[an error occurred while processing this directive] The Unofficial Fedora FAQ - Fedora Core 3

The Unofficial Fedora FAQ - Fedora Core 3

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Back to the Unofficial Fedora FAQ

Last Updated: 7 May 2005

NOTE: This is not an official form of support. This is not an official service of Red Hat. These things may solve your worst nightmare, or they may eat all of the cheese in your house. I make no guarantees. YMMV.

I am now providing computer consulting services locally in the Silicon Valley area. (I'm also available to do work over the Internet world-wide.) If you have any Fedora, Linux, documentation, or programming needs, check out my company, Everything Solved! Whether you just need some help with Fedora, or you need me to set up a solution for your business, I can do it!

If you have a question which is not answered here

  1. Ask it at FedoraForum.org.
  2. Search the Linux Google.
  3. Check the FedoraNews Updates -- they have a summary of common questions and answers every few weeks.
  4. Ask it in one of the Fedora mailing lists. (You an also search the archives.)
  5. Ask it in the #Fedora IRC channel.

If you think that you have a FAQ that's not answered here, or if you see something that needs a correction/update, feel free to contribute!

If You Are New to Linux

I've answered many basic questions in the Fedora Basics FAQ. Even if you're not new to Linux, you might find one or two helpful hints in there.



About Fedora

  1. Q: What is this Fedora Core 3 thing?
    A: First, read the official Fedora page a bit. Now, i'll give you a summary. You can think of Fedora Core 3 as something like "Red Hat Linux 12," except it differs from the old Red Hat Linux in the following ways:
    • It's a community-supported project. That means that you can be involved in creating Fedora Core, if you want.
    • A new version of Fedora Core comes out every six months.
    • When a new version comes out, the previous version becomes unsupported after another 6 - 8 months.

    This means upgrading your OS every 6 - 8 months. The upgrades are usually very easy, much like Red Hat Linux 8 - Red Hat Linux 9. The easiness is not guaranteed.

    If you don't want to upgrade every 6 - 8 months, there is something called the Fedora Legacy Project. They provide security patches for each version of Fedora for an additional 1 1/2 years after the Fedora Project stops their support.

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 is based on Fedora Core 3, so if you want to learn a little about RHEL 4 for free, use Fedora Core 3.

  2. Q: What is the difference between Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux?
    A: Red Hat Enterprise Linux is officially supported by Red Hat for 5 years. It's a better choice if you're running important machines in production, and you don't want to upgrade your OS all the time. It also has many nice features that are useful if you are running more than a few servers. Also, you can (sometimes) actually call Red Hat and get support for RHEL, which you will never be able to do for Fedora.

    Fedora is distributed for free, and RHEL costs money.

    Fedora is also much more cutting-edge than RHEL is, and Fedora has a larger community of users willing to help out and give free support (like this web page).

    Red Hat also has a cool page that answers this question.

  3. Q: Is it unstable?
    A: No!
  4. Q: Has it been released?
    A: Yes! Fedora Core 3 (Heidelberg), was released on November 8, 2004. To see when new versions of Fedora are going to be released, you can look at the release schedule.
  5. Q: Where do I get it?
    A: Normal Download or BitTorrent. You want the "binary" or "i386" version, not the "source" or "SRPM" version. If you choose "Normal Download", you can see Sebastien Rousseau's description of which files to download.

    If you don't want to download the CDs, you can buy them from an official vendor. (Thanks to Beartooth for pointing out that not everybody can easily download CDs, and to Jef Spaleta for the vendor link.)

  6. Q: Where can I find a list of all the programs that come with Fedora Core 3 (a package list)?
    A: There's a list of the main Core 3 packages over at the Distrowatch Fedora Page.
  7. Q: Does up2date still work?
    A: Yes, but it no longer uses the Red Hat Network (RHN). (It still downloads from the Red Hat servers, you just can't use the features of the Red Hat Network.)

