Fedora 33 – First impressions

So after my issues with systemd-resolved on Day 1 of Fedora 33, I have some additional impressions to share. This is not intended to be a full review but just a quick look at the things I have noticed since installing Fedora 33 three days ago.

I have installed the Fedora Xfce spin on all of my hosts so this is essentially about that environment. Other Fedora spins should be similar, however.

The upgrade

The upgrade itself is easy. In 2016 I wrote a Bash script to use dnf upgrade to perform all of my upgrades to a new release. This has worked perfectly in the past and continues to do so. My script performs the following tasks

  • Install all available updates for the current version of Fedora.
  • Installs the dnf-plugin-system-upgrade package if it’s not already.
  • Downloads the files required to perform the upgrade.
  • Reboots and performs the upgrade.

You can download my script here. Be sure to check the code and ensure that it will do what you want prior to using it on your systems. The Fedora Project upgrade instructions are here. My script is based on these instructions.

General impressions

A few issues aside – yeah – my desktop looks and works the same. Many applications like LibreOffice have been upgraded as well and that is to be expected. Fedora 33 seems no faster or slower than Fedora 32.

Some fixed stuff

I have a HiDPI display, a 32-inch LG32UL500-W with 3840×2160 resolution. It gives me plenty of space for working on a GUI desktop with lots of open windows. With Fedora 32 I was able to set the desktop font sizes such that the text was not so minuscule I could not read it. Even inside most applications the text size used the system defaults so it was fairly easy to read. The problem I had with Fedora 32 was that in some applications like the “Styles and Formatting” sidebar, the font names overlapped vertically. This is now fixed but it could be the applications or Fedora; I am unsure which. Regardless – it is fixed so I am happy.

Some broken stuff

There are some broken things. Some were fixable and I am still working on fixing others.

Name resolution

I do consider the new systemd-resolved broken. Local host name resolution that has been working since I started using Red Hat 5 (the original, not RHEL) over 20 years ago stopped working for me on some of my systems after installing Fedora 33. I have found a circumvention on those systems where it failed but I should not have needed to do so. I will try to narrow down the cause of this problem.

SSH client

I have one system on which the SSH client is not working. I get the following series of errors when attempting to connect to any remote host.

# ssh admin
/etc/ssh/ssh_config.d/50-redhat.conf: line 14: Bad configuration option: gssapicleanupcredentials
/etc/ssh/ssh_config.d/50-redhat.conf: line 16: Bad configuration option: usepam
/etc/ssh/ssh_config.d/50-redhat.conf: line 18: Bad configuration option: x11forwarding
/etc/ssh/ssh_config.d/50-redhat.conf: line 22: Bad configuration option: printmotd
/etc/ssh/ssh_config.d/50-redhat.conf: line 25: Bad configuration option: acceptenv
/etc/ssh/ssh_config.d/50-redhat.conf: line 26: Bad configuration option: acceptenv
/etc/ssh/ssh_config.d/50-redhat.conf: line 27: Bad configuration option: acceptenv
/etc/ssh/ssh_config.d/50-redhat.conf: line 28: Bad configuration option: acceptenv
/etc/ssh/ssh_config.d/50-redhat.conf: terminating, 8 bad configuration options

I have not yet tried to fix this but none of the other systems I have tested respond in this way.

VirtualBox

I use VirtualBox for much of my testing and that is now broken. Installation of the most recent two releases of VirtualBox is blocked due to a missing Python library. I need to figure out how to resolve this problem before I can continue with some of my other projects.

I did see on the VirtualBox website that this is a known problem and we just need to wait for the Fedora 33 compatible version of VirtualBox. Based on their past performance this should probably take a couple weeks.

Glances

I had to completely reinstall glances to get it to work. I have an Ansible playbook to do this so it was quite easy.

Thunderbird

For some reason I could not get Thunderbird to work properly on my primary workstation even though it still worked fine on my laptop after the upgrade. The symptom was that the Inbox, Trash, and other special folders worked fine but that my created personal folders could not be accessed. I could use Alpine with no problem I deleted all my Thunderbird configuration and data files thinking that the problem was caused by a mangled file, then restored from a good backup. That still did not work. A complete reinstallation of Thunderbird did not resolve the problem either.

I eventually discovered that an old email directory on my email server in my email account was now causing problems. I deleted that and ensured that my client configuration pointed to the correct mail directory and all was well. I still don’t know why the symptom did not occur on my laptop.

