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.
* 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...
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...