“Perhaps the most usable Fedora in the past year or two. Stable, responsive and it’s an overall pleasant experience to use it.” Máté Gelei
Fedora 17 Review
Fedora 17 was released some time ago, and I finally had time to make a complete reinstall and try it on my laptop. Why a reinstall? I have been upgrading the same instance on my personal laptop for the past few releases, and I felt like having a fresh start.
I have been using KDE for a long while now, and I managed to stay away from Gnome 3, even if it wasn’t by choice, but mostly chance. Hoping it’s actually stable and working now, I took a Multi-Desktop Live DVD and booted the 64bit Gnome desktop.
The Live DVD
The DVD booted with a pleasant, but minimally customized Gnome Shell. This is my first encounter with Gnome on my own laptop, so I was wandering around a bit, aimlessly, just getting used to the environment. What I can say is that the new UI looks responsive and very-very unusual.
The installation process is done flawlessly by Anaconda. It requires little to no description, if you have seen one Anaconda, you have seen all. Apart from a change to the F17 logo and some background improvements, it looks like it did roughly 3 years ago. It just works.
On the first boot, the good old firstboot agent welcomes. It is pretty straightforward, and rather useful if you install Fedora for someone else but you want to let them configure user stuff.
The same Shell greets me. Looks OK, but there’s little room to customize it. Mainly the wallpaper, and well… the wallpaper. (Yes, I know, it can be done with 3rd party applications, but still.)
Both WiFi and Bluetooth works out of the box. This is something new for me! Before installing I have already downloaded proprietary drivers for networking, just as it was needed in every previous Fedora versions. Not this time, though, it works awesomely.
The annoying freedom
Fedora doesn’t ship proprietThe annoying freedomary software by default, so to enable MP3 playback, Flash, Java, and whatever, you have to use 3rd party repositories. Or fedora-utils. It’s a smart little application, that does all this for you. If you’ve ever used Fedora, you have probably ran into some app like that. It does a lot of things, from enabling DVD playback to adding fortune messages to the Terminal. The latter is not too useful, but sometimes makes you laugh. Pure gold.
Working with Fedora
There’s little to say, everything works out of the box, or can be downloaded from repositories. Even special stuff, like TeXmaker along with a LaTeX distribution. The Live DVD doesn’t include some everyday stuff, like Libre Office. On the defense, the dual-layered DVD contains both 32bit and 64bit versions of the Live Desktops, using Gnome, KDE, Xfce and LXDE, so I guess Libre Office would be too much.
After running fedora-utils, everything works fine, even Flash works great on my rather old laptop.
What I liked is the online integration in Gnome. I haven’t had too much time to test Google Docs and Calendar integration, but Gtalk, Facebook chat and IRC automatically starting on login, and listening for incoming messages… it’s priceless. I loved it. If Docs and Calendar integration proves to be working, too, I’ll be very happy.
What I don’t like
Actually, I didn’t run into any bugs or crashes — surprising, at least. Even printing, Samba and suspension worked fine, which is unusual, but I’m glad they do.
I like it. Perhaps the most usable Fedora in the past year or two. Stable, responsive and it’s an overall pleasant experience to use it.
This article was originally posted on June 27, 2012 – http://mate.gelei.eu/2012/06/fedora-17-review/#.T_nN6rnMcok
CNL Editor’s Note:
“The Fedora Project is an openly-developed project designed by Red Hat, open for general participation, led by a meritocracy, following a set of project objectives. The goal of The Fedora Project is to work with the Linux community to build a complete, general purpose operating system exclusively from open source software. Development will be done in a public forum. The project will produce time-based releases of Fedora about 2-3 times a year, with a public release schedule. The Red Hat engineering team will continue to participate in building Fedora and will invite and encourage more outside participation than in past releases. By using this more open process, we hope to provide an operating system more in line with the ideals of free software and more appealing to the open source community.” – distrowatch.com
Fedora’s Home Page: http://fedoraproject.org/
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