Fedora 9 Review

After spending a good deal of time configuring Fedora 9 I thought I would take this opportunity to provide my thoughts and feedback. The following is my Review of Fedora 9 (F9).

“Sulphur” smells only just a little.

Installation Media

The first thing I was happy to see was that the team finally decided to offer Fedora 9 in multi-CD installations in addition to the DVD installation. This has been missing since Fedora 7. I’m glad someone realized that Live image installation is NOT the same. I chose the DVD installation.


Note: For the first time I simultaneously installed Fedora on both a Laptop and Desktop. Additionally I used both 32-bit and 64-bit versions for installation.

As always the Fedora installer always seems to slowly lose features. Although in this case some very useful features got added. This release saw the addition of partition-resizing in the installer as well as encrypting your file system. While I do not think that majority of users require the encryption, the re-sizing ability is welcome as it accepts the possibility that many people wish to dual-boot or are not yet ready to abandon Windows. Unfortunately, I did not trust the Fedora installer to re-size my (pre-setup out) partitions.

For Package Selection I was fairly pleased with the default set of packages. I find that with each release there are less changes I need to do. Although I would still prefer if KDE, thunderbird, and k3b were installed by default. Oddly my install later added up to be a whopping 4.8GB! Almost 1GB bigger than I recall the similar installations for either F8 or F7! Not sure what was added!

The First Boot did see some minor changes. The security settings for both the Firewall and SE-Linux (Security Enhanced Linux) were removed. I would guess that many people possibly just disabled them upfront instead of actually learning to use them. I guess this is probably a smart move for Fedora.

Software: Fedora Desktop

After the First Boot configurations were set I made it to the login screen. This is where I will use the phrase: “Familiarity Be Damned!”. I follow the Fedora defaults of using Gnome but this release really had some major changes in software components.

The new verion of GDM (which manages logins) requires you to double-click your name and has this annoying animation after selection. There is an option at the bottom for selecting alternative desktops (e.g. KDE). Overall the login screen seemed incredibly clunky and unpolished. I felt it was a minor detraction, since technically I did not see any major functionality lost.

After logging into Gnome, my first reaction was that nothing major had changed. Which from the perspective of the GUI seemed to be true. I did notice 2 new applets on the top-right. The first was PackageKit and the second was NetworkManager.

PackageKit seemed to give a pretty simple interface for accepting new updates. I liked it for the most part, it reminded of a similar feature in Ubuntu. Although, if one saw over a 100 I doubt there would be much usefulness in “Reviewing” an update before install. Overall positive improvement.

NetworkManager which I was believe was available in FC5 is finally enabled by default in Fedora 9. The previous network service is disabled. This is a potentially problematic issue. Some setup’s (like my desktop) may find NetworkManager a nuisance. I ended up disabling NetworkManager in Fedora and concluded that this option was still too beta-quality. That is until I tested the same on my laptop. I enabled the WiFi and clicked on the applet which showed my WPA2-PSK access point. I entered my pass phrase and I was connected! No configuring, no tweaking, no firmware-ing, no ‘yum-ing’. My Intel Pro ABG3945 Wireless worked out of the box! So, I can only conclude that NetworkManager, while not perfect for all configurations, is definitely worthwhile for some.

Firefox 3 – While I did not go through all the new applications, I am not very impressed with Firefox 3 (not Fedora’s fault). The interface seems a little annoying and only 2 of my 10 extensions work, which makes surfing a little difficult in Fedora 9.

Otherwise the GNOME setup seemed satisfactory. The only other quirk I had was that point-and-click NTFS partition mounting did not work for me like it did in Fedora 8. As usual I just prefer to have all my NTFS partitions fixed and mounted at boot. Also occasionally after I login I find that my time is several hours off? I do have NTP running. This causes a nuisance for dual-booting.

Software: Java

Fedora 9 ships with OpenJDK instead of IcedTea that was shipped in Fedora 8. I want to believe that the development is moving closer to be functionally same as the popular Sun Java, but I am confused. OpenJDK is version 1.6 while IcedTea was 1.7? Okay, no biggie. What was the biggest disappointment was the OpenJDK web-browser plugin did NOT work on the popular Java Test Page. Why does this bother me? Because IcedTea in Fedora 8 worked like a charm.

