posted by Niall C. Brady on Fri 7th Nov 2003 09:12 UTC
IconI have installed Fedora Core 1 (Yarrow) to see what has changed between it and Red Hat Linux 9 and to get a feel for this new and powerful Linux operating system. For some people, the name Fedora will not be a familiar name, for others (Red Hat Linux or OS enthusiasts), Fedora could (In some ways) be considered to be the 'new' Red Hat Linux 9.x or 10 release, the not so long awaited sequel to Red Hat Linux 9, which came out in late March 2003. However, Fedora Core 1 is not Red Hat Linux 10 (as I try to explain below), and to quote from the front page of the Fedora Project website:

Introduction

'The Fedora Project is a Red-Hat-sponsored and community-supported open source project. It is also a proving ground for new technology that may eventually make its way into Red Hat products. It is not a supported product of Red Hat, Inc.'.

In short, Red Hat has decided to focus strongly on the Enterprise market (follow the money, there is nothing wrong with that) and as a result has discontinued marketing or producing new versions of what many considered to be its 'home user' freely downloadable versions of Linux, but all is not lost, not by a long shot. Red Hat has not abandoned the home users (or free OS down-loaders like me), not at all, it is providing some of its expertise in OS development, tools and financial sponsorship to the Fedora Project (http://fedora.redhat.com).

I do think it's a shame that Red Hat isn't doing any obvious marketing for Fedora, even the recent 'end of support' emails that was sent from Red Hat to RHN subscribers recently announcing imminent EOL of support for many of RH's 7.x,8.x etc. OS's did not mention Fedora even once, not even a URL. If you go to http://www.redhat.com you will see a graphical link on the main page to the Fedora Project, but it's certainly not prominent.

To simplify things as much as I can, Red Hat does offer stable, corporate Desktop versions of Red Hat Linux (http://www.redhat.com/software/rhel/ws/) which are available at cost, but come with phone based/web based support options, Fedora on the other hand is freely downloadable, will change often (every few months) and will have much more limited support options (for companies) due to its' price tag and quickly evolving nature (think latest gizmos, latest add-ons). However, Fedora is already a strong community with IRC channels, forums and web-based support, so I think (and hope) it will be around for a long time to come.

Installing Fedora

I'd recommend that before installing Fedora Core 1, that you do a media check on your CDs, most people will ignore this and go ahead with the install, but you could be unlucky like me and end up half way through CD 2 only to get a file copy error which can slow your installation right down to a snails pace and which basically means you have to either download the ISO again or burn the ISO to cd again. Doing the media check will tell you at the beginning of the installation phase if your CDs are ok and gives you a bit more confidence in your media.

I'd also recommend that you take a look at the Release-Notes, to see if there are any known issues with whatever hardware that you are using, and if you are planning on upgrading Red Hat Linux 8.x, 9 to Fedora, then please do check http://fedora.redhat.com/docs/release-notes/ and read the section which explains some post-installation issues for Ximian GNOME amongst other things.

Installing Fedora is a breeze, and it is so similar to Red Hat 8.0 and 9 installations that Red Hat users will feel right at home, featuring very easy to follow GUI screens that guide the in-experienced or experienced users from start to finish with ease. I chose to do the standard CD based installation, there are now graphical based FTP and HTTP installs, but I guess they would be more suited to people with fast internet connections, or lan based installations.

The CDs available for download are still 6 in total, although most of us will get by with just downloading the first 3 CDs only (thankfully) in order to install and setup Fedora. The last three are source CDs and you can easily distinguish that fact by the CD file name, for example yarrow-SRPMS-disc1.iso is the 1st Source CD and not needed for the 'general' user, instead download the following three cds from here or from your nearest mirror

http://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/core/1/i386/iso/

yarrow-i386-disc1.iso
yarrow-i386-disc2.iso
yarrow-i386-disc3.iso

When I installed Fedora Core 1, I picked the 'custom' option on the installation type screen, this allows me to choose 'everything' which as its' name implies, installs everything included on the 3 CDs. It takes longer to install (approx 1-2 hours, depending on the speed of your computer) and takes more space on your hard disc (5.8 GB or so) but, I would recommend this option for new users, because it helps to avoid dependency or other errors at a later stage when compiling programs or installing various rpms. You can of course uninstall any of the packages you don't require easily in 'add/remove applications' once the installation is done.

You can easily install Fedora as dual boot on your computer (just like previous versions of Red Hat Linux) if it has another operating system on it, just make sure that if you do decide to go this route, that first you must have the other OS installed, and second that you have enough space on a free unformatted partition for Fedora, and third, that you are happy to allow GRUB to take control of your boot sequence. You can also update previous installations of Red Hat Linux using the automatic update feature during the installation phase (it will auto-detect your previous install), however I have only tested this functionality on Red Hat Linux 9, so I cannot comment on earlier versions such as 7.x.

Table of contents
  1. "Intro and installation"
  2. "Usage"
  3. "Conclusion"
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