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Fedora 18 Beta Release!

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Delays Delays Delays

Fedora 18 initial scheduled release date was Nov 6, 2012 but after several postponements, it was delayed till  Jan 8, 2013; and there is always a chance of further delay. Similarly Fedora 18 beta was scheduled for Oct 2, 2012 but  postponed to today, Nov 27 2012. You can see the full schedule in Fedora 18 Schedule Wiki.

The delays happened because of the issues in the revamped Anaconda, with RAID and Partitioner problems. Regardless, the delay harmed Fedora’s credibility. The worst part is that Fedora 18 is now 4 months behind the GNOME 3.6 release, and as Fedora is the main distributor of GNOME 3 it also harms GNOME. With GNOME 3.8 coming out in March, it is a question when Fedora 19 will come.

However the outcome is quite good and that somewhat reduces the bad impressions.


Installation

The first good surprise comes very early when starting the Fedora installation. The new Anaconda is one of the most modern installers you will find in any distro (including Ubuntu) and is also very user friendly.

You can install Fedora with the Live Installer that runs inside GNOME 3 and while you are waiting for it to complete you can surf on the internet. If you go with the non-live installer everything is the same, but you won’t have GNOME Shell, just Anaconda in full screen.

Anaconda obviously follows [1] the GNOME OS Installation Designs and Fedora 19 will also ship the Initial System Setup which is also part of the GNOME OS. If you want to have a full view of GNOMEe 3, you should have Fedora. This is of course a GNOME disadvantage.

Keep in mind that these screens are from an older Fedora 18 installation from nightly builds, and there are some differences.


Proprietary Software

Fedora doesn’t ship any proprietary software and that includes Video Cards drivers as well. At first Fedora will use the open drivers (Nouveau) though they lag far behind in the performance from of proprietary ones. To install them you need to visit RPM Fusion and follow their guidelines.

There is much more software you will miss like Java Oracle, Adobe Flash and Chrome/Chromium.

Satya has written a nice little App known as Fedora Utilities that will save you lot of time and Googling. You can set up pretty much anything you will need from there with just one click. I have used and tested it excessively and it works as intended.

Get it from: https://github.com/satya164/fedorautils

If you encounter any bugs on it, please let Satya know in a message on Git Hub. It’s a really useful App for Fedora and you will be a great help by submitting bugs (if any).


Software Installation

Things couldn’t be worse. Yum + GNOME Software is the worst possible combination!

Above I am just trying to search for and install Libre Office. Impossible. I am a huge Fedora + GNOME 3 fan but this is #$%^&*().. To install Software you * definitely* need the console. This is not an issue for me, but for new users it is just… WTH Fedora!

On the bright side you can skip Yum for Dnf (next generation Yum) which is amazingly fast. Dnf doesn’t download all the repos every time you are searching for a package or updating your system. As a matter of fact, Dnf is faster that Apt and can resolve dependencies and discover update packages within 2 seconds!?!

Dnf will (most likely) replace Yum in Fedora 19 but you can still use it in 18. Hopefully we will also get and a better GNOME Software App in GNOME 3.8, although major changes in there will probably take place in 3.10. Another small detail here is that Fedora 18 features Offline Updates. Packages are downloaded silently and then you get an info in your user menu about Installing and Restart.


Virtualization

Fedora 18 does it great in Virtualization, everything works perfect (no crashes) and fast.

Above is GNOME Boxes. To be honest I don’t use that much, and Boxes can’t compete with Virtual Box in features at the moment. I am a heavy user of VBox and I am totally happy with Fedora in this area.


New Features

Plenty of new features and updates come with Fedora 18. GNOME 3.6, 256 Colors Terminals, firewalld, Avahi by Default on Desktop, Dnf and Hawkey, the new Installer and many many more. You will get the full list along with a detailed explanation of each one in Fedora 18 Feature List Wiki.

My System
Linux: 3.6.7-5
GCC: 4.7.2 20121109
X: 1.13.0-7


GNOME 3

This site is full of GNOME 3 and Fedora 18. So there is much to talk about, a very nice GNOME 3 shipping, amazingly fast… and some bugs, mostly with Empathy. Fedora is pretty much -in a sense- what we call GNOME OS and most of the GNOME developers (though not all) work in a Fedora distro.

There are additional Apps here!

Fedora works perfectly with GNOME, and bugs are mostly GNOME bugs rather than Fedora’s.  I did a test by removing the whole GNOME stack, leaving my Fedora naked and re-install GNOME modules one by one. Everything worked.


Fedora Vs Ubuntu GNOME Remix

Although I use Fedora, I don’t think that Fedora can look UGR in the eyes yet. UGR has better support (both from the community and Companies), has more App updates, has a better software installer (you can add Ubuntu Software Center).

