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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  1. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    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

  2. Steven Hunter
    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.

  3. Gleb

    @Steven Hunter

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

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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"

  5. J
    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).

  6. Michael Sheils

    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.

  7. John
    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?

  8. James Pickett
    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...

  9. James Butler
    Thumb Up

    @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.

  10. TimM

    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.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  12. Stuart
    Thumb Down

    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.

  13. anarchic-teapot
    Flame

    @ 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

  14. RahulSundaram
    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.

  15. John Bailey
    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.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Chris Girocco

    You shouldn't be using linux...

    ...if you need a password strength indicator.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. E

    Looks Good

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

  20. E

    @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.

  21. Steven Pepperell

    @Looks Good

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

  22. V.Srikrishnan
    Thumb Up

    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...

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  25. Andrew Cannon
    Thumb Up

    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

  26. James Dunmore
    Thumb Up

    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

  27. paul
    Flame

    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.

  28. Steve

    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.

  29. HFoster
    Flame

    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.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  33. Steven Raith
    Flame

    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

  34. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    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.

  35. Stewart Rice
    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.

  36. Xpositor
    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.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  38. The BigYin
    Thumb Up

    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.

  39. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    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!

  40. Ishkandar

    @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 ??

  41. tardigrade
    Thumb Down

    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?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  43. Guy Herbert
    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.

  44. arbeyu

    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?

  45. Matt

    @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.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  47. Alex Smith

    @ 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.

  48. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    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.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

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

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

  50. Phil the Geek
    Thumb Up

    @ 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.

  51. Matthew
    Thumb Up

    I'll be sure to give this a go

    Have always found the installer a PITA on RH/FC If for what ever reason a package can't be found or doesn't install during the installation no matter how trivial it is the whole thing quits and you have to start from scratch, no skip option. I have always found it very feature-light as a desktop OS so improvements are welcome there. IMO openSUSE is a lot more intuitive. KDE4 is still very much a beta so despite looking nice I'd be selecting Gnome. Have always liked it on the server though, very logical and reliable and my default choice.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    n00bs

    Ahem...

    SLACKWARE 12.1 -

    <get>

    .COAT

    </get>

  53. Will
    Dead Vulture

    Too much elitism.

    I'd like to get back into linux, even if just for the experience with using something I'm not too familiar with. Trouble with any time I install linux (ubuntu, really) is if I'm ever having any problem with it the 'community' support seems to consist of my asking "I'm trying to do XYZ" followed with "you're trying to do XYX? Did you RTFM first? Jeez" regardless of my actual problem or how many manuals I've read.

    Still, better than trying to do something different in OSX: any time you say "I want to do XYZ" they just say "XYZ? Why would you ever want to do that?"...

  54. E

    WRT cat

    Well, 'cat foo >> bar' is just a lot easier to remember.

    I admit that I am only a user of UNIX or Linux since about 1992. So I have some bad habits of the younger set. I know it is possible to do nearly everything with just bash, excude me, sh, I just don't know how.

    Some of your elder secrets are still safe ;-)

  55. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Boffin

    Wireless and Linux

    I can get hermes, orinoco, prism, atheros and centrino (ipw220) chipsets working out of the box with any Linux that supports the Gnome Network manager (which I have installed on Ubuntu 6.06 - it's in the repository). I can get the ralink and derrived chipsets working for WEP without too much trouble, but it takes some effort to get WPA working, which most people will not be able to sort out themselves.

    Where there is a weakness is in the WPA supplicant support. Atheros and Centrino chipsets with Gnome Network manager will do it, and in a reasonably friendly way.

    I am using a fairly backward Ubuntu release, so I suspect that it will be a little easier in later releases. I know that the normal network system admin tool in the menu does not work with WPA at all in Ubuntu 6.06.

    Where the problem lies is that with a card intended for Windows, the user gets the nice little install CD, which takes away from them all the hassle of deciding which chipset is being used.

    Modern Linux distributions probably have the abillity to drive almost all of the chipsets used out-of-the-box, and also have the NDIS wrappers as a fallback, but you need to be able to decide which chipset is in use to make useful decisions.

    If manufacturers provided the details of the internal workings of the card (basically the chipset details), or even gave the same degree of care to installing their products on different Linux distros, as they do on different Windows releases, then I'm sure that there would be less discontent amongst non-hardcore Linux users.

    I know that this is hampered by the plethora of different distributions out there (see my earlier comments), but it should not be rocket science.

    An additional complication is that if you go into your local PC World (assuming it is still open after Thursday) and ask for a Wireless PC-Card using the Atheros chipset, you will get a blank look from the assistants, as they will understand "Wireless" and may understand "PC-Card" (but you might have to call it a PCMCIA card), but Atheros might as well be a word in Greek (actually, it probably is).

