Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review: Fedora 13 "Goddard"

With one extra day of delay over the already postponed release date, Fedora 13 is finally out today. Codenamed "Goddard", it is supposed to be another step forward for this RedHat sponsored distro.

NOTE: Keep in mind I have always used Fedora KDE flavor exclusively, I like it that way. My opinions and the foundations of this review are based around this setup. I haven't tested Fedora 13 GNOME, so some statements below may not apply to that version.

FEATURES

Out of the distro releases I have seen so far in 2010, Fedora 13's release notes and list of features were probably the least attractive. You can read through the full list HERE. The following list includes some highlights:

- Automatic printer driver installation: Pretty self explanatory. Enhanced support for printers in general. Automatic installation of drivers on demand when a given printer requires them to function correctly.

- Better webcam support: An effort was put in place to provide better support for webcams in general, specially focusing on dual mode models.

- Rebase to the latest KDE4.4.X SC.

- NetworkManager enhancements: GUI included, as well as enhanced support for several pieces of hardware and functionality.

- Enhanced support for both Raddeon and Nvidia video cards.

- The latest Sugar Learning environment.

- Parallel support for Python 2.x and 3.x.

Not that exciting, huh? I guess the parallel Python bit is interesting for developers, but most of the other features already feel a bit obsolete out of the box. Don't get me wrong, these are mostly great features, it's just that they are pretty common and other distros do a better job at implementing them anyways.

A LITTLE ABOUT FEDORA

RedHat realised several years ago that creating a Linux distro that was good for both the corporate and the home desktop world was pretty much impossible. As a result, they decided to split their efforts, keeping RedHat tight, conservative and safe, while using Fedora to incorporate the latest technologies. Fedora is free and provides a nice testing user base so that things are solid and stable before they get implemented in RedHat.

If there is one feature that defines Fedora, though, is that of being on the edge technology-wise. No other distro out there does a better job at incorporating the latest versions of Linux software into their repositories. As a result, Fedora users don't have to wait for the next release before they enjoy the latest version of their favorite audio player, web browser or even desktop window manager. This is indeed a very nice feature and the main reason I have used Fedora over the years, but also one that comes at the expense of stability at times.

What I just mentioned should be kept in mind when reading this review, because Fedora's objectives are different to those of other distros out there. Fedora is first and foremost a test lab for RedHat.

ON WITH THE REVIEW

I set up a virtual machine and installed Fedora 13 straight away. In terms of resources, I granted it with 512 MB of Memory and 8GB of disk space. These resources were low intentionally, as I wanted to see how this Fedora release would deal under such conditions.

INSTALLATION

One of the elements that was a pleasant surprise was precisely the installation process. The wizard has been reviewed and improved and is now clearer and simpler, better suited for users who may have never seen Linux before.

Fedora 13 once again "forces" the user to boot the LiveCD before the installation can be started. As we have discussed in previous reviews, I like this approach because it makes it easier to spot any potential hardware support issues when it does matter.


The LiveCD boot process starts...

As soon as the first Splash screen appears, we can start to get a feel for the new Fedora style, backgrounds, etc. I particularly liked the login screen and the load of KDE components, both of which have been very well integrated with the new release branding.


The Fedora13 default login screen.


Loading the different KDE components tightly integrated in Goddard.

The new installation wizard comes up after clicking on the "Install Fedora" shortcut from the LiveCD desktop. This new wizard feels a bit more current, with a more up to date interface and not so heavily relying on blue colors as it did in previous releases. For the most part, the installation follows all the standard steps, like setting up the keyboard language, the time zone, etc. Eventually, we get to the step where we manage partitions. It is this piece that has been reviewed and redesigned, with an interface that I find better looking and easier to understand.


The new partition manager makes its debut for Fedora 13.

From there on, except for the new interface style, there is not much worth sharing about the installation process. Fedora does ask for the ROOT password to be setup, though. The next interesting bit appears after restarting from the newly installed hard drive. The first screen we get appears halfway through the boot process and involves Licensing, creation of users, etc.


After booting from the newly installed drive, we are asked to accept the License agreement.


Creating a default user is also part of this configuration wizzard.


As a last step, a hardware profile is presented to the user.


The configuration is over!

That pretty much marks the end of the installation and configuration process, which then leads us to the Log in screen I showed already.

THE FEDORA 13 DESKTOP: FIRST CONTACT

As soon as we login, we get a pretty standard KDE desktop setup. Other than the wallpaper, almost everything is very much pure KDE here, as opposed to other distros such as Mandriva or PCLinuxOS, which add their customizations and give it a more personal touch. The default wallpaper is nice, but it is the only one installed! I am guessing they will release other wallpapers which can be downloaded from the repos, as they have done in the past, but I think it would have been nice to add a few more.