Software: KDE 4

Although I was initially excited about trying KDE4, that excitement quickly faded after using KDE for a few minutes – “Familiarity Be Damned!” Simply put, it is missing too many features and there are enough changes to frustrate you. While again, I do not blame the Fedora developers for including this, it does add to the feeling that many software components in Fedora 9 may seem incredibly unfamiliar or just NOT ready.

System Issues

While there may be many software updates at the system level, I did not notice anything new that would significantly change the user experience. I would say on a very positive note that sound seemed quite issue-free. The PulseAudio (first included in Fedora 8 ) worked great for me. While not a big deal, the doc writers should have made sure to add libflashsupport in the Release Notes to get sound in Flash working.

Now to SELinux – the super security tool everybody loves to hate and nobody has the patience to learn. For the first time I found running Fedora with SELinux set to Enforcing has NOT caused a single problem. All plugins, drivers, 3rd party and proprietary apps ran without issue. This was 3 different hardware installs! First time ever! It only took 4 years!!! Well, I’ll wait till a SELinux policy update renders my system useless. But overall, I was quite pleased.

Fedora included Upstart which is Ubuntu’s new startup system. While I know that this opens the door to many optimizations during startup, I did not notice any major changes. I think this will be gradually improved over time.

Hardware Support – Laptop

While I do not have much new hardware on my desktop, I do have a Thinkpad Laptop. I was shocked that almost every single feature worked out of the box for my laptop: video resolution, sound, touchpad/pointer, SD card, wireless, battery, volume, brightness and hibernate. While my mute button still does not work correctly and the suspend is a little buggy, I have not really debugged them. Even so, the amount of time in the past I would have to configure all of the previously mentioned options was days of tweaking, researching and kernel compiling. I was really pleased with how well Fedora 9 – 64-bit worked on my laptop.

System Issues – Xorg X-server

Unfortunately the release of of Xorg 1.5/7.4 was not ready in time for the release of Fedora 9 so a development version 1.4.9999999999999 was shipped (not sure how many 9’s). While there is nothing technically wrong with this, the Nvidia binary driver (must have for 3-D and compiz effects) will not work correctly with this release. Since no one knows the Nvidia’s release schedule or the internal working of their hardware, basically you cannot do 3-D or effects in Fedora 9 if you are an Nvidia user (like myself). I wish the Xorg release was ready. I’m eagerly waiting to fix the last remaining quirk on my Fedora 9. Annoying, but people should have patience.


I’m not a big fan of shipping development versions of software, but in the open source world – everything is development software. Overall I am not super thrilled with Fedora 9 on the desktop but the drastic improvements on the laptop front are well worth it. Obviously I don’t plan on using Fedora as a server.

I don’t think I will ever agree with some of the default decisions (e.g. NetworkManager over network) but nothing seemed too difficult to resolve. I think this release was definitely moving in the right direction. Much better than Fedora 8. I feel Fedora is trying real hard to catch up to Ubuntu’s polished quality.

I personally would recommend that people wait for at least the update to Xorg. This seems to be a big road block for many. I do not think that there was a major lack in quality in the distribution as a whole (like in many past releases). I just think that many of the components shipped in Fedora 9 just need a little catch up time.

Glad I tried multiple different installs, it broadened my perspective. Maybe Fedora 9 “Sulphur” will do the same for you? Happy installing!

Fedora 9 Released

Can you feel the burn of “Sulphur” ?

After an unfortunate 2 week delay the Fedora project just announced the release of Fedora 9. Fedora has always been known to be the latest and greatest and this release is no different, rough edges and all. A great deal of hard work has been done to put this all together.

