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Old 7th March 2012, 09:17 PM
MartinProks Offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 2
FC16 review

Hi all,

This post is little bit longer - it is my own review of FC 16 with suggestions about Fedora on desktop...

My name is Martin Proks. I meet linux approx. in 1997 at an university and from 1998 I use it on my personal computer(s), some time as only system, some time as dualboot with MS Windows. First I used a slackware (3?4?), then RedHat 5.2 and with RPM I am till today (RedHats, short Debian, SuSe, Fedoras). To these days I used Fedora 8. I had no need to upgrade a long time, but in last year I feel it is a time to change. And what else than Fedora again?
How long it is since FC8 release, 4-5 years? Fedora presents itself as a desktop distribution and this I need at home. My HW and SW is nothing exotic, AMD Athlon 2800+ XP, 1GB RAM, NVidia, 2 IDE HDDs, 1 USB HDD, DVD, LCD, dual boot to MS Windows XP, grub loader FC8/MSWinXp on the first HDD.

Scale: +3 perfekt; 0 indifferent; -3 very bad

* I start at Fedora web page http://www.fedoraproject.org/ - download, FC16 LiveCD... The web pages looks really good, finding the latest release for download is really easy.

* But the first problem occurred immediately - it is ISO CD, I need to check the downloaded data before burn it. Find the appropriate CHECKSUM file was not so simple, the link to the CHECKSUM files is on another page and it is a little more complicated to find it...

* I burn and verified the ISO and reboot PC. Live CD starts without problems, everything looks really good and WORKS. Good work to Fedora team. I used the main branch with GNOME, not the spins.

* There was only one little thing, I expected that the LiveCD will be useful as rescue disc too. It means I expected a lot of system admin tools for desktop repair and analyse too. But there is absolutely minimum PC admin tools useful on desktop.

* I start the installation, everything works well. Installation and post-installation to "first try". Good work.

* Speed is really good, I expected much much slower system, Gnome in my mind is slow and fat (but nice and powerful) giant and here it works well and quite fast... Perfect.

* Default visual impression is very good. I will change it - I am a dinosaur with fvwm, desktop 3x3 and a lot of hotkeys and .fvwm2rc file "proved by time" - but the idea of "empty screen" and arranged drop-down menus is good. Well done.

But then...

* Default boot sequence is to the Linux. But I share the computer with my wife (I suppose that is very common) and she PREFERS MS Windows. CHANGE IT she say! Ok, no problem... I thought... Fedora is desktop distribution, so I expect GUI at least for basic PC administration at installed default package set... no. At “System settings” are Date&time,System Info, Universal access and user management - this is absolutely NOT sufficient!

* OK, I go to the package manager and I will install the tools. Where the package manager is in the Gnome? I expected it at System settings... no... Activities, Applications, System tools … yah... OK, I found it. I find package with description as boot loader UI manager (bootloader). Installation and ... no. It is for original grub, but FC16 has grub2... FC16 - desktop ! Ok, I will look to the configure file and edit it manually, grub has really simple cfg, it was one of the reason why they change lilo to grub a few years ago... No, it is brutal script !!
OK, try Google, Ok, command line, it looks easy...
# grep menuentry /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
# grub2-set-default <title MS Windows ...>
and reboot ... , it does NOT work... Why... 1 hour later /boot/grub2/grub.cfg, grub_defaults=0! there is GRUB_DEFAULT=saved in /etc/defaults/grub. The grub.cfg was not derived from it? It should be! OK, I try
# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
and now it works - Haleluja! I have no more force to solve the "ugly" black screen and insert some picture there...


* Second problem. During installation I install just / and /home into cleaned partitions. The other disks and partitions with data and MS Windows I did not mount, just as prevention for data lost. I want to mount it after installation to the specific mount points /mnt/data, /mnt/winc, ... GUI tool, again nothing! I find some disk tool (I do not know if it was at default install or I add it as package when I was looking for the boot loader tools), but not in system settings, it was at Accessories, a “disk utility”. But this can not edit "fstab", it can just mount to /media... surprisingly it can format and change partitions probably (I did not test it, I like my data), but mount it to the fixed mount point... no. And it is not the "system tool"... Great...
Fstab ... what the UUID is? Google, OK, good idea, I just asleep time a lot of things changed since i last change the distro. Manual editing of the fstab is easy ... vim /etc/fstab... OK, vi... I have to create bash alias or definitelly to forgot vim and use overkill - Emacs.


