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back to article Rock-solid Fedora 10 brings salvation to Ubuntu weary

Fedora might not be getting a complete makeover or flashy new features in version 10, out today, but some welcome enhancements under-the-hood make this a worthwhile upgrade. If you've never given Fedora a try, now is a great time. The tenth revision slick and stable and it has a rock solid feel to it that, for our money, trumps …

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Why mention Ubuntu?

Seriously.

Your header suggests that Fedora 10 will provide welcome relief to those who have used Ubuntu and found it lacking, but as your only comparisions are "Ubuntu has this" then I have to suspect you are trying to court controversy where none exists/

Interesting news about pulse Audio mind, but for feck sake aim higher with your attempts to attract attention. Treat us like adults.

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Stop

yes, but does it play mp3s?

or will we be forced to spend some hours/days/... ripping our cd collection into OGG or FLAC to be able to listen in Fedora. This is one of the major reasons I even have Ubuntu on my laptop. I don't have to find work-a-rounds or remove the standard RPM and install a program manually to get mp3 to work. I stopped using Fedora on anything other than my server quite a while back for this one reason, Fedora was a big pain to get media to play.

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Unhappy

RPMS - Oo good.

"As a bonus you also get the always excellent RPM package system"

and

"simply head to the RPMs and install what you'd like"

would be lovely - if you can guarantee that the dreadful dependency hell that RPM's always seems to provoke has been finally solved.

After using Ubuntu for a couple of years, I'd forgotten what a nightmare RPM dependencies are until I tried (and failed) to install wine on a Centos 5.2 systems a fews days ago.

Has this really REALLY been fixed?

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Can we lose the gushing enthusiasm a bit?

Not to mention the inferiority complex. This so-called 'review' amounts to, "I like it, and it has Empathy... which is crap, but other than that, I like it. Now can we all stop hanging around Ubuntu like a pack of teenage boys around a girl and come try Fedora... please??? <grumble grumble smug Ubuntu bastards grumble>"

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Linux

Hardware support ?

How does hardware support compare to Ubuntu ?

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Linux

Errrrm ok then

Well my personal experience of fedora is such that I now use Debian and am much happier.

RPM's and yum are a poor, poor reflection of apt/aptitude in my humble opinion.

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Nice review

I will definitely be giving it another try on the strength of this. I've avoided Red Hat in the recent past, due to a nasty experience I had. I knocked a mug of coffee onto my keyboard during an install :-(

Keep up the good work Mr. Gilbertson :-)

PS Mr. Bidmead, please take note: It's not necessary to have 14gazillion pages with 4 lines of text & a screenshot on each page.

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Anonymous Coward

Biased much?

"the always excellent RPM package system", what? RPM is the number one reason I left Red Hat and all derivatives. Ever heard of "RPM hell"? Sure the addition of yum and apt-get somewhat fixed the issues, but I wouldn't refer to RPM as "always excellent".

As for Pulse Audio there are a number of apps that don't play nice with it. The two off the top of my head are Ekiga and Wine.

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nVidia proprietary drivers

(...) Fedora 10 includes the latest stable version of X.Org, which means no more support for proprietary nVidia drivers.

That's not true. nVidia drivers repackaged by RPMFusion project are reported to work just fine. See http://rpmfusion.org/ for more details.

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no support for proprietary nVidia drivers???

Up until that point this was sounding like something that might tempt me away from Ubuntu after all these years, but that's a show stopper for me. I've managed to find a partial explanation for why this is the case, but maybe someone with more in depth knowledge could explain more - and more importantly, is there likely to be a fix/workaround, and is this going to affect me as an Ubuntu user any time soon?

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Anonymous Coward

Deal breaker

Was thinking of trying it until I read that I'll have to use the default "nv" driver with my NVIDIA card. Unfortunately, this driver is utter crap---it won't run the Gnome desktop smoothly in my experience, much less a 3D screensaver or God forbid, video playback or a game! Tis' a shame because the NVIDIA proprietary driver works great and is fairly easy to install. Lacking the expertise myself, I wish someone would write a non-proprietary driver that does decent 3D on NVIDIA if we're forced to use a native driver.