The highlights from the Release Summary:


  • GNOME 2.22 – many added functions, improvements
  • KDE 4.0.3 – the highly anticipated KDE4!
  • XFCE 4.4.2 – now in it’s own LiveSpin as well, just like KDE and GNOME
  • Online Desktop – providing a desktop experience designed around online services


  • Network Manager – major improvements for wireless network management, mobile broadband, GSM, CDMA as well as Ad-Hoc networking
  • Bluetooth – devices and tools now have better graphical and system integration
  • Laptops – users benefit from the “quirks” feature in HAL, including better suspend/resume and multimedia keyboard support
  • PackageKit – An easy to use tool for updating.
  • YUM – performance improvements.
  • Xorg 7.4/X Server 1.5 (almost) – Major updates to X including faster startup and shutdown (unfortunately not quite complete but should be updated soon)
  • Upstart – Originally from Ubuntu, this will eventually replace the old init system leading to faster bootup time


  • GNOME Cheese – a webcam photo and video creation utility
  • PulseAudio – updated and now default


  • OpenJDK – A switch from IcedTea. Closer alignment with Sun Open Source Java


  • Firefox 3.0 (almost) – Not quite complete but massive improvements over Firefox 2
  • Eclipse 3.3.1
  • Perl 5.10 – many improvements
  • OpenOffice 2.4 – many new features
  • Kernel 2.6.25

Installer (Anaconda)

  • More flexibility in installation
  • Partition Resizing – A very welcome option to allow resizing EXT2/EXT3/NTFS partitions before installation (esp when dual booting with that other OS)
  • Rescue Mode – improved now with FirstAidKit

You can download Fedora 9 using the standard mirrors or using the Torrent (recommended).

Please user the Fedora-List mailing list or any of the forums for help. I have published my Personal Fedora 9 Installation Guide which should provide people with some hints for people eager to try it out. Lots more to do!

Fedora 9 as I have examined for a few weeks now is definitely far more polished than the past releases. I am sure people will like it! A more thorough examination to follow. Till then …

… I hope you like the smell of Sulphur.

Download Older Versions of Fedora

A frequently asked question is: Where can I find a specific older version of Fedora? The correct answer is: If you CANNOT find it on the official Fedora Mirror List, then chances are it is too old and not supported.

Unless you need an older version for some very specific task, I strongly recommend that you use a recent version of Fedora.

To find an older version, start by going through the mirrors to see if you can find a site that is physically closer to you (for faster downloads). If you cannot find the version on a mirror, try downloading from Redhat’s site (below).

Some things to note:

  • If a DVD image is not available try to generate your own DVD from CD’s.
  • The SRPM ISO images are for source code and not useful for running and/or installing.
  • The follow links could be removed at any point in the future.
  • The rescue-CD is not needed for installing/running but maybe helpful to boot or fix an existing installation.
  • Since you need to download each ISO individually, make sure to verify the MD5SUM or SHA1SUM.

Download Links:

Fedora Version Architecture Install CD’s Rescue-CD DVD
Fedora Core 1 i386 3
x86_64 3
Fedora Core 2 i386 4 yes yes
x86_64 4 yes
Fedora Core 3 i386 4 yes yes
x86_64 4 yes
Fedora Core 4 i386 4 yes yes
x86_64 5 yes yes
ppc 5 yes
Fedora Core 5 i386 5 yes yes
x86_64 5 yes yes
ppc 5 yes yes
Fedora Core 6 i386 5 yes yes
x86_64 6 yes yes
ppc 6 yes yes

Fedora 7 and newer no longer use “Core” as part of the release name.

Fedora Version Architecture Media Type
Fedora 7 i386 DVD + Rescue CD
i386 Live CD
x86_64 DVD + Rescue CD
x86_64 Live DVD
ppc DVD + Rescue CD
Fedora 8 i386 DVD + Rescue CD
i686 Live CD
x86_64 DVD + Rescue CD
x86_64 Live DVD
ppc DVD + Rescue CD
ppc Live CD
Fedora 9 i386 DVD, 6-CD Set
i686 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
x86_64 DVD, 7-CD Set
x86_64 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
ppc DVD, 7-CD Set
Fedora 10 i386 DVD, 6-CD Set
i686 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
x86_64 DVD, 6-CD Set
x86_64 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
ppc DVD, 7-CD Set
Fedora 11 i386 DVD, 6-CD Set
i686 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
x86_64 DVD, 6-CD Set
x86_64 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
ppc DVD, 7-CD Set
Fedora 12 i386 DVD, 5-CD Set
i686 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
x86_64 DVD, 5-CD Set
x86_64 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
ppc DVD, 6-CD Set
Fedora 13 i386 DVD, 5-CD Set
i686 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
x86_64 DVD, 5-CD Set
x86_64 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
Fedora 14 i386 DVD, 5-CD Set
i686 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)
x86_64 DVD, 5-CD Set
x86_64 Live CDs (Gnome, KDE)

Fedora Public Mirror List
How to download Fedora

Older versions of CentOS can be found here: http://vault.centos.org/

UPDATE: 10/04/2008 – Updated all links to archives.fedoraproject.org
UPDATE: 03/31/2009 – Updated for Fedora 7 and later. No installation CD sets are available.
UPDATE: 02/22/2010 – Added Fedora 9 and 10.
UPDATE: 03/23/2012 – Added Fedora 11-14.

