Fedora 8 Impressions

november 13, 2007

There are too many Linux distros and that is great! Last month, I switch from my long running Scientific Linux 5.0 install to Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. I really enjoyed Gutsy. It installed and ran perfect out of the box. The installs on my two notebooks (one Celeron M 430 and one P3) worked great. All hardware was supported out of the box. There were still some niggling things (like no firewall out of the box, the brown all over the place and the weird bug where the splash screen did not show on either of my notebooks -- only a blank screen showed while the systems booted). A few days ago, I wiped off Ubuntu for Fedora 8 -- Jon at work tipped me to the released and I got it right away and installed. I am a Red Hat guy. Always been since RHL 3.0 (not RHEL, but the old original RHL). Red Hat Linux is where I feel at home, so getting Fedora installed was something good. But, the problems I have had with Fedora always bugged me. Fedora Core 4 worked great, I ran ultramookie.com with it and it ran well. But, when Fedora Core 5 came out, I tried to upgrade and FC5 blew up my server. I did learn my lesson there, Fedora is not for servers. But, Fedora is great for personal desktop usage. FC5 was good. FC6 was good. Fedora 7 was a royal pain for me since it failed to work well with my wifi (Atheros and Intel 3945abg). Fedora 8? Great! After running my two systems for a while, it seems like wifi works good. That's something to not worry about. There is a an Atheros driver in Fedora 8 (ath5k), but it does not seem to support my Netgear PCMCIA card. I had to install the madwifi driver from livna. The 3945abg card was supported out-of-the-box via the iwlwifi driver -- the same one that I had troubles with in Fedora 7, now works great. Video for both notebooks were supported out of the box. Compiz worked on both (though painfully slow on the P3, as expected). All other hardware (sound, Ethernet, etc) was supported out of the box. The theme for Fedora 8 is very professional and much better than the dreamy hot air balloon theme for Fedora 7 (though, not as cool as the underwater DNA one for Fedora Core 6 or the bubbles of Fedora Core 5). The new theme "Fedora" is nice and very professional. I love how the default wallpaper changes color when day turns to night (it goes from blue to purple). Included software that I use: Firefox 2, Thunderbird 2, Liferea (thanks for the pointer on this one Russ), OpenOffice.org 2.3 and Pigdin. Gnome is at 2.20.1 and the kernel is at 2.6.23. Anyways, Fedora 8 is running, it works great and I feel comfy with it. I know where everything is and that is really nice. That is not to say that Debian or Debian-based Ubuntu are bad. They are equally awesome. I just prefer a Red Hat-based distro.