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Heart

"the always excellent RPM package system"

This is a new use of the phrase "always excellent" that I haven't come across before. RPM was the reason I moved away from RH-derivatives. It may well have got better recently, indeed I'm prepared to believe it might now be "excellent", but it definitely hasn't "always" been... I'm afraid that means I don't believe anything else said here, which is a shame, cos it might be true.

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Does anyone even read this before slapping it up on the site?

Perhaps try proof reading before going to the pub?

"Even Linux newcomers should have any trouble getting Fedora 10 installed and running."

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Quit whining about RPM.

Nice to see a positive review of something - anything - other than Ubuntu. Good going, Reg.

Commentards, please stop whining about 'RPM hell', which has not been anything other than a misunderstanding or PEBKAC for at least five years.

RPM is a package format and a very basic, non-dependency-resolving package manager - in the same mode as dpkg, not apt-get or aptitude. So if you try and use the 'rpm' command as you would use the apt tools, congratulations, you just failed.

There are several dependency resolving package managers for RPM packages, all of which do the basic job perfectly well. The oldest is urpmi, which is part of Mandriva (for those who don't know, I work for Mandriva). Fedora uses one called yum. SUSE has its own too. There's a popular third party one named smart. It doesn't really matter which you use, for most purposes: they're all perfectly capable of properly tracking, managing and resolving dependency issues.

Back when some distros didn't have a dependency-resolving package manager at all and made you handle everything with 'rpm', you could legitimately talk about RPM hell. But now, you can't. All major RPM-based distros now have a perfectly competent dependency-resolving packager manager. If you have problems then 99.9% of the time it's because:

a) you hit a bug in the *package*, not the package manager (which can and does also happen in apt-style packages)

b) you're trying to install a package you shouldn't be installing: it's from another distribution, or the wrong version of the right distribution, or - please, no - you found it on some random "RPM search engine".

JUST BECAUSE IT SAYS .RPM IN THE FILE NAME, DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN EXPECT IT TO WORK ON ANY RPM-BASED DISTRIBUTION.

This, again, is in no way specific to RPM packages. If you try and install a package built for one apt-based distribution on another, it certainly could cause dependency or functional problems. Fr'instance, I don't think the Debian folks would advise you to install Ubuntu 5.04 packages on Debian sid. But people seem to think it's perfectly fine to try this with RPM packages, and whine when it doesn't work. Sorry, no. It's not.

There is no 'RPM hell' any more. Every RPM-based distro is perfectly capable of dependency management within the range of packages actually meant to be installed as part of that distribution, which is exactly the same thing APT-based distros are capable of. If you have trouble with RPMs, either the packager made a boo boo, or you're doing it wrong.

Oh, on the NVIDIA thing - I think there's patches for the NVIDIA drivers to work with the new version of X floating around. IMBW, though.

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RPM Hell

But have they fixed RPM hell yet?

I tried Fedora a couple of years ago. Installed most things I wanted to try and then ran the update to get the latest versions. Then I tried installing a couple of extra things from the CD (Apache and PHP if memory serves). These refused to install, requiring specific library versions that had been updated out of existence in the previously mentioned update. I gave up and decided to avoid all RPM-based distros ever since as their* more trouble than there* worth (also had a similar problem with Mandriva around the same time).

Debian-based systems have been able to handle this sort of thing properly for years - can anyone tell me if RedHat have fixed it yet? If so, I may give it another try.

David

* Yes, I know both of these should be "they're" - it just seems to be standard practise to always use the wrong one around here ;-)

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Linux

.deb/dpkg/apt vs .rpm/rpm/yum

http://kitenet.net/~joey/pkg-comp/

Provides an interesting feature comparison of all packaging systems, it would seem that Debian remains the more feature rich environment, however I suspect most of the whingers above have never tried yum (nor dpkg), it covers all the basics. (http://www.pixelbeat.org/docs/packaging.html)

I too remember the horror of the old rpm installs, these days though it's a more pleasant experience, (unless your client has rolled their own build of RPM with an outdated db environment and installs it via kickstart throughout their org, you know who you are, but can't be sure who I am)

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nVidia Drivers

For nVidia drivers, use akmod or kmod from the RPM Fusion repository. Very simple to do. I have full 3D support. Around 1500 frames per second on a 300x300 window of glxgears on an XPS M1330 with an nVidia GeForce 8400M. A near point and click install. That sort of full 3D support.

