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Fedora Core 5 "Bordeaux" Review

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After some nice experiences with Fedora Core 4, I recently installed the long anticipated "Bordeaux" release. After using it now some some days, here are my impressions (A second, important review is attached later in this thread, written after some thorough testing of FC5! Read it after this review, then decide if you still want to use FC5.):

 

A whopping 5 CDs to download. If you have broadband, it ain't a problem. For those who don't have broadband, an ftp-install would be a nice option. As I have broadband, i decided to download all CDs (after all, I payed, for the bandwidth. ;) ), burned them. So here we go.

 

Installation:

A new theme greets me Bubbles everywhere. A nice aqua look decorates Anaconda now. Apart from the graphical changes, the package selection is also a bit different, but very easy. Point and click. You can't do a lot of mistakes. Anaconda is proven and imho a very good installer, second only to Mandrivas drakinstall. The installation was also faster than in previous releases. After roughly 15 minutes, everything was finished. Near the end of the installation, I was asked if I want to run SELinux, disable it or run a fine-tuned version that runs in the background, sending only warning messages instead of blocking certain things by default. On my previous Fedora box, I had only two choices. Enable or disable. As many people had problems with SELinux then (you really need to learn some stuff about it, otherwise you might run into serious permission problems), I had SELinux disabled on that FC4 box. With well set up iptables I never ran into any security problems, thus I knew that the distro is very secure, but this time I was tempted. I decided to test the fine-tuned SELinux option and see, if it works that magic that it should. After setting up the firewall (one mouse-click), I was ready to boot into my new system.

 

First start:

Again, I was greeted with those nice aquatic bubbles, both on the grub-splash and the bootscreen. My system boots now in slightly less than one minute with SELinux enabled. In Fedora Core 4, my box needed roughly two minutes from start to end with SELinux. A definite improvement. Without SELinux and minor fine-tuning, Fedora 4 needed some 36 seconds to boot. I still have to see how fast FC5 will boot with SELinux disabled, but I guess it will beat that value, as almost every user on the fedoraforum reported enhanced speed.

Once the core-system was up and running, I was greeted by a nice gdm theme and the polish, the consistency of the theme was apparent. Thumbs up to the designers.

 

Desktop:

Gnome 2.14 awaited me. From an optical point of view, I could not find some important differences between 2.10, 1.12 and 1.14, but the details are under the hood. The new Clearlooks matched the overall look once again, apps start very fast and are more responsive than before. A quick look into the menu revealed that Evolution has been split up. Now there are separate entries for calendar, planner, mailing, tasks and contacts. Nice. Then there is Ekiga. My computer as a telephone box. I still have to try the package but I guess it will be as useful as e.g. skype. And it is built in by default, not bad, eh? Then there is Firefox 1.5 and Openoffice 2.0.2. I am more than pleased.

 

But apart from newer software, what is different? First of all, Tomboy, a useful notes tool is available. It is easy and intuitive to use and definitely a good thing for any desktop. Then, there is beagle. It works and indexes everything very well. I must admit, that I first searched beagle in the application menus, only to find out that it replaced the default search option in the top menu bar, „Places“. An intelligent solution imho. In the same „Places“ menu, I can now find a CD/DVD burning application. While not being as powerful as e.g. K3B, it is more than enough for most users daily needs and a good addition.

 

Then there is software management. You can install software nnow easily using the „Pirut“ Installer at the bottom of the applications menu, similar to Ubuntus software installer. Pirut is a frontend to yum that recreates the look of the anaconda-installer software selection. An easy to use tool. No more CLI for those who don't like that. Then there is „Pup“, the package updater, that fully replaced Red Hats up2date tool, again a graphical frontend. They do the job. Nothing spectacular, but a good thing for many newcomers to Linux. (I still prefer the CLI ;) )

 

My network was set up by the machine. I didn't have to add anything or change anything. I read that they worked on a new automated network wizard, simply called NetworkManager (http://www.redhat.com/magazine/003jan05/fe...networkmanager/). It worked on my box. If it will work with wireless? Don't know, but that is the goal that Red Hats developers had in the back of their mind. And I haven't heard of any complaints about the new network-wizard.

 

Now I tried hardware support. My Scanner was autodetected, my camera, too and my printer, HP LaserJet 1020? Yes, but again, there was no firmware available by default (not really Fedoras fault, as NO distro supports this printer by default). I installed the firmware and in FC4, the system forgot about it after a reboot and I had to reload it. Not this time. The only thing that was driving me nuts was fixed. Great.

 

Media/Multimedia:

Yes, as always, there is no mp3 support by default, but I don't blame Fedora for it, as it would be unfair. They clearly pointed out that this OS is 100% free, and they stick to it, which is good. The Livna and freshrpms repos were up immediately and installing the needed libraries took me some two minutes. That's it. Now I see DVDs again, watch avis and mpegs, listen to music... No problems to report so far.

What is nice is the auto-popup of Nautilus if I mount a partition or insert an USB stick. Another nice feature that make your work more comfortable.

 

What is bad:

Honestly, the only bad thing I can report is that there is nothing bad to report (And I always search for the bad things first in any distro that I am testing!). Nothing broke, no bugs were visible (Yes, there are some, sure, but I haven't found any yet), everything was stable and fast. The other bad thing is that I wasn't able to test the distro now as e.g. a server or development machine, but I guess it will perform fine in this area, as Fedora has always been a top choice for servers and programing. Fedora is perhaps one of the best multi-purpose-distros that exist, but for the moment, it is especially shining on the desktop.

