A Brief Look At Fedora 24

Written by Eric Griffith in Operating Systems on 16 June 2016. Page 3 of 3. 39 Comments

Papercuts & Minor Gripes

Thankfully, I have very few complaints about this release. I did hit two very odd bugs the first time I logged into the Wayland session. My space bar wasn't being accepted as input, nor could I screenshot individual windows with Alt-PrntScrn. I logged out and swapped back to Gnome on X, where everything worked fine. A few hours, and a reboot, later I tried the Wayland session again, and this time everything was working. I have no idea what the issue was or what might have caused it, but it's obviously intermittent.

It does seem that copy-paste with XWayland is still being worked on, though. Attempting to copy past between Firefox and LibreOffice would occasionally fail, with each one seeming to have its own copy buffer. Example: I could copy and paste a link from Firefox into its own address bar, but not into LibreOffice. Attempting to paste it into LibreOffice would instead paste the last thing I had copied inside LibreOffice... other times it would work, though. Restarting LibreOffice appeared to fix things, but further investigation is necessary.

This release of Gnome Software brings support for Flatpak, formerly XDG-App. Following the instructions for LibreOffice, I was able to install the Gnome 3.20 runtime, import the GPG key, download and install the Flatpak version of LibreOffice Fresh... unfortunately, that is where that experiment ended. The LibreOffice applications correctly appeared in the All Applications overview of Gnome Shell, attempting to run them though would silently fail. Starting the Flatpak bundle from Terminal would print out “error: unable to start app”, and even enabling verbose mode did not lend any hints as to what was wrong. This failed under both X11 and Wayland.

I did notice one minor annoyance with Flatpak, which I hoped can be addressed in the future: applications do not respect a system icon theme. You can see as much in the screenshot below. The “stock” LibreOffice icons are the Flatpak applications, the non-stock ones are my specified icon theme.

In what, I promise, is my last issue with this release: Gnome Software. It was a bug that bothered me last release, and I am sorry to say that it continues to be a bother this release. If a user selects an application to install, it seems the backend performs some sort of locking on the AppData / package database that blocks even read access. Users can hit this bug quite easily by selecting an application to install, and then hitting the “back” button to go back to the main page. Select another application, or try to browse by categories, and the screen goes blank. The screen will stay blank until it refreshed, but only if it is refreshed after the current install operation ends.

Locking is understandable for a raw package manager, such as dnf, because a user can install multiple applications with a single transaction. Unfortunately, it is absolutely unacceptable for a system that requires applications be installed one by one, by individually traveling to their respective pages. Even KDE's Muon Discover allows for users to queue up application installations.

Beyond those few bugs, my only other issues with this release all come down to disagreements over aesthetic choices with the default theme. I'll probably cover those in a separate article.

Future Plans For Me

With the Fedora 24 release out, and the development moving onto Fedora 25, I'm considering dedicating one machine to running Rawhide full time. The last couple years have seen marked improvements in the stability of Rawhide systems-- in no small part to the “--skip-broken” by default behavior of DNF. That, combined with the extraordinary work done by the Fedora Q/A team, has made Rawhide a less scary place to be in. Plus, making use of BTRFS/LVM snapshots make the possibility of a bad update less of an issue.

Bonus Desktop Picture

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