Ben

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nice review

i would like to see a reg review of opensuse 11.1 on its release on the 18th of December. :)

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RPM will never be an excellent package system

No, they can't fix RPM Hell because it is designed that way. Several times I've tried Red Hat to see what's new, felt THE PAIN once again, and every time come back to Debian. At least I know I'm not missing out on anything.

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Anonymous Coward

Luckily . . .

Luckily Fedora Core is a different distro to Ubuntu. Isn't that nice!

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Linux

Interesting

Having been a loyal Fedora user for the past two years, my favourite version thus far has been Fedora 7 (admittedly, the only versions I've used have been 4, 7 and 9), which I found to be nothing if not stable and user friendly.

Fedora 9 was a bit bolshie to begin with: SELinux waited for me like I'd brought its daughter home 20 minutes past curfew until I killed it dead. However, I eventually learned to stop worrying and love FC9, hiccups and all.

I wasn't planning on upgrading again until FC11, but if things get a bit rough with FC9, I won't mind going over to FC10.

Also, FYI, the Fedora forum and Unofficial Fedora FAQ are veritable goldmines when it comes to information on installing and using non-standard and proprietary packages.

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Sounds good

Especially as Fedora feeds into RHEL, the distro of choice (well, one of the main ones) for enterprise. Given I have to interact a lot with RHEL, this is encouraging for the future.

OTOH I'll always be a debian user at heart, ever since I first tried it way back in 1995...

It even works better than Ubuntu on my laptop.

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Unhappy

@Adam Williamson

I have no complaints about Fedora's use of RPMs, but would like to add since you work for Mandriva, that I used Mandriva up till a few months ago and was quite happy with it. I found it to be more polished than Ubuntu, and most everything worked well. Until... I decided to let Mandriva update itself, which I'd been putting off with a portentous feeling of dread. Many hours of frustration later and with no solution in sight I put the hard drive in a drawer and decided to return to it perhaps in the future when I was feeling a little stronger. So I've been kind of leaning towards Ubuntu. There are quirks when I update it too (like having to reinstall the NVIDIA proprietary drivers when I update the kernel), but so far it hasn't utterly cornholed itself like Mandriva did.

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@Adam Williamson

I manage about 10 Fedora machines. I NEVER use the rpm command, except when querying the contents of packages. Yum can do everything related to installing rpm's. Are there sometimes some strange dependency chains? Sure. Does yum do an excellent job of resolving them? Absolutely.

There are really no use cases where you need to use the rpm command to install software. If you find yourself doing that, you're probably doing something wrong. Use 'yum localinstall' instead.

Fedora is excellent. Haven't used F10 (waiting until it gets out to the mirror I rsync from), but I did notice that there are Nvidia kmod's in rpm-fusion. If they are kmod's of the proprietary drivers, then all you need to do is install the rpm-fusion repository, and 'yum install kmod-nvidia' to get the nvidia proprietary drivers.

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Re: yes, but does it play mp3s?

Presumably it will once the Livna RPM repository is updated for Fedora 10 - install xmms-mp3 (or whatever your audio player of choice is) and you're done (the Fedora 9 rpms might work, but don't count on it) - once this was done, I had no problems playing mp3 files, watching video using vlc etc.etc.

Although I'm unlikely to update the work machines to Fedora 10 any time soon, it's nice to know that they've finally got pulseaudio sorted out - it was a major pain in the arse in both Fedora 8 and Fedora 9.

As for RPM hell, I've only encountered that when upgrading from Fedora 8 to Fedora 9, and then only because I'd forgotten a step in the upgrade process. Then again, I still prefer the emerge/apt-get style method of package management since RPM tries to be all things to all men and ends up being merely adequate.

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@Adam

ok fine. But there's no denying that dependency hell was a nightmare for RH based distros. I started with RH5.2, moved to mandrake but decided to go with a debian based distro because rpms were a bitch to use. I had to slap myself after I installed knoppix on my hdd, edited the apt config files and saw how easy it was to install enlightenment. Doing the same on a rpm machine was like placing your balls on a railway track before the train passed by.

