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View Full Version : After six months of Fedora



Erikina
20th June 2008, 11:24 AM
I've tried pretty much all distro's out there, other than LFS. (I quit like 10% in). All up, Fedora is a great distro - and I recommend it to everyone who wants to get into Linux.

On the laptop I use, Fedora has been the only distro that works. Ubuntu, the sound and graphics is messed up. OpenSuse the keyboard is messed up (3 or 4 of the keys are mapped wrong) etc.


I'm sure you're all here, cause you know its strengths - but here is my list of weaknesses:

Fedora is noticeably (only on old hardware) slower than most distros.
Yum is slow
RPM is slow
Updates are way too big. Presto should be properly integrated for F10
Grub should be locked, with roots password
RPM Fusion should get up, with all the software we need (but know we shouldn't). And some cool metapackages would be nice. like "all-codecs".
PackageKit sucks. Needs to be able to do multiple transactions at once, and have a database/cache of everything. So everything is instantaneous.
Lots of people I've converted, have problems with automatic mounting of other drives / partitions. I personally don't dual boot so I don't know first hand how it works.
We need more spins, based on the hardware. Like a lite version etc. (and perhaps a nice one (by Fedora Unity?) that is Fedora with codecs and drivers).
The official ISO should be updated every month or so, to incorporate the recent packages. This will fix a lot of the installation bugs, and solve people needing to do like 900MB updates on a clean system. (Although Presto will cut that down, and I'm aware Fedora Unity makes such spins).

bob
20th June 2008, 11:31 AM
Your suggestions really need to go here: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Communicate to be heard and considered by the developers. They don't monitor our Forum, so you're only talking to users who don't control such things.

Erikina
20th June 2008, 11:42 AM
Fair enough. Nice quick reply. I guess this forum is about Reviews of software.

Hmm, the only thing that stands out for me is Thoggen. That's great stuff. It allows you to rip/backup a DVD to disk. I even bought a 500GB hdd because of it. (I can rent a DVD from the video store for $1)

Wayne
20th June 2008, 11:50 AM
Unfortunately, most of the stuff you've mentioned has been mentioned here countless times already and many, if not most here would agree with some/most/all of your points :)

Wayne

jbixby
20th June 2008, 12:17 PM
I had Fedora 7 running on an older PC P3 1Ghz with no issues but I do find that at times Fedora 9 does run slow on my system and there are times when my disk gets thrashed but all in all it is still better than the latest Ubuntu which would install fine but never boot as it cannot find anything, and Suse would always lock up during install. And this is on a newer system which has well above minimum specs required to run

Erikina
20th June 2008, 12:22 PM
Unfortunately, most of the stuff you've mentioned has been mentioned here countless times already and many, if not most here would agree with some/most/all of your points :)

WayneI didn't intend for it to be a novel list or anything. And I didn't mean to be overly critical either. And really, most of the issues are pretty minor / trivial. I don't mind waiting a while for packages to install or update. And there's no software I haven't been able to install on Fedora, just some is a major pain. So RPM fusion would be a real luxury.

The only thing on this list, that actively bothers me is PackageKit. And even then, it's very nice software just with some productivity issues, but I have no doubt that these will get fixed.

Erikina
20th June 2008, 12:28 PM
I had Fedora 7 running on an older PC P3 1Ghz with no issues but I do find that at times Fedora 9 does run slow on my system and there are times when my disk gets thrashed but all in all it is still better than the latest Ubuntu which would install fine but never boot as it cannot find anything, and Suse would always lock up during install. And this is on a newer system which has well above minimum specs required to run
Yeah, the only three distros that run on my laptop (one of the first P4s with 1.6GHz processor) are: Gentoo, Fedora and Puppy.

Fedora is nice. Runs a little slow. But cool.

Gentoo is a pain in the ass, but great. The processor really is too slow to compile packages itself, so I do it on my desktop and then transfer it. But way too much trouble for me.

Puppy. This disto actually shocked me. I _never_ would believe it, if I hadn't tried it. It's like 88MB, and I guess the difference is - it loads completely into RAM. Everything is just so damn fast and responsive. Also worked fine with my hardware. In the end, I use Fedora on the computer because it's more of a "real" distro with all the stuff I need. But puppy was amazing. (Also, that 88MB has everything you need. Flash player, browser, DVD player, word processor, image editors etc.)

stevea
20th June 2008, 01:20 PM
I'm sure you're all here, cause you know its strengths - but here is my list of weaknesses:


1.Fedora is noticeably (only on old hardware) slower than most distros.
2.Yum is slow
3.RPM is slow
4.Updates are way too big. Presto should be properly integrated for F10
5.Grub should be locked, with roots password
6.RPM Fusion should get up, with all the software we need (but know we shouldn't). And some cool metapackages would be nice. like "all-codecs".
7.PackageKit sucks. Needs to be able to do multiple transactions at once, and have a database/cache of everything. So everything is instantaneous.
8.Lots of people I've converted, have problems with automatic mounting of other drives / partitions. I personally don't dual boot so I don't know first hand how it works.
9.We need more spins, based on the hardware. Like a lite version etc. (and perhaps a nice one (by Fedora Unity?) that is Fedora with codecs and drivers).
10.The official ISO should be updated every month or so, to incorporate the recent packages. This will fix a lot of the installation bugs, and solve people needing to do like 900MB updates on a clean system. (Although Presto will cut that down, and I'm aware Fedora Unity makes such spins).