On the other hand, Fedora is noticeable faster and it ships a more genuine GNOME. But still UGR is superior in almost any aspect, as long as it concerns a User Friendly Desktop system.


Moving to Fedora

Moving to Fedora from another distro might be disappointing to you at first glance. Once you get comfortable with your system and yum, you will love this distro. The same applies for new comers to Linux. Fedora 18 could be your first distro, but it needs a bit more Googling than others.


Upgrade from 17

The upgrader has become obsolete for Fedora 18. So if you are interested in upgrading it is better to follow the official notes in Fedora Wiki. A clean installation might be the wisest solution.


Web Development

Fedora 18 makes sense for people that work in web-development on CentOS/RHEL servers. I have tested mySQL, postreSQL, MongoDB, Apache, nGinx, Php, Rails (with RVM), Nodejs (with NPM) and everything runs smooth. Also compiling is super fast!


JHBuild

I am keeping an upstream version of GNOME 3.7.x with JHBuild and I haven’t encountered any serious bugs. I know that people with other distros get many errors with JHBuild and GNOME 3 building. Well, that doesn’t apply in Fedora 18.


Personal Experience

I have been using Fedora 18 for about 2 months. This is one of the best distros I have ever had since the beginning of using Linux -which was since GNOME 1! The truth is that I don’t use many applications, however last month I spent like 18h a day front of my PC and I am totally happy with Fedora.

I just get a few crashes with the lock screen, I couldn’t run Chrome (Chrome beta works) and once I had to dracut for installing my nVidia. But that was all. Fedora 18 is a very solid system in my case.


Known Bugs

Before you use Fedora 18 please check the Fedora 18 Beta Known Bugs that they may affect your installation.


Get it

Where else? http://fedoraproject.org/ :) You will get the Download Link in their home page.

Good luck to Fedora 18!

***Of course Fedora ships more Desktops, KDE, XFCE etc.. It has also Mate (GNOME 2 fork) in repos.


[1] Máirín Duffy Anaconda leader UX Designer said:

As the lead UX designer I can tell you this is markedly not true (Anaconda doesn’t follow Gnome OS Installer designs). We did – of course – try to keep it GNOME-friendly and tried to follow the HIG and GNOME visual style, etc.! But the GNOME OS installer designs were much too limited to meet the needs of our more sophisticated users, especially in the storage dept….

So that was just a wrong impression from me, sorry!


 
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  • Rasmus Steinke

    whats the issue with installing software? i can see libreoffice in your results, why not simply select it….

    • alex285

      It outputs like 100 results. In some packages I don’t even know what to pick. If you don’t know the exact package name, is really hard to discover apps in there.

      • Rémi G.

        Ubuntu Software Center is just what newcomers like the most : it’s slow but it works as users expect to do. I hope other distributions like fedora will catch up soon, I think they miss the point !

        • alex285

          Plus what is the most important thing in a software center is the user ratings. Which Ubuntu does this great!

          • jon_downfromthetrees

            Does anyone actually believe or trust those user ratings?

          • alex285

            @jon_downfromthetrees:disqus you mean in USC or in general? Personally is the only thing I trust to choose Apps (generally speaking), popularity, ratings and activity (for libraries/frameworks)

          • jon_downfromthetrees

            Well, when I’ve used Ubuntu I have paid little attention to the reviews in the USC. Typically, I’ll know what I want to install before I run any graphical package. I’ll do that, instead of using apt-get in Ubuntu, when I want to see how Ubuntu describes a package and which version is available.

            It’s not that I actively distrust the reviews or think that they are bogus. I don’t. But, I know nothing about the people who posted them. I know nothing about their experience, skills, etc. It’s like going to a travel site loaded with reviews of hotels, etc., from other people. You don’t know the reviewers and few post anything that, frankly, amounts to more than “Great!” or “Awful!”.

          • alex285

            I see what you mean. But if it wasn’t user ratings and popularity, I doubt I have ever played Angry Birds and use Firebug :)

            Specially if you are going to buy something and you can’t try it for free, it matters a lot. I trust user ratings when I buy online from Amazon or other eShops. Besides I have no other alternative. Sometimes I am wondering if small shops are cheating in reviews and ratings.. In that case I am just a sucker :)

  • Guest

    What? A “4.63 GB ISO”? Is it a joke?

  • jon_downfromthetrees

    Good to see that they finally got Anaconda to the point of releasing the beta. A couple of the bug reports that slowed things down were from me. They are trying to combine foolproof installation and partitioning for the single-disk don’t-care-about-partitioning crowd with the fine-grained control people with multiple drives need. Trying to make things easy for mainstream users often results in baked-in assumptions and reductions in capabilities, which are the exact opposite of what knowledgeable users want.