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Linux

Nice but.......

Think I'll wait for OpenSuse 11.1 to land and give KDE 4.2 a whiz, hopefully KDE 4 won't be such a work in progress by then.

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Flame

Shouldn't "rock solid feel" be taken for granted these days?

I don't see how a "rock solid feel" can be considered a selling point, not for about the last ten years.

"no bugs, glitches or crashes". Crikey, that should be par for the course.

Solaris and FreeBSD, which I've used for years, have always had a "rock solid feel". RedHat in the pre RHEL versions often used to have that feel - I'm referring to 5.2, 6.2 and so on. Even Win2K was rock solid. NT was crap, of course.

Having just started to use Linux again regularly after a few years minimal use, I'm rather surprised to see just how bloated some distros have become. Centos is heavy man, like 60s heavy. A huge download. It's almost as though Linux distro authors (if that is the right term) are intent on using up a machine's resources come what may.

Fedora may be good, I don't know, but I'm not going to make a huge download just to get a "rock solid" system when I already have one.

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Linux

More KDE, less Gnome

Fedora is one of the very few distributions that really get the KDE desktop. Only too bad they have not spent much time on it for this release.

It is a shame that such a good desktop environment has to be provided on a separate disk, as an option to the regular thing. I feel that many Windows users would feel more at home in KDE than in Gnome. Thus making an easier transition.

Overall, a good release. Much more stable than the last Debian release, and actually on time too.

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Linux

RPMs

"As a bonus you also get the always excellent RPM package system"

Lots of people don't like RPMs. I am one of them. I have experienced RPM Hell. It drove me to APT based systems (like Debian and Ubuntu of course).

That is not to say RH is bad or RPM are bad, they are just not for me.

YUM seems to be a nice alternative to direct RPM stuff, but its still not a patch on APT... in my opinion, you are welcome to yours.

I still might give this distro a try, worth a look at least on a spare partition.

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Replies

AC 17:13 GMT - that chart is out-of-date in one respect - current RPM supports suggested (soft) dependencies, and at least urpmi and Mandriva packages implement this (I don't know if Fedora or SUSE use this capability yet). In other ways I'd say it's a bit biased towards apt, some of the criteria seem to have been chosen purely to make apt look good. What does it really matter whether 'standard tools' can be used to access the packages or the metadata?

AC 18:39 GMT - sorry about that. It would be important to know when you tried the upgrade: it's a brand new feature for 2009, and honestly, when it was first rolled out, it wasn't as robust as it needed to be against possible failure cases. It worked fine in internal tests, but these didn't sufficiently reproduce real-world cases like heavily overloaded mirrors and very slow connections. We pulled the feature for a couple of weeks, made a lot of improvements to make it much more resistant to problems, and re-enabled it again. Since then, there've been a lot fewer reports of problems with it. Anyway, this is a bit off-topic, so if you'd like to follow up further, do please post to the forums, or mail me directly.

Mike: I'm not sure if you misread my post, but I certainly didn't intend to suggest you have to use rpm on Fedora. I was defending Fedora (and other RPM-based distros) against the silly 'RPM hell' crap. I specifically mentioned yum in my post.

mario: well, yeah, I did specifically say that back when there were distros around where you had to use the rpm command directly, it was a pain. But no distro makes you do that any more. Things change, believe it or not. I don't see the relevance in bringing up problems from years and years ago.

In general, statements like "Then again, I still prefer the emerge/apt-get style method of package management since RPM tries to be all things to all men and ends up being merely adequate." and "No, they can't fix RPM Hell because it is designed that way." just confuse me. I have no idea what they're talking about. Both binary .deb packages and binary .rpm packages contain a bunch of files, and some metainformation (the package name, version, changelog, file list, list of dependencies, and a description). That's it. There's nothing massively complex about a binary package format that you can get 'wrong'. I don't know what you think it is that RPM gets wrong.

