posted by Finalzone on Thu 28th Apr 2005 22:23 UTC
IconIn this article I take a look at Fedora Core 4 Test 2. This review is only intended to preview the change from Fedora Core 3.

System used for review
CPU: AMD Athlon XP2500+ Barton
Motherboard: Gigabyte K7 Triton GA-7VM400M-P
Videocard: NVidia Geforce FX 5600XT
Memory: 1GB DDR-RAM
Storage: 120 GB HDD WD + 40 GB HDD Maxtor
Media: built-in sound card, 32X CD burner, 16X DVD-ROM drive, floppy drive, 4 USB ports back and 2 USB port front
Getting Fedora

There are various methods of obtaining Fedora Core: ISO, hard drive and Internet through HTTP, FTP. In this case, we will choose ISO method that involved burning a CD or DVD. Currently, "media check," which is a program that verifies if the CD/DVD is properly burned or does not have some defective issue is buggy so you should probably skip that step. I would recommended that you try it when the final release is available.

Installation

Anaconda, the graphical installer, has been cleaned up. Language selection has been moved to Package Management. Most of the packages that are no longer on the CD/DVD like XFCE, XMMS and Abiword have been transferred to the Extras repository. Included in this CD are:
GCJ, commonly known as free Java
Java development tools such as Jakarta
Eclipse native-built for Fedora.

Like previous releases, it is possible to change the type of installation: server, workstation, desktop or custom. Of course, once your selection has specified some default settings, you may subsequently customize the installation.

Since Fedora Core 3, LVM (Logical Volume Management) is the default partition with ext3 file system used for /boot path. The advantage of using LVM is its easy expansion size when adding a second hard drive.

First boot

The speed of the boot sequence of Fedora Core 4 Test 2 is a major improvement over Fedora Core 3. Default services such as ISDN and pcmcia won't boot if the associated hardware is not installed, reducing the boot time. The login screen appears almost instantly after these initial boots.

Desktop environment

GNOME: default theme is Clearlook which uses generic Gnome icons. The old Bluecurve theme is still available. Core 4 is using Gnome version 2.10. The top bar now has Applications, Places for accessing home folder, searching files and Desktop to set preferences and system.

KDE version is 3.4 is also installed. Some features like tooltips are disabled by default (users can active it on Control Panel). The default theme is Bluecurve. Some features like translucency and shadow are disabled by default. Control Panel has a new look.

XFCE, no longer on the Core repository, is available in the Extras repository. Latest version is 4.2.

New Applications:

Open Office 1.89: now split into different packages (Writer, Calc, Impress, Base, Draw). Users no longer have to remove the whole office if they simply want to replace a specific OpenOffice application. OpenOffice now uses GCJ as an alternative of Sun's Java.
Eclipse: a tool for creating Java applications.
Logical Volume Management: originally from Red Hat Enterprise 4, this application allows you to resize/add/remove LVM partitions. It is currently feature-incomplete.
Evince now replaces ggv as the new pdf reader.
Media

Fedora Core 4 Test uses open source audio/video formats such as ogg, wav. Due to its open source nature, Fedora Core does not include any proprietary formats. Not much change from Fedora Core 3 other than updated versions.

Package Manager

Yum is improved, which is noticeable by its speed. It now matches apt-get for rpm while keeping its advantage by supporting bi-architectural packages. Currently, no GUI is available for yum.

up2date is functional but has some bugs such as a "select all" function that won't select all packages and forward button disabled. Testers are suggested to use yum instead.

Overall

This test release is a major improvement over Fedora Core 3 in terms of speed. It is stable despite its test status which is a good sign for the final release.

About the author:
Finalzone is a Fedora Core user since its creation. He is actively involved in fedoraforum.org when he continues to help new users.
If you would like to see your thoughts or experiences with technology published, please consider writing an article for OSNews.
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