posted by paul pianta on Wed 2nd Apr 2003 17:43 UTC
IconThis is by no means a technical review - it is just a summary of my experience as I was going along, installing and configuring a Red Hat Linux 9 machine. I installed the standard "workstation" installation on my 2 year old desktop machine. I like Gnome at home, KDE at work, but this review only covers my experience with the default Gnome installation.

Editorial Notice: All opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of osnews.com

Note: In this review, a [DOH] line represents something that the author didn't like - or felt the desire to complain about...

Installation

Click for a larger view Red Hat installations are becoming pretty boring now - always the same thing - which is a very, very good sign. No more "learning the installation procedure" - it is just there and it works (for me anyhoo). Everything went smoothly for me and its obvious that anaconda has developed into a very clean and mature installer - yay! The default workstation install took about 45-50 mins total, with 30 mins for the packages installation. My ATI Radeon 8500 was detected as a radeon 8500LE but who cares when I just selected the 8500 driver from the list and it was configured perfectly. (probably same driver anyway!)

[DOH] The X configuration section is missing a test button for X. This could be bad for newbies with a bad X config, where it's often the case of - no X == no Linux!

Panel configuration

I always put my panel at size "large" and put it to the right vertical side. I have several gnome-panel DOH's actually :
[DOH] Clock applet date goes off screen because the panel isn't wide enough
[DOH] Workspace switcher applet still doesnt remember names after a logout
[DOH] Quick-lounge applet should be included as a default panel applet
[DOH] Notification-area applet should have transparent background too
[DOH] When the panel is chockas full, there is no free space left for right-clicking to bring up the general menu panel.
I wanted to add the menu panel across the top but it took ages of precise clicking before I thought to shrink the window list applet to get a clear shot at some panel free-space, just so i could get the menu!!

Configuration interrupt

As I was going about my configuration, I noticed that awk started going nuts taking up 75-90% cpu - dunno why - but I thought it might have been a new replacement for updatedb, but then after a couple of minutes, updatedb itself kicked in and started crunching away, then awk went nuts again after that for a few more minutes, and then everything went back to normal - just some system housekeeping I think ...

Theme

I was nicely surprised by the update to the bluecurve theme. It is now a highly polished and mature theme with many fine finishing touches, and groovy icons to boot. As difficult as it is to get a theme that is generic enough, yet funky enough - bluecurve looks pretty sweet and is a good compromise.

Cursors

It's incredible what a difference cursors can make. These cursors will stay with me for the rest of my life - discrete yet visually appealing! My wife doesnt use linux because the link pointer in mozilla used to be a small ugly pointy hand - well good-bye ugly hand - hello cool hand!! (not Luke) Times are a changin' baby - it's time to give it another shot. I'm not even gonna get started on how nice the spinning hourglass is - but i will say, its a much shorter wait for the program to load when your staring in wonder at the detail in this thing.

RPM mananger/(update/remove programs)

After having chosen the stock standard "workstation" install during the installation, I went back for more package goodies after the reboot. Individual package management is easy with Red Hat 9, due to all packages being well sorted into sensible groups - with easy searching within the groups (ie. not too many packages within each group). I found this to be quite an unstable piece of software with Red Hat8 and the betas that followed. I was anxious to see if the bugs had been worked out of it, so I tried to put it to the test. Whilst updating many new packages that I wanted to install (ie. kde, etc.), and removing others at the same time, I continued on with my configuration of this newly installed system - no holding back! I managed to slow things down quite a bit with many things running (eg. rhn update, update/remove programs, system monitor, and random panel preference settings) - but what can you expect from a pIII-733 with 256 meg of ram? But, nothing crashed and nothing failed - so I was very impressed.

Table of contents
  1. "Red Hat Linux 9, Part I"
  2. "Red Hat Linux 9, Part II"
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