Workarounds for Fonts in Red Hat 8.0 and Renaming Pink Tie 8.0

Tom Bylander
Email: bylander@cs.utsa.edu

I upgraded my computers to Red Hat 8.0 during the Christmas 2002 break, and I decided to write down my workarounds after I didn't find much help on the net. I bought Red Hat 8.0 as Pink Tie 8.0 from Cheapbytes. Frankly, the name Pink Tie sounds too close to pinkeye. This document also has workarounds to change your machine from Pink Eye 8.0 to Red Hat 8.0. For my machines, I use KDE and try to load as few GNOME packages as possible, but I did not have many issues with Red Hat's infamous GNOME/KDE integrated desktop probably because I was doing an upgrade rather a brand-new installation.

I waited until Christmas for a couple of reasons. I don't like to upgrade immediately after the new version comes out (especially an X.0 version) in case there are major problems. The other reason is that I don't like to upgrade during the middle of the semester; if major problems occur during the upgrade, then life becomes too complicated.

Font Workaround

A new feature of Red Hat 8.0 is the addition of the fontconfig, freetype, and other packages for managing fonts. This is a nice idea, but not well-integrated with the rest of the system.

I have used the Lucida Sans Typewriter font from the XFree86-75dpi-fonts package for many years. I have found this font to be the most readable fixed-width font for shells and editors, especially lucidasanstypewriter-12. This font initially works sporadically in Red Hat 8.0, apparently not working at all for programs that depend on fontconfig and freetype. Here are the steps to get this font back again, which is probably similar what you need to do for any other fonts that you want back again.

  1. Edit /etc/fonts/fonts.conf, changing the line:
     <dir>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1</dir>
    
    to:
    <dir>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts</dir>
    

  2. Connect to the /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi directory and do the following commands:
    mkdir temp
    cp l* temp
    gunzip temp/*
    mv temp/* .
    rmdir temp
    

    The reason for this is that apparently freetype does not understand compressed files, but you still need the compressed files (maybe for the xfs font server, I am not sure). The l* files contain the Lucida fonts I want, plus probably a lot more. The above commands ensure that both the compressed and uncompressed files for Lucida are in the directory.

    An alternative (thanks to Paul de Vrieze for this information) to uncompressing all the fonts you want is to install a newer version of freetype with version number >= 2.1.3, which does understand compressed fonts. I was unable to find an rpm file on the internet so you need to download the source code, and then compile and install it. This apparently has its downsides as well.

  3. Perform the following command:
    fc-cache /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts
    

After you run these commands (and possibly having to restart X), the Lucida font should appear in all of your font menus. However, the sizes are a little messed up. For many menus, I needed to choose size 9 to get lucidasanstypewriter-12. Hopefully, the fonts will work better in Red Hat 8.1 and following.

Pink Tie Name Workaround

If you are like me, you probably prefer that your computers look like they are running Red Hat 8.0 rather than Pink Tie 8.0. Certainly, Red Hat 8.0 is not as famous as any flavor of the Windows OS, but Red Hat 8.0 definitely has a more well-known reputation than Pink Tie 8.0. I guess this is either somebody's bad joke or because Red Hat didn't want Cheapbytes to use the Red Hat brand, or both (this is pure, uninformed speculation on my part; I haven't done the slightest bit of research to verify any of this).

If you run:

rpm -q -a | grep '_pt$'
you will find the packages that were modified to change Red Hat 8.0 to Pink Tie 8.0. In my upgrade, this included the following packages:
initscripts
mkinitrd
redhat-artwork
redhat-logos
redhat-release

There are two things that you can do to remedy this situation.

  1. Download and install the original RPMs from the Red Hat web site or a mirror web site. This is what I did for redhat-artwork and redhat-logos.

  2. Find the files that have the string "Pink Tie" and "pinktie" and change them to "Red Hat" and "redhat" respectively.

I am deliberately being a little vague here because some of the files to modify are important system files. If you make an editing mistake, then Linux might not boot up at all. However, you might use something like the following command to find all the files in a particular package that need to be modified:

grep -i pink `rpm -q initscripts` | grep -i tie

No doubt there is some nice little sed command to do the trick.

Redhat-Config-Packages Workaround

Thanks to Joel Davis for this information. What follows is his message to me, slightly edited.

One of the new features of Redhat 8.0 is using the redhat-config-packages command to install or remove packages, similar to the installation setup. This command is available only if you have installed the redhat-config-packages package.

However, when you do this on Pink Tie 8.0, it says Psyche 8.0 disk 2 needed to install packages. Even if you put the right disk in, it doesn't recognize it.

The reason is that on each CD, there is a .discinfo file which contains a timestamp (it looks like 1033978950.528410 or something), name, disk number (like 1 of 3) and some other stuff. It uses the timestamp to tell which disk it is. Pink Tie's timestamps do not match Red Hat's.

A workaround is to change line 571 of /usr/share/redhat-config-packages/method.py from:

if (newStamp == self.timestamp and
to:
if ( # newStamp == self.timestamp and

KDE Workaround

It is no secret that Red Hat prefers GNOME to KDE. However, Red Hat included some elements of KDE in their integrated desktop. I would have preferred a choice between the two, and then an option to include packages from the system not chosen. In any case, there were a couple of glitches for me in the upgrade.

One is that my application icons in the panel did not work properly. There is not much else you can do except to remove all the nonworking icons and add what you want back again. When you are adding applications to the panel, some menu items are not obviously named, e.g., "Web Browser" is actually Mozilla.

The other is getting KDE icons rather than Red Hat icons. If you bring up the KDE Control Center, go to Look and Feel, and then go to Icons. Choose the KDE-Hicolor theme (or whatever one pleases you) instead of the Bluecurve theme. Finally, click on Install New Theme, followed by Apply.