Fedora 9 (The unfair review)

I hate people who do reviews on new distributions 20 minutes after the official release however I needed to vent my spleen as soon as possible with regards Fedora’’s latest offering, version 9 (Sulphur).

As far as I’m aware it was released slightly earlier than announced but I may be wrong anyway I supposedly downloaded the DVD via HTTP, I know they want you to use Torrents but they are crap in my opinion, unless you have a T1 connection you’ll get shafted most users close their connection once completed anyway, I know I do and the download speeds are abysmal compared to FTP. Anyway I left it downloading over night at work and the next day it had completed (Or so I thought) shoved a blank DVD-R in and got the size mismatch error “Hm, never mind lets carry on anyway” shoved the now burnt DVD disc in the ROM drive of my employers Dell GX150 (PIII 800, 256MB, 40GB) “And lo did it grind to a halt” at vmlinuz…….. no errors or anything just sat there like a scared rabbit caught in the headlights of my rage.

“OK I’ll download the ‘Net-install’ iso, I prefer that method anyway” after downloading and burning same thing it stuck about eight dots into the vmlinuz and refused to proceed. Now I did notice the installer dropped the background splash screen so that it was almost a ‘Text-Mode’ install could it be the Dell is not good enough? OK ripped out the hard drive containing my working Fedora 8 and shoved it into a Compaq D51s (P4 2GHz, 512MB) and away we go, plonked in the install URL and it happily chugged along. By now it was getting close to home time so I left it until this morning when I came into work it was waiting for me to re-boot.

I was presented with the new fangled login panel, I hate it, well it might not be that bad but I preferred the one I had before. From day one I’’ve used and liked KDE, Fedora 9 ships with KDE4 by default, now I know there has been lots of anguished screams about this so I was expecting huge improvements “Oh you young impressionable fool” its pants yes you can now resize the panel except a quarter of the bottom of mine is missing! I’’ve tried resizing it, the display and even the monitor all to no effect. The Icons on my applets cannot be changed I’’ve changed them but no they refuse to change then I clicked on the Trash can and it disappeared! “How the F do you get it back?” there isn’t a trash can applet in the choices so I was a bit stumped however after logging out and in again it reappeared like magic. Everything has changed of course slab menu instead of a list menu (Soon changed that by the way) Control Centre has gone its now similar to the Gnome set up. So far the only new things I’ve found is Dolphin file manager and this Clean Up tool to erase all your cookies, recent documents ect.

I did do an update, which was fun, a panel popped up saying there was updates available I duly typed in my root password and the panel closed “What’s happening?” I knew it was doing something as the HDD light was flickering away but I had no GUI progress to watch once the HDD had stopped whirring I did a quick yum update from a terminal saw there was no updates available and so presume the update worked?

I’ve only been running Fedora 9 for a couple of hours so shouldn’t really comment on it but so far I’m not overly impressed especially as I’m now running a Gnome session as apposed to my normal KDE one.

Fedora Core 6

Fedora Core 6

Codename: Zod

So I finally upgraded from FC5 (Fedora) to FC6 as usual I waited a week before taking the plunge so that all the emergency fixes had time to propagate around the repo’s. It never ceases to amaze me at the amount of people sitting poised over the ‘Download’ button waiting for the latest version release and then within the hour posts appearing on mailing lists and forums bemoaning failures and wrecked systems.

The Trepidation

I have mixed feelings in respect of new releases of Linux distributions on the one hand should the Linux community still be suffering problems from upgrades and new installations and yet on the other hand I fully understand that, to certain extent, is part of the testing process in that the community fixes these problems.

I was torn between doing a fresh install or taking the upgrade route, being the lazy so and so I am I plumbed for the ‘Upgrade’ method I just couldn’t face the grief of putting back all my favourite customised bits.

The Upgrade

My Dell latitude CPxJ is starting to get a bit long in the tooth now and I did say that FC5 would probably be the last version I could get to work comfortably on it however being ever the optimist I bit the bullet and shoved the DVD in the drive and powered on.

As expected the welcome screen burst into life offering the install and boot options moving along I chose my language and keyboard options and came to the critical section what do you want to do? Upgrade or Fresh Install? As I say I chose Upgrade and the install process started to check my system over.

When it came to the building the install list I waited and waited and waited………

To cut a long story short it took, wait for it, 4 & ½ hours!! To complete the process and that does not include the updates from the Internet. I don’t know why maybe the Laptop is past it? Maybe it was the iso? (Burnt at x4) but it was awful.

The Excitement

Fedora spat out the DVD and required a reboot, with baited breath I sat watching the system come back up….

“And lo X server did crash and user was presented with a command prompt”

Hmm OK so we all know what to do, login and do #startx

“And lo the system did say ‘Get lost I’m having none of that! Try removing /tmp/.X0-lock”

So I duly removed the file and did #startx

“And lo the pilgrim was rewarded with enlightenment for he saw the desktop and was pleased”

A quick check round some of my favourite applications and connections all seemed fine.

The Failure

Because I’d done #startx there was only an option to logout with GUI (Yes I know I could shutdown as root in a terminal) but I wanted to do things cleanly so I logged out switched to ‘root’ and did #shutdown -r now the system came back up….

“And lo X server did crash and user was presented with a command prompt”

Bum! Checked Fedora Forum and it would appear I was not alone I tried all the advice but to no avail then #yum update produced a GDM update which seemed to fix the problem (hopefully).

The Verdict

So far GUI seems fixed (Now I said that it’ll crash again) the Akregator and KOrganizer daemons keep shooting up to the left hand side of the screen which is a tad annoying but other than that everything seems to work.

Sadly the ATI card is too old to support Compiz which would have been fun but as usual the desktop theme has had a makeover which is much better than FC5, as a user I can never seem to see any huge performance increase but I suppose there must be, all in all it was pretty painless maybe if I had gone down the fresh install path things would have been harder.