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back to article Fedora 16: A GNOME lover's paradise

After several delays, Fedora 16 has been delivered. While hold-ups are a characteristic of the distro's release cycle, these latest ditherings have put the latest version of Fedora a few weeks behind its main competitor, Ubuntu. Fortunately for Fedora fans this release is well worth the extended waiting time, offering an updated …

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Go

Unless you read to the very end...

....this article seems to imply that, if you choose Fedora, you have to choose Gnome. Not true.

https://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora-options

Gnome, KDE, LXDE or Xfce. Take your pick.

Just saying...

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Anonymous Coward

Scroll Down to the Bottom of the Article

Where does it imply that? It talks about GNOME 3's new features yes (and unfortunately it makes up most of the article) but nowhere does it imply that. Maybe if you'd read the entire article, it mentions that there are other Desktop environments. Plus you can always install a different environment at your choosing. What comes with the Distro does not imply that you're stuck with that environment whatsoever. The Xserver is great like that.

Instead of jumping the gun and posting a comment after only reading half the article, perhaps you should finish it next time.

Just sayin'

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

Jumped the shark and now headed for the event horizon

Integrated messaging? WHY? What is wrong with having the IM client of your choice running in the panel? What possible good comes from integrating the IM system?

Gnome USED to follow the Tau of Unix: small, sharp tools that work well with each other, but each being good at what it did, and not doing anything else. Then Gnome jumped the shark circa version 2 (remember: "jumped the shark" := reached the zenith and beginning the decent), and version 3 is now deep into the ergosphere and heading for the event horizon at full acceleration.

And to see Redhat, Canonical, Novell, and other companies ENCOURAGING this, funding this - it just makes me weep.

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Meh

--->(remember: "jumped the shark" := reached the zenith and beginning the decent)

No. When the Fonz "jumped the shark" the show "Happy Days" was already in decline and this just made it obvious to all that it was now of poor quality. When used properly that idiom "jumped the shark" refers to something already in decline that makes a desperate move to prove how obvious and entrenched that decline is. It is most definitely not used to mean the point of zenith

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Headmaster

Furthermore

"Tau of Unix" is actually "Tao" or variously "Dao" (which is still incorrect, but closer to the pronunciation).

As to why they're starting to integrate rather than run in pieces? They have to compete against highly-integrated competitors (Apple and Windows). If they continue to toss Joe User's usage habits to the wayside, they won't appeal to the general desktop market, and get drop-kicked like ChromeOS. Next you'll see MyFaceTwitSpaceBook notifications and email rolled up into the chat/IM to make a "unified messenger" utility in the status bar.

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GNOME doesn't have a panel

One of the major selling points of GNOME shell is it does away with panels and replaces them with something more powerful - you can write extensions in CSS and JS that integrate seamlessly with the shell to provide stuff like instant messaging. Or weather. Or reminders. Or notes. Or anything that panels could do and more. If you want to slap a little icon in, you can do that. If you want a big floaty panel sweeping in from the side you can do that too.

So why some should think it a bad thing that they utilise the functionality of the shell to do this is beyond me.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ammaross Danan - Apple maybe but

Windows GUI up to W7 is still not integrated with all that social stuff so why bother anyway ?

Secondly, Linux (as well as *BSD) is not competing with anyone as far as I can tell. It is the only platform that respects and safeguards the end-user digital freedoms, no other major OS even tries to pretend doing that. For what it offers I'm more than happy to endure the usual shortcomings and lack of spit and polish when compared to other OS.

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The rest of the world has had a decade to adopt a "pretty" Linux on the desktop. If it hasn't happened yet, it isn't going to. The latest desktop tear up and rewrite sacrifices the existing user base for an improbable dream.

Revelation 3:16 comes to mind - So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

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They have the silly thing in reverse...

Hmmmm.... not integrating things like IM and the like. Are they going to follow Microsoft and integrate the browser next? Speaking of "desktop", the new Gnome "desktop" isn't a desktop at all, it is more a tablet interface, and on a tablet I can see it being somewhat useful, but even my tablet interface could use a task-bar so I can see and rapidly switch between applications, and while they're at it how about overlapping windows and implementing multi-touch (pinch/expand gestures) to resize them? Does the Mac use the iOS UI? No? Do you think it will? Would it benefit the Mac userbase if it did? Look at Win 8.0 and its UI... more like Win 1.0 than anyuthing else... GEM (I'm dating myself) was more useful.... heck apply the computing power and modern graphics to GEOS and it would be pretty fair.

