back to article Fedora 9 - an OS that even the Linux challenged can love

Fedora 9, the latest release from the Fedora Project, goes up for download on Tuesday. The ninth release of Fedora ushers in a number of changes aimed at making the venerable distribution a more newbie-friendly desktop, but longtime users needn't fear a great dumbing down; version 9 packs plenty of power user punch as well. …

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Looks nice

I might throw that in a VM and have a shufty.

On the point of it being the first major distro with KDE4 bundled in it, wouldn't that be Kubuntu 8.04 remixed - or is that not counted as a distro [from what I can tell, it's Kubuntu 8.04 with KDE4 slapped on top]

Steven "feels safer with Gnome for now, thanks" Raith

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Stop

Are you serious?

"Headed to a friend's house and don't want to use Vista? ... Just bring along your LiveUSB and boot up."

Seriously? I would never let any of my friends, computer savvy or otherwise, boot *my* computer from *their* USB memory stick. (Hell, I don't even let my friends *use* my computer let alone boot another operating system on it.)

This is the stupidest "feature" I've ever heard of. I mean, excuse me but that's my *data* you've got there. I don't need you f@#$ing it up with your USB boot disk nonsense.

Don't want to use the OS your friend uses? Get a damn laptop and bring it with you. That's what us normal people do.

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@Steven Hunter

Well, or, have **your** os at work. I'm sure the admins won't mind. :)

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Linux

Yes, i'm serious

I'd rather boot from an old Knoppix install on a USB stick than use Vista.

After over 12 months of it being out, despite being what would normally be called a geek, I will not, under any circumstances, offer support or advice to anyone with Vista other than "take it back to the shop for a refund, it's not fit for purpose"

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Linux

Nice...

Nice to see the USB stick functionality made easy. I think I'll download the Fedora 9 Live CD just to give it a try on USB.

Following the instructions from pendrivelinux.com, I just did a USB-based Ubuntu 8.04 this weekend using an old 1 GB stick to see what would happen, and it works very nicely (although 1 GB is too small and the 250 MB RW partition gets filled *very* quickly, therefore don't bother with less than 2 GB if you want to use it seriously, install stuff, etc.), definitely beats carrying a CD around, AND it's persistent. It's almost as fast (on a 4 GB RAM machine at least) as the HD install, impressively enough. I did not expect that at all. They also have instructions for a "full blown" install on USB (for which they recommend a 4GB or greater stick), which they say is even faster and identical to the HD one, but since it uses the stick as an HD it has much more read/write cycles, etc. Neat stuff.

The Fedora way, besides much easier, must also be slicker and better integrated, since it's intended to be installed like that (while the Ubuntu way is a hack, and can't be done by a newbie without what I think would be serious pain).

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hmm

The write-up sounds good and it's nice to see them going in the usability direction, but fedora has been a nightmare for years.

I'll give it a look but no matter how pretty and useful these little tools get I doubt they can pry me away from Arch.

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Stop

Serious? Hell yeah!

Let's see: My friend's PC with Windows has died (again). I can take along my Live USB stick and rescue all his data (again).

Now what's the problem with that?

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Gates Horns

Looks promising

I've been using the current (previous) version of Fedora and am well impressed. It's very polished and I've yet to find a hardware combination it can't cope with. That includes my old 933MHz desktop (which rejected several versions of Ubuntu) and a brand-new dual-core laptop. I'll certainly try the USB route - I'm looking forward to kissing Bill and Steve goodbye...

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@Steven Hunter

Nice knee-jerk reaction, there. Not much for thoughtfulness, are ya?

Having a bootable stick or a LiveCD is extremely handy for things like, oh, I don't know, debugging your friend's Windows installation after it becomes unbootable, and bringing largish collaborative works into a workgroup environment, among other things.

Keep your HDD data to yourself by encrypting it like any reasonably-competent sysadmin would, and you'll be just fine ... your porn collection still private, and your virus all taken care of by your buddy with 'Nix-on-a-stick.

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Hope Fedora 9 hardware support has improved for laptops

Fedora 8 was hopeless on my Acer laptop, so hope 9 is better.