David Viner: either you did something wrong with your repositories, or that was simply an error on Fedora's part in not rebuilding the packages with the updated libraries. Given the packages in question are very important, I would suspect the former, because if an official update actually prevented the official Apache package from installing, there'd be a giant shitstorm, and I don't remember ever reading about anything like that.

Either way, it's not 'RPM hell'. It's either a user error or a packager error.

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@Jason Harvey - MP3 - No chance

And it's not down to Fedora. Blame the licensors:

http://docs.fedoraproject.org/desktop-user-guide/en/sn-excluded-multimedia.html

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Heart

@ Adam

I appreciate a good rant as much as anyone, but just occasionally you might want to listen to the issues people are having rather than simply defend your entrenched position.

Many people, me included, having tried them both, find apt a superior dependency manager to urpmi, and make their deployment decisions accordingly. Free software is about choice, after all.

Many people, me included, have experienced more problems with urpmi/yum and rpm than we have with apt and dpkg. The rpm ecosystem was late to the dependency management game, and the effect lingers, both as a memory of troubles and an occasional contemporary reminder of underlying issues.

I suspect that, while I personally find apt more reliable, urpmi and yum are probably very good tools now. The real reason there was a flurry of "commentards" on the RPM-hell case on this particular article was that the author made the ludicrous claim that the rpm system was "always excellent", and we *know*, from personal experience, that it *wasn't*. It used to be crap.

I'm glad to hear it has got better.

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1980s Desktops

If I wanted a computer that's indistinguishable from Windows, I'd install Windows; Gnome and KDE are a waste of hard drive space, to say nothing of the dependancy nightmare they both create. You can end up downloading 230MB just because the twat who wrote your calculator app decided to bump the "requires" list to the last version of the libraries he installed at home.

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Linux

I have used RH4 up to FC8..

.. and finally got seduced by Ubuntu, cos FC7 registered itself as 6.9 and refused to update anymore (with ANY package manager). Even though this was a trivial issue to fix, I was just so annoyed at the idiocy of it, and left it all behind.

I do miss FC/Red Hat. I will be trying FC10, but if I can't get my nVidias running and my laptop's non-intel wifi without jiggery-pokery, then I will need the 10-foot pole to push it away.

x)

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Joke

@Nice review By Neil Greatorex

"PS Mr. Bidmead, please take note: It's not necessary to have 14gazillion pages with 4 lines of text & a screenshot on each page."

unless you want to pump out loads more adverts and boost your page hits

now why would you want to do that?

yours freetardly,

etc etc

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No

You're kidding, right?

"As a bonus you also get the always excellent RPM package system"

Umm, on what planet is RPM an "excellent package system"?

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Anonymous Coward

640x480 screenshots?

Are those screen shots taken from a system running at 640x480, or are those desktop icons special "child friendly" versions?

How are you supposed to get any work done with so much wasted space in the menus?

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Duncan

"I appreciate a good rant as much as anyone, but just occasionally you might want to listen to the issues people are having rather than simply defend your entrenched position."

If you ask anyone who knows me they'll tell you I'm very responsive to genuine issues. (I've closed three bugs today). The thing is, no-one in these comments reported any actual issue. They just ranted on about 'RPM hell' without giving any specifics. You, also, don't give any specifics - you say you "find apt a superior dependency manager to urpmi" but you don't say *why*. You say you "experienced more problems with urpmi/yum and rpm than we have with apt and dpkg", but you don't say *what problems*. You mention an "occasional contemporary reminder of underlying issues.", but you don't say *what issues*.

How am I meant to listen to your issues, then?

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I want my nVidias!

Why oh why no propietary nVidia support? This annoys me as much as the "no mp3 support" with Fedora, which might also be a good reason why some Linux distros aren't just getting enough mainstream use. (j00 have to H4><><0|2 j00r leenuks deestro to get mp3z d00d!)

But I wonder why the nVidia propietary drivers aren't working in the newest xorg version. I hope it isn't some kind of "open source or nothing" crusade; I want my nVidia to work dammit, I don't care if the driver's open or closed!

Meanwhile, I'll keep FC6 for now ...

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Dead Vulture

RPM not hell

Please can people who last tried Red Hat Linux in 1996 stop commenting on "RPM hell" now.

