I'm giving up on upgrading my laptop from Fedora 14

March 16, 2013

I've recently reached a liberating decision: I'm giving up on any plans to upgrade my laptop from Fedora 14, unless something really surprising happens. I'll run it with Fedora 14 until the hardware dies or I have to replace it for some other reason and at that point, well, who knows what my options will be. The fundamental reason why is that I've decided I'm not willing to accept a less productive environment just in order to have an up to date OS.

(This sounds obvious in retrospect but for some reason I didn't even think about it this way until recently. There's a lot of my mind that thinks that upgrades are a good thing so they should be done even if they're a little painful.)

But this begs the question of what a productive environment is for me and why I can't get it on subsequent Fedora versions. What I've realized is that the core of a productive environment on my laptop is sshmenu plus a capable mini command applet or equivalent. Most of what I use my laptop for is logging on to other machines; I have a very well tuned environment for this today and I'm not interested in making it more awkward and less functional. There are sshmenu equivalents for Gnome 3 and other desktop environments but so far I've been unable to find anything equivalent to the Gnome 2 mini commander applet and my configuration.

(The crucial feature of the mini-commander is not 'a text entry box that will run commands'; it is 'a text entry box that I can use to ssh to hosts'. There are the former sort of applets for, eg, XFCE.)

With enough work, I could turn one of the alternate Fedora desktops into something that had the productive features I already have in my Fedora 14 Gnome 2 based environment. But if I'm going to do that sort of work I might as well go all the way and set up a laptop version of my much nicer custom environment (or perhaps something else nice). However, the whole point of using a standard desktop with minor customizations is to not go to that sort of work. I'm not interested in replacing a work-free current environment with a work-needed new one (not until I have no choice).

Coming to this decision feels oddly liberating, perhaps because now I can stop feeling somewhat guilty (and worried) that I've got such an old OS install that I've been 'too lazy' to upgrade.

As a corollary to this decision I'm giving up on spending more than a trivial amount of time looking into alternate desktop environments on Fedora 18 (or any future version of Fedora). There's no point in doing so unless I've got some reason to think that they now have the applets (or equivalents) that I want.

(This is the kind of entry that I write partly to argue myself into believing in it. And of course I'd be perfectly happy if a suitable environment fell into my lap but at this point I don't expect the necessary mini-commander applet to appear for any current desktop environment, Gnome 3 or otherwise, given that no one seems to have written and packaged one so far.)

Comments on this page:

From at 2013-03-16 03:04:10:

The Alt-F2 in GNOME 3 should be scriptable in the same way your old entry says, because it comes stock with a few defined commands (e.g. "lg" runs "looking glass"). So I don't quite see what the difference is, then.

By cks at 2013-03-17 01:48:10:

Alt-F2 clearly has deep integration into the Gnome shell, so it's possible (and entirely in line with the Gnome 3 philosophy) that all of the special options are hard-coded into it and it's not user adjustable (especially not significantly).

There are some hints that I could make some other key combination start some sort of external program to implement a run dialog, but I don't know if there's any such well-integrated, ready to go program available.

(To be honest my motivation to sort through zillions of potential programs to try to find viable ones and then go to the effort of installing and testing and configureing them to see if they work is, well, low. I've had too many failures at this quest already.)

From at 2013-03-17 15:34:08:

For long-term support and updates you should be upgrading to CentOS6.x. It's very close to Fedora-14, and you can always pull SRPMs from the Fedora repos and compile them for rhel6 if you find you're missing something. CentOS6 will be getting updates for many years, while Fedora 14 will not.

From at 2013-03-19 13:48:15:

Have you seen Fuduntu? It has Gnome2 and has mostly sane choices. CentOS 6 is also a good option for long term use, as was pointed out by another.

Written on 16 March 2013.
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