posted by Robert Trembath on Wed 18th Feb 2004 01:29 UTC
IconCouldn't stop myself from trying the new Fedora 2-test1 release, even if it is an alpha! The 2.6 kernel, KDE 3.2 and Gnome 2.5 all in the same release was just to much candy to turn away from; too bad it's more sour rather than sweet at this (beta) point than I would have expected.

After reading the release notes, I decided to give Fedora Core 2 a test run, as I was pretty pleased with Fedora Core 1 and actively follow the development mail list activities for Fedora Core 2. So here we go, short and sweet:

Installation
The install was typical Fedora/Red Hat and went off without a hitch. I chose a new install rather than an upgrade as an upgrade was not recommended for this release. All hardware was detected properly except but problem persued after the install.

Post Installation
My test system is a Athlon XP2200 system with an ECS motherboard and Nvidia Geforce4MX440 Video Card. My X, XFS and fonts were fine but still no Nvidia drivers being used. If your going to bleeding edge, then let's start using the right drivers for the job. If SUSE, Lindows and Xandros can do this, then it time for Fedora to step up.

No sound, no how! Played with this till I got sick of trying to fix what should have been easily installed and working. I couldn't even run the redhat-services configuration tool in KDE or Gnome.

Many basic things are not working that should be, even for an test release, but I'd like to give some praise to the many things I did like.

The 2.6 Kernel
There are very noticable improvements in speed. Rewriting the Disk I/O structure was a good thing and has made a huge difference in application launching and overall performance.

KDE 3.2
The only word is awesome! The new Kontact application is pretty strong and the look and feel polish to the desktop is the best I've seen. A new wireless app configurator let's you choose between profiles and Desktop icons and menus now have drop shadows for a cleaner look. KDE 3.2 is noticably faster than earlier versions and should convert some Gnome users like myself who have appeciated the more polished feel of Gnome, (that's my 2 cents anyway.)

Gnome 2.5
Not much new here besides newer versions of Evolution and more desktop tools. By default the file manager navigation toolbar is missing and opens a new window every time you open a folder; annoying! Still, better speed but many things are broken here and everytime I exit Gnome I get a fatal error message.

Conclusion
Great effort guys, but it still has a long way to go. I used it less then 2 days because of many issues with just trying to do basic things. Very unusable at this time. If you have a free machine that you don't need for everyday use, then give it a spin. It was definitly fun getting a sneek peek at all these new versions in one place, but they are far from ready.

Suggestions
As a one who uses Linux for fun and development, like most of us here that read OSNews.com, may I suggest a few additions to Fedora Core 2:

1) Get rid of Up-to-date/Yum and use something like Apt/Synaptic. Out of the distros I've used, apt/synaptic has been the most reliable for an RPM-based distro. The first thing many of us who use Fedora/Red Hat do is go to freshrpms.net, download apt & synaptic and use it to tune our distro the way we want. Up-to-date freezes consistantly and causes me to rerun it many times to get updates, even in Core 1.
2)Let's start including a good media player like xine or mplayer.
3)Java with browser plugin preconfigured would be great.
4)The common browser plugins like flash, java and mplayer/xine for media.
5)Gimp 1.3 DE
6)MySQL 4 and MySQL CC
7)Native ATI and Nvidia drivers for X preconfigured.

Just a few suggestions I hope will heard and I'm sure many of you will voice yourwish lists too. I hope a few of the guys at Fedora/Red Hat are listening.

And Kudos to the Fedora/Red Hat guys for putting out a preview of all these new technologies. Thanks!

Test System
Athlon XP2200 / ECS motherboard
Nvidia GeForce4 MX440 AGP graphics card
Integrated AC97 sound and NIC
60GB WD IDE HD
DVD/CD-RW Combo drive
256MB RAM

About the Author:
I am currently VP of Technical Development at IT4Texas, LLC, a Houston-based IT managed services and application development firm. I have 14 years experience as a Windows/Linux Sys Admin, software development, systems integration specialist and have 4 years experience specifically in the Linux/PHP/Apache/MySQL/R environment. I currently use Linux for both server and desktop applications and have installed and worked with 12 different distributions in a production environment including clustering and parrellel computing solutions. Sometime I write for fun, just to kick up the dust!

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