I installed Fedora 19 (I returned to the RPM-based Linux distributions) around early December. I dual-boot my laptop with Windows 7 and Fedora 19 because scientific computing happens in Linux and because so many tools are freely available. But, I went through one significant snafu: MATLAB.

Installing MATLAB

As I went to do the online installation of MATLAB, the license manager failed each and every time. There were no issues with Java dependencies (as I’ve had in the past) or anything else for that matter. But, after investigation, the issue was that Mathworks had coded the license manager to look for an ethernet device that had the naming scheme ‘eth*’. Why was this a big deal? Well, several versions of Fedora earlier, a consistent naming scheme had been adopted so that device removal, etc., could happen flawlessly and so that configurations could be easily recalled. This resulted in unusual naming schemes for wireless and wired ethernet adapters alike.

Mathworks freely posts a solution. I also found this process on FedoraForums.org. (If you follow the advice of user smr54, everything goes off well.) Basically, you have to remove a package (biosdevname), edit the ethernet adapter configuration file, add an argument to your kernel, and then rebuild the grub menu.


In truth, for anyone who has some Linux experience this really isn’t that bad. We’re certainly comfortable with the ‘eth*’ naming scheme since it has been around for quite awhile. While the work isn’t so bad, I have to ask “why?”. In the majority of all places where scientific computing is actually used, a Red Hat Linux OS or clone is used and they will certainly use this naming scheme. Plus, I could be wrong, but wouldn’t a series of decision-making scripts help the MATLAB installer to know which OS is in use and, consequently, the naming scheme for the NICs? Mathworks: I strongly encourage you to investigate this possibility. You are and have been a wonderful software company and I believe that this solution is in your best interest.

Regardless, with only a little investigation, my laptop is once again running MATLAB. I hope this was helpful.

MATLAB and Fedora 19
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