Open Source Software vs. Commercial Software:
Migration from Windows to Linux
An IT Professional's Testimonial


System Settings / Tweaking

These are the things that I needed to do first. These all deal with the operating system and getting it set up the way I wanted. You could probably skip some of these steps.


Extra Screensavers
I have been a big fan of the BSOD screensaver for years. Basically it is a series of crash screens from all versions of Windows and some other operating systems. Linux doesn't crash, right? So why not poke fun at other operating systems? Get all "xscreensaver" packages from Fedora's download area ( Install them and BSOD should now be available in the screensaver options.


Enable Verbose Kernel Booting
The default for Fedora 10 (and probably newer) is for the kernel to boot completely silent, which only a simple progress bar at the bottom of the screen. I like to see what the kernel is doing, so I turned off the silent boot mode. To do this, edit /etc/grub.conf and remove the kernel parameter “quiet” for the kernel to show all events. Remove “rhgb” to make Plymouth (the new boot progress system for Red Hat) to show all events, otherwise it will simply show a progress bar. Also, it's a good idea to change the “timeout” value to 5 in /etc/grub.conf to briefly show the grub splash screen when booting which allows you to select other options before booting Linux.


Enable Graphical Logon
OK, so the text-based logon isn't as pretty. On servers I prefer a text-based logon, but in this case for a desktop PC I'd rather have a nice featured logon screen similar to Windows. Edit the file “/etc/inittab”, and change the “Default runlevel” line to the following (it's usually the last line in the file) to give you a graphical logon screen:


This basically starts X Windows before it gets to the logon prompt so you get a graphical logon.


Network Setup
The first time you booted up your new Fedora computer, you were probably prompted to set up network parameters. Well, with Fedora 10 there seemed to be a quirk when some of the parameters didn't hold if you want to set a static IP address. If you always use an automatic IP address (DHCP) you should be fine. I believe this is because Fedora 10 started to use the "NetworkManager" service to manage the network interfaces, rather than the old service "network". The NetworkManager service has many advantages, and I have to admit that it greatly simplifies multiple connections, especially when it comes to using wireless and roaming computers like laptops. To enable the new NetworkManager service, do the following:


Wireless Networking
Make sure the wireless card shows up in system-config-network, or System / Administration / Network. It will probably show up as “eth1”, with “eth0” being the built-in NIC. Make sure “Controlled by Network Manager" and "Activate device when computer starts" are checked. Set all wireless options to “auto”.
Now, you can manage wireless networks with the Network Manager applet in Gnome. Just click on the icon, and it should browse and show existing networks that have been connected to or configured, as well as detected networks. Select the network in the list to connect to, or allow it to automatically connect. Network Manager will automatically pick the best connection to the network that it is connecting to. Also, it looks like “netfs” service is smart enough to detect an active network connection and mount/dismount the network drives!


Enable remote VNC control at the Gnome login screen (like Windows works)
This is a popular topic. The reason is that by default, VNC works in one of two ways, which aren't always desirable scenarios:

The instructions below will allow you to set up your computer so that you can remote in and see the login screen and logged in user that is physically at the computer. This is the exact same setup that Windows uses since Windows doesn't really use separate displays like X Windows on Linux does.


Enable Wake On LAN (WOL)
This allows capability to power on a computer remotely by sending it a "magic packet". First, you must enable wake on LAN or "wake on ring" in your system's BIOS. Then, do the following:

You can shut the PC down as normal with the above method, and should be able to start it up remotely.


Disable Unused Services
One thing that I don't like is things running when they are not necessary. I like the "ntsysv" program, which you can bring up and easily select/deselect services that you want to run or not run on bootup. In my case, I deselected only these: bluetooth, auditd, gpm, ip6tables, iptables, isdn, kerneloops, nfslock, pcscd, rpcgssd, rpcidmapd, sendmail, setroubleshoot, rpcbind, mdmonitor. To confirm, the only services were selected to run at startup: NetworkManager, acpid, anacron, atd, avahi-daemon, cpuspeed, crond, cups, haldaemon, irqbalance, jexec, messagebus, microcode_ctl, netfs, ntpd, portreserve, rsyslog, sshd, udev-post, wine.


Disable SELinux
First off you are probably wondering what SELinux is. It is a suite of features built in to Linux mainly for handling auditing and security monitoring and restricting. It is probably a good idea to use it, but in my case I was setting up a home system and I didn't want to deal with the extra overhead of managing it and troubleshooting it if something didn't work. SELinux can be a headache, and I would rather disable it at first, then try enabling it later once things are up and running. The less complexity, the better in my opinion. To disable SELinux, edit the file /etc/selinux/config, and set it to "disabled" mode. This will require a reboot. Note: if you decide to leave SELinux running, you will want to enable the services above: auditd, rpcgssd, rpcidmapd, setroubleshoot, rpcbind.


Mount Network Filesystems from Windows or Samba Shares (CIFS)
Use the autofs daemon to have shares automatically mounted on demand. The netfs service (installed by default in Fedora 10) is not a daemon and can only mount shares on boot, (it can't mount them on demand).


Additional Video Support
By default, Fedora has to ship without some functionality, like MP3 support and also support for some proprietary video types. But luckily, a separate project called "Livna", and now "RPM Fusion" puts out packages that add this functionality back.

Get and install the livna-release-9-2.noarch.rpm package from, to get yum working with Livna (RPM Fusion).

To add extra support for additional audio/video types, run


Digital Camera
In Fedora 8, there was a small quirk where the digital camera could not be accessed by any user other than root. Fedora 10 did not need this fix. But in Fedora 8, the following tweak is needed:

Now you can connect the camera and turn it on. Run Applications / Graphics / gThumb Image Viewer. Go to File / Import Photos. Select the files you want to import and the destination folder to place them in.
Or, you can open your favorite application in Wine, and go to File / Import / (Your camera name). This should bring up Wine's “Files on Camera” window. Click the “Preview” button and then select your images and click Import. Files will be imported into your program running in Wine, directly!!

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