    And it complicated by manufacturers who have multiple different products, with the same product ID, using completly different chipsets (if you are lucky, on the card itself, you may get a v2 or v3 added to the product ID, but not normally on the outside of the box).

    If you definitly want to get wireless working, I suggest that you pick up one of the Linux magazines (-Format or -User) and look for adverts from suppliers who will guarantee to supply a card that will work with Linux, or keep to the Intel Centrino wireless chipset that fortunatly is in most laptops with Pentium processors.

    If your laptop uses mini-PCI cards (under a cover normally on the bottom of the laptop) for wireless expansion, then there are many people selling Intel wireless cards on eBay for IBM Thinkpads (2915ABG) that will probably work. Thats what I am using, and it works very nicely indeed.

  56. xplusaks

    Best Distro !

    .

    If impossible was possible - it would have been!

    There is no thing as best distro, what I have is what I like.

    Only thing I wish to do is to remain open for change,

    may we get strength or wisdom or whatever to decide -

    what "will be good tomorrow", that's where I am going.

    We will 'only' have better and better distros but I wish we never have "the best" coz then there will be nothing better to look for!

    And if we are open to this thought, it will be a funny feeling to cross our processes that M$ walks (somewhere in future) on golden pavement, all alone!

    Come on friends, lets live for Linux ... ... that's for all of us.

  57. A J Stiles
    Stop

    Linux Wireless

    Proper wireless support in Linux is not down to the kernel developers, but the hardware manufacturers who are sitting on the information required to write a driver as though it were an important trade secret, rather than part of the instructions necessary for making full use of one's own property. (I have old printer manuals which include not only the control codes to enable graphics mode, double-width printing &c., but interface timing charts -- STROBE must be asserted within so many µs. after D7-D0 are latched and for so many µs. to guarantee that the character is received, kind of thing -- and suggested schematics for interfacing to then-popular processors!)

    We need to write to our elected representatives and demand a change in the law, which would make manufacturers provide this information or ban their products from sale.

    Legislation is required because otherwise, manufacturers will just mumble something unconvincing about competitors stealing their secrets (as though they aren't all *already* reverse-engineering one another's cards); if they were all forced to do it at the same time, none of them could gain any unfair advantage.

    Yes, publishing this information could enable people to misuse wireless networking cards and create interference elsewhere in the spectrum -- but there are already laws in place against that.

  58. Sam
    Unhappy

    One missing?

    Where's the KDE live CD 32bit?

    I was going to try it on a legacy P4 with an intel board I've got here.

  59. Robin Layfield
    Go

    Guess this could be handy for crossing the US border

    Yep, why take a laptop to get it searched...

    better still buy a stick when you enter the country and download the contents of your host environment from t'net.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/01/electronic_searches_at_us_borders/

    and for all those "I wouldn't let anyone put their data on my machine" naysayers... get your own stick! Leave the machine as it was when you bought it and use it as host. That's the way it's supposed to be and it can't happen soon enough as far as I'm concerned.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @@@@ Linux Wireless

    I notice quite a lot of complaints regarding wireless not working and then defenses that it is the fault of the hardware manufacturer or whatever.

    Isn't the important point that wireless does not generally work with linux?

    I have tried a number of linux distributions including SuSe and Ubuntu and I have not got any of them to work satisfactorily.

    Now, I know that it may be my fault, and I know that I may have unreasonable satisfaction requirements but all I want it to do is:

    -Wired and wireless networking

    -Internet access

    -Document management (word processor, spreadsheet, picture view/edit, video playback)

    After about half a day if it is not working I format and move on to another distribution. I have not yet found a distribution that has worked satisfactorily.

    Personally I dislike Microsoft as a company, and I am well aware of the major shortcomings of XP and Vista however when it comes down to it the amount of effort I need to put in to get my XP and Vista computers to do what I want and continue doing what I want is minimal.

  61. regadpellagru
    Alert

    @Peter Gathercole

    Ah mate, you couldn't write my feelings about that any better !

    Been sick of FC for years, no way to update a single pkg without triggering tons of pointless updates. I mean, supposing the updater wouldn't stall. Also, you couldn't (back with FC7) install with a single CD, thus not practical on medium networks of old PCs, even internet connected ... The worst was in fact the pkg system and categorisation of installed components. Has probably not evolved since RH 5 or 6, with still the only PDF reader unticked by default. Who would use a PC with no pdf reader ?

    When is it gonna reach the level where SUN/HP/IBM were, 10 years ago in terms of pkg maturity ?

    And how would you install your Nvidia driver on FC eh ? Even myself, I've become tired of recompiling the kernel (because the default one was compiled with a different version of gcc, from the one installed, which would sanely prevent the NV driver from compiling) just to get some openGL working.

    Geez, we're back to Linux kernel 1.2.X with X an optional pkg to be compiled ! Was in 1994, if I recall.

