Well, that's Anaconda worse then
Just put F18 in a VirtualBox VM to try it out and it's still seems a bit half-baked to me.
Anaconda is *terrible* now. I mean seriously bad. It was buggy in F18 Alpha and those issues seemed to have been ironed out, but none of the usability problems have:
* EVERYTHING IS IN CAPITALS FOR NO GOOD REASON. As the El Reg screenshot shows, they title everything in shouty capitals rather than bolding it or something not so horrible.
* The review mentions MATE and Cinnamon, yet neither of these are offered as desktop options in Anaconda at all. Considering MATE is officially supported and installable via yum, this is quite a poor move.
* Talking of customising the package installs, any chance to refine it above some broad categories doesn't exist (probably hasn't for several Fedora releases anyway).
* The disk partitioning section is now actually far worse than the old (and not very good) Disk Druid-type section we've seen in earlier Fedoras. I always do custom partitioning and can't say I like the default of LVM, but at least I worked out how to change that to a standard partition. Units are mixed with abandon (XX.YY GB and XXX.YY Kbytes right next to each other!), it took me an age to work out how to add swap space and also how to allocate the rest of the remaining space on the device to a partition (answer: leave the size field blank).
* You start the installation only to be told you haven't set the root password (shouldn't that have been asked for *before* you clicked "start install"?).
* No ETA for installation completion during install and don't believe it displayed either the version numbers or sizes of the packages it was installing either.
After installation (I chose GNOME), you're presented with a blank desktop, an Activities menu, a few icons in the top right and that's it. Quite a poor first impression from GNOME 3 immediately there - having to click on Activities to make icons visible is simply a ludicrous default. The thing is, at this point, you have been given no alternative clues about MATE or Cinnamon - neither are offered to you either before login or afterwards.
Every release of Fedora seems to make it harder and harder to bring up a terminal window, which isn't good considering that people think of it as one of the better distros for developers. It's Activities -> Some non-obvious dotted grid (hover to find it's "show all apps" apparently) -> System Tools -> Terminal. Yes, that's two clicks on the left, two on the right - *4* clicks to bring up a terminal window :-( Yes, I know there are other ways, but they involve keyboard *and* mouse, which is even worse.
So I get the terminal up, complete with stupidly tall title bar/menu (no divider between the title bar and menu doesn't help!) and a yum grouplist as root finally shows what was stupidly hidden by Anaconda - all the alternative desktops! So it's time for yum groupinstall "MATE Desktop" and 108 (!) package downloads/installs later, I have MATE installed (it installed Thunderbird which surprisingly doesn't seem to be in the default GNOME install!). It's here I see something that I raised a feature request about - it looks like RPMs are downloaded in parallel, which is nice. It does lead to a bit of confusing cycling of the parallel download names as they are in progress though.
I might be too frustrated at this point, because I can't find the logout option in the menus (only restart/shutdown), so it's a restart then. A new "Session..." option appears pre-login and I can choose MATE now. Still the stupid 2-panel that later GNOME 2 desktops have (you only need one panel otherwise you are mousing up and down like a mad person), but it does look like MATE is customisable in a very similar manner to GNOME 2 e.g. the right button is used, there's a panel and desktop icons, all of which are improvements on GNOME 3 :-)
Conclusion - if you can struggle past the awfulness of Anaconda and install MATE using yum, this might be a half-decent environment - the first Fedora since F14 that hasn't massively disappointed me.