Using a template for distribution evaluation, I have installed and tested FC5-test2. Unfortunately since I did not install FC5-test1 due to installer limitations, I cannot compare this with test1. However, from what I’ve seen so far it seems much better than the poorly created FC4.
I chose to install using the install from ISO images on disk option (available via the linux askmethod boot option). I burned CD1 to a CD-RW and booted. I installed to a spare 8GB partition. Overall Anaconda (the installer) has been further streamlined with fewer options. The partitioning options seems a bit confusing, seeing as the default option is to “Remove all partitions on selected drives and create default layout.”. Not wise for the newbies (newbies should NOT be installing a Test Release). Another change was the firewall configuration and SELinux configuration were moved to the “firstboot settings”.
The SELinux configuration gave many more options with regards to specific parts of the operating system. I typically avoid SELinux due to the difficulty in managing it, but it seems the gui options are very welcome. However, I looked over many of the options and frankly a novice would find them very confusing and cryptic. As a single user desktop, I don’t see the significant added benefit to such a system.
Installer: Software Selection
The most significant (or insignificant) change was the altered package installation menu. There is no Install Everything option and due to the selection layout, may cause more people to miss some necessary packages. Additionally, there is no disk usage estimate. I’m sure this will be fixed in a future release, but it makes it hard to manage hard drive utilization. In the end I used about 3.8GB.
Overall the packages including resembled FC4 including Java and Eclipse (which I don’t use and prefer other installation sources).
The PUP installer for yum seems much worse than yumex, which exists in the Extras Repository but is not included in the standard install. Not sure why.
The services installed were incredibly unnecessary. There seem to be more than were in FC4. I don’t understand why things like bluetooth, cpuspeed or even isdn are enabled when all of these are hardware dependent. Most people will not support most of those. I’ve heard that the services and init system will probably be soon re-done. I can’t wait.
The login was typical as it has been for recent Fedora releases. I did notice both a Failsafe Gnome and a Failsafe KDE login option, which I’m sure will come in handy.
As usual Gnome is the default installation. During the first boot I made some additional basic setup options. I booted into GNOME 2.13.4 which from first glance seems similar to the Gnome 2.10 available in FC4, however I’m sure there are significant updates. (The open file dialog is still pathetic.) I noticed the the top toolbar now shows a “power plug” for Gnome Power Manager, however it does not work (more later).
I did not notice any significant new software. I tried the Beagle Search app, but it complained I needed to start the Beagle daemon. I tried the link to start, but it didn’t work. I also tried the F-Spot Photo Manager but it starts with a dialog box that, won’t fit on my 1024×768 display and I didn’t see the big difference between it and gThumb. I tried my camera with it, read below.
Firefox 1.5 is available but I could not get the Flash plugin to work correctly.
The Gnome network manager seems to have improved, I was able to access my Windows Network very quickly and easily. With FC4 I saw multiple inconsistent connection problems.
Even though I normally use Gnome, I also breifly tested out KDE. As usual KDE was polished but (by default) ugly in Fedora. I noticed multiple new options but nothing specific to my hardware peripherals or even power management. I did notice a Switch User option which reminds of OS X and Windows XP.
Software: Server and Development
Since I do a great deal of software development and web development, I have not tested this release to see how well it will accommodate all my software or scripts. Since the most serious updates were in Java and the inclusion of Mono, I doubt the GCC 4.1 will affect me. As with FC4, the GCC 3.2 compiler was also optionally included. Looks like I may also have to compile a GCC 3.4 for some testing and downgrade my PHP4 (maybe recompile that also!).
As always with every new distribution release a newer kernel is included which will typically improve support for most hardware. I had no specific problems that I could not resolve.
The Nvidia driver would not work properly without a driver patch. … Sound was perfect out of the box as it has been since FC3. However some apps did some complaints. XMMS acted strange and the KDE artsd server complained.
Power management (ACPI) in my opinion is partially broke. The Gnome Power Manager fails when I try to put my desktop to either Suspend or Hibernate (I know both of these options do work!!). If I try command line S3 (suspend) the system locks up. If try command line S4 (hibernate), the system works 100% perfectly and I am able to reboot from S4. Oh well, the GUI doesn’t let me, maybe I will play around with it later.
Hardware Support: Peripherals
My All-in-One Card Reader detected perfectly but the SD or Compact Flash would not automatically mount as they did in FC4. I can manually mount then, but I wanted it to work in the GUI. In FC4, Gnome would usually give a permission error and mount as read-only.
I was disappointed that the camera pop-up dialog box did not appear when I plugged in my Canon S500 (which worked perfectly in FC4). The F-Spot software worked adequately at importing without any problems.
Currently I am reading the fedora-test-list mailing list provided by Redhat to follow up on some issues with Tes2. Otherwise, I plan to hack out some configuration options just to get a good grasp on how the final Fedora Core 5 will function.
As a beta release, FC5-Test2 seems like a good start. The gross slow-downs I had with FC4 seem to be okay, and since many applications have started to accomodate GCC4, I feel a system wide improvement. Nothing much to see, but the little nuances and improvements are always welcome in Linux. And as always there are regressions. I was disappointed at the minimal hardware improvements for my peripherals (I haven’t tested them all).
I will spend more time over the next few weeks till Test3, and plan on starting my Personal Fedora Installation Guide for FC5.