As usual when installing a guest OS on a virtual machine, the screen resolution was not detected. This is never an issue, for Virtualbox includes its "Guest Additions" package, which helps in getting the necessary drivers registered. Fedora13 did not allow me to run the autorun.sh script that would install those drivers, so I was stuck with 800x600 resolution. (That's why you will see my green Linux Mint 9 desktop in the background of pretty much every screenshot!)


The Fedora13 desktop.

Strangely, KDE SC is still on version 4.4.2. Considering Fedora is focused on including bleeding edge software, I believe this is a significant miss. On top of that, KDE SC 4.4.3 was a bugfix release, so it could only help to include it.


KDE SC is disappointingly still on version 4.4.2.

Browsing through the main menu (which sports KDE's "kickoff" style) I can't help but feel that the Fedora13 desktop is a bit archaic. Don't expect any "lifesavers" for new comers here, this is raw meat, pretty much. In fact, getting this up to current home desktop standards would take quite some time, even if following one of those "Things to do after installing..." lists.

APPLICATIONS

I personally find the application catalog quite weak. Don't get me wrong, there are applications on board to cover the basic needs of any user, but I feel they are actually quite far from the current "standards" in the Linux world. I have no doubt certain people will favor KOffice over OpenOffice, Dragon Video Player over Totem, Juke over Amarok or KolourPaint over GIMP, but they probably live in Mars. In fact, Fedora KDE still uses Konqueror as the main (and only) web browser (!). As you surely expect by now, no signs of mainstream applications like Dropbox or Skype were found. Similarly, video and audio codecs have to be installed manually.

Something else I realized was that I could not find the backup application that was announced during the testing phase. I have even seen YouTube videos of this application being tested, but I can't find it anywhere in the menu. If it is there, it is a shame that it cannot be found easily. Anyways, I couldn't test it.

FINAL VERSION?

One thing that surprised me is that I found a pretty big number of updates waiting on the server. This is pretty unusual considering I am testing on the day of the release, so it makes me wonder how close to the final version this final release really was.


Where did all those updates come from?!.


WOW! That's a lot to be processed.

PERFORMANCE

Ever since I found PCLinuxOS, every other KDE distro feels slow in comparison, but Fedora13 is specially slow or at least it feels that way. I have installed it on a USB drive just in case my new VirtualBox 3.2 setup was not being appreciated, but it was pointless. I am not sure what it is, but Fedora13 feels slow in general. In fact, what concerns me is that it definitely feels slower than Fedora12 (at least on my tests using the same hardware). Other distros, like Ubuntu are achieving better, snappier performance release after release.

This slow overall performance could very well be related to how early I am testing and may be fixed in days/weeks to come. I certainly hope so.

LOOK & FEEL

Fedora13 doesn't do very well on this department. There really isn't much to talk about other than the Log in screen and the default wallpaper. Take that literally, though, there is ONE wallpaper. Not that I would expect every distro to provide as many wallpapers as Linux Mint, but come on... Along the same lines, don't expect any custom Fedora window or icon themes here. Similarly, font sets are 100% standard, so you will need to download Android fonts if you want them.

I want to give a special mention to the extremely ugly splash screen that made it to the final version of Fedora 13. When I tested Fedora 13 during the Alpha and Beta periods, I was thinking this was just a temporary thing while they put together some gorgeous Plymouth theme. Boy, was I wrong.


The TERRIBLE splash screen in Fedora 13.

I am not really sure I understand this one, to be honest. Fedora 12 had a simple yet classy splash screen, so why take such a huge step back? I wonder if this could be a "backup" splash screen that is displayed in case the Plymouth one can't, maybe as a result of a display conflict. I doubt it, though, because Ubuntu and Linux Mint both displayed their Plymouth themes at least when booting from the LiveCD, which Fedora 13 does not.

ALL IN ALL...

Once again, my comments should be put into perspective and understood within the context of Fedora, a distro that serves a purpose supporting its corporate sibling. This should also be taken into account if you are thinking of using Fedora on your desktop. It is far from being a bad Linux distro, but it will take time and effort to "tame" it.

As far as I am concerned, I consider Fedora a distro suited for experienced and advanced users, and Fedora13 is no exception. Certain people will surely appreciate YUM, Presto and other Fedora technologies, as well as that constant "living on the edge" feel, but I don't find anything critical that cannot be achieved with other easier to use distros. If anything, the capability of running Python 2.x and 3.x in parallel is interesting, but mostly for developers and the like.

As for Fedora13 specifically, I don't think it is that big a step forward. I believe Fedora12 was a better rounded release, with more significant enhancements, so I wouldn't recommend upgrading if you are using Constantine. If on the other hand you have never used Fedora and don't have much experience in the Linux world, I would recommend using a simpler distro to begin with, like PCLinuxOS 2010 or Linux Mint 9.

Thanks for reading!

40 comments:

  1. Another ugly (not only because it /looks/ ugly...) Fedora release. Way to go Fedora :D

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  2. (part 1 of 2, due to character limit on comments)

    "Fedora is first and foremost a test lab for RedHat."

