Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Yay for yum and yumex!

It seems as though my postings on Fedora 7 have become a daily occurrence now. There is much to say, and the more time I spend with Fedora 7, the more I like it!

I believe my bias against RPM is beginning to leave me, and I am beginning to see that RPM is a very viable package management system. The reason for this sudden support of RPM is yum. Yum is awesome. I could leave it at that... or continue. Let's continue, with a bit of history to start stuff off.

Part of the reason I like the Debian method of packages management is because of apt. Apt makes installing and updating so incredibly easy, I never have to worry about dependencies or anything of the sort. I just "sudo apt-get install package" and its done.

When I was working with SUSE back in the 9.0/ 10.0/ 10.1 days, Yast was the only viable method I had for installing packages. Needless to say, it often didn't work out too well. Its then lack of support of gpg keys and rather poor mirror/ repository management made finding myself in dependency hell a commonplace occurrence. After moving to Ubuntu, I didn't think I'd ever try RPM style package management again. Until now.

Like I said, yum is awesome. Yum and Fedora 7 have really made me reconsider RPM based distros. Not only is yum extremely easy to use, but it also handles dependencies excellently. This again probably has to do with the repositories too, but so far I have not come across a package that I couldn't install due to dependency conflicts. The Fedora 7 package installer is also excellent, although a better application to manage your packages is Yum Extender:

Yum Extender, or yumex for short, is a great extension to yum. Just as synaptic is a GUI to apt, Yum extender is a GUI for yum. It is a very powerful GUI which lets you easily select what repositories to use (and not to use), install, update, remove packages from list of available packages, and quickly search through all packages. If you doesn't feel quite confident with CLI yum, but want more features than the standard Fedora package installer, yumex is the answer.
Installing yummex is just about as easy as managing packages with it! Simply yum it:

yum install yumex

Although a simple screenshot doesn't do it justice, here is hint of what yummex has to offer:

UPDATE: There is one downside of yumex that I failed to mention before. Fact is, yumex is slow. It just will not deliver top-notch performance. This is perhaps its only downside, but one with fairly major implications if you are one wanting instant gratification. Still, yumex is an excellent GUI for Linux newcomers and is great for looking up that occasional obscure package or getting information about available updates.

As for repositories, I have found to be excellent. Anything that isn't included in the default Fedora repositories can be found here. That means that through livna you can find packages enabling mp3 and dvd playback, along with the new NTFS driver for read/ write support of your NTFS/ FAT32 disks (a HOW-TO on enabling these features in a later post).

I'm liking Fedora 7 more and more now that I have it fully working in my VM. I continue to customize Although my wireless problems remain unsettled in my physical install, I must say that I could have done more research on the topic before installing. My bad I guess, although full wireless support right out of the box would have been nice :)

Fedora is shaping up to be an ever more excellent distro. I would definitely recommend it so far, although perhaps not to complete beginners with Linux as there is still a bit of tweaking that goes into getting everything just right. But, as far as that goes... there is nothing that can't be fixed with community help :-)

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