    Since the SW is exactly the same on all distros, I hope one day, they all agree on a common set of pkgs (and format !). Then, they could just put in their fav method of installing the common pkgs.

    Would save shitloads of storage on internet FTP servers and a lot of CPU power to recompile the same sources into the same execs, to make different pkgs ! Make it green, unify the Linux pkgs !

  62. This post has been deleted by its author

  63. Sam

    Ah well

    Lots of people must have 32 bit stuff lying around that they could have tried this on if there was a live cd for i386, but so be it.

    I think they've missed a trick.

    Xp with sp2 now on the P4.....(temp PC while I upgrade her ladyship's notebook, to avoid death.)

  64. C
    Thumb Down

    I'll stick with Debian, thanks

    Every few releases of Fedora Core I will try it in the vain hope that they've actually made it usable...

    After reading this glowing praise of Fedorka 9, I downloaded it and tried it and I can summarize my experience with it on a mainboard that has been in production from Biostar (K8M800) for around 2 years...

    USELESS.

    You'd think the people at Red Hat would figure out how to support an integrated video adapter (Via K8M800) that has been out for years! It seems you have to have either an Nvidia, or ATI add-in video if you want anything more than 640x480.

    Now this new KDE looks like a knock off of the Vista desktop, and it sucks, even more at 640x480 .. hell, Debian will at least let me use 800x600 with a generic VESA driver on unrecognized video hardware!! That's not to say that Fedorka Core 9 didn't FIND the video adapter, it just would not use any resolution higher than 640 by 480.

    I gave it a good go, the 'GUI tools' are almost NON-existent, this turd has the chrome plating flaking off.

    As an aside Red Hat does not include any high end driver binaries, as a matter of fact any hardware that remotely looks like it may go into a server has the binary drivers removed from Fedorka ... this seems like a shallow effort to force one to go buy RHEL.

    I restored Debian Etch 4.0r3, which gave me 1024x768 out of the box. It defaults to Gnome, but its easy to install KDE + KDM, no dependency hell at all. Apt-get, or the GUI program Synaptic just does it all, with a one time ask if you want all the dependency packages.

    Even PCLinuxOS with a tiny dev team in comparison to Red Hat and their billion$ does a far better job! PCLOS is one of my favorites, but lacking the huge software repository and 64bit support I went with Debian for my home server.

    If you must go with Linux from a big commercial vendor I'd say use SUSE or Ubuntu.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    for f in "*.log"; do echo "$(<${k})" >> logs; done

    There you go.

    Which also has the advantage of injecting other elements easily into the process.

    I was just having some fun, cat is just being misused, but it has been misused for so long, even I went cat logs to check it had worked :).

    It pops up more though on system initialization.

    It is nice to keep the programs you need to initialize a system to a minimum, cat and its 26K on a GNU system, takes up space and slows the boot time.

    Sorry, old timer we are all building our own systems from the ether nowadays. You go back to tinkering with your model T Ford, Grandad! Our custom kit, souped-up, Morganesque, Dalorian Hybrids, are already off the forecourt, and thundering down the cyber highways of new hope and experience :)

    We eat unix command line power users for breakfast, and still have room for one or two moaning Fluid Dynamics cluster system owners :)

    And cat is not really a command; it is a program. Shell builtins are faster, those are the real commands, the commands real modern men use, not the commands of the crusty curmudgeon brigade :)

    Well if you are going to ignore my 'I just having a bit of fun' comment, I may as well go the full hog.

    --

    Ah the wifi point. The UK tends to mainly have RALink chipsets for the Wifi, those are now in the Linux Kernel and appear to be fairly solid.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Just a reminder

    No offence to every bore that fancies their "distro" and just hates others. You noobs bring your stupid "love/hates" online and this behaviour is not healthy for the OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITY as a whole. If you dont like Fedora/Suse/Debian/Ubuntu/ *nix distro...shove it.

    We should be grateful that we've got this much choice.(not forgeting our secure *BSDs)

    ...

    In a nutshell...

    Stop hatin

    Start participatin.

    &

    If u find a bug, report it to bugtraq... or whatever yo distro uses... if u can write a simple if statement, read the damn code. ITS FREE FFS.

    ---PERIOD!

    As for those that do not know why this article is so great, why not take a spin of F9 or any other NIX distro. Maybe then you wont be so whimsical about USB installs. Just maybe.

    Nix rules

    Regards,

    Edgar

  67. E

    Why not

    ...use Slackware? It's simpler!

  68. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Boffin

    @AC about cat - if you are still reading

    This is UNIX we are talking about, almost all things are possible, although I suspect that your ksh loop may well run slower than cat.

