Fedora is often labeled a geek or developers distribution, maybe because each new version contains something innovative, or a bit too new? In 17, Fedora have decided to tidy up a file system quirk in /usr, improve kernel virtualisation and head in to the cloud with openstack. They were hinting at an adaptive firewall and btrfs file-system option, but that won’t happen until Fedora 18.
Although I have gone back to KDE since 4.8 came out (I have never been a fan of Gnome) I decided to go for the default 17 (Gnome) install. To make the test interesting, I installed on an old Packard Bell tower with 1.5Gb of ram and an old Radeon graphics card.
The install went well taking about 30 minutes. However, after rebooting Gnome 3 would not start, so the system defaulted to a ‘fall back’ version of Gnome 2. I was able to get a basic look at the Gnome 3 system by running the command ‘gnome-shell –replace’. Gnome shell is certainly different from what I could see and looks nice but will require a bit of a learning curve.
For the old PC I was using Fedora 17 (Gnome ) was not happening, so I decided to install the KDE spin.
The KDE 4.8 spin installed without a hitch and just worked, including desktop effects. I am using Linux Mint 12 KDE on my main PC so was familiar with the 4.8 KDE desktop.
After the usual 200 updates which takes longer than the install, I found the Fedora 17 KDE version light and responsive. Didn’t like the updated Koffice apps (sorry guys) and I don’t think the theme is much to look at. If KDE SC is weak in one area it’s its look. Sure, you can make KDE look nice but there isn’t much to choose from.
There are a reasonable number of decent applications installed as standard but my main reason for not using Fedora as my main system is Yum- in other words, RPM package management.
Maybe someone that reads this can tell me where I am going wrong but I just cannot find a way to get an rpm package manager like Yum to work in the same way as Debian’s Apt.
For instance if you install package ‘foo’ with yum you do: ‘yum install foo’, with apt it’s: ‘apt-get install foo’, so far so good. Both systems will install ‘foo’ and any dependencies that the package has-which may mean yum or apt will install another 10 dependency packages so that ‘foo’ will work.
Now we come to the nub of the matter. What happens if I want to remove ‘foo’? I don’t want to just remove ‘foo’ I want all it’s dependency packages to be removed as well. With apt it’s ‘apt-get –purge autoremove foo’ with yum, yes how do you do this with yum? The only way I could get yum to act like apt was to use the ‘history’ argument.
To get a list of yum history you would do ‘sudo yum history list’, from that you can find the id number for the ‘foo’ install. Then do ‘sudo yum history undo 59’ -the point being that ‘foo’ install was id 59 and now yum will ‘undo’ everything it did to install foo and remove all it’s dependencies. I found myself keeping notes of id numbers for packages I had installed which is a pain in the bottom compared to the simplicity of apt-get.
Fedora 17 is a good distribution and you get a solid system with up to date packages. The Gnome version looks like it only works on recent hardware where the KDE version is more robust and works on just about anything.
I must admit, I have always found Gnome to be buggy and it has never ‘just worked’ like KDE has. But there is something about Gnome 3.4, it looks very nice and I like the idea behind gnome shell. If they can just get it to work properly they could be on to a winner.
Fedora are a bit quirky about what applications they put on the install iso, but a quick look around for a ‘post install’ guide will explain how to activate rpm fusion and get sound, video and flash working properly. In other words, some thing won’t work straight out of the box like Linux Mint, but then again you get innovative and incremental improvements in Fedora that make it worth the hassle. In addition, Fedora packages are always up to date with the latest stable release.
If I can just find a simple way to use Yum package management I might give Fedora a go in a few months when they release 18.