    No, it isn't. Fedora is a community-oriented desktop distribution. RHEL, notoriously, is mainly used on servers. That's enough of a huge difference right there, but there's far more. A large amount of the development of Fedora is done by community members who have no particular relationship to, or interest in, Red Hat. It's entirely possible for a Fedora feature to be proposed, accepted, implemented and advertised with no input from Red Hat, and this happens frequently (including in Fedora 13).

    "Strangely, KDE SC is still on version 4.4.2. Considering Fedora is focused on including bleeding edge software, I believe this is a significant miss. On top of that, KDE SC 4.4.3 was a bugfix release, so it could only help to include it."

    This is simply due to freezing and testing. All distributions are frozen some time before release and then tested. They never release with the 'latest' version of everything, if you define latest as whatever's available upstream on the day they come out. KDE 4.4.3 came out after Fedora 13 was frozen for final release; it would have been a bit cavalier to throw it in at the last minute with no testing. 4.4.3 was released as an official update today, after having been properly tested.

    "Browsing through the main menu (which sports KDE's "kickoff" style) I can't help but feel that the Fedora13 desktop is a bit archaic. Don't expect any "lifesavers" for new comers here, this is raw meat, pretty much. In fact, getting this up to current home desktop standards would take quite some time, even if following one of those "Things to do after installing..." lists. "

    This seems vague to the point of uselessness. What is it you're actually complaining about here? What's missing?

    "I have no doubt certain people will favor KOffice over OpenOffice, Dragon Video Player over Totem, Juke over Amarok or KolourPaint over GIMP, but they probably live in Mars. In fact, Fedora KDE still uses Konqueror as the main (and only) web browser (!)."

    The KDE spin tries to include KDE native applications wherever possible. This seems fairly sensible, given that the point of the KDE spin is to provide a KDE environment. Given that all the apps you prefer are easily available from the repositories, it seems like an odd point to harp on.

    "As you surely expect by now, no signs of mainstream applications like Dropbox or Skype were found. Similarly, video and audio codecs have to be installed manually."

    One of Fedora's core principles is Freedom. Fedora is a project which takes software freedom seriously. We do not supply, support or promote non-free software. You may think this is silly, but on the other hand, you surely appreciate when you benefit from it - when other distributions adopt the superior F/OSS replacements developed by or with the assistance of the Fedora project, for things which previously were only available as proprietary software.

    (part 2 to follow)

    Adam Williamson
    Fedora QA

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  3. (part 2 of 2)

    "Something else I realized was that I could not find the backup application that was announced during the testing phase. I have even seen YouTube videos of this application being tested, but I can't find it anywhere in the menu. If it is there, it is a shame that it cannot be found easily. Anyways, I couldn't test it."

    It's a GNOME application, and the KDE SIG chose not to include it in the KDE spin. You can install it from the repositories, just search for 'deja-dup'.

    "One thing that surprised me is that I found a pretty big number of updates waiting on the server. This is pretty unusual considering I am testing on the day of the release, so it makes me wonder how close to the final version this final release really was."

    Er, huh? The final version was of course perfectly close to the final release, because those two phrases mean the same thing. =) See above discussion of freeze dates. All non-blocker updates built after the freeze went into a separate stream which could be tested as usual but would not be rolled into the final images, so we could be sure the final images were contiguous. Updates from the separate stream which have been properly tested were put through to the updates repository and are available as updates immediately upon release, referred to as 0-day updates. To see why this is sensible, imagine if one of these updates happens to break some systems, or break the installer. If it's provided as an update, this is no disaster; you can roll back to the released version quite easily. If we took that update into the final images, it would be a much more serious problem. We have to have stability for a reasonable period in the packages that make it into the final images and installer, to ensure we can test it properly and have a reasonable degree of certainty that it performs correctly.

    "I am not sure what it is, but Fedora13 feels slow in general. In fact, what concerns me is that it definitely feels slower than Fedora12 (at least on my tests using the same hardware). Other distros, like Ubuntu are achieving better, snappier performance release after release."

    This is, again, vague to the point of being useless. Since you provide absolutely no information about the hardware you're using, or in exactly what way you perceive the system to be 'slow', it's nigh on impossible to make any kind of reasonable estimate as to why it might be.

    "The TERRIBLE splash screen in Fedora 13."

    This provides a clue to the above, though. That's not the Fedora 13 splash screen. That's the console fallback progress bar. You get that if kernel mode setting fails to kick in for your hardware. Usually you'd only see it in a VM, or if your graphics card is *not* from Intel, ATI or NVIDIA (which is very rare these days). Unfortunately, since you don't provide any information on the hardware you tested with, I still can't possibly say what's going on.

    The actual graphical splash screen in F13 is unchanged from F12.

    Adam Williamson
    Fedora QA

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  4. Yeah this review definitely seemed to be coming from somebody who didn't 'get' Fedora. It's cool, though. Any Fedora press is probably good press.