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Cursed fallback mode

VirtualBox 4.1 seems to have peculiar problems with Fedora 16 for me. I have the latest additions installed. Sometimes GNOME starts the shell up fine. Sometimes it doesn't and I'm dumped into fallback mode. It's very annoying. I'm sure it's probably VirtualBox's fault in some way but I will be glade when the llvmpipe stuff lands so that the shell always fires up even in software only mode.

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As far as I can tell it's a combination of a bug in the VirtualBox display driver implementation of compositing, and Gnome Shell assuming that all drivers that support OpenGL properly support Composite. KDE 4.6 and later make the same assumption. Every other compositing window manager manages NOT to make this mistake.

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Linux Mint

I've been running Linux Mint now since the RC was released at the start of the week, and I must confess that it I think it's the best Gnome-Shell environment to date. It goes extremely far to fix all the problems with Gnome-Shell, and has the added benefit of being familiar to those that use ubuntu.

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Happy

Gnome3 is growing on me.

Liking Gnome3 is all in the mind..

From a lot of irritation at first I have stuck with it on F15, using it on my work machine every day but keeping other machines at F14/Gnome2. With use has come a grudging acknowlegement that the basic design and direction of G3 is sound.

So now I have Fedora 16 on all my machines. Gnome3 works best on the netbook, it really is a small-screen OS. But It's usable on desktops too, and the 3.0->3.2 tweaks have helped make it nicer on the big screen. The clutter-free nature make it (for me) a surprisingly productive environment

Epic fails still abound; the three that exercise me are:

1) Defaulting to suspend rather than shutdown, and insisting you use a modifier key to see 'Poweroff' in the menu. Grr.. NONE OF MY MACHINES RECOVER FROM SUSPEND.. period. they ALL lock up and need a 5-second press of death. This is due to the very buggy nature of suspend in the kernel (and Windows fares no better.. if you want reliable suspend get a Mac).

- Fortunately you can set system policy to disable suspend; and then the menu changes to offer Poweroff (Gnome3 is well coded.. it's a victim of poor defaults, not poor code). See http://www.fedoraforum.org/forum/showthread.php?p=1437655

2) Pressing an Application icon in the launcher opens a running instance of the app. by default, only opening a new instance if there is none running. This is a half-arsed attempt to do what MS do in the Win7 quick-launch bar.. Its a UI fail there and also fails here.

3) No screensaver.. I don't want much, just a really simple photo slideshow.. please..

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Anonymous Coward

Not wanting to change your desktop

... Is also, I suppose, all in the mind.

But I don't.

Well, actually, I do. Barely a day goes past when I don't tweak something and admire the result.

Start over? I'd rather not, thanks.

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suspend bugs

Can you file bugs, either at Fedora bugzilla or upstream kernel bugzilla, for your suspend issues? The only way to make suspend less buggy is to get the bugs fixed, after all. =) Provide /var/log/messages around the time of the suspend / failed resume / reboot, if you can. Thanks.

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Pint

Agreed, it gets pretty tolerable after a week or so ...

and is also the first distro I've seen to OOTB handle external monitors via DisplayPort from an Nvidia graphics card as seemlessly as if it were Intel under Windows ~ the Nouveau video driver has improved considerably in kernel 3.1 ~ so I kiss goodbye to that horrible plague known as nvidia-settings.

Also, here are some workaround suggestions for the specific niggles you mention:

1. There's a shell-extension to replace 'Suspend' in status menu with 'Shut Down' ~ the invoked dialog includes all options: suspend, hibernate, restart and power off ~ http://intgat.tigress.co.uk/rmy/extensions/index.html

For a fix to the perennial suspend/hibernate mess with a stock kernel, try a script from this page ~ http://thecodecentral.com/2011/01/18/fix-ubuntu-10-10-suspendhibernate-not-working-bug

2. Middle-click on launcher icon opens new instance in all cases ~ http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/CheatSheet

3. Until v3.4, just shove a lava-lamp in front of the screen when you want to be bored.

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"From a lot of irritation at first I have stuck with it on F15"

And that is the problem. When the original Mac was released and Apple ][ and PC users bought one did they do so because they wanted a more irritating experience? Did Commodore 64 owners use GEOS because they wanted something more difficult than archaic CBM-DOS commands to load and use applications? No, they used them because they found the new Graphical User Interfaces were enticing and held the promise of an easier, more intuitive and therefore more pleasant experience. Shortcomings were found (they always are) but it was a better experience right out of the gate.