Basics worked, but amongst other things, WiFi was the greatest pain. Even after the days it took me to get it working in the first place, it would take between 15 and 30 minutes to get a stable connection, when XP got it within a second of logging in and kept it stable.

Problem with Fedora is it's a fast moving target and the kernel amongst other things are updated frequently. You have to keep on top of it and also be aware of what changes its making to some obscure config files that you need to update, and deal with non-repository apps that need recompiling on kernel updates, which to be honest Joe Public is not going to do.

Personally, whilst it has some sexy stuff, I would say Fedora (at least up to 8) is too much hard work for the average Joe for desktop, and especially laptop, use.

Maybe Ubunto is better, but I gave up and went back to XP, though partly because I have a number of Windows apps I was missing. Final straw was when my Truecrypt containers started getting corrupted due to some kernel change (which of course required a Truecrypt recompile, usually involving some serious googling to find a patch to a piece of the code!).

Nice though the look and feel was with Fedora, I was more confident and happy with XP, and it involves far less tinkering and I was spending far too much time on fedoraforum trying to get things working.

Now on the other hand, I've had Red Hat, through to Fedora 8 running on my server for years. It just sits there quite happy without much need for attention, but then that server only had standard hardware and runs very standard apps all part of the main distribution.

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Anonymous Coward

@hmm

A nightmare for years? I have been using Fedora for years and I know not what is this nightmare of which you speak.

Now, the "running knee-deep through treacle" experience of *buntu - that gives me fits!

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I unclog my nose in Gnome's general direction

One of the main reasons I ditched Kubuntu for OpenSuse was the feeling that the Ubuntu mob treat KDE as 2nd-class or worse. So any distro that favours Gnome, as it seems Fedora does, loses for me. I look forward to your review of OpenSuse 11, though - not long now, maybe just long enough for KDE 4 to be almost usable.

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@ Steven Hunter

> Get a damn laptop and bring it with you. That's what us normal people do.

Yup. As an abnormal person - according to your definition - I like the idea of being able to carry a lightweight USB drive rather than hump around an awkward, heavy laptop. It may be easy for you, but then I assume you're not aged, handicapped, or a serious computer repair specialist who occasionally has to deal with users who've got a virus/trojan/rootkit on their PC and has to boot from something other than the hard drive, preferably using a different OS to avoid contamination.

Rose, not yet aged

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Happy

Fedora Spins

Fedora includes both GNOME as well as KDE live cd's so you if you are KDE fan, you can just try the KDE live cd and have fun. Fedora doesn't just stop there however. The previous Fedora 8 release includes

* Fedora Xfce live cd

* Fedora Electronics Lab live cd

* Fedora games live dvd

* Fedora developer live dvd

That's a good amount of variations you can pick and choose from. Rolling your customized variant is very easy too.

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Linux

In praise of LiveCDs

I've had my bacon saved more than once with a live CD. Anybody that does computer trouble shooting and doesn't have one is missing out on an incredible tool.!

Boot up the customer's computer, copy all their work across to an external drive or to a DVD, Nuke Windows from orbit.. The only way to be sure you got all the nasties out. And enjoy the look on the face of the customer who spent the last three days trying to figure out how to boot their Windows install without wiping everything out.

I might just get myself a bigger USB key for this. Fedora is my favorite distro anyway, so I'll be downloading the DVD tomorrow, and installing over the weekend.

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You shouldn't be using linux...

...if you need a password strength indicator.

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E

Looks Good

As long as it has bash, vi, cat and gcc, that's all you really need though.

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@Stuart

Stuart,

I run KDE with Fedora 8, did so with Fedora 7 also and it works fine. I sometimes think I'm still using SuSe, hahah. The initial default is Gnome but you can change it to any of the other window managers on the login screen, and also change the default there too.

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@Looks Good

with grep and sed and htop so it looks pretty while is curning away.

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Red Hat Fedora

I have used RedHat/Fedora since RH 9.0. I always found the package selection and the entire integration to be extremely well done. I am a student and manage about 20 computers in the lab. Fedora/RH are the least painful ones to manage. Even native Windows users found it easy to adapt and adjust. There are always some bugs here and there but nothing major, the whiners will however always find something to belly ache about. ok, gam_server was a mess-up but i think it as been sorted out.

