My Fedora 9 upgrade story

I upgraded my laptop – an Asus S5A, Intel based – from Fedora 8 to Fedora 9 today. I used the DVD and the upgrade itself went with no problems. But after I booted into Fedora 9, I’ve been having some problems with it.

I used to use KDE in Fedora 8 and so I started with KDE 4. It looks quite nice, but doesn’t work that nicely: Some icons are missing in the new menu. KWin has a habit of starting to use all CPU time so that I need to restart X, both with and without compositing. The system tray icons of GNOME programs like gnome-packagekit don’t show up fully, I can only see about three quarters of the icons. If I try to resize the bottom panel into “Small”, the tray icons will “leak” out of it. And then there’s the bug of GTK apps looking quite ugly, but that has been fixed in an upcoming update. I’ll try 4.0.4 once it hits updates-testing, but so far I’ve just used GNOME instead.

GNOME itself is quite alright, but when I tried to use the desktop effects, the whole screen would turn completely white during some logins when starting GNOME, so I had to go to KDE and disable the effects. As this is a laptop, I also disabled automatic checking of updates from gnome-packagekit – but still I recently got an update notification from it. This needs further investigation to see if it really is a bug or what actually happened.

I also have a couple of hardware related issues. This laptop uses the IPW2200 wireless and I keep getting this message in the logs constantly: ipw2200: Failed to send SYSTEM_CONFIG: Already sending a command. I don’t have any wireless networks around me that I could use right now, so I’ve just disabled the wireless with the kill switch. On top of that, the machine seems to run hotter than it did in Fedora 8. It has quite poor cooling already and under Fedora 8 it usually ran at about 47 degrees Celcius. Under Fedora 9 it’s usually at about 50 degrees Celcius. That’s not much, but it did catch my attention. I’ve kept an eye on top and powertop and I see nothing really special there. Xorg does maybe take a bit more CPU as seen in top than it used to, so maybe it’s that one…

I’m also a Fedora packager so anyone responsible for the packages in question here, this is definitely not aimed at you personally. I especially know that the relatively small KDE and PackageKit teams in Fedora have been doing a lot of work to get all this new stuff into Fedora 9. And the packages in F9 are quite leading edge. And yes, I should have done more testing in the alpha and beta stages myself.

None of these issues actually prevent me from doing real work with the laptop (except maybe the WLAN thing, but I can’t test it yet…), I can very well live without desktop effects, I can use GNOME and wait until KDE4 develops further and it’s probably not going to make a real difference even if the machine runs a bit hotter. I’ll wait for a few days for all the “almost 0-day updates” to sync to the mirrors and I’ll start filing bugs if I still see these problems.

I promise to blog about some of the new and cool stuff in Fedora 9 (like OpenJDK, kernel based modesetting, PackageKit – even though I may have hit a bug 😉 – etc.) later on, when I actually have a bit more experience on the new release. The sad truth just is that you tend to spot all the problems and annoying stuff before all the goodness…

3 Responses to “My Fedora 9 upgrade story”

  1. Kiril says:

    Hello Ville, thanks for the post, I’ve been googling around to find whether someone has had good experience with the upgrade. I have pretty good and stable Fedora 8 and I don’t want to ruin my work ,as this is the workstation.

  2. Hello, I read about that hw issue you found with wireless. I had the same problem until I disabled wpa_supplicant.

  3. […] Fedora 9 was released, I wrote a couple of posts about my upgrade experiences. As most readers of this blog probably already know, Fedora […]

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