Fedora 8 Released

Do you fear the “Werewolf” * ?

The Fedora project just released Fedora 8 with a great deal of enthusiasm. Fedora had been slipping behind in the past few releases and there have always been quality issues, but the team hopes this release will put them back on track.

The highlights from the Release Summary:


  • PulseAudio – A revamped sound system addressing many of the limitations and problems with older Linux sound systems.
  • CodecBuddy – A tool to help install codecs and multimedia formats that Fedora cannot legally or ethically distribute directly.
  • Compiz / Compiz-Fusion – Improvements on the Linux hardware accelerated user interface including cool effects.


  • Network Manager – significant improvements for wireless network management.
  • Firewall Administration is much more user friendly.
  • Package Manager – You can install software using your media (DVD). Finally! We lost this in Fedora Core 5!
  • PolicyKit – When accessing restricted tasks or hardware you now have a much more user-friendly password prompt
  • Improved Laptop support
  • Improved Bluetooth support
  • Improved power management support


  • Gnome 2.20, KDE 3.5.8, Xfce 4.4.1 (unfortunately KDE4 was delayed by the KDE team)
  • GNOME Online Desktop – An application on the desktop to interface with online applications like GMail, Photobucket, Facebook, EBay, Wikipedia, and countless others
  • New desktop theme


  • IcedTea – This is a Fedora packaged version of the Java that Sun open sourced in the OpenJDK project. Now a working Java plus browser plugin comes included in Fedora.


  • Eclipse 3.3
  • OpenOffice 2.3.0
  • Kernel 2.6.23

You can download Fedora 8 using the standard mirrors or using the Torrent (recommended).

Please user the Fedora-List mailing list or any of the forums for help. There are some basic tips provided in my Personal Fedora 8 Installation Guide which should be updated within the week with the installation.

The release so far looks much more polished than the past few. I hope it is well received!

* – The Werewolf would have been much cooler if the release somehow made it on October 31! Oh well.

UPDATE – NOTE please DO NOT COMMENT here if you have problems with my Install Guide, use the CONTACT form with a proper email address. THANK YOU.

Fedora 7 Review

I have been using Fedora 7 for 2 weeks now and feel I’ve setup and configured almost all of the software and hardware as I would like. The following are my observations and assessments of this release.

Installation: Media

Many people have complained that the methods for installing Fedora 7 (F7) were poorly thought out. There are 2 types of ISO’s available for download: Live Images and basic DVD Installs. The Live Images boot to a useable instance of Fedora in memory and provide a method to install the contents of the disk onto the drive. Similar to Knoppix and Ubuntu, but new for Fedora. The DVD install contains the basic set of software and is identical to previous releases.

There is however one major caveat: If you wish to install by CD-ROM you must use a LiveCD. Previously releases provided a multi-CD set which was identical to the contents of the DVD. This has been discontinued. Hence if you have installed via CD you will have to download a great deal more independently and a further limitation is that you cannot upgrade via Live Image.

To make matters worse the forums and mailing lists are flooded with people complaining about the inability to boot or improper detection of CD or DVD drives. I destroyed 1 DVD-RW and 2 DVD-R before I got K3b (in F7-Test release) to burn correctly. Even worse, the DVD kept “disappearing” during the initial steps of the install. However eventually it did finally make it all the way to installing.

Installation: Package Selection

Anaconda (Fedora’s installer) has not significantly changed since Fedora Core 6. The most significant change in F7 is that is merges the 2 main repositories: Core and Extras into one. That being said, one might expect significantly more software available on the DVD media. Quite the opposite, the DVD contained significantly less than previous releases (more later). I followed my common package selections and performed the install.