    While playing with the post-alpha releases, I found it otherwise to be a very smooth release. Fast, too.

    With the netinstall and, I believe, the DVD, you have the option of choosing from a variety of software packages, and, as well, a Gnome, KDE, MATE, Cinnamon, or bare bones X setup. I like the netinstall. If you have the bandwidth, it’s easy. The DVD is loaded with everything. hence its size. I can do a complete netinstall in little more time than it takes to download the DVD image.

    Yum *is* a console app. I think Software is not yet the best software manager, by a long shot, but it would help if distributions would include “phony” packages for big jobs like LibreOffice so we could install them by selecting that package rather than chasing around for every component.

    • David Dreggors

      “Trying to make things easy for mainstream users often results in baked-in assumptions and reductions in capabilities, which are the exact opposite of what knowledgeable users want.”

      Very well said sir!

      Also, to the point on “phony” packages, it might be easier if they tied into yums “groupinstall”, “grouplist”, and “groupinfo” versus trying to reinvent the wheel.

      On the command line I can search for, get details on, and then install package “groups” in the following way:

      yum grouplist |grep -i office
      yum groupinfo “Office/Productivity”
      yum groupinstall “Office/Productivity”

      You would think the Software tools could easily access that info.

    • Stiph

      It already is in the “Package collections” entry… you can install LibreOffice like that. It just is not very discoverable ;)

  • Stiph

    “LibreOffice” is in the “Package collections” section, like many interesting things. I think this entry is not having a big enough place in the UI.

    I do not remember, but I thought the default in live CDs was to include Writer & Calc, are they missing? Did you want to install a custom libreoffice component like Base? Otherwise, I think one expects an office suite to be installed with my desktop by default. Advanced users can remove it if they do not want, but almost every “desktop” user want the ability to view/edit documents, so you should not even have to browse for that kind of software ;)

    The “Software” application is really needed that’s for sure, but I think the current gnome-packagekit could be way better with slight changes.

  • Josh Melling

    Waiting for the day I can replace ubuntu with Fedora… Currently Running UGR 12.10 with Gnome 3.7.2

    Side note: You guys should do a Tutorial on using gnome Boxes sometime.

  • http://twitter.com/woddy68 coppa carlo

    I tried for a long time Fedora 17, but I find the Gnome Shell very uncomfortable, especially when I work. This is the main reason that made me go back to Ubuntu, in my opinion Unity is much more suited to the job.

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  • Mace

    Nice post! Since you mentioned Virtual Box, may I ask: how do you manage to install it in Fedora 18 BETA? The Fedora 17 package does not work with an error message like: “file /usr/bin from install of VirtualBox-4.2-4.2.4_81684_fedora17-1.x86_64 conflicts with file from package filesystem-3.1-2.fc18.x86_64″

    • alex285

      Normally I get Vbox from http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/ but I just noticed that I used the RPM Fusion package. Do you want to give a try to that ?

      • Mace

        Thank you very much you saved my day! I rushed into Fedora 18 earlier today. Although I did back up my old files, I forgot to copy out a few important files created in my old virtual box guest machine. The RPM fusion package installed without problem. I was then able to import the vdi file to restore my old virtual machine. Thanks again!

        • alex285

          Great! Probably I would had the same issue that’s why I used RPM Fusion, but I can’t remember :)

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  • Máirín Duffy

    “Anaconda obviously follows the Gnome OS Installation Designs”

    As the lead UX designer I can tell you this is markedly not true. But otherwise I’m glad you found the new installer design to be useful, thanks for the review of the beta! :)

    • Máirín Duffy

      (we did – of course – try to keep it GNOME-friendly and tried to follow the HIG and GNOME visual style, etc.! But the GNOME OS installer designs were much too limited to meet the needs of our more sophisticated users, especially in the storage dept….)

      • alex285

        I meant that Anaconda now feels more Gnomish, rather exact copy GnomeOS designs. Sorry for that and thank you for making it clear. I edit it!

        • Máirín Duffy

          Hey, thanks for the quick correction! Very cool :)

  • Helder Pereira

    There are two things fundamentally wrong with the current PackageKit front-end in Fedora. It is slow and the search is very poor. If you misspell a package name or forget an hyphen or something, you won’t find anything remotely close to what you searched. Having a package manager that assumes users must know the exact name of every single package is as good as having no package manager. I have more accurate results finding a package name in Google. Using yum in console is way faster, and that’s what I do now, but I hope the situation improves presumably when GNOME develops its own Software Centre (I’ve seen some mock-ups of it somewhere and it looks awesome.)

  • http://profiles.google.com/bwat47 Brandon Watkins

    I tried UGR a while back and found it to be incredibly buggy

  • lunesanctuaire

    mmm Do we move away from Mint…. might give it a try…Thanks for your input

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