* another problem is mouse generally. Genius Optical net scroll mouse with middle wheel, standard mouse technology today I think. But at Firefox there does not work the middle button (pressing wheel) as "joystick" regime. I do not know how does it names, at FC8 it worked I do not need it set and now it does not work. May be it is Firefox settings, I did not solve it yet, no time...
EDIT 9.3.2012 - yes it is Firefox settings, Fedora is innocent in this, sorry.

* mouse at a text regime. May be I am strange man and a dinosaur, but sometimes I use text regime. It is fine the "big resolution" in text regime +1, but there is not mouse support in default installation in text regime, I did not solve it yet, no time...

* I miss keyboard support for national charsets in text regime in def. install as is it in graphical regime. I did not solve it yet, no time...

* hotkeys settings of Gnome is divided to 2 different places and one of them (the more important) I found just by accident - I do not know where now and I have no force to look at it now.

My opinion: FC 16 is not sufficient desktop distribution. It is more like beta. Really Good looking, and good usable, but beta. Some important tools are missing, some less important but user annoying things are still present. I can and will use it, I am capable to solve problems but I think most people are not interested in command line and spending time sniffing on internet and code to find the problem and appropriate tools to solving it...

This is one evening/night review from "old-new" user. Do what you want with it, there is “feedback mantra” in all documentation of Fedora so here is the feedback from me - may be not typical user, just one user.

PS: sorry for my English...

Last edited by MartinProks; 9th March 2012 at 05:09 PM. Reason: correcting one point
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Old 8th March 2012, 04:39 AM
nonamedotc Offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: /
Posts: 4,925
Re: FC16 review

Isn't it a little late for a review on Fedora 16 considering F17 is due to be released in about a month and half? No offense meant, but just thought it was a curious time for F16 review
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Old 9th March 2012, 05:06 PM
MartinProks Offline
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 2
Re: FC16 review

Three reasons:

a) I installed it March 6 2012 and first I did not planned review or report. I just want to install and use desktop OS Fedora... I do not care if the latest distro is 16, 17, when will be released a new one...

b) I was disappointed about Fedora. From FC8 it was big move forward in some areas (GUI, USB, Network acounts, mulitmedia...), but in anothers it was at the same level, may be little worse (basic computer management from DESKTOP). It seems to me there is no general phylosophy about all parts of desktop, no general balance about programs for end user (well done) and tools what user needs if he want/need change something in system (booting, disks, repair after problems...). The biggest problem for me is: I miss powerfull set of administration tools in default installation - Fedora tools stable in time throught versions. Administration tools collected and correctly classified at one logical and easily accessible location (Computer settings probably) in the main window manager session (Gnome for Fedora). This was a problem of the first RH's (but it was the time, most things was done through command line), and it is still the same problem in 2011/2012 Fedora16 and most probably it will be the same at F17... There is probably big group of users who install OS to clean PC and what works that works and if something do not, they even do not know - Facebook/Badoo/G+/... is working, films and music is plaing, everything is perfect... But this group of people probably buy PC with latest MS Window Home (If they want be IN then the latest ?Apple? or who knows what is In today) and they do not care about linux...

c) Everywhere where I look for help (documentation, Fedora web, ...), there is mantra feedback... So I decide to write some report. First I thought to write just about particular tools - boot loader manager, disk manager, but then I realized it is common problem of the distro.
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Old 30th March 2012, 10:05 PM
rclark Offline
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: MT USA
Posts: 827
Re: FC16 review

Administration tools collected and correctly classified at one logical and easily accessible location
I wish this was true too. Ran into this looking for disk management tools in Scientific Linux yesterday setting up a backup server. First stop was system->administration ... nope not where I expected. Then looked in applications->system tools ... Ah there it is... Fedora has the same problems ... Should be in one place (System Administration) for all basic admin GUI tools (disks/Ethernet/keyboard/mouse/software update/etc...) . But then what do I know....

FWIW, I don't ever dual boot. I have Linux computers and Windows computers.... Unless you count booting from a USB thumb drive as a 'dual' boot.
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