RPM is a fine packaging system, and YUM is a dependency manager, like dpkg compared to apt. Do we talk about "dpkg hell"? No because Debian and Ubuntu use APT, and Fedora uses YUM.

I, for a living, have built both dpkg packages and RPMs, and I can tell you that RPM is my preferred system from a technical point of view. The single spec file, proper parser and automatic dependency resolution makes it a much more sane choice than the "big collection of random shell scripts" that is dpkg.

YUM vs APT is a worthwhile argument. APT is faster and uses much less memory. YUM has made great improvements and has a much saner repository scheme (createrepo rocks).

The gravestone should read "RPM hell".

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Boffin

Mandriva is still superior

I tried (K)ubuntu, I tried Fedora, but none comes close to the stability, whilst still being up-to-date, of Mandriva.

I'm currently still using Mandriva 2008.1, not yet 2009, as I never like bleeding edge stuff (I actually use my PC, I don't just experiment with it!) but I have already paid for the 2009 Powerpack download version (with Ubuntu having the unfair advantage of a rich backer who doesn't mind making a loss, Mandriva can use all the financial support it gets, and so far my 59 Euros have always been worth it).

@Ben Schofield: you must be doing something wrong: I get already 1200fps with a 300x300 pixel window of glxgears on my old P4 2.5Ghz with an ancient Nvidia FX5200 driving 2 monitors at 1280x1024!

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I've been using fedora 10 a few weeks.

No problems. I am using the proprietary Nvidia driver from rpmfusion, no problem. Not one single crash, freeze, error of any kind. I have been using RPM based distros almost solid for 2 years (Mandriva, Fedora, PCLOS mainly, some Debian ones like Sidux and Mepis for brief periods, Ubuntu, but I found it to be much glitchy, every release on my machine), no problems with dependency Hell, I've had no problems installing packages. I've installed many packages, and I upgraded to stable 10 today, no problems. I'm running the 64bit version. I'd go so far to say it is one of the smoother running distros out of many I've tried, almost close to Sidux.

As to those commenting on MP3 playback and other things, I suggest looking at "autoten" (google it). I used it and it worked nicely, plays every media file I've tried, and no I'm not affiliated with it, I just found it to be a useful Fedora tool. Installs many things automatically (like flash, Nvidia (but I installed it manually prior to finding the tool, so I don't know if that works), Google products, codecs, etc.

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Writer hasn't done research?

"Of course PackageKit really only works for files that have a Linux-compatible app available - download a .flv movie and PackageKit will ignore it."

No Linux-compatible apps for FLVs? That's weird - I play FLV files on a standard Ubuntu-EEE installation without any problems. System quite happily recognises them out of the box and launches Mplayer.

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Go

@ Jason Harvey

Huh? Fedora can play MP3s fine - just install vlc or xmms.

The nvidia issue is a dealbreaker tho - presumably that means no support for Compiz.

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Anonymous Coward

Who needs proof-reading?

Second paragraph

"The tenth revision slick and stable and it has a rock solid feel to it"

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I'm among the no-Fedora crowd.

7 wouldn't even go, I played with 9 a few weeks ago and the liveCD struggled for the longest time on fairly decent hardware that handles Ubuntu's just fine. I played with yum, really felt like apt was a way superior system, and RPMs have made me mad too many times. (Source-based with Portage for the win!)

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Daniel B.

"Why oh why no propietary nVidia support?"

Just because the NVIDIA drivers themselves don't work with the (very recent) X server Fedora ships. But, as has been noted by several commenters, a popular Fedora third party repo has patched packages, so you really shouldn't have any trouble getting it up and running.

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Coat

F-spot?

Shurely a Gnome app should be called G-sp...Never mind.

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Off topic but Slackware rocks

gdb on Fedora gives a peculiar error. apparently it needs about 20 more libraries before it can do something meaningful; this after 4GB of installation. i think i chose one of the default profiles and then again manually selected packages, emacs is apparently an optional software.

that itself says all.

however, between ubuntu and fedora, i would certainly prefer fedora. disabling root login and substituting another user as superuser is stupid and it is a waste of time to undo such moronic antics.

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