posted by Christian Paratschek on Mon 13th Sep 2004 19:48 UTC
IconThis article is kind of a follow-up to my first Fedora Core 2 review, published on OSNews in May. Most of the reviews are published shortly after the release of a distribution, and there's always someone who complains that one cannot really "review" a distribution after only a few days of actually working with it.

Click for a larger view So, back in May, I decided to write a follow-up sometime in the end of the summer. I have worked with Fedora Core 2 now for almost four months, I have installed it several times on various machines. While I am not a hacker myself and certainly do not claim to know FC2 super-in-depth, I feel that I just might have gained enough knowledge about this distro to write another small article about it. Also, this article includes my personal wishlist for Fedora Core 3, mostly from a "desktop-user"-perspective.

I won't bother you with installation issues today, that stuff got covered in my first review. Certainly, most of you know that installing a linux-distribution nowadays is pretty straight-forward, most of the important hardware gets detected properly. Yes, there are of course hardware incompatibilities and missing drivers sometimes, but RedