they look sepia because of the candles light (it’s a monument inside a church).