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  5. About the hedious boot splash, that only happens when KMS fails to load (as bob said). I am pretty sure that if you use either vmware with it's 3D driver installed, or boot from either a CD or USB directly on your computer, the actual Plymouth boot splash will show up.

    PS: I really love the KDM and KSplash themes!

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  6. @bob: Thanks a lot for your comments, that was a long response and I appreciate the efforts.

    To begin with, this is my personal review, not a post in the Fedora forum complaining about certain things. As a result, I don't have to provide specific information so you can help in troubleshooting because that's not really the point. I have been using Linux and Fedora long enough to be able to overcome all those issues by myself, but I am obviously not talking about me when I review. Having said so, once again, I appreciate your intentions.

    Similarly, if I am using the same hardware that worked flawlessly with both Fedora 11 and 12, I don't see why I should be providing any specifics, to be honest. My HP laptop does have an onboard Intel video chip which I have tried with about 10 other distros already, always being supported natively off the bat. No, my hardware is not the problem.

    I personally do get Fedora, understand the reasons behind their decisions and all that jazz, but that doesn't mean a thing when it is compared to other releases from other distros or for the end user.

    Fedora may decide to use KDE spins as part of the application catalog, but that doesn't mean it is right from a user experience stand point. I judge application catalog based on what most users like to use nowadays. If a standard user will have to spend several hours setting up Fedora to his liking, then I think I should be transparent about that on my review.

    I appreciate that "taking freedom seriously", but it is a bit of nonsense from my point of view, as you know perfectly a vast majority of your users will install proprietary codecs and software as soon as they get their hands on the installation. In that sense, I am once again transparent about the fact that an end user will have some work to do before they can even play a DVD on their machine.

    Keep in mind that when I review I am thinking of a standard user (not an expert) who wants to install and get going as soon as possible, with as little hassle as possible. Coming from that angle, it is not really nice to have to spend several hours uninstalling and installing to get the software you like, or even spend 20 minutes to an hour (depending on your connection) to get the latest updates right on release day.

    Once again, when I review a Linux distro, I think of a user who could as easily install Windows 7 or buy a Mac, which are effectively the real world comparison to the Linux desktop nowadays. Once again, I don't have an expert user nor a geek in mind, but someone who may be using Linux for the first time. Think of that and put my comments inside the right context, please.

    Thanks again!

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  7. I like very much the wallpaper: it is simple but imaginative, it is relaxing but not monotonous. The Kde Live CD is quite slow, and I can not understand the reason why Fedora includes Koffice 2.2 RC1 (it is obviously unstable). There is Koffice 2.1.2 stable, but the Fedora Team choose a RC1! You are masochist! I know that Fedora is GNOME-centric, but now they are exaggerating.

    Then I have tried the Xfce-spin LiveCD. It is really fast! I recommend to everybody to try it. There is a very good software collection installed by default (Gimp, Firefox, Abiword, Gnumeric, Asunder cdripper, Thunar, Xfburn).

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  8. Fedora is not probably suited for a newbie. And Fedora never boasted that it was a distro for the linux first timers. so reviewing it on that angle does not make sense.

    A little experience on linux and then Fedora becomes a good distro to work on.

    First timers better use a Mint or for that matter Pardus.

    Ganesh

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  9. i must say that i find fedora 13 drive/partition selection very scary.even though there is explanation to whatever choice one pick means. i prefer ubuntu drive/partition layout. more importantly, i expected my nvidia driver installed during installing or at least or a mouse click to get that in place.i have had this problem with fedora years ago, that is installing graphic drive and breaking x window and having to repair that in command line. if you think i am crying like a baby over this minor problem, well, i thought that fedora is meant to be as easy as ABC.less reliant on command line to get things done. i have only compared fedora 13 easy of use with other distros i am used to and i can only say that fedora has not come far enough.

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  10. @ganesh: What makes no sense is reviewing a major distro from the point of view of a Linux geek. Fedora never boasted it was a distro for advanced users either, mainly because that would be ridiculous.

    The reality is that the vast majority of desktop users out there don't know crap about technology and really couldn't care less. I keep that in mind when I review and try to make my statement based around an average skilled user, but also keeping a close eye on users with little or no skills.

    Advanced users surely don't need to hear my opinions/instructions anyways, do they? ;-)

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  11. @chema-

    I read your article and think for the most part you are spot on. I have been testing Fedora 13KDE, and liked it. However with that said, and I consider myself probably a bit above average Linux user, I still could not figure out how to get a DVD to play in Fedora. Sure I searched the web and tried some things, but it still wouldn't work. My point is, I put up with it because I love the idea of open source and Fedora and Linux too, but what beginning user who thinks they might try it, would put up with these and other issues (KPackageKit sitting there with the "waiting for service to start" dialog box that will sit there forever if you let it). Most would give up and be back to Windows, and I think if Linux wants to gain market share, then they need to think of the beginner users as this article did. What is also killing the Linux movement is the negative support from Linux gurus who think "you should already know this". Also, what user is going to install this and then have to spend 2 hours customizing it, getting updates, etc as I also did. Anyway, I liked the article and felt as he did on some of the issues.