1. I'm not so sure..
2.,3.,7. I'll grant these
4. - big change = big updates. If you want less go to a slower changing distro. I don't believe presto (delta-rpms) will help a lot, just a marginal gain, but I haven't seen stats.
5. - So use grub password - what is stopping you ?
6. - Nice idea ,but it's a legal issue. Even Livna and other fusion members are very careful abt what they distribute. There are many packages they you could not be sued for using as an end-user, but that cannot be re-distributed.
8. - It's pretty silly to convert noobs to Fedora. IMO Fedora is NOT appropriate for ppl who aren't pretty tech savvy. They types need Mint or Ubuntu or PCLinuxOS or ...
9. I'd enjoy a 'lite' version too, but it isn't a high priority. There are a lot of other Distro choices for old/limited hardware. I'd strongly prefer that Fedora developers stay focussed on NEW rather than MINIMAL.
10. Right ! After a fedora DVD is 6-8 weeks old or so it makes sense to ONLY install the minimum from DVD and do the rest from internet. There have been distro-DVD updates, but agreed - not frequently enough.

So yeah - the update & distro scheme needs work, and in case you haven't noticed it's changing pretty fast. I'm not impressed with the other suggestions.

IMHO the installer DVD should check online and only install from DVD if there is no newer package in the repos - *but* that makes resoving dependencies more difficult.

Erikina
20th June 2008, 11:33 PM
4. - big change = big updates. If you want less go to a slower changing distro. I don't believe presto (delta-rpms) will help a lot, just a marginal gain, but I haven't seen stats.

Just for the record, when you see a large update it doesn't mean it's big. It means it's a big package. The update process sends the entire new package, every time there's an update. But if you look at a change log there will be a few bug fixes, a few language changes, perhaps a couple of minor feature changes. A diff of the source, will show _very_ little changes. Of course, that doesn't translate perfectly in binary, but we're still talking about updates using 20-30% as much internet. So, yeah it is a big difference - especially to people like me (severe internet quota restrictions).



5. - So use grub password - what is stopping you ?
Oh, nothing. It's just something that so many people aren't aware of and it allows anyone with physical access to be root. Almost gives the distro an amateur feel. I just think in the installer it should alert people to this fact, and give them the ability to lock it.

Dies
21st June 2008, 12:34 AM
Oh, nothing. It's just something that so many people aren't aware of and it allows anyone with physical access to be root. Almost gives the distro an amateur feel. I just think in the installer it should alert people to this fact, and give them the ability to lock it.

I agree with this, I think it's stupid that this isn't already the case I'll even take it a step further and say that the installer should just automagically apply the root pass as the grub password without even mentioning it. A note about it can be added to the grub menu screen.

It should just be something that becomes expected, no reason for it not to be.

If you decide to file a bugzilla on this please post a link here so we can comment / follow it. ;)

PeTzZz
21st June 2008, 12:38 AM
* Lots of people I've converted, have problems with automatic mounting of other drives / partitions. I personally don't dual boot so I don't know first hand how it works.

If it was Fedora 9 then I guess it was mostly this problem (https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=446751). It was fixed recently (a week or two ago) in the update selinux-policy-3.3.1-64.fc9. I had it too and the workaround was to set SELinux to permissive mode meanwhile.

Before Fedora 8 the fstab file had to be edited to get partitions automounted, but in Fedora 8 and now with that update in Fedora 9 it should be automatic and easy. Not so long period, but should be ok now. Even ntfs partitions are always automounted now in Fedora 9 after you first give root password in the dialog popping up after double-clicking the partition icon.

Erikina
21st June 2008, 01:53 AM
I agree with this, I think it's stupid that this isn't already the case I'll even take it a step further and say that the installer should just automagically apply the root pass as the grub password without even mentioning it. A note about it can be added to the grub menu screen.

It should just be something that becomes expected, no reason for it not to be.

If you decide to file a bugzilla on this please post a link here so we can comment / follow it. ;)

https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=452331


If it was Fedora 9 then I guess it was mostly this problem (https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=446751). It was fixed recently (a week or two ago) in the update selinux-policy-3.3.1-64.fc9. I had it too and the workaround was to set SELinux to permissive mode meanwhile.

Before Fedora 8 the fstab file had to be edited to get partitions automounted, but in Fedora 8 and now with that update in Fedora 9 it should be automatic and easy. Not so long period, but should be ok now. Even ntfs partitions are always automounted now in Fedora 9 after you first give root password in the dialog popping up after double-clicking the partition icon.

Ah awesome. Good to see it fixed. Sorry, I didn't know (as it didn't effect me personally).