I have installed and tried Ubuntu/Gentoo/Mandriva/Suse but each of them had some problem or the other. For instance, Intel's C/C++ compiler would not get installed or MATLAB would not find some package etc. Of course, this may not be the problem of the distribution.....

Of course, my personal favourite is slackware+ICEWM..... 2 installation CDs and within 20 minutes a system is up and running, compared to 40 minutes of any other distribution. Ubuntu installs fast but is hopeless for lab use, of course there is some apt or some such tool but doing apt on 20 computers for each package is no joke. of course, one can sit and learn the finer points of apt/synaptic but i think it gets ridiculous...

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Dead Vulture

@Chris Girocco

Old, elitist views like yours are what drag the Linux community backward. Besides, not everyone's in it for the geek experience anymore. Yes, I'm a software engineer and crack UNIX sysadmin. Yes, I know how to recompile a kernel. Do you really think I *want* to on my home system though, when I can just check a couple of boxes and hit a button instead? How much spare time do you think I have?

Besides, more and more people on the Internet these days haven't got a bloody clue about computer security - and, what's worse (and this may shock you) - they don't CARE about it, either. So, any education on how someone's password could be more secure is better, because it means that YOU will have one less botnet host sending you spam. Ever thought of it from that angle?

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Anonymous Coward

Lack of research in the article, yet again.

"Fedora may be best known as a popular server OS,"

No, it isn't. You may have been confusing RHEL and Fedora here, or maybe you were thinking of Centos.

I'm sure a few people do actually use Fedora as a server, but then a few people probably use Ubuntu as a server too. Its impossible to stop people doing silly things, but to pretend that they are normal is perhaps a little much :)

Fedora (due to slightly patchy stability, fast release cycle and short support periods for any individual release) makes a poor choice for a server OS.

Unless, of course, what you mean by 'server' is a little P2 box sitting in a cupboard in someones house acting as a NAS/Print server.

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BKB and others

I've been using Fedora9 for a while now (yes, I'm one of the thousands of beta testers) and I've had only one problem, Network Manager. After disabling it and modifying the init directory (something that any new user can do fairly safely) the system has worked flawlessly.

Firefox 3 is amazingly good. I've got it installed on Fedora and now Windows and it is my main browser (I don't use FF2 now).

KDE has surpassed GNOME in useability and features. And I'm finding F9 to be the best Linux distro I've ever used.

Oh, I tried Ubuntu, but didn't particularly like it. But that's one of the benefits of Linux. You don't get a vendor forcing you to have a 'one size fits all' OS.

Andy

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Bar Raised

It seems since Ubuntu came along, all the distros are starting to raise their game... which is really good - competition, etc. always drives development, but with these being open source, they can use each others bits as well - everyone is a winner!

I read with great interest the reg article the other day with Mark Shuttleworth, and like his comments about distros sharing bug patchs, release cycles, kenerl versions, etc., if that does happen, Linux on the desktop will continue to go from strength to strength and become more than a fan boi OS

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El Reg

Yeah I tried linux version X a months/years ago. I couldnt do Y - its crap stay away.

Everyone will run into the same problem I did as Im only used to M$ telling me what to do. I did look around for a fix - but gave up after 2 1/2 mins and reinstalled windows for the Nth time. At least the spywear/viri is gone..... for now.

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Re: about time...

"found it rather shocking to get a partitioning suggestion that erases whatever there is on your disk......."

They're trying to win over Windows users, remember.

Think of it as a disk exorcism.

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The Bellyaches, IMO

Apart from the complaints about genuine failures, there's a lot of bellyaching, whining babies in here. "WAAAH! It comes with GNOME as standard!" "WAAAH! It takes longer to install the things I want in Fedora than it does in SuSe! WAAAH!"

Man up, people. It's not as if Xfce, KDE, or any other window manager is going to cost you money, and Fedora aren't putting a gun to your head. Use whatever you want, and vacuum the sand out of your collective vaginas in the meantime.

Personally, I'm gonna look into using YUM to upgrade to Fedora 9. If it doesn't work, I can always download a disc image and do it that way.

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Anonymous Coward

knoppix...

I've tried a few live cd's during my time knoppix, suse live on a usb etc etc but with linux the problem has always been hardware support. whats the point if 9 times out of ten the network card doesn't get installed or the grapics card isn't supported and a machine. fantastic idea al be it a bit old but if they have the right drivers then i'd give it a go.

fedora - this used to be a beta version of red hat didn't it, are they actually charging for this now. last copy of fedora i installed was 70 % beta code

xp or vista on a bootable usb stick, now that would be interesting, outlook, office all on the stick, I know it would need to be large (4-8 gig) but that really would be very good. i already know what some of you will say to that sugestion but it would be very useful to a hell of a lot of people instead of a just few geeks!

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Anonymous Coward

Fedora (or just Linux) and Wireless

Linux is not to blame for the wireless woes. It is purely down to the hardware manufacturers not releasing specs. From what i have heard there are a few vendors who have released them but the worst offender is Broadcom, who not only refuse to release specs but they also create the worst drivers possible (for Windows).

Also, for those complaining that Fedora is full of bugs, I think you should actually use a different distro. Fedora is a cutting edge distro and some of the software is 'beta' (not all of it). This is why there are loads of updates for Fedora.

I have been using Fedora since version 3 and have only ever had problems with the wireless, and nowadays if that is a problem it only takes me 15 minutes to fix. It installs faster than Windows, detects more hardware than Windows, I haven't had a crash since Fedora Core 5 and have never, ever, had to reinstall the OS because the machine got bogged down. It has also rescued peoples butts when retrieving data from corrupted Windows machines because when the drive is attached to another with Windows it is just not up to the job!

I can't wait to try this version and compare it to my bosses copy of Vista. Fedora 8 already blows it out of the water so this version should be the coup de grâce. Of course, Vista won't really die because it is a plague and plagues don't die.

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Anonymous Coward

Why do you need to concatenate files?

Who needs cat, how many times have you ever wanted to concatenate a file together?

And there are shell builtins that will do the job.

$ echo -e "$(<file1)" "\n$(<file2)"

No it is ksh, sed and awk is all you need :) I am just having a bit of fun.

Fedora, is a nice little distro quite a few good tech folks have moved over to develop it. But, I have been burnt in the past with RPM circularity and whilst most of that was sorted out years ago, it still lingers so I won't be installing it.

If anything I try and go to the distro that does the least away from vanilla, but of course most casual like most of it setup.

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re:knoppix

You can get XP on a USB stick [I have the tools for it at home somewhere] already. I saw it. It was hideously, hideously slow on a machine with 768Mb RAM and a northwood P4 2.8.

I guess that could be down to it being an oldish USB stick [lower transfer speeds] but still, the concept of XP, god forbid Vista, on a USB pen, is shocking.

I might try it on a newer USB stick on the Twin Xeon, 4Gb RAM workstation I am sitting at just now one of these days to see if specs affect it that much.

I'll stick with Ubuntu on my home machine [I have 2Gb of RAM on my laptop now and it flys :-) ] methinks, I like being able to actually do stuff without too much fuss.

Steven R

Joke ico

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Linux

@AC and others

I used to be a committed RedHat user for my allways-with-me workhorse laptop(s), from 4.1 through 9.1 (or was it 2), and when Fedora came alone, I got fed up with the speed that Fedora changed. You just could not use a Fedora release for more than about 9 months, and still expect the repositories to remain for that package that needed a library that you had not yet installed.

Also, when you update, you pick up a new kernel, and all of the modules that you had compiled need frigging or recompiling (my current bugbear is the DVB-T TV adapter I use).

I switched to Ubuntu 6.06 LTS mainly because I liked the support that they promised, and have delivered. Also the repositories are extensive, and are maintained.

Here I am again, two years later, and I can remain on Dapper if I want to (for quite a while) but I am finding that it is taking longer and longer for new things to be back-ported, and I have had problems with getting Compiz/Beryl or whatever the merged package is working with GLx or the binary drivers from ATI.

I am going to go to 8.04 (LTS again) for the same reasons as before, and I am removing the last remains of the RedHat 9 from my trusty Thinkpad T30 (the disk has moved/been cloned several times, keeping the machine the same, just on different hardware - ain't Linux good).