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  12. Have you checked out this remix?
    http://fcoremix.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yes, it does have things that developers would appreciate. It's Fedora. However, there are plenty of distributions designed SPECIFICALLY for the Linux beginner (Ubuntu, Mint, Etc.). Also, as a future note, try not to write reviews of a distribution release when it is only run as a virtual machine, especially if you want people to take it seriously.

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  14. chema: What I'm trying to point out is that it's somewhat ill-advised to make a general declaration that Fedora Is Slow - as you do - because you appear to have some sort of problem on your particular system. It's not doing much of a service to your readers. Did you consider, for instance, testing on another system to see if the experience was the same? This is fairly standard practice for reviewers. Did you consider asking someone from Fedora whether the 'splash screen' and slow performance you were seeing was normal, or if there might perhaps be some sort of bug? Again, this is fairly standard practice, and there are all sorts of Fedora people and groups who are more than happy to provide such information at very short notice.

    I do think you're missing the point about Fedora's target audience. You claim that "Fedora never boasted it was a distro for advanced users either, mainly because that would be ridiculous.", but this isn't really true. If you go to http://www.fedoraproject.org/ you'll see nothing claiming that Fedora is an easy-to-use operating system for casual users, it focuses instead on Fedora's identity as a community project "that showcases the latest in free and open source software". The Fedora Board has made a public statement about Fedora's target audience - http://lwn.net/Articles/358865/ - which certainly doesn't match 'casual end user'. There's been a lot of discussion about this in the project, and a lot of disagreement, but I'd say there's certainly a broad consensus that Fedora's purpose is not simply to be another Ubuntu, but to drive the development of F/OSS software, and consequently that providing an excellent collaborative environment for active contributors is a higher priority than providing an out-of-the-box experience which requires compromises on software freedom or long-term development goals.

    I don't think you do your readers much service by assuming that all distributions have the exact same goals. Many others are like Fedora in *not* being simply about the out-of-the-box desktop experience. I doubt Slackware or Arch or Gentoo or Debian would fare terribly well by your standards, but does that make them bad distributions? Certainly not. I think it would be a better idea to preface your reviews with a clear explanation of what it is you're looking for, and a note - if appropriate - if that's not what the distribution you're reviewing is actually trying to provide. Or even better, simply refrain from reviewing distributions in a context different from that in which they're actually trying to operate at all.

    Adam Williamson
    Fedora QA

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  15. @mrtravelinrob-

    Yeah I did, but it's only Gnome and x86 I believe, I like KDE and x64

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  16. "The Fedora Board has made a public statement about Fedora's target audience - http://lwn.net/Articles/358865/ - which certainly doesn't match 'casual end user'. "

    @bob-Then I question the word "people" in their philosophy, perhaps they should change to "some people".

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  17. @bob: Well, we can agree to disagree here, and that is fine.

    I would like to ask you to read my review again, because I think you didn't understand what I said. Most specifically, please read my conclusion and point me to any spot in which I am saying Fedora is a bad distro, even slightly conveying that feeling. Far from it. If anything, I say it is a good distro, but not suited for newbies. In fact, I still don't understand what is it exactly you disagree with, because you are mostly saying pretty much the same I say in my review.

    Look, it boils down to this: I don't know who reads my reviews so I cannot assume the end reader will understand or even care about Fedora's goals or motivations and quite honestly, neither should you. My aim is to be informative and don't take anything for granted. I try to explain things so that the average Joe can understand them and hopefully find them fun enough to join the Linux community in case s/he hasn't already.

    On a different note, let's not be hypocritical here. Fedora is one of the major distros and very much enjoys that priviledged position. My overall point, which I have seen shared by several other reviews, is that Goddard is not nearly as polished as it should be for a release of this magnitude. Please note that polished doesn't imply moving away from Fedora's goals, but delivering its own targets effectively, which is what I think is missing here and there in Fedora 13.

    Thanks for your posts again.

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  18. Fanboys to the rescue! Oh please... Fedora 13 IS SLOW. I have been using Fedora 13 LXDE and the damn thing is SUPER SLOW compared to Lubuntu in the same machine (AMD athlonXP 2400+, 768mb ram). Just try it and see for yourselves.

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  19. @mac: Don't you dare say that! You must test on at least 20 machines before you can imply that, otherwise you are not doing a great service to other posters!

    Oh, the irony... he, he, he...