This can not be said for Gnome 3 or Unity, although the difference between Gnome 3 and 2.X are not as great as the Apple ][ vs Mac/MS-DOS or CBM-DOS vs GEOS examples. Having said that even migrating from KDE 3.X to KDE 4 was a better experience than Gnome 2 to 3. I went to Gnome because KDE 4.0 was driving me round the bend. I found its reorganization of the K menu annoying, it was easy to lose track of where you were (no tree to illutratet the menu heirarchy) and a widget had to be used to simulate being able to put anything on the desktop! Utter silliness, what was a desktop for if not to be able to place things on it. Add to these annoyances a task-bar that seemed to have a mind of its own, and a Dolphin as a file manager and KDE 4 made my computing life painful. I spent far too much time fighting the UI instead of doing productive work. It was easier (and made me more productive) to switch to Gnome.

Ahhh.. Nautilus, while not as flexible as Konqueror (multiple split horizontal & vertical panes AND tabs (Nautilus now it at least can do a split pane with Tabs)) but it was much cleaner than the Aquatic Mammal file manager and didn't waste my precious desk space with instant-previews and the like. Having a task bar at the top and bottom was visually a little different, but it was not irritating, did not impede productivity or get in the way and it took no getting used to.

People who switched from Windows to Linux also liked Gnome, and preferred it over KDE 4.0. Gnome 2.x is actually so familiar to Windows users that in cases of stiff resistance simply applying a Windows XP theme was enough to eliminate all complaints. It was still Gnome 2.X and still worked like Gnome 2.x, but because it looked like XP it was OK. Many of these folks had trouble grasping the multiple desktop idea until they saw COMPIZ. That rotating cube turned on many light-bulbs. Now they understood because they could see the multiple desktops as something 'real'. THe concept was clear and made sense. Wobbly windows are another favourite, perhaps because it gives the window a sense of substance, in any event it is much liked. These things may not immediately contribute to productivity, but they will over the long-haul simply because they make the whole computing experience more pleasant. This is something that Apple designers (still) understand, yet others seem to have trouble coming to grips with. What happens is we end up with things like the idea of using a joystick to steer your car, something that is not so much a soloution to a problem, but rather is in search of one.

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FAIL

Network needed during install / Broadcom wireless

Whilst they have finally sorted out their kernel mode setting failures with ATI cards (only took about 2 years/4 releases to do so), they seem to insist - for me at least - that a network connection is present during the Fedora 16 installation. This requirement forced up a dialogue box to choose between my network interfaces - and this was even before the repository/package choice was made! I've installed all previous 15 Fedora releases and have *never* required a net connection during any previous Fedora install - this is an extremely poor move on the part of the Fedora installer, IMHO.

What's worse is that the Fedora geniuses have shipped the Broadcom wireless drivers (I was installing on a Dell Mini 9 that has Broadcom) without any firmware, so they are utterly useless in the Anaconda installer - well done, boys! Even when I got the b43 firmware on a USB stick, Fedora's installer provided no easy way to install them (a la "press F6 for driver disk" that the Windows installer uses - I even used one of the virtual terminals to unpack the firmware files, but it still didn't help).

I could only get past the network prompt by wiring up the Mini 9's ethernet interface - once installed, I completed the b43 wireless driver install only to find I was getting 1Mbit/sec speeds and the connection dropping every 30 seconds. In other words, the open source driver for Broadcom wireless on Fedora 16 is shipped totally unusable without ninja skills to enable it and when it is enabled, it's utterly useless. I switched to the closed source "wl" driver from rpmfusion.org, which worked perfectly. I can't believe that in 2011, we've *still* got wireless problems with a major Linux distro.

As for the GNOME 3/Shell interface, it was such a bad user experience, I switched to XFCE and made it look fairly close to a GNOME 2 with a single panel at the bottom - a much more productive setup, IMHO. And, yes, there's a right-click on the background available to bring up "obvious" actions in XFCE, unlike GNOME 3's decision to ludicrously disable such right-clicks.

