June 14, 2009

Fedora 11 quick review.

Friday I was asked to take a clients laptop home with me and do a wipe and load of the OS in my free time. As usual, windows was all jacked up to the point where it was just about unusable and they had already backup up their important stuff. I thought "what a great time to try the new version of Fedora that I just downloaded last week". Today is Sunday and I finally have some time to play around with it.

This is a very nice laptop by my standards. I don't play games on the computer, I have a PS3 for that. I use my computers for work and communication so I don't really need the latest and greatest. I believe that you don't need a Ferrari to go get groceries. This laptop is a Compaq 6710b. It's got a Centrino Duo 2.0 Ghz processor and has been upgraded to 4 gigs of RAM. PLENTY of power. The server that is hosting my domain right now has less resources than that.

Lets get started. I always like to choose the DVD installer if that's an option. I prefer to customize some of the software that will be installed before hand. I know a lot of techs who prefer to use the live CD and just to get a default group of packages so that they can quickly get up and running. I find that when I do that there is always some thing I wish was different. Plus I'm never in a hurry I always have another computer I can play on while I wait on the install to complete. This time I went ahead and went with the Gnome desktop environment for a couple of reasons. One reason is because I have found that many distros tend to concentrate on refining their main desktop environment, and even though they offer the others as an option they don't spend nearly as much time making them slick. Another reason is that its been a while since I did a Gnome install and this release is supposed to be an exceptional one.

The installation went very well. But then again so did Fedora 10 when I tried it so nothing new here. I went ahead and told it to use the entire disk and let it choose the partition layout. I chose not to install openoffice because it is rather large and I'm not going to leave Fedora on here for more than a few hours while I play around. The rest of the install went off without a hitch.

After the first boot I logged in a was greeted with the usual Gnome login sound meaning that my sound card was recognized correctly. First thing I noticed was that you can no longer just grab a panel and drag it to change locations. You now have to right click and goto properties and change the "orientation". I change mine to the bottom, its just more comfy to me. I actually don't remember if it was like this in F10 but it seems new to me. Next I clicked on the Network manager Icon and I see that it found my wireless network. I click to join, put in my passkey and just like that I'm on the Internet. Things are looking great so far, although I must say the default background image is not nearly as beautiful as the one in F10, but that can easily be changed. Next I fired up Firefox and added the Xmarks plugin to get my bookmarks and passwords. This is a fabulous extension that lets you sync your bookmarks and passwords across multiple computers. Great for a guy like me who uses so many different computers in different locations. I then went to adobe and download the .rpm version of flash and it installs very easily. I then goto a site that uses java, and that works out of the box as well. Then I remembered a strange Icon right above the password box when I logged in that I wanted to know what was, so I disabled SElinux and rebooted.

During the reboot I took the time to use the second hand of my watch and time the boot process. It took 27 seconds to bring me to the login prompt. Pretty darn fast. I now get the chance to see what the new Icon is. I click on it and it says I can login with the fingerprint reader! That's awesome. It even picked up the fingerprint reader out of the box. Linux has come so far! I played around with it for about another hour and was unable to find anything about it that I didn't like. This has got to be the best release of Fedora I have ever tried. I'm thinking I may install it again with KDE to see how they implemented that. You never know it might lure me away from Mandriva.

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