    However, with Fedora, it's better to use yum to get updates, instead of up2date.

  8. Q: Can I install on ReiserFS, JFS, or XFS? (Updated 7 May 2005)
    A: Yes, you can install Fedora on ReiserFS, JFS, or XFS.

    None of these file systems are officially supported by the Fedora Project. (That means that you can use them, but you won't find a lot of official help from the Fedora Project if things go wrong.)

    At the installer prompt, type this for ReiserFS:

    linux selinux=0 reiserfs

    or this for JFS:

    linux selinux=0 jfs

    or this for XFS:

    linux xfs

    NOTE: You cannot use SELinux on ReiserFS or JFS. XFS is OK. (If you don't know what SELinux is, you can ignore this warning.)

    (Thanks to whiprush [quoting Jesse Keating] for this. Thanks to Kai Thomsen for catching an important typo. Thanks to Colin Charles for the XFS part and the SELinux warning.)

  9. Q: Can Fedora run on a 64-bit (AMD-64 or Intel EM64T) computer?
    A: Yes, it can! A 64-bit version of Fedora Core 3 is currently available to download. See the question about getting Fedora.

    If you have any questions about the 64-bit Fedora, see the AMD 64 Fedora FAQ.

    You can also run the normal 32-bit version of Fedora on your 64-bit computer.

    (Thanks to David Faustini and John P. Kole for finding typos in this question.)

  10. Q: Can I run Fedora on a Mac (PowerPC)?
    A: Yes, actually. It's a little complicated at this time -- see Colin Charles's guide to installing Fedora on a Mac.

    (Thanks to Colin Charles!)

  11. Q: Where is the floppy disk install image for Fedora Core 3? (Updated 7 May 2005)
    A: Normally, you can't install Fedora from your floppy drive, because the new 2.6 kernel in Fedora is too big to fit on a floppy.

    However, there is a way to start the Fedora Core 3 installer using five floppies.

    (Thanks to Mohan Embar and many others for sending me that link!)

  12. Q: When is the next version of Fedora coming out?
    A: A new version of Fedora is released every 6 - 8 months. Specific dates are usually in the Release Schedule.

    (Thanks to Tom Van Vleck for suggesting this question.)

Getting and Installing Software

  1. Q: Where can I get software for Fedora?
    A: There are a few "repositories" (sites that hold software). The primary sites are the highly unofficial rpm.livna.org (for packages with licensing or USA patent problems) and the more official fedora.us site. They hold different software.

    For an alternate choice, look at FreshRPMs. There are some packages in FreshRPMs and its partner sites that aren't in fedora.us or in livna.org. You can see the list of available packages on the "Mega-Merge" page.

    To search for software in all the major repositories, use the FedoraTracker search engine or rpm.pbone.net.

  2. Q: How do I install software for Fedora? (How to use yum or an RPM)
    A: The easiest way to install software in Fedora is to use yum.
    1. Download this yum.conf. (Updated 6 Feb 2005)
    2. Replace your "/etc/yum.conf" with the one you downloaded. You will need to be root to do that. In fact, you need to be root to do any of the following.

    Note that the yum.conf provided here is updated from time to time, for various reasons.

    Now, you can see a list of the available software:

    yum list available

    • To install some software, you type:

      yum install packagename

    • To update some software, you type:

      yum update packagename

      If you leave out "packagename" yum will update all your software.

    • To see what updates are available, you can do:

      yum check-update

    • To search for a package, you can do:

      yum search

    For more info about yum, see the yum project page. (Thanks to Ron Kuris for this tip.)

    If you want more security, I recommend that you un-comment the lines in the yum.conf that start with "gpgcheck=1" -- you might also want to look at the gpg signature question, if you do this. (Thanks to Kai Thomsen for convincing me to add this note.)

    To get yum through a proxy, see the FedoraForum thread about yum and proxies. (Thanks to Reinhard Herzfeld for that link.)