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  20. Hi Chema,

    I appreciate your efforts in posting about this but there are some major gaps in your analysis-stating that Fedora doesn't offer anything that you can't get in another major distro is an example. Fedora's offer is not about the wallpaper, although their design team use the distros own tools to do the art unlike ubuntu which had most of it's theming work done on macs. Fedora's methodology is to support upstream projects with expertise and money to ensure that linux ecosystem is conducive to free software development; this results in genuine improvements to the user experience on al distros, such as free drivers that actually work on nvidia cards and other trivial functionality such as the ability to connect your gnome desktop to a wireless lan. Contrast this with ubuntu which just takes the work of other projects, uses what it can, and breaks most of it in the process.

    The whole slow thing is bizarre-both ubuntu and fedora use a generic kernel compiled to load practically every module under the sun and they both boot to gnome. Assuming that you are running the same kernel and the same programs in the background (fedora provides some nice gui tools to control these processes, ubuntu users need to resort to bash to control the same processes) there cannot be a significant measurable difference on the same machine. I would defy anyone to prove otherwise.

    If you are interested in understanding what fedora is about you will find the forums very helpful. Thanks again for your review.

    Kris

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  21. chema: well, I sort of agree, except that you spend most of the review (particularly the conclusion) talking about who Fedora isn't for, rather than who it *is* for. =)

    kristian's post is fairly dead on about distros being 'fast' or 'slow'. When people just flat out say Distro X Is Slow or Distro Y Is Fast it simply frustrates me, because it's a completely pointless and useless statement; a useful statement is 'Distro X Takes X Seconds Longer Than Distro Y To Perform Task Z', preferably with some sort of trace that might help indicate why. I rag on Phoronix now and again, but at least they're getting pretty good at doing the above. As kristian said, there's really not a hell of a lot distributors _can_ do to affect how 'fast' the distro is, apart from configuring startup services, and frankly most front-line distros use a very similar range of default services these days. We're all building the same flipping code with the same compiler in the end.

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  22. Thanks for the review, and thoughtful criticism. If you ever have any other issues or questions (esp if considering doing any future reviews), please don't hesitate to ask on https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/listinfo/kde or to contact me directly.

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  23. @rex: Thanks, I will definitely keep that in mind!

    @Kristian: I said that there was nothing critical that other easier to use distros wouldn't offer. What I mean is that new users won't appreciate the learning curve to overcome certain "hassles" in Fedora (driver and codecs installation, for instance) when they can get about the same features and functionality in other distros which may be easier to use.

    As for the slowness bit, I disagree. Not all distros carry the same Kernel, PCLinuxOS 2010 is a good example. They are using 2.6.32.12-bfs and it makes a significant difference.

    Having said so, and even if the Kernel is a critical variable in the equation, it is not the only one. I see differences even between cloned distros, like Ubuntu 10.04 and Linux Mint 9. Boot times are slightly slower on the latter, to give a simple example.

    You don't need to go that far, though, as it can be proved using the same distro on the same hardware:

    Start Fedora13 on your computer and do some basic browsing. Then, disable SELinux and reboot (to get a better feel of the difference). You will surely notice SELinux does have an impact in overall performance, I certainly have. Similarly, if you are coming from a distro that is not using SELinux, you are likely to find Fedora slightly slower.

    That is neither good nor bad, for every distro decides what to use and why. Some may favor performance over functionality or viceversa. I simply think I should be transparent when I review, setting the right expectations. Should I say Fedora is as fast as Mepis, a distro whose main goal is speed? I don't think so.

    Thanks for your comments.

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  24. Interesting, but I have to rebate some points.

    1. The splash screen behaves that way if you are starting Fedora from a VM, or if you are starting it with proprietary drivers. For KMS drivers, the Plymouth theme kicks in.

    2. I think you are very used to Mint or Ubuntu like systems. They are not bad, but their megafreeze-everything approach isn't Fedora's. Fedora is about giving you the best stable software you can take, and that includes constant feature upgrades along the life of the distro. That includes kernel switches, sometimes major KDE release switches, application upgrades, and the like. It's not a real rolling release system, because you never get upgrades for architectural packages (X.org: only minor upgrades, never release-upgrades), unless you upgrade Fedora.

    From all, this looks like a Fedora review coming from a Mint user, nothing more than that. If you value having closed source software at start and are willing to sacrifice the massive efforts to update yourself to the latest software in the best way, keep Mint. Mint is great. If you want a real good KDE distro like Mint, try Pardus. If you want an unbreakable distro, leaps more secure than Windows, and you are willing to tolerate the lack of wizards and handhelding, Fedora is a really good option.

    ReplyDelete
  25. @alejandro nova: Thanks for your comments.

    I have been using Fedora on and off for two years, so I know it fairly well. Once again, I tested Fedora with and without a virtual machine, and got the same problems with the splash screen on both. Once again, the hardware I use (HP 6910p) worked perfectly with both Fedora 11 and 12, but not with 13.