Thoughts

Fedora 33 is an easy upgrade from Fedora 32. I have not yet tried a direct installation rather than an upgrade. I plan to do that as soon as I can resolve the Python problem.

I like Fedora and it has been my go-to distro for a since it first appeared as Fedora Core. Despite problems with various desktops, changing default applications, and changing base components such as systemd, it is still my favorite. It is solid and reliable. It is the best distro I have tried for the end user and is the one I recommend to my friends when they ask which distro they should get started with – although I don’t get too many of those requests.

Most Sysadmin tasks – with the most notable exception of local name resolution – have not changed from Fedora 32.

Systemd has been the default in Fedora for a long time now and, for the most part, is very solid and works well. I have written a series of articles for Opensource.com about systemd if you want more information.

Network migration complete

The migration to AT&T fiber is now complete and everything went very well. Of course that is not to say it was problem-free.

I have never been a fan of AT&T but my previous provider has been unable to resolve issues with the network just dropping out and the modem/router rebooting at frequent and inopportune times. But the speed of fiber and the fact that it is symmetric with upload and download speeds at 1Gb rather than uploads being so much slower as wih my old provider, and the fact that it is significantly less expensive, I decided to switch.

I wanted to go with residential service which is much less expensive but I had some concerns about needing static IP addresses and with issues I have seen with blocked ports like 25 for email. I run my own web and email servers so that was important to me. After a chat session with a fairly knowledgeable rep and talking with a sales person on the phone, they both said that the static IP addresses were not a problem and that the installation tech could help set that up as well as deal with blocked ports.

They were right. Which was a surprise to me.

Scott, the installation tech called me the morning of the installation to let me know he was on the way and he was delayed only slightly due to traffic. We discussed my needs for a few minutes and he assured me that we could do exactly what I needed. As a gamer, he was very knowledgeable and understood what I wanted and why.

After doing the physical installation of running the fiber from the street to my home office, we worked together to install the modem/router in my desired location and get it and the ONT plugged into a UPS, cabled together, and connected to the fiber. I would not let him into the narrow space available to do that so we worked together on it.

He installed updates to the Arris modem/router and we were ready to go. He showed my on his hand-held tester that the rates were both within a decimal point of 1Gb. We easily got the static IP addresses configured on the router.

I then reconfigured my own internal router. We did have some issues with blocked ports. Although I could browse the web and SSH to remote hosts, nothing was able to initiate connections to my router/firewall. After calling around to various support systems inside AT&T, Sctt and I figured out how to unblock the needed ports and everything was working fine.

I did have some issues with speeds, but those problems were with my own older Linux computer that I was using for my router/firewall. I moved the hard drive from that machine to a newer one, installed the needed network adapters, made a few configuration changes and all is now well.

It just took longer than I expected but everything seems to be working very well now. Thanks for your patience and I hope you were not inconvenienced by the outages during this time.

Network migration Monday, January 20

Outages through Monday

Due to a large number of intermittent outages with my current internet provider, I have decided to move to a new provider. These outages make access to my web sites with their information about my books, unavailable at random times. Please keep trying if you have problems and you should ultimately get through. The outages last several minutes at a time. This problem also delays both inbound and outbound emails.

The intermittent outages will continue though the weekend and there will be a fairly long outage of several hours on Monday as the new service is installed and I get DNS updated.

Thanks for your patience.

Site outages today

This web site has been experiencing random outages caused by apparent random power supply failures. Unfortunately I do not have a suitable spare, which I normally keep, so I will need to purchase a power supply. I will have it replaced by early afternoon but if you have tried this site and not been able to access it before then, I apologize.

Thanks for your patience.

Update on BookAuthority

After some additional research, it turns out that BookAuthority is merely an Amazon “partner.” They advertise Amazon books and get a bit of money from Amazon for doing so. As near as I can tell, they create these “top X” categories and use that to attract potential purchasers whom they hope will click through and purchase from Amazon. They also provide meaningless graphics for us authors to place on our web sites to generate traffic to their web site.

They claim on their web site that the “ratings” they give each book are calculated using a “proprietary algorithm” from publicly available data. Whatever. This seems to be a way to prevent authors and purchasers from finding out how they really work.