PeTzZz
21st June 2008, 09:13 AM
https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=452331
Great! I joined the CC list.

From one moment I have always set the Grub password, because of the reason mentioned, but haven't thought about it so deeply to file a bug or something.

What about live CDs? Is it easy to take over root account with them? I am not very into it, but have seen something about that, if I remember correctly. It has bothered my mind sometimes.

Erikina
21st June 2008, 10:11 AM
What about live CDs? Is it easy to take over root account with them? I am not very into it, but have seen something about that, if I remember correctly. It has bothered my mind sometimes.

This is actually a separate problem, and out of the OS's field. In the computers BIOS, you can lock-down what it boots from (Namely, the hard drive). And generally apply a password.

This ensures that the computer, boots only from the hard drive, which is what we want. Now, if grub is on that disk, we'll boot into that. Even though it's separate to the BIOS it allows us to do many powerful things including booting from other media (CDs, DVDs, floppys, USBs etc.)

If you want to restrict what people can boot up on (i.e. CDs and USBs) you do it in the BIOS. But people don't realise that grub by default is unlocked and can very easily be used to get around the restrictions applied. (And grub is actually very powerful, from the grub console can you can output files with almost no restrictions). Not to mention, you can even pass kernel arguments.

If you're in an environment where this is an issue - encryption is often a great choice. But on public computers, not so great. (Only people with pass phrase can boot). BIOS has a well known feature to restrict alternate media to be booted, and can be passworded. But the unknown power of Grub can be deadly. And requires no tools (CDs/USBs/floppies)

PeTzZz
21st June 2008, 10:53 AM
Thank you for your answer, Erikina! So only restrictions in BIOS or encryption can prevent that.

Erikina
21st June 2008, 12:14 PM
That's correct. But encryption will only stop them reading (or modifying*) your data. They can still wreck things. And they can still install a key logger in the pre-boot stage to get your password.

So there really is no substitute for locking down the BIOS.


* They can technically modify your partition, but they'll cause breakage and just be doing it blind.

Wayne
21st June 2008, 12:21 PM
Yeah, but before anyone can get to my machine they have to get past the alarm system, me, my baton and a Doctor Marten boot in the nuts :)

Wayne

JN4OldSchool
21st June 2008, 11:24 PM
Thank you for your answer, Erikina! So only restrictions in BIOS or encryption can prevent that.

The BIOS password can be reset by pulling the battery on the MOBO thus clearing the CMOS.

Encryption is the only real way to safeguard the data and anyone with physical access to the computer can at least destroy that data.

Dies
22nd June 2008, 01:01 AM
https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=452331

Very cool. Thanks for taking the time to file it, I'll be sure to follow it. :)

Oh and I also see your point about not using the root pass for grub, didn't really think that far into it myself but I'm glad you did.

robert-e
22nd June 2008, 05:54 AM
Before I retired, I used to see school kids use manufacture's "backdoor" passwords to get into the BIOS and change the boot sequence, and some other bits of nasty. Some would just change the BIOS passward to mess with the Sys Admin's head. But most common was to boot off a floppy to run some of their own programs. Unfortunately, I think that Wayne's is the most effective solution...and maybe Glock would help.
Regards,
Bob

Erikina
22nd June 2008, 12:57 PM
The BIOS password can be reset by pulling the battery on the MOBO thus clearing the CMOS.

Encryption is the only real way to safeguard the data and anyone with physical access to the computer can at least destroy that data.

Yup, and possibly with software such as: http://www.11a.nu/software/bios-pc-bios-security-and-maintanance-toolkit/

But anyway, I think we can agree that this is complete different level than just turning on the computer, and booting into run level 1 and police-style-techniques. :) And good point on encryption.

DamianS
25th June 2008, 02:52 PM
Yeah, but before anyone can get to my machine they have to get past the alarm system, me, my baton and a Doctor Marten boot in the nuts :)

Wayneheck, why would anyone go to that trouble just to use your '486? :p :D



The BIOS password can be reset by pulling the battery on the MOBO thus clearing the CMOS.

Encryption is the only real way to safeguard the data and anyone with physical access to the computer can at least destroy that data.Some laptop drives (IBM/Hitachi spring to mind) have settable passwords.
If that password is set, no-one is getting any info off that drive without knowing the password - even if transplanted to another laptop or computer.
Conversely, if you set the password and then forget it, you now have a brick which you may as well throw away or take out and use as a paperweight.

A.Serbinski
22nd July 2008, 01:24 AM
I'll agree with above.. that without encryption, there is *always* a way. Grub passwords, however, are always useless - the easiest things in the world to bypass. All you need to bypass it is a disk with grub on it. The next better thing you can do is simply to disable runlevel 1. Still doesn't protect your data from a livecd though. If worried about evil's physically breaking into your system (and not resorting to drastic physical security), since F9, the installer allows you to select encryption (LUKS). This will request a decryption password at an early stage of boot.

See this: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Security_Guide/9/LUKSDiskEncryption