It seems like a million moons ago that Red Hat announced the demise of Red Hat Linux in favor of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and embraced the Fedora project as the testing ground for its commercial releases. Last week marked the 13th Fedora release in nearly seven years, so the new paradigm must be working well, even though the Linux landscape is vastly different now.
At its inception, Fedora was basically a really good idea: It brought a wealth of well-written and well-tested third-party software to a stodgy, yet stable Red Hat-based distribution. It proved such a success that it became one of the major desktop Linux distributions.
[ Keep up on current open source news and insights with InfoWorld's open source newsletter. | Read Paul Venezia's Thin Client Computing Deep Dive and find out which server-based computing solution is right for you. ]
I used Fedora as my main workstation operating system from Core 1 through Fedora 7, but switched to CentOS around that time due to the need for extreme stability. I still run CentOS on my big box but decided to take a look at the new Fedora to catch up on what I've been missing. After all, as Fedora goes, so goes Red Hat Enterprise Linux and, somewhere down the line, CentOS.
The installer has been modified and is somewhat friendlier, and the default installation types are a bit odd -- Desktop and Web server. But then again, like Ubuntu, Fedora isn't really meant to be a server OS.
The installation was quick and painless, and the subsequent reboot was extremely fast and clean -- from POST screen to login screen within 10 seconds. Not shabby at all.
As far as the operating system itself goes, lots of time has been spent on sanding down rough edges rather than adding core functionality, which shows that the project has reached a certain level of maturity. As with most Linux distributions, the core of the OS is solid, but the desktop/GUI tools have been a letdown when they don't work correctly. It seems the Fedora group has been concentrating on cleaning up those elements to improve the overall experience.
There are no significant layout differences in the Gnome 2.30-based default installation, though behind the scenes there have been plenty of fixes and additions, such as enhanced DisplayPort support in Nvidia and ATI graphics cards. You'll also notice improvements at the UI level, such as better Webcam support, integration of the GNOME Color Manager, and BlueTooth DUN (dial-up networking) support in the Network Manager applet.