Adios - keyring issues and other annoyances

Michael A Peters mpeters at
Fri Dec 7 17:44:08 UTC 2007

I'm about to dump Fedora 8 for CentOS 5.
Yeah yeah - I know - don't let the door hit me on the way out.

I just thought I'd mention why.
I've been using Red Hat since 5.1 and Fedora since Core 2.
I skipped Fedora 7 and continued to run FC6 (which was stable and worked
fine) until the end of last month.

Evolution continually asked for my keyring password. I tried the pam
stuff to get it to unlock my keyring on login, it did not work.

I then tried a shell script run at login that unlocks the keyring, it
sort of works - I no longer need to unlock my keyring to read my mail,
but evolution seems unable to store my smtp password - plus, I don't
like the idea of having my keyring password in a shell script.

Yes - my smtp server is different than my imap server and has a
different password, I don't know if that's a problem - but it is damned
annoying that for whatever reason, evolution can not store my smtp
password in the keyring.

Furthermore, there's that damn mail icon in the notification area. It's
constant flashing annoys the hell out of me. I'm sure there is some way
to turn it off, but I sure as hell can't find it. I tried right clicking
on it - which brings up the configuration info for most applets - IE my
weather applet, network manager, etc. - but it doesn't do anything.

Maybe because it is not an applet stuck on the panel but is part of the
notification thing.

I looked through preferences and could not find what turns it off. I'm
sure it is probably trivial once you know where it is, but it is
extremely bad UI design to have something as annoying as the netscape
<blink> tag that is not trivial to FIND where it gets disabled.

I tried "rpm -qa |grep mail" in hopes that the flashing mail thingy was
an rpm I could remove, but if it is - it does not have the word mail in
the package name.

I seem unable to store new ftp/webdav password in the default keyring
(for access via nautilus). Existing servers in the "places" menu work
just fine - but anything new, the password information fails to be
stored in the default keyring. It prompts for default keyring password,
but is not able to save it. I know default keyring password works
because the network stuff I set up in FC6 - I can mount those volumes
just fine.

Every new Fedora install, hell, any new Linux install, has minor stuff
that need to be fleshed out. But Fedora 8 really takes the cake.

It was released before it was ready. Way before it was ready.
That's my opinion.

There are some features I really like - font rendering seems to be
better, ability to switch users when console is locked, etc. - but I
really dislike it forcing use of a keyring for more and more stuff. It
creates a single point of failure in user experience when there is a
serious problem with the keyring, as there seems to be in my install.

I did not install as an upgrade either. /home is separate partition - I
did fresh install (including format) on /boot and / - so this can't be
blamed on a weird distro upgrade issue.

And the blinking mail icon in notification area - that's just bad. Don't
make it blink. Use something like static red for communication problem,
static blue for new mail (and get rid of the dialog it pops up), static
white (or nothing) for no new mail.

If I want to see stuff blinking for attention, I'll log on to myspace.


Now that my whining is over - I would like the thank the Fedora Project.
There strict packaging guidelines have paid off for me.

Since CentOS does not have a lot of the apps I like (AbiWord, gnumeric,
etc.) - I've been rebuilding them (and their dependencies) in mock on my
CentOS 5 server - and for the most part - it just works. Very rarely do
I need to modify a spec file.

That to me is an indication of quality packaging.
The Fedora Project thus is still benefiting me greatly.

So thank you.

I'll watch out for the door on my way out ;)

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