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.