I was thrilled to find NTFS-3g included in the package selection. It is great to see NTFS read and write support out of the box – considering countless users dual-boot with Windows.

While I personally do not need an “Install Everything” option, I am greatly disappointed with the lack of any form of Disk Space Usage indication. The installer does count the number of packages (~1100) but that does not help much. In the end I installed about 4.0GB of from the 2.8GB DVD.

First Boot Startup: Smolt

Like previous releases, F7 does several setup steps upon the first boot. The most notable addition is the ability to use Smolt to provide Fedora developer a snapshot of the hardware details of your machine. While this may appear to be a privacy issue, I have seen many users on forums provide their smolt-id to help diagnose problems. This is incredibily better then having to ask for lspci output and similar redundant questions. The first boot has this disabled but does strongly encourage users to submit the information. While I have no personal problem with this, I wish more people with low-end systems would use Smolt!

Software Setup: Desktop

I logged into Gnome (default in Fedora) and went first to the terminal to begin my software customizations. I find it very annoying that the terminal has yet again been moved! This time again from “Accessories” to “System Tools”.

Other than the new background the only major attention grabbers were the login animated logo screen has been removed and the “Fast User Switching” shows up in Gnome. I should mention that this functionality has been in KDE for quite some time. The silly thing about it is that I only have 1 main user. Why would I want this enabled? It only shows my name. I added some other users but depending on how you add them it may have problems. For example: I manually added “User” who cannot login (set shell to /sbin/nologin), I do not think that account should show, but it did. Is this a “lets copy someone else without thinking things through”-feature? I don’t find much use for it.

One new feature included is the automatic creation of some commonly used directories: ‘Documents’, ‘Download’, ‘Mail’, ‘Music’, ‘Pictures’, ‘Public’, ‘Templates’ and ‘Videos’. By design if you delete them they come back – a feature by the name of xdg. The irony is not they come back but that no applications use them! Firefox downloads by default to the Desktop and not Downloads! Similar behavior can be seen in Multimedia applications and Mail applications.

Firefox 2 – while it really is not that new, Fedora Core 6 only had version 1.5 with no support for FF2. The disappointment I have with FF2 in F7 is that it kills my CPU. My Athlon-64 throttles the CPU from 1Ghz to 2.4Ghz (I use the CPU Frequency Scaling Monitor in Gnome). The problem is that EVERY SINGLE PAGE LOAD spikes the CPU to max 2.4Ghz – JUST to load the page. This happens for simple sites as well and also when I’m scrolling in FF2. I never saw this behavior in FF1.5 (or for that matter with FF2 in Windows). The browser seems to get worse with more tabs. I do not know if I should blame Mozilla, Fedora or GTK/Cairo/something-or-other-widget – either way I am very disappointed in the performance.

Included Software

Considering the 2 main Fedora repositories Core and Extras were merged, there was not a considerable amount of new software included on the DVD. The inclusion of NTFS was nice, and KDE users would be happy to see Amarok included. But for the most part a great deal of default software was removed. Many of the compatibility libraries and related software were removed. I manually had to install: Vim X11, Thunderbird, GFtp, X-Chat and K3b. These were all previously included in Fedora. Why the change? While some exclusions are minor, I was surprised to see K3b removed from the installation media. This is a highly polished CD/DVD writer application.

Of all the exclusions on the default install, the one that will NOT be missed was Beagle. This is the (clumsy and quirky) desktop search application which consumes unnecessary CPU and Disk, but yet fails to work really well.

System Changes

SELinux: Security Enhanced Linux
While not a major change some new utilities were added to better support SELinux – namely the SE Troubleshooter Applet. At first I found it helpful and used some of its reports to “fix” issues with files or options in SELinux. However the problem with it is that after a short time of using it, I became overwhelmed with the amount of warnings it provided. Many for things I did not realize I was running and many for very minor things that should not be restricted. An annoyance was that many times when I followed the “recommendation” to resolve the issue, it had no effect. Even though I always end up disabling SELinux, I was hoping this would help me leave it enabled. However it only re-enforced my opinion that I’m wasting my time with it.