I do not believe that they have any relationship with the people they claim recommend the books they list. That is not to say that those people don’t recommend those books, just that the don’t do it “for” this organization.

So my conclusion is that being on any of their lists is bogus and meaningless in terms of the value of my books. Such value would be impossible to determine because not one of the three volumes in my “Using and Administering Linux: Zero to SysAdmin” series was available as of this writing so no sales figures could possibly be available then.

You will need to determine for yourself whether my books are of any value to you or not. If you do find that they have some value – after you purchase and use them to learn how to be a Linux SysAdmin, please leave a legitimate review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or GoodReads. Thank you!

However, with all that said, it really did boost traffic on my personal web site considerably when I posted the article yesterday.

My source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/simple-secret-being-big-deal-online-john-nemo

Outage fixed

A few days ago we had an outage on this web site that lasted from Monday through Wednesday night. This has – obviously – now been fixed and we are back up and running.

The problem appears to have been a surge from a nearby lightning strike that somehow powered off the server. This was not a power failure and there are no indications of that on any of my UPS systems.

Because I was out of town and this required a physical intervention I was unable to resolve it until Wednesday night. It only took a few minutes once I was able to restart the server.

In any event all is well now.

Status update

I have been too busy to keep this web site up to date with the latest information I have gleaned from my experiments and experiences with Linux. This has mostly been due to the work on my book projects over the last couple years which have taken up almost all of my time.

The good news is that I am working on the last few chapters of my current book project, after which I will return to keeping this web site more up to date. I have plans to add new content as well as move some of the older and less relevant content to an archive section.

Please bear with me and be patient. I have much interesting new stuff to add here as soon as work on my books tapers off.

My next book: Using and Administering Linux

From Zero to Linux SysAdmin Self-Study – Book 1

My next book is a self study course, “Using and Administering Linux – From Zero to Linux SysAdmin Self-Study – Book 1.” It is set to be published by Apress in 2020. I do not yet know the exact date, but it should be early in the year. As you can tell from the title, another book will follow soon after.

About the book

Become a Linux sysadmin and expert user of Linux, even with no previous Linux experience and learn to manage complex systems with ease. This book provides you with the tools necessary for mastering user management; installing, updating, and deleting software; creating and managing simple firewalls; and using command line tools to do performance tuning and basic problem determination.

You’ll begin by installing a Linux instance on a VirtualBox VM on an existing Windows or Linux computer that can be used for all your projects. You will then move on to the basics of using the Xfce GUI desktop and the many options Linux provides for working on the command line including virtual consoles, various terminal emulators, BASH, and other shells. Some of the more advanced user level tasks include creating, deleting and managing files and directories, managing the users own processes, writing short command line programs, and creating shell scripts to begin learning how to “Automate Everything.” 

Improving efficiency using command line recall and editing, command line history, and by creating command line aliases is addressed as well. You’ll configure your own BASH environment by directly editing the user level BASH configuration files, and learning the Vi editor in the process. Using and Administering Linux, the first book in the From Zero to SysAdmin series will help in using and managing Linux client services, such as DHCP network configuration, Chrony, SSH, DNS name services, and more. 

What You Will Learn

  • Install Fedora Linux and some basic configuration of the Xfce desktop
  • Access the root user ID, and the care that must be taken when working as root
  • Explore administrative tools available to root that enable the student to manage users, filesystems, processes, and basic network communications
  • Configure the boot and startup sequences, start, stop, and obtain the status of running services
  • Review methods of performing and testing backups.

Who This Book Is For

Anyone who wants to learn Linux as an advanced user and system administrator at both the command line and the GUI desktop. 

Details

The ISBN number for this book will be ISBN 978-1-4842-5049-5. The estimated cost is $39.99US.

“The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins” now available in hardcopy at Amazon

My book The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins is now available in hardcopy (softcover) at Amazon. Hardcopy is now available at Apress, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. The ebook versions are now available at Apress in multiple formats including PDF, and the Kindle version is at Amazon.

Please note that for a couple days Amazon was fulfilling this via a third party storefront on Amazon. Amazon now has my book in stock and it is currently sold and fulfilled directly through Amazon.

I would appreciate any reviews you post on Amazon, good or bad. I am writing two new books and any feedback will be appreciated so that my next books can be even better. If you wish to contact me directly, please do so.

LinuxGeek46 {at} both {.} org

Thanks.