I wish there was an upgrade from 6.06 to 8.04, but I guess that one re-install every two years is not too much to put up with, especially as I choose to keep my home directory on a seperate partition.

I may give Fedora 9 a try on USB stick, just to see how things have changed, but I think that Ubuntu is still my preferred choice. This is mainly because I use my laptop as a tool, not as an end in itself. I just do not have the time to be fiddling all the time.

I know that this is petty, but I feel that we absolutly need ONE dominant Linux distro, so that we can achieve enough market penetration to make software writers take note. Ubuntu is STILL the best candidate for this as far as I can see, because of its ease-of-use, good support, and extensive device support.

If the Fedora community want to come up with a long-term release strategy, then I think that they could move into this space, but as most non-computerate users will generally keep the same OS on a system that it came delivered with for the lifetime of the machine. If they have to perform a major upgrade, most will discard the machine and buy a new one. This means that we need distributions with an effective lifetime of several years to get the needed penetration.

Tux, obviously.

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Paris Hilton

@ James Pikett

"I'm looking forward to kissing Bill and Steve goodbye..."

URGH!!!

Why the hell would you want to kiss Bill and Steve? I can't get that image out of my head...

Paris... because even she would be a better choise than Bill or Steve.

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Stop

Can everybody put the brakes on and STOP a moment...

With all the talk about distros, live CDs etc etc, imagine what it is going to be like for somebody just about to dip their toes in to the Linux world. The big issue that I encounter is that Linux, whatever the flavour, doesn't 'just work'. You're then off on a journey around the web trying to hunt down clues as to why the distro that you're installing hasn't. As much as I dislike M$, I have never had a problem installing it on a machine. Compare that to various different distro's I've tried on an old Tosh laptop (with the machine hanging before you can even say boo to the installer), and on more modern desktops where the whole environment just seems to hang randomly, it makes it hard to justify completely jumping ship from the behemoth that is M$.

Best comment is from Peter Gathercole - "we need ONE dominant Linux disto", combine that with a rock-solid installer and the path ahead is golden.

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Happy

Speak English

UM, RPG, Apt

boots from syslinux rather than GRUB

Anaconda installer

GNOME-based spin

GVFS, which replaces the old GNOME-VFS

Nautilus

KDE spin

Has there been an explosion at the Geek factory?

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Looks good

I just hope the fanbois had the same upgrade, so when newbies ask simple questions we don't get answers like "Oh, you're so dumb; do back to Windows dummy; Windows is the OS for dummies like you" and so on.

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Coat

Who needs cat?

I know that this is absolutly geeky, but cat is a command (like ls, find, dd, ed etc.) which has been in UNIX since it's inception. I have been using it since the 1976/77 release of Bell Labs. Version 6 for the PDP/11. Long before ksh and bash (in fact, the version 6 shell was *really* primitive, only being able to use single character shell variables, for example)

It actually does a lot more than you think. Look up the -u flag, and with a couple of stty settings, you can make a usable, if very basic, terminal application (one cat in the background, one in the foreground).

Try doing a "cat *.log > logfiles.summary" using your ksh one-liner.

How about "ssh machine cat remotefile > localfile" for a simple file copy.

Also, cat has an absolutly miniscule memory footprint (the binary is just over 16KB on this Linux system I'm using).

It is one of the fundamental 'lego-style' building blocks that make UNIX so powerful. Whilst it is true that other tools are around that can do the same job, you cannot remove it because of compatibillity with old scripts. And you can guarantee it is there all the time on any UNIX variant (try running a script that starts "#!/bin/ksh" on a vanilla Linux system). And it is in every UNIX standard from SVR2 (SVID anybody), Posix 1003.1 to whatever is the current UNIX (2006?) X.Open standard.

Remember that the UNIX ethos is "efficient small tools, used together in pipelines". Even things like Perl are an anathama to UNIX purists, because they do everything in one tool.

I think you need to see a real UNIX command line power user at work. I have literally blown peoples minds by doing a task in a single pipeline of cut, awk, sed, sort, comm, join etc, that they thought would take hours of work using Excel or Oracle.

Mine is the one with the treasured edition of "Lyons annotated Version 6 UNIX kernel" in the pocket.

Proud to be celebrating 30 years of using UNIX!