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not really

The installer doesn't require a network connection if you use the DVD, no. However, if you write the DVD to a USB stick, you have to pass a repo=hd:/location/of/stick parameter to the installer to get it to use the data from the stick rather than doing a network install. If you use the smaller netinst.iso / boot.iso image, then yes, you'll need a network connection.

That's the first thought that comes to mind as to why your install seemed to need a network connection, but I'd need a few more details of exactly how you tried to install to be sure. sorry for the trouble.

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How did you write the DVD iso to a USB stick? Presumably not with livecd-iso-to-disk

I just use livecd-iso-to-disk and have no need to pass any repo= options to the installer, it just installs cleanly, doesn't ask for a network connection. For me this has worked without any faffing around for the last couple of releases.

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FAIL

Kernel 3.0

Fedora 16 uses the 3.1 Linux kernel

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I want to try Gnome 3, but it keeps going into fallback mode. My computer isn't cutting edge, but its only 1 and a half years old and I wouldn't expect to have any issues. If they want to crack the desktop, they need to get something that works and then polish it, not make disruptive changes just at the point where the experience was becoming slick.

Don't get my wrong, I'm all for progress and happy to see new things appear, but I find the way the user base have been dragged along, like it or not, and the issues with my own computer, after happily using Gnome 2 for years, very off putting.

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Silver badge

llvmpipe

The software-only backend to mesa (OpenGL) is getting a rewrite called llvmpipe which will generate multi-threaded code that takes advantage of SSE and other stuff lying around.

When this goes in, it's intended that GNOME will utilise it instead of fallback mode and that fallback mode will die. If llvmpipe does it's job then performance at least for desktop effects is likely to be acceptable.

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Go

What hardware?

I have a Fedora 16 32-bit VirtualBox VM running Gnome Shell on a 4 year old Linux Core2 host with an equally old ATI card so I'd be surprised if it won't run on much newer hardware. It did take a little tweaking with help from the Fedora forums but it wasn't uberpenguingeek stuff.

Maybe these links will help:

http://www.fedoraforum.org/forum/showthread.php?p=1521005

http://www.fedoraforum.org/forum/showthread.php?t=269151

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need to know the hardware

Fallback mode means your graphics hardware / driver combination failed Shell's test for support of the things it needs to work. Obviously, we'd need details of your graphics hardware to try and figure out why that might be.

Some recent NVIDIA adapters would not work with the Shell using the open nouveau driver until F16, as we didn't have redistributable firmware for them; have you tried with F16 (or a similarly recent distro) yet, or did you only try the last generation?

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already 'in'

this is already in Rawhide (F17), I'm using it. Right at this moment in time it's hilariously crashy, but last week it was working quite well.

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@Owen Carter (point 2)

<quote>2) Pressing an Application icon in the launcher opens a running instance of the app</quote>

It's another modifier key that you need. I haven't got Gnome 3 at work here to confirm, but off the top of my head it's shift (if not then it's alt).

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I plan to delay moving to G3, myself

Like KDE4, it seems to be having teething troubles. I suspect it will get over them but I think this time I'd like to sit it out until it does. The fails of the KDE4 transition are part of why I use Gnome today.

A question for those that have gone to G3 already. Does it use the same config directories as G2? I might dip my toes in the water earlier on a VM or something, but I keep /home on an NFS server, and I learned last time that different major versions of desktops do not like sharing the same config files.

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I wouldn't do that

I wouldn't expect it to work very well to try and share /home between a GNOME 2 and a GNOME 3 system, no, unfortunately.

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Sticking with Linux Mint 11 Katya

Only just started with Linux this year and Mint 10 Julia was my distro of choice.

Superb. The only thing it doesn't do is automatically detect my wireless. Just tried out Katya and it does detect it, so as I'm just getting back into it I will probably stick with that. It still runs hot as I have an ATI card, but no hotter (still about 10 degrees hotter than win7 though).

