The Perfect Desktop – Fedora 17

The Perfect Desktop – Fedora 17

The Perfect Desktop – Fedora 17

This tutorial shows how you can set up a Fedora 17 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that


even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

The software I propose as default is the one I found easiest to use and best in their functionality – this won’t necessarily be true for your needs, thus you are welcome to try out the applications listed as alternatives.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the Fedora desktop to have the following software installed:


    • Pinta – open source drawing application modeled after Paint.NET

    • KolourPaint – paint application with elemental functions
    • MyPaint – paint application with a large variety of brushes
      • The GIMP – free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
      • Shotwell Photo Manager – full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop


        • Firefox

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        • Opera
        • Chromium – Google’s open-source browser
            • Thunderbird – email and news client

            • Evolution – combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
                • Deluge – free cross-platform BitTorrent client

                • Transmission BitTorrent Client – Bittorrent client
                • Vuze – Java BitTorrent client
                • qBittorrent – free alternative to µtorrent

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                    • Marble – desktop globe similar to google earth

                    • GoogleEarth – Google’s desktop globe
                      • Flash Player 11
                      • FileZilla – multithreaded FTP client
                      • Pidgin IM Client – multi-platform instant messaging client
                      • Skype
                      • Dropbox Client – cloud storage
                      • Gwibber Social Client – open-source microblogging client (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)


                        • Adobe Reader

                        • Evince – document viewer
                        • Okular – document viewer
                          • LibreOffice Writer – replacement for Microsoft Word
                          • LibreOffice Calc – replacement for Microsoft Excel
                          • GnuCash – double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
                          • Scribus – open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

                          Sound & Video:

                            • Banshee – audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods

                            • Amarok – audio player
                            • MPlayer – media player (video/audio), supports WMA
                            • Rhythmbox Music Player – audio player, similar to Apple’s iTunes, with support for iPods
                            • gtkPod – software similar to Apple’s iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
                            • Sound Juicer CD Extractor – CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
                            • Nightingale – audio player similar to Winamp, but not yet as feature rich (Songbird fork)
                            • XMMS – audio player similar to Winamp
                            • Clementine – Amarok 1.4 fork
                            • Exaile – audio player
                                • VLC Media Player – media player, plays all kinds of videos (video/audio)

                                • Totem – media player (video/audio)
                                • Xine – media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
                                    • Winff – free video converter

                                    • SoundConverter – free audio converter

                                        • K3B – CD/DVD burning program

                                        • Brasero – CD/DVD burning program
                                          • Audacity – free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
                                          • dvd::rip – full featured DVD copy program
                                          • Multimedia Codecs


                                            • KompoZer – WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)

                                            • Bluefish – text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages
                                              • Eclipse Extensible Tool Platform and Java IDE


                                              • VirtualBox – lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don’t have to entirely abandon Windows
                                              • TrueType fonts
                                              • Java
                                              • Read-/Write support for NTFS partitions
                                              • gedit – simple text editor

                                              Part of our desired applications are available in the Fedora repositories, and some of these applications have been contributed by the community. Many have to be downloaded from their homepages.

                                              The software provided in the above list covers most of the basic tasks one may need to do on their desktop computers, sometimes there are multiple choices for same functionality. If you know which one you like best, you obviously don’t need to install and test the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install more than one.

                                              I will use the username howtoforge in this tutorial. Please replace it with your own username.


                                              2 Installing The Base System

                                              The installation of the base system is easy as 1-2-3 because the Fedora installer doesn’t offer a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot go wrong.

                                              Download the Fedora 17 iso image from, burn it onto a disk, and boot your computer from it:

                                              Install by clicking Install to Hard Drive:

                                              Select your keyboard layout and click the Next button to continue:

                                              I assume that you use a locally attached hard drive, so you should select Basic Storage Devices here:

                                              If you see the following message (The storage device below may contain data.), please click on Yes, discard any data because we want to install a fresh system (all existing data on the drive will be deleted):

                                              You can leave the hostname as is and click on Next:

                                              Then choose your time zone:

                                              Type in a root password (twice to verify it):

                                              The default partitioning is ok, so you can hit Next:

                                              Confirm by clicking on Write changes to disk:

                                              The installation starts. This can take a few minutes:

                                              The installation is complete. Click on Reboot and don’t forget to remove the Live CD from the disk drive before the system boots again!

                                              Choose the Fedora desktop upon reboot:

                                              If the system is booting for the first time, the first boot wizard comes up. Click on Forward

                                              Read the License information and proceed:

                                              Then add a regular user account to the system (I will create the user howtoforge here):

                                              Set date and time. If you have internet access, it’s a good idea to synchronize them over the network. Check the appropriate box if you want to do that and proceed:

                                              On the next screen you can send details about your hardware to the Fedora project to help them develop the software. It’s up to you whether you want to submit these details or not:

                                              Now that we are finished with the first boot wizard, we can log into our new desktop with the user we’ve just created. The name that will be shown to you is not the username but the one you entered in the Full Name field:

                                              This is what your new Fedora 17 desktop looks like:

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