    To install an RPM that you downloaded outside of yum, open up a terminal and as root do:

    rpm -Uvh filename.rpm

  3. Q: Is there anything like apt for Fedora?
    A: APT is a program for Debian Linux that installs not only the software you specify, but also all of that software's dependencies. It makes installing software much easier.

    There is a piece of software like this for Fedora, that comes in the standard Fedora Core installation. It's called yum. It can automatically download and install a program and all of its dependencies, with just one command. I even provide a special configuration file that I use for yum on my computer, in the question where I explain how to use yum.

    For those people who really like apt specifically, there is a version of apt for Fedora. You can download it from fedora.us. (Look for the package named "apt," it's OK that you'll be using the Fedora Core 2 version.) I have heard that it works very well.

  4. Q: Where are the Fedora Extras? (Updated 6 Feb 2005)
    A: The "Fedora Extras" are a set software packages supported by the Fedora Project, but they are not distributed with Fedora Core. They are available on Red Hat's Fedora download site. To install them, just see the question about installing software.
  5. Q: The update servers hosted by Red Hat are slow! What can I do?
    A: First, you should use yum. Second, use the yum.conf from this FAQ -- it uses mirrors to speed things up a lot. (See the question about installing software if you need some help with yum.)

    If you really want to use up2date, you can see Alexander Dalloz's great article. It will show you how to configure your up2date to use mirrors.

  6. Q: How do I install Java?
    The easiest way is to install Dag Wieers's Java Runtime RPMs:
    1. Make sure that you're using my yum.conf.
    2. Open a Terminal.
    3. Become root.
    4. Type:

      yum --enablerepo=dag install j2re mozilla-j2re

      (If you're updating, do "update" instead of "install.")

    If the above directions don't work for you, or if you want to program in Java (so you need the SDK instead of the Java Runtime), use the custom Java installation instructions (Updated 7 May 2005).

    (Thanks to Dag Wieers for an awesome simplification of this question. Thanks to Quy Nguyen Dai for catching a typo.)

  7. Q: How can I install Flash in my web browser?
    A: There are two ways to do this, using "yum," or not using it.

    If you have any questions, see the Flash Plugin FAQ! (Thanks to Warren Togami for that link.)

    (Thanks to various IRC folks and vegan_linuxguy for troubleshooting this. Thanks to "m d," David Ball, and others for pointing out an important typo in this question! Thanks to David Jansen for letting me know that you no longer need libstdc++-compat for the new Flash plugin.)

  8. Q: How can I see PDF files inside my browser?
    A: I think the easiest way is with the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Just install Dag Wieers's mozilla-acroread package:
    1. Make sure that you're using my yum.conf.
    2. Open a Terminal.
    3. Become root.
    4. Type:

      yum --enablerepo=dag install mozilla-acroread

      (If you're updating, do "update" instead of "install.")

  9. Q: How can I watch movies in my web browser? (Updated 7 May 2005)
    A: Just install the mplayer plug-in:
    1. Make sure that you're using the yum.conf from the installing software question.
    2. Open a Terminal.
    3. Become root:

      su -

    4. Install the plug-in:

      yum install mplayerplug-in

    5. Close all the windows of your web browser and then open it again.

    Now, you can see movies on web sites!

    NOTE: If you install a new version of Mozilla you may have to run this process again.

    You might also want to install the various Windows movie decoders. Note that there may be some legal issues with these decoders. You can install them by:

    1. Make sure that you're using the yum.conf from the installing software question.
    2. Open a Terminal.
    3. Become root:

      su -

    4. Install the package of decoders:

      yum --enablerepo=atrpms install w32codec

    (Thanks to Sindre for writing the original text for this question, and suggesting the w32codec part.)

  10. Q: Can I use MSN Messenger/AIM/ICQ/Yahoo instant messaging in Fedora?
    A: Yes, Fedora comes with an instant messaging program called gaim. When you use gaim, you can use MSN Messenger, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, and Jabber, all at the same time.