    I take your point about 'command' and 'program', sloppy thinking on my part. But that sloppy thinking runs through the entire UNIX history. Check your Version 7, System V or BSD or AIX or any other documentation, and you will see that 'cat' appears in the "Commands" section of the manual (run "info cat" on a GNU Linux system, and see the heading. Section 1 "User Commands")

    Interestingly, your one-liner does not to work exactly as written on AIX (a genetic UNIX), as echo does not have a -e flag. Still, you probably don't want that flag if you are trying to emulate cat. I have used echo like this in anger, when nothing but the shell was available (booting a RS/6000 off the three recovery floppy disks to fix a problem before CD-ROM drives were in every system).

    I was not really ranting, I was trying to put a bit of perspective on the comments, from a historical point of view. I'll bet you would find a need to complain if cat was really not there on a distro.

    Sorry, I did miss the lighthearted comment. Still, just a bit of fun between power users, eh!

    Myself, I try to stick to a System V subset (vanilla, or what), mainly because it is likely to work on almost all UNIX from the last 20 years. When you have used as many flavours as I have, it's the only way.

    Yes, I've been around and yes, I am still making a living out of UNIX and Linux, so don't feel I'm a complete dinosaur yet. And I am also open enough to use my name in comments (sorry, could not resist the dig).

  69. E
    Unhappy

    F9 KDE is FUBAR

    I have to take back my "Looks Good" from above.

    If you are like me and you want to use KDE and not Gnome, then F9 is a disaster. KDE4 in F9 is incomplete: most of the configuration options are gone. Some of the more irritating things:

    - Can't turn off wallpapers. If I want a solid color background I have to remove the physical wallpaper files from /usr/share/wallpapers.

    - Can't hide the panel, nor change its color. It is a shiny black panel, looks hideous and there is nothing you can do about it. People on the web are describing simply killing it off altogether and putting the UI elements on the desktop. Well and good, but IMNSHO the auto-hide panel is what KDE is all about. If I wanted control applets on my desktop hiding behind my windows where I can't get at them, then I'd be in love with a different window manager not KDE (3).

    - Icons on the desktop have ahuge semi-transparent border around them, and the dimensions of the rectangle of the border is different for every icon. Looks cluttered and irregular. You can't make it go away.

    - Some desktop widgets cannot be dragged to new locations. Example: the digital clock cannot be move from where you put it. To move it you have to delete the thing and re-place it.

    - Some UI elements are slow. Also drop down lists don't stay dropped down if you release the mouse button.

    I could go on.

    The eye candy factor is enormous but no way to control it or turn it off.

    Someone in the KDE or Fedora design team has a secret fancy for Vista or the latest Mac OS 10.

    Yeah, a new full point release is going to bring some changes, but this release includes changing the basic way some important UI elements work. KDE 3 was very configurable, KDE 4 imposes the look and feel in quite a fascistic manner.

    Stay away!

    Gah, puke!

  70. jeanl

    same old dumb prblem in all Linux - drivers

    If you have a desktop, with built in duo display capable chipset, both of your widescreens will be show you a blue blank page or flicker dots screen, deoends on your chipset: Intel, nVidia, or ATI. Other than that, device such as mp3, mp4, mobile phones, or digital camera or camcorder..still an issue.

    Bear in mind, not everyone use Linux is techie nor has the patience to waste. Most people just want focus on productivity conveniences.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To Mr Gathercole

    I will tone down the response as you have noticed my just having a bit of fun comment :)

    But, you are rushing into the UNIX line of defense now. Linux is not UNIX (that would be trademark infringement), but it is unix.

    I would be happy if cat was not in a standard distro, it would mean the init system did not require it.

    And yes most do describe cat as a command, but that I suppose is the real point, there are lots of features (the builtins) in bash say that replace the basic tools (cat, sed and awk), so whilst Perl chipped at the front, bash and other shells chipped away at the rear. Personally I use zsh on the command line most of the time.

    I would like to see a good working ash (or dash) init system for really fast boot times, possibly C core to it.

    But yeah overall your points are valid, sure the command line is a lot faster than GUIs. Though there are lots of new tricks to add to old ones.

    e.g. to get even more control over file reading.

    while read line; do echo ${line}; done < a_file

    and even more fun can be had with zsh which allows for multiple input redirection.

    while read line; do echo "LogCombi :" ${line} >> logs; done < "$(for k in *.log; do <'${k}'; done)"

  72. carls

    Broadcom comments

    Both Guy and Anonymous Coward have accurately pointed out the pain of Broadcom - but maybe it's not as simple as boycotting their hardware.

    Fact is it's going to be harder to find competition - especially now that they just won a Court case over Qualcomm because the latter couldn't prove patent infringement.

    Well, it's hard to make a better case for having weird driver code and some extra diodes on the card ! If it's not made available in open source and you can't read it because it's so full of obfuscators - no one will ever be able to challenge your design or drivers but you, in turn, can always challenge theirs.

    Quite a business plan, if that is what's going on.

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