YUM: Software Installation with Automatic Handling of Dependencies
A significant improvement was made to YUM. The time it takes to perform software installations (# yum install package) was reduced. It made the “yum experience” much more pleasant. However I was greatly disappointed to read that this comes with the price of higher system resources. Luckily I use YUM sparingly and keep track of every package I install.

Memory Consumption – I cannot be sure if this is the result of Fedora 7 or whether or not I had a memory hog running in Fedora Core 6 – BUT my memory consumption is incredibly lower in F7 than FC6. A few hours with F7 leaves about 1GB used and 1GB free (that’s free NOT cached), whereas the same time period in FC6 would leave about 1.9GB used and 100MB free. I don’t know the culprit, but with the exception of VMWare installation I have everything I had in FC6 installed in F7. Odd, but I’m not complaining.

Hardware Support

The news surrounding the release mentioned notable improvements in wireless. However I am not able to test this. The biggest change I found was in the handling of drives. I do not know if it is related to the new libata features in the kernel, but countless people have problems with their CD-ROM’s or DVD-ROM’s – many during the installation (considering that FC5 and FC6 worked correctly on the same hardware). There are some reported issues with partitions and RAID system, etc – however I did not run into these either. While I had problems with the DVD-ROM I was able to resolve it. … As an opinion/comment – I am curious why so many more hardware quirks showed up with this release? Kernel? Library? Well, something new seems to be causing regressions – one of my greatest frustrations with Fedora in general.

ACPI – Power Management
Some improvements and changes were made to power management that would affect how Fedora handled Suspending and Resuming. While the changes are supposed to improve the experience for more people, some previously working suspend/resume functionality maybe quirky. At first I thought I was immune to this. I tested S3 – Suspend to RAM and it worked (with Nvidia) and S4 – Suspend to Disk failed (as expected with Nvidia). However after only a few days with suspend my USB system stopped resuming correctly at random times! I was forced to manually remove USB modules/drives using and reload them using modprobe. I thought I had seen the end to this in Fedora Core 4!


I think overall the installation was the worst part of Fedora 7, everything else seemed simple enough to work around. While I do feel a marginal speed improvement in the general feel of the operating system, I do not feel like there was a notable improvement over Fedora Core 6. The improvements to some applications such as YUM are welcome, but they really cannot excuse the new quirks (i.e. ACPI).

My basic view of improvement when it comes to a new release is that it should take less time to setup everything and that setup should be done with more ease. In this case that did NOT happen.

Unless there is some immediate need for something new in Fedora 7 (which does not apply to many people), I think people should either wait to upgrade from FC6 or just hold off for Fedora 8. In the meanwhile Ubuntu or OpenSuse look nicer everyday. I do not mean to dismiss the great deal of hardware put into the infrastructure for Fedora, but frankly this release just lacked some much needed quality.

Fedora 7 Released

Time for some “Moonshine”!

Even before the official announcement, Max Spevack, leader of the Fedora Project, issued several words with his enthusiasm for all the work put into this release.

If you did not notice the release is called Fedora 7 and not Fedora Core 7 and this represents the most significant change. The previous devision of software in Fedora’s 2 main repositories: Core and Extras has been merged. While this may not be seen directly to the end user it has been a massive amount of work behind the scenes. Many steps have been taken to push Fedora to be a completely free distribution with all the necessary tools for any person or group to create their own custom distribution of Fedora.

With that in mind the changes and new features in Fedora 7 may seem less than has been seen in previous releases.

Fedora now supports multiple different “Spins”:

  • LiveCD spins are available in both Gnome (default) and KDE. LiveCD’s, while providing less software, are fully installable.
  • The regular DVD install will provide a standard installation method that is similar to previous Fedora releases.
  • A set of DVD images will provide a snapshot of all the software in the repositories helpful for people without broadband access.
  • Standard CD install images have been discontinued. Users who wish to install by CD unfortunately can only do so by LiveCD. (Unless someone creates their own custom CD ISO’s).