    To start gaim, click on the "Red Hat" menu, go to "Internet," and choose "Messaging Client."

    See the gaim documentation for information about how to set up gaim with your MSN Messenger account.

    (Thanks to Peter Lawler for letting me know that "gaim" isn't capitalized.)

  11. Q: How do I install fonts? Can I use Windows (.ttf) fonts? (Updated 7 May 2005)
    A: Yes, you can.
    1. Double-click on the "Computer" icon on your desktop.
    2. In the "File" menu, choose "Open Location..."
    3. Type in:


    Now simply drag & drop your fonts into that window to add them.

    If your fonts don't show up immediately in your programs, you may have to reload the X Font Server:

    1. Open a Terminal.
    2. Become root.
    3. Type:

      service xfs reload

    (Thanks to Harold Gimenez for the simple "Computer" way.)

  12. Q: Where can I get drivers for my hardware for Fedora?
    Dag Wieers provides an awesome set of drivers for Fedora, for all sorts of hardware. All the packages whose names start with "kernel-module" are drivers. Just download the appropriate version of the driver you need, for your kernel. If you want to find out what kernel you're running, you can open a terminal and type:

    uname -r

    NOTE: You must download and install a new version of your driver every time you install a new kernel.

    If you don't find what you need at Dag's site, try Googling for:

    Fedora NameOfHardware


    Linux NameOfHardware

    Where NameOfHardware is the normal name of your hardware. If it has more than one name, keep trying different ones until you get a result.

Problems and Their Solutions

  1. Q: I get a NOKEY warning from RPM, or I get a gpg signature error when using Apt / Yum / up2date! (Updated 7 May 2005)
    A: The NOKEY warning is not really a problem. It won't prevent you from doing anything. (The Apt / yum / up2date error, though, will usually prevent you from installing software.)

    If you'd like to resolve it, do the following command to get the correct key for the site you're downloading from:

    You must be root to do any of this.

    • Red Hat:

      rpm --import /usr/share/doc/fedora-release-3/RPM-GPG-KEY*

    • Extras:

      rpm --import http://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/extras/RPM-GPG-KEY-Fedora-Extras

    • rpm.livna.org:

      rpm --import http://rpm.livna.org/RPM-LIVNA-GPG-KEY

    • FreshRPMs:

      rpm --import http://freshrpms.net/packages/RPM-GPG-KEY.txt

    • DAG:

      rpm --import http://dag.wieers.com/packages/RPM-GPG-KEY.dag.txt

    • ATrpms:

      rpm --import http://atrpms.net/RPM-GPG-KEY.atrpms

    • NewRPMs:

      rpm --import http://newrpms.sunsite.dk/gpg-pubkey-newrpms.txt

    • Dries:

      rpm --import http://apt.sw.be/dries/RPM-GPG-KEY.dries.txt

    • JPackage:

      rpm --import http://www.jpackage.org/jpackage.asc

    • kde-redhat:

      rpm --import http://kde-redhat.sourceforge.net/gpg-pubkey-ff6382fa-3e1ab2ca

    (Thanks to Kai Thomsen for the original location of the ATrpms key, and thanks to Tom Householder for the new location! Thanks to Pim Rupert for the location of the Dries key. Thanks to Anduin Withers for a good idea about how to reorganize this question.)

  2. Q: How do I enable 3D support for my ATI Radeon card in Fedora Core 3? (Updated 7 May 2005)
    A: There are now ATI driver RPMs provided by livna.org that are designed especially for Fedora.

    NOTE: If you have nVidia drivers installed, you must un-install them before installing these ATI drivers. (Thanks to Ajay for telling me this!)

    If you're using yum with our configuration, you can install the drivers just by typing:

    yum install ati-fglrx kernel-module-fglrx-`(uname -r)`

    That installs the ATI driver for your current kernel, and it should become active the next time you reboot your machine.

