Thoughts on RedHat 8.0
by Derek Vadala
I made the plunge into RedHat 8.0 a couple of days ago. The rather old hard disk in my desktop system has been making that you-are-in-for-a-really-bad-day noise for about a week. So I figured it'd be a nice time to upgrade (and by upgrade I mean start over) and see what the fuss was.
While it sure looks nice (as you've probably heard) it's not quite the bargain I expected. Despite a lot of naysayers, I've been really happy with RedHat as a desktop OS for a couple of years. (7.3 combined with Ximan offered me few problems.) But, despite the seemingly fancy fonts in RH8, there are a multitude of problems not the least of which is lack of out of the box support for MP3 playback.
Fine, I know that there are patent issues. And in some ways I offer kudos to RedHat for making the decision, and sure, maybe I missed the bazillion news articles that have hit all the geek weblogs mentioning the fact. But, when you try and play an MP3 for the first time, it'd be nice if they let you know what the deal was.
So look at this article at osnews.com. It has a lot of pointers that will help get you going. Including information on how to get apt integrated into your RH8 installation using freshrpms.net. If you aren't familiar with FreshRPMS, I strongly suggest you give it a shot. It's by far the easiest way to get things like DVD or DIVX playback going on a RedHat system. The article is a bit KDE-centric, but GNOME users should be able to make good use of it too.
Now if I could just get edge flipping to work properly.
Got any advice for tuning RedHat 8.0?
Unicode and tetex
Red Hat 8.0 lacks unicode package support for LaTeX.
Perl running very slow
A perl program that scanned a .bmp image ran extremely slow on my computer. (At the speed of a 8085 computer chip or slower) After searching the Internet for a possible solution, I found a problem statement about the UTF-8 language settings causing strange characters when using the manual pages and weird error messages when trying to install Perl modules. The fix is to change the first line of /etc/sysconfig/i18n from UTF-8 language settings to LANG = en_US export $LANG or to LANG = C export $LANG My computer now runs the Perl program normally.