    I explicitely mentioned in my review:

    "If there is one feature that defines Fedora, though, is that of being on the edge technology-wise. No other distro out there does a better job at incorporating the latest versions of Linux software into their repositories. As a result, Fedora users don't have to wait for the next release before they enjoy the latest version of their favorite audio player, web browser or even desktop window manager."

    I am perfectly aware of that and have been for years. In fact, it is the main reason I use Fedora, to be honest, so not sure I understand your comments on that. On a different note, I tested Fedora 12 on release date and the amount of updates was nowhere near this amount.

    In all honesty, though, it bugs me a bit that there is so little self-criticism when it comes to Linux. I am yet to read one comment acknowledging some of the obvious shortcommings. Instead, I see a nice collection of excuses, which don't really help to make Linux better.

    It is simple to see how almost every industry out there has realized that power and performance should not be in conflict with ease of use. Automobiles are a very good example. Back 15 or 20 years ago it was pretty common that sports car were very difficult to drive, not comfortable, etc. Today, Porches, Ferraris, Bugattis, you name it, they have realized that power and performance should be as much a priority as comfort and ease of use.

    Along the same lines, I think all major Linux distros should be "plug-and-play" in 2010. Lots of distros keep focusing on areas of functionality that have little or no significance to a vast majority of users while leaving the very basics unfinished. I think it is time we wake up and understand that more power should not mean more difficulty, at least on the very basics. Apple has done an incredible job at that and we should as well, no excuses.

    The basics being simple does not imply lack of power, it simply opens the door to all kinds of users to use any of the major Linux flavors, which is something that should be a must, considering freedom is one of Linux mottos.

    This is one of the things I find lacking in Fedora and other distros, such as Slackware. I think we need to get over that "Linux users should be experts" vibe. It's about time.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hey Who are you??
    There are plenty of Desktop images on Fedora (eany version) just right click and press "change desktop backround" and u can change it there man.
    Recomend u use Gnome instead of KDE (u can change the placements of the menus to much windows or KDE, gnome is more stable better in meny ways).
    And the splash creen is like that cos u used the the lower graphical setting or ur wm mashine had too little.
    Everythings fine with the splach screen (yes the fedora logo in the middle that loads is still there and there are 19 + 1x9(one space active wall) desktop wallpapers).

    I'w used fedora now aboat a year and from ver 11, now 12 earlyer i just installed fedora 13 on a slow pc hdd (from a live cd that i downloaded yesderday Fedora 13 x32 live).
    I'w installed Fedora-s on a number of computers on Netbooks, Laptops and desktop PC-s, all of them work fine and graphical and fast.

    I tried Fedora 12 on a usb too on that same pc it was dam slow cos it reads alot of small peaces all the time cos the os is so complex and has support for everything.

    Installed Fedora to the drive and it runs werry well & fast on a 3,5 year old laptop with only 512 ram (cpu 1800~mhz).

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yes, Fedora 13 is slower than Fedora 12 and Fedora is slower than other distros, all they installed in the same hardware without initial tunning.
    Nowadays, poor released systems are called for "advances users".

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hey guys, I'm new to Linux..I've installed Fedora 13 Goddard on my Dell laptop, and now I want to install Wine.
    I Have absolutely no idea how to??...


    Can anyone help me please?

    Thanx
    Emily

    ReplyDelete
  29. @Emily: Ok, there are number of ways you can do that, depending on which Fedora flavor you have installed. Did you chose KDE or GNOME?

    In any case, you can achieve the same on both from the terminal, don't let it scare you!

    From your desktop, type Alt+F2.
    On the dialog box type "xterm" (minus the quotes)
    Type "su -" (again minus the quotes)
    Enter your administrator password
    Type yum -y install wine
    Hit Return and that should do it.

    When you see the progress finish (return to your system prompt), close that terminal window and go to your main menu. You should find Wine among the applications menu.

    Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I completely agree with you Chema. Linux needs to think fast about where they want to be in the next 5 to 10 years, or they just going to lose to MAC and Windows 7.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have been using Linux since slackware was king and the 0.9x kernels were the only thing. I have also used AIX and Solaris. I have used "RedHat" before it was RHEL (redhat 3). I have used Fedora since version 2. I have recently used Ubuntu since version 7.x. I have a long experience using them all.

    Frankly I will take a little "slow" for reliable on most days. Right now I am more than livid at Ubuntu. In 10.04 the release is as a joke. It should be recalled and an apology issued to anyone who installed it. They should migrate all the applications from 10.04 to 9.10, and call it 10.09. The kernel has issues reporting true load average and when doing a dd if=/dev/zero of=/path/to/usbdrive causes a load average of 50 and causing applications to fail and close. This makes any sort of problem in Fedora 13 seem acceptable. Ubuntu 10.04 is less than usable.