I have just tried out these distros and the temperature is consistent:

Wary Puppy

Lucid Puppy

Slacko Puppy

Fatdog 64

Parted Magic

I've only just got my head around Gnome 2, so the last thing I want to do is confuse myself further. I have read also that Gnome 3 uses a lot more CPU compared to Gnome 2.

http://www.renewablepcs.com/about-linux/kde-gnome-or-xfce

10% opposed to 1% is quite a lot when you have average hardware and it is running hot already, like me.

I've just downloaded the .iso's for Dream Studio and AV Linux. I don't imagine they will run any cooler though.

Gnome 2 is a fantastic experience and what made me fall in love with Linux. It is my fave desktop out of those I have tried so far. Not liking the look of Gnome 3 at all and that extra CPU hit makes me want to avoid it like the plague.

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try it

There's no intrinsic reason GNOME 3 should use more CPU time than GNOME 2, really; that reviewer may have had some local issue. I'd try it for yourself before assuming you'll have a CPU usage problem, it's easy enough to do so with a live CD. GNOME 3.2 does sort-of-require tracker, a desktop search mechanism, which will use some system resources like all desktop search thingies tend to do; but it's fairly easy to disable it if you don't want that (run gnome-session-properties and disable all the things with 'tracker' in the name).

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Linux

Lovin it

KDE works a charm as well...

Just thought I'd add my two penneth

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KDE 4.7 is great, love it

Yes it does, Ive never liked GNOME and Xfce is too stripped down, so KDE has always been my Desktop Environment. I was very unconvinced about Plasma at first, but Ive grown to love it and I suspect the GNOME crowd will grow to love the changes in GNOME as well but it will take awhile. Its a familiarity issue.

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WTF?

I don't follow the logic here, what does it matter whether Fedora uses Gnome or KDE or whatever? Majority of what you do in Linux will require the terminal so why the GUI?

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Facepalm

This just in . . .

. . . many modern computer users do enjoy using the GUI for many common tasks!

Ric Romero has more at 11.

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Yes you have to use the terminal alot, especially during configuration and when you're tweaking things. You always have and always will and its not just a Linux thing either, Windows is the same way if you know what you're doing. Its much more limited alot of times in Windows but anyone claiming to be a power user needs to know it. GUIs break. You can generally boot into a CLI and find out what the hell went wrong.

That being said, the GUI is very important also. I dont have time to launch every single program from the Terminal/Command Line during the day. Plus, some things are better suited for GUI. Different strokes for different folks y'know.

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Happy

tiny nitpick

From the first paragraph:

"After several delays, Fedora 16 has been delivered. While hold-ups are a characteristic of the distro's release cycle, these latest ditherings have put the latest version of Fedora a few weeks behind its main competitor, Ubuntu."

#1 there were actually only two delays. 'Several' is generally assumed to mean 'more than two', at least round here it is. =) Alpha and Beta were delayed one week each (total two weeks), Final was not delayed.

#2 this hasn't really 'put the latest version...a few weeks behind...Ubuntu' - we've been releasing a few weeks after Ubuntu for several cycles now. If you look at the release dates of Fedoras past, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fedora_%28operating_system%29#Version_history , you can see the cycle is really pretty stable: we've released around mid-May and early-November nearly every time. Note that Fedora Core 1 came out 2003-11-05 and F16 came out 2011-11-08: three days out over eight years isn't so bad, right? :) (For those paying close attention, yes, there's a 'missing cycle' in there - if we'd done six months every time, this would be Fedora 17. There was a short-lived experiment with a nine-month cycle around FC5 which accounts for the loss of a release). Even though we usually get a one or two week 'slip' in the schedule, we actually tend to program the schedule for 24 weeks, not 26 - so a two-week slip winds up pretty much hitting a release-every-six-months pace.

"including a particularly annoying inability to automatically detect my screen size and keep it set between reboots"

I'm interested by this - could you elaborate a bit? By 'screen size' what do you mean, exactly, resolution? Fedora picks a different resolution from the one you'd want to use, and doesn't remember the one you manually change to? What's the graphics card / display? Thanks.

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Pint

Respect where due

I have been Linux (gnome) user for ca 10 years.

I'm currently thoroughly enjoying gnome3 on Debian Wheezy.

So for those wondering whether or not they should take the plunge, my advice would be to go for it.

Ignore the trolls, autists and ignoranti on this thread.

Keep an open mind. It's free and open source, so all the experts here can customize their systems at will, and maybe contribute back to the community.

Have a good weekend.

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