    If you update your kernel, make sure that you install the newest ATI driver before you start the new kernel. To install the driver in your new kernel before you restart, you have to do:

    yum install kernel-module-fglrx-`(rpm -q --queryformat="%{version}-%{release}\n" kernel | tail -n 1)`

    (That's actually just a fancy way of getting the version number of your latest kernel.)

    If you have an Intel motherboard, you will have to modify your xorg.conf file after installing the drivers:

    1. Open a Terminal.
    2. Become root.
    3. Open the xorg.conf file in a text editor:

      gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    4. Find the line that looks like:

      Driver "fglrx"

    5. Add the following line right below it:

      Option "UseInternalAGPGART" "no"

    6. Save the file, and reboot your computer.

    (Thanks to Anton Andreev for telling me about that Intel thing.)

    If you have any trouble with the livna.org RPMs, please report a bug to the Livna.org Bugzilla.

    If you encounter a bug in the ATI driver, please report it using the ATI Feedback Form!

    (Thanks to everybody who reminded me and encouraged me to update the FAQ with this information!Thanks to Peter Lawler for a lot of help with this question. Thanks to Sindre for writing the original instructions.)

  3. Q: How do I enable 3D support for my nVidia graphics card in Fedora Core 3?
    A: There are now nVidia driver RPMs provided by livna.org that are designed especially for Fedora. If you're using yum, and you're using my yum.conf, you should be able to install the drivers easily:
    1. Open a Terminal.
    2. Become root.
    3. Type:

      yum install nvidia-glx kernel-module-nvidia-`(uname -r)`

    That installs the nVidia driver for your current kernel.

    If you update your kernel, make sure that you install the newest nVidia driver before you start the new kernel. Here's a shortcut command that you can type in the terminal as root that makes installing the new driver easy:

    yum install kernel-module-nvidia-`(rpm -q --queryformat="%{version}-%{release}\n" kernel | tail -n 1)`

    (That's actually just a fancy way of getting the version number of your latest kernel.)

    If you need support for the nVidia drivers, check out the nV News "Linux and nVidia Graphics" forum. (Thanks to Exile in Paradise for this tip.)

    If you have any trouble with the livna.org RPMs, see the alternate instructions.

    (Thanks to Jeff Spaleta for letting me know that the RPMs had been released.)

  4. Q: I have an nVidia graphics card, and my computer freezes when it's booting!
    A: This is a problem with the "Red Hat Graphical Boot" (RHGB) screen and the nVidia drivers. To get your computer to boot, you can temporarily disable RHGB:
    1. When you first start your computer, the GRUB screen (where you choose your Operating System) appears. Select the Fedora that you want to boot into, but press the a key instead of pressing Enter.
    2. You will see a line somewhat like the following:

      kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.6-1.435 ro root=LABEL=/ rhgb quiet

      Remove the word "rhgb" from that line, and then press Enter.

    Now the computer will start up.

    Now, to prevent this problem from happening in the future, follow the nVidia installation instructions in this FAQ.

  5. Q: The installer's media check says all my CDs are bad!
    A: There is a bug in the kernel which causes the media check to say all CDs are bad, on some systems. To do a successful media check, do the following:
    1. At the installer prompt, type:

      linux mediacheck nocddma

    2. Run the media check on your CDs/DVD.
    3. Reboot, and run the installer normally.
  6. Q: I have strange installation problems.
    A: If your installation doesn't work, or you have problems during or after installation, first read the README and the Release Notes.

    If the README and Release Notes don't have a solution for your problem, try booting the installer with one of the following commands:

    linux ide=nodma

    linux acpi=off

    linux i8042.nomux

    linux acpi=off apm=off

    The "i8042.nomux" is especially helpful if you have keyboard or mouse problems.

    If any of those commands fixes your problem, please file a bug in Red Hat's Bugzilla.

    (Thanks to Alan Cox for all this information.)