Desktop Updates

  • Gnome 2.18 and KDE 3.5.6
  • Fast User Switching – Allows for multiple users on the same machine without having to logging out.
  • Xorg Server 1.3 – Allows for hot plugged display adapters. Additionally included is the experimental Nouveau driver for free open source driver for Nvidia cards.
  • Improvements in wireless performance and enhancements to NetworkManager.
  • New “Flying High” theme
  • Firefox 2

System Changes

  • SELinux enhancements – Included is the setroubleshoot service and applet which provides easier to understand information on denials and issues with SELinux.
  • Disk device name changes. Previous /dev/hdX names are now /dev/sdX.
  • Out of the box support for the Sony Playstation 3.
  • Smolt, an tool that sends anonymous hardware profile information to the Fedora Project, is included. While completely optional it can provide the needed information for improving end user hardware experience, and to prioritize development and quality assurance on commonly used hardware.
  • Significant yum improvements.

While these changes seem minimal they represent a great deal of work. The development process went through 4 Test releases, 1 RC release and plenty of discussion.

You can download Fedora 7 using the standard mirrors or using the Torrent (recommended). Remember the differences between the “Spins” when deciding which image to download!

Please user the Fedora-List mailing list or any of the forums for help. There are some basic tips provided in my Personal Fedora 7 Installation Guide which should be updated within the week with the installation.

Happy downloading and installing!

Dell Linux Survey

Dell’s IdeaStorm provided a method for Dell customers to provide feedback to the company on what consumers really wanted. Not surprisingly, the biggest request was for Dell to pre-installed Linux on their Desktops and Laptops.

Currently there are vendors who support Linux on their computers, however most of this focus has been on enterprise level linux (Red Hat Enterprise Desktop, Novell SuSE Desktop) and not necessarily free community distributions like Fedora or Ubuntu. While enterprise versions have the longest support cycles, they often lack modern hardware support and many small features that the common desktop would require.

There is an official Dell Linux Survey running from March 13 to March 23 asking consumers to help prioritize Dell’s linux focus.


I urge everyone to vote and tell everyone they know to vote. Please be realistic with your prioritizations. Priority should be on a community distribution, and NOT an enterprise distribution.

Realistically UBUNTU is the best choice for distribution (whatever you do, DO NOT pick Fedora) – or write in KUbuntu.


Linux Opinions and Directions

If you pay attention to Linux news, I’m sure you’ve heard that Eric S. Raymond (commonly called “ESR”) has dumped Fedora in favor of Ubuntu. In case you’re wondering who he is, he is the author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar which is one of the best essays about open source development (highly recommended reading by the way).

The first thing that might come to mind is “so what?” So what if this open source advocate switched? What difference does it make? Essentially not much. However the workings of major open source projects are just as political as any other aspect of human behaviour. While there maybe a common philosophical goal of “free software”, how to achieve that goal is anyone’s guess. All groups have different approaches and biases that heavily influence their development. Simply put, ESR’s public exclaimation was just a very public last-ditch attempt to influence Fedora. Will this be effective? I don’t really know.

Other’s have tried different attempts of influence. In 2005 Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, very publicly switched from the Gnome desktop to the KDE desktop. In a recent response, Gnome developers told him to use the Gnome desktop for a month and discuss the problems. Instead, Linus provided patches (source code updates) to improve Gnome. I don’t think that’s the response they were expecting. In truth I think both sides know that not much will change.

So what does that mean to the average end user of Linux? Basically that the agenda of the developers overrides the desires of end users. That’s it. It may sound cynical, but it makes sense. While many will argue about the freedoms and choices given to users, it really makes little difference for people who don’t know anything about their computers to begin with. While some choices are very nice (there are many more options than Fedora and Ubuntu for linux), some are much more restrictive (KDE or Gnome, not much else exists). Knowing all your options is not always very straightforward.

What about Fedora? There have been lots of changes in the Fedora linux distribution that will take effect in the Fedora 7 release (not Fedora Core 7). In some ways I’m considering switching myself. I cannot in good faith recommend Fedora for a desktop and the same goes for Gnome (which Fedora uses by default). Even though many open source advocates belong to a “community” I often wonder who that community includes? Could I influence Fedora or Gnome? Well if the inventor of Linux can’t then I don’t feel very encouraged myself.

Both ESR and Linus may be quite pompous at times, but their underlying concerns are very sincere and legitimate. I’ve been with Redhat using Gnome since RH6.0 in 1999 and I’ve been helping everyday users with Redhat/Fedora problems since 2001. Do I plan to switch? Well every day that seems more and more likely.