    What I will suggest is that both Fedora and Ubuntu blog maintainers need to delete posts from "drive by" hinderer's. Crap like "install KDE" and what not. Users who are looking for genuine help don't need that crap. Either 1) Post the entire method for installing KDE and programs, and what changes are needed to what files to implement the desired change. 2) Answer the bloody question directly. Including all files to be edited and all links to be made etc. As cumbersome as it may be, answer the question truthfully and directly. Ass-hat snark is unwelcome even for those of us who have done this for a while and can smirk at an RTFM answer. It would behove the blog maintainers to just delete those messages before they get indexed and goggled and presented as an answer when they are not.

    The only reason why I posted here rather than some place else is the appearance of some "adult" or "adults" from the Fedora side are here and I might have a gnat fart chance in a hurricane to be heard by someone who can do something about the 'detention hall' antics of some helpers.

    I got here by looking for 'how to change login wallpaper on XFCE/GDM'. Apparently It can not be done and I should install KDE. Not really what I was looking for. In a posting for Fedora12, it says they (fedora) removed the program for changing that in Fedora10. So here it is at Fedora13 and about to be Fedora14 and it has not been fixed yet. I guess there is no shame in software any more. Talk about an 'tuk u' to your users. I saw yet another comment from someone claiming to be from Fedora asking 'why would you want to change the image' and my answer is this: For the same reason why GM and Chrysler were formed. To provide cars in a colour other than black. Someone may wish to have picture of a pet, the SO or just a very austere single color background. There are many "customers" who would like this feature. So why are you so foots dragging on this?

    It is your job to say "how can I make that happen" it is not yours to ask the customer "why". At least that is what one of my bosses have told me. To sit here and "defend" and protest your faults by asking 'did you install it while standing on one leg while tapping your head and rubbing your tummy and whistling 'god save the queen backwards' ? Did you do it this way or that way. Yet his criticism is backed up by others and yourself. Me thinks that more time should be spent listening to your users and less time posting on blogs telling them how they should use the product. I was going to move back to Fedora from Ubuntu but given the complete lack of customer "care" from both, I look forward to reading other reviews of other distributions.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I have been using Linux since slackware was king and the 0.9x kernels were the only thing. I have also used AIX and Solaris. I have used "RedHat" before it was RHEL (redhat 3). I have used Fedora since version 2. I have recently used Ubuntu since version 7.x. I have a long experience using them all.

    Frankly I will trade 'a little slow' for reliable on most days. Which is why I am more than livid at Ubuntu. The 10.04 release is as a joke. It should be recalled and an apology issued to anyone who installed it. The kernel has issues reporting true load averages and when doing a dd if=/dev/zero of=/path/to/usbdrive causes a load average of 50 and applications to fail and close. This makes any sort of problem in Fedora 13 seem acceptable. Ubuntu 10.04 is less than usable.

    I got here by looking for 'how to change login wallpaper on XFCE/GDM'. Apparently It can not be done and I should install KDE. Not really what I was looking for. In a posting for Fedora12, it says they (fedora) removed the program for changing that in Fedora10. So here it is at Fedora13 and about to be Fedora14 and it has not been fixed yet. Talk about an 'tuk u' to your users. I saw another comment from someone claiming to be from Fedora asking 'why would you want to change the image'. My answer is this: for the same reason why GM and Chrysler were formed. To provide cars in a colour other than black. Someone may wish to have picture of a pet, the SO or just a very austere single color background. There are many users/customers who would like this feature back. So why are you so foots dragging on this?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Pt2


    It is your job to say "how can I make that happen" it is not yours to ask the users "why?". At least that is what one of my bosses have told me. To sit here and "defend" and protest your faults by asking 'did you install it while standing on one leg while tapping your head and rubbing your tummy and whistling 'god save the queen backwards' ? Did you do it this way or that way. Yet his criticism is backed up by others and yourself. Me thinks that more time should be spent listening to your users and less time posting on blogs telling them how they should use the product. I was going to move back to Fedora from Ubuntu but given the complete lack of customer "care" from both, I look forward to reading other reviews of other distributions.

    The only reason why I posted here rather than some place else is the appearance of some "adult" or "adults" from the Fedora side are here and I might have a gnat fart chance in a hurricane to be heard by someone who can do something about the 'detention hall' antics of some helpers.

    What I will suggest is that both Fedora and Ubuntu blog maintainers need to delete posts from "drive by" hinderer's. Crap like "install KDE" and what not. Users who are looking for genuine help don't need that crap. Either 1) Post the entire method for installing KDE and programs, and what changes are needed to what files to implement the desired change. 2) Answer the bloody question directly. Including all files to be edited and all links to be made etc. As cumbersome as it may be, answer the question truthfully and directly. Ass-hat snark is unwelcome even for those of us who have done this for a while and can smirk at an RTFM answer. It would behove the blog maintainers to just delete those messages before they get indexed and goggled and presented as an answer when they are not.

    ReplyDelete
  34. i hav use VMware ..i just want to know tht how to open GUI in fedora 13

    ReplyDelete
  35. Fedora is a really good linux version, i have the .14 and works perfectly

    ReplyDelete
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