  7. Q: How do I make XMMS play MP3s?
    A: Before I talk about this, you should know: In the United States and some other countries, you may have to pay patent royalties to use MP3 players or encoders. However, for home users, there is no legal problem with MP3 players. (Thanks to Doug McClean for clearing that up for me!)

    With that said, the plugins for these things are usually in the rpm.livna.org repository.

    1. Make sure that you're using my yum.conf.
    2. Open a terminal.
    3. Become root:

      su -

    4. Type

      yum install xmms-mp3

  8. Q: How do I make Rhythmbox play MP3s?
    A: Remember, there may be legal issues. See the XMMS question. With that said, the plugins for these things are usually in the rpm.livna.org repository:
    1. Make sure that you're using my yum.conf.
    2. Open a terminal.
    3. Become root:

      su -

    4. Type

      yum install gstreamer-plugins-mp3

  9. Q: How can I play MP3s in a KDE MP3 player, like Noatun or Juk?
    A: Remember, there may be legal issues. See the XMMS question. With that said, the plugins for MP3 playing in KDE is in the rpm.livna.org repository:
    1. Make sure that you're using my yum.conf.
    2. Open a terminal.
    3. Become root.
    4. Type

      yum install kdemultimedia-extras

    (Thanks to David Anderson and David Müller for letting me know about these packages!)

  10. Q: How do I read my NTFS (Windows NT/2000/XP/2003) drive in Fedora? (Updated 7 May 2005)
    A: Well, now, that's an easy one! The wonderful linux-ntfs project has a whole section dedicated to Red Hat and Fedora. If you get lost, just look at the links on the left.

    If you want to be able to write to the disk, you can try using the Captive-NTFS project. I haven't ever used it, so I can't provide any instructions on how it works.

  11. Q: I don't like the new spatial file manager, how can I turn it off?
    A: If you want to set the file manager back to the way it worked in Fedora Core 1, you can follow these steps:
    1. Double-click on the "Computer" icon on your desktop.
    2. Go to the "Edit" menu and choose "Preferences."
    3. Click on the "Behavior" tab.
    4. Put a check in the box marked "Always open in browser windows."

    (Thanks to Eugéne Roux for this method of doing it!)

  12. Q: How do I edit the menus in the panel?
    A: There is no easy way to do this in modern versions of GNOME.

    If you really want to change things, the menu items are ".desktop" text files in /usr/share/applications/. You can edit them in a text editor (like gedit) if you are root. You can use a command-line utility called desktop-file-install to add new .desktop files you create yourself. If you want to know how to write .desktop files, you can either look at the existing ones in /usr/share/applications, or you can read the (somewhat technical) .desktop specification.

    KDE has a program called kmenuedit that you can run to edit the menu.

  13. Q: How do I get Wine to work? (Updated 7 May 2005)
    A: Wine should work out-of-the-box on Fedora Core 3. You can install it by downloading the Fedora Core 3 Wine RPM from the Wine RPM Download Page.

    If you have trouble, or you're using some non-standard version of Wine, try the Fedora Core 2 Wine instructions.

  14. Q: I can't access my Windows network shares anymore! People tell me to use the smbmount command, but it doesn't work!
    A: Fedora Core 3 uses a cool new type of Windows file sharing called "The Common Internet File System" (CIFS). Instead of using "smbmount", try:

    mount -t cifs //computername/share /mnt/somedirectory

    For more information about this, in a terminal you can do:

    man mount.cifs

  15. Q: d00d, u r t3h sukc
    A: Um, please phrase your request in the form of a question.

    In the mean time: party on. And goats.

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This FAQ is maintained by Max Kanat-Alexander. That's max -at- fedorafaq -dot- org or Avatraxiom in #fedora on FreeNode IRC. Sindre "foolish" Pedersen Bjørdal is the Assistant Editor (foolish -at- fedorafaq -dot- org).

You can help us keep this FAQ up to date! if you discover an issue we don't cover, find any errors in the answers already here or have a suggestion of some kind, please contact us and we'll get on it.