The only bad thing to report is the „broken“ kernel that will make things a bit problematic for untrained nvidia and ati users, but cybrjackle has already offered some great Howot for this. But as I don't have any of those graphic cards, I cannot tell how bad or good everything works with those cards. At least there is a fix and a new kernel is available at the end of this week afaik, that fixes this problem (thus a text-based install with followed yum update should solve the prob).

 

Conclusions:

Sure, Fedora is not everyones taste. I am somehow biased and I know it, but I think I am not unfair, if I say that this is Fedora release is currently the distro to beat from an allrounders perspective. Users will get an easy to use, nice looking, stable and powerful desktop, developers a huge array of applications to work on (second to perhaps only Debian), and I guess admins will get some well tested, innovative and very secure tools to deal with (SELinux seems to have improved a lot). With Fedora, you can concentrate only on the basics or you can really dig deep into the heart and soul of your system. It has some nice things for both noobs and geeks to offer.

Will Fedora 5 „Bordeaux“ stay on my box? Definitely yes. Why not? It does all that I ask for and lots more. If you think that my review is too positive, then download and install it and see for yourself. It is really an amazing piece of software. :thumbs:

 

Share your experiences or ask for more details, if you want. I am interested in your opinion. :)

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Well I started my Linux experience with RH9 and moved around alot as people in irc can tell you. Been using Ubuntu pretty much since it came out and then I left Linux all together for several months. I bought a new pc and partitioned it and installed Ubuntu but for some reason just wasn't happy with it. Not knocking it a bit, but just didn't feel right.

 

As cybr will tell you I've im'ed him more than a couple of times asking him about Fedora, which I have used off and on with 1,2,3, but not really much on 4. I guess I've always missed something about Rh/Fedora and decided to go back with this release and so far I am happy.

 

For me the only draw back Fedora has is that on my laptop that I had at one time it would not pick up and install the madwifi drivers for the wireless like Ubuntu did, that was a nice feature not depending on cat5 cable at all. Other thing is and its probably not a bad thing is the fact that RH/Fedora comes out with an updated kernel quite often. Can be a pain for wirless or nvidia/ati drivers to some extent.

 

So far I am real happy. I have the video and mp3 stuff working from following Stanten Finely's site already.

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Nice review Arctic.

As I'm downloading FC5 now, I can't share my experiences, yet. But I've been playing around with version Test-2 of FC5, and was very pleased. I'm also curious about getting my ATi X700 configured. As it was a pain at first. As was my soundcard.

Edited by Gul Dukat

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A nice review, arctic. I tried FC4 before, had but switched back to Mandrake because I was not pleased with the quality of screen fonts and a minimal selection of applications. A number of applications, that I was used to, had to be fetched from the repositories. How does FC5 rate in this regard?

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To be honest: Fedora always had more packages than Mandriva. AFAIK, only Debian/Ubuntu has more packages than Fedora. The 5 CDs you can download offer lots of tools and then there are many repos on the net. Livna, Dag, Freshrpms, atrpms, extra, jpackage and some more. I guess you simply did not kow where to search for the packages, which usually happens to many people when they use a distro for the first time (My first try with Slack was a nightmare... "where are the apps and repos?" :D ).

 

If you'd download all apps and packages for fedora that do exist, you would probably end up with some 10-12 CDs.

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I agree, fedora is the bomb! :thumbs:

 

/me already tracking fc6 on one box.... B)

 

I told my self I would stop running rawhide, but its like crack so I can't.........

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You old rawhide-junkie. Shame on you. :D

 

Errm.. no... don't be ashamed, we still need your deep knowledge on fedora. I am very far from being such an expert like you. :)

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If you'd download all apps and packages for fedora that do exist, you would probably end up with some 10-12 CDs.

 

<offtopic> Just out of curiousity how many packages are there for Fedora?</offtopic>

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I have currently access to a bit over 5000 diferent packages and I have only five of the many repos enabled. Don't ask me how much there really is. Red Hats developers once said that from the roughly 10 000 different apps available for Linux, they might include some 80%, but this was in an open-minded discussion, so don't hold me responsible if this ain't true. Furthermore, Fedora will test new stuff and drop old stuff, so the numbers change noticeably from release to release. For knowing the exact number I would have to check all other repos, too, but I won't do that (Mixing Dag with Livna repositories ain't really intelligent. :D).

Some numbers from selected repositories I can give:

Core packages: 2284

Extra packages: 2204

Jpackage: some 460

Livna: roughly 240

Freshrpms: roughly 200

All packages are available for i386, ix86-64 and PPC architectures. Some packages are built against i586 and i686 .

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rawhide

 

extras-dev: ################################################## 2102/2102

developmen: ################################################## 4677/4677

freshrpms : ################################################## 145/145

 

I could have sworn that extras was up to 3k+ awhile back, so not sure whats going on there.

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Yes, extras was bigger n FC3 and 4. I suspect they slowly dropped some discontinued apps.

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Yes, extras was bigger n FC3 and 4. I suspect they slowly dropped some discontinued apps.

 

I was even thinking a couple weeks ago in rawhide it was 3k+, alas I can't remember yestedays events so a couple weeks ago is a guess. :huh:

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