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@Chris Girocco

When dinosaurs ruled the world, I was at a computer exhibition in London and at the DEC (remember them ? snooty mainframe wannabes) stand. In that HUGE stand, at one end, was a system running an application that will automatically generate a "secure" password for you !! At the other end, there was a system running an application that tested your password for obviousness and reject those that can be easily hacked. The password tester rejected *EVERY* password generated by the password generator !!

Perhaps this password strength thingie is included on the same basis - FUN !!

@ James Pikett - I agree with Stewart Rice !! You just cost me a fortune in mental floss to cleanse the image of you kissing Bill and Steve from my mind !! Isn't there a rear-end of a cow anywhere near you ??

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Re: Lack of research in the article, yet again.

[Quote]"Fedora may be best known as a popular server OS,"

No, it isn't. You may have been confusing RHEL and Fedora here, or maybe you were thinking of Centos.[/Quote]

You need to do a bit of research yourself mate. Fedora is widely used as a web, mail and db server and is offered as a default distro by many hosting providers. Some users want the bleeding edge for their deployments. Those that need a LTS will choose Debian or CentOS, but Fedora is definitely a widely used and well known 'SERVER OS'. I don't know where you get the idea that it isn't from and FYI Ubuntu server is based upon Debian.

Do you use Linux at all or do you base all your opinions on Wikipedia articles?

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Boffin

@ Chris Girocco

Chris so I guess you are completely fluent in all foreign languages right? I mean you would know automatically that the super leet uncrackable password/passphrase you chose was just a few characters and symbols of a common foreign word?

I've seen it happen several times. A user choses a password that seems very secure and the system rejects it. We look a little further to find out why and see that it is a reversed version of a slang chinese word (and in brute force dictionaries). Hackers & crackers don't always speak the same language you do.

I personally run all the passwords I use through a strength tester and I've never regretted it.

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Unhappy

...that even the Linux challenged can love?

Since the both article and the comments were almost entirely incomprehensible, I'm afraid you've all just made me even more frightened of trying to run linux.

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Step into the future...

Gosh! USB!! Wireless!!! Laptop screen resolutions!!!! Does this mean (gulp) that there's a Linux distro almost as useful as Windows 98?

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Bronze badge

@TimM

I had tje opposite experience: my old Acer laptop didn't work reliably with XP but worked fine with Linux.

The only way I could get a connection that didn't keep dropping out under XP was to use a USB wireless card.

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Anonymous Coward

wireless linux is still the holy grail!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have tried Linux in many flavours and as yet have not had stable wifi be it on a PC or a laptop.

Linux has zero chance unless it works 'almost' out of the box.

Its still not fit for purpose.

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@ BKB

"Notice that the Fedora / Gnome people have even foisted a beta testing version of the web browser into this, which is known not to function properly."

As does Ubuntu, and yet you didn't bitch about them doing it. 3b5 has been fine for me in day to day use - both on Linux and Windows.

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sounds cool

Knowing Ubuntu is getting stronger, and now this release which seems to be an all in one desktop replacement can only mean good things and from another name in the linux world people will have heard of.

I am not a linux fan boy and I struggled to get round the inner workings of Linux on the eee but it isn't rocket science if you stick at it.

All of which means nails in the coffins of M$. Which is always good.

@arbeyu

Shame on you. At the rate Linux is kicking the next release will be a Vista replacement never mind windows 2000, granted that isn't much of a claim to fame.

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Boffin

To whoever used the word 'viri'....

The plural of virus is viruses. 'Viri' is Latin for 'men'.

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@ Guy Herbert

I'm a relative Linux newbie too. I've now played with a few distros and found lots of frustrations and way too much RTFM geek-elitism.

Ubuntu has been dead easy though. We got my girlfriend an old P3 Win98 laptop on eBay and put a D-Link wireless PCMCIA in it. Ubuntu 8.04 found all the hardware, asked us for the wireless WPA password and there we were, surfing the interweb half an hour later. By contrast, installing Windows and finding all the drivers took the best part of a day.

Just avoid anything with BroadCom wireless in it, it will drag you down into a world of pain and stuff you don't understand.

I will definitely try Fedora 9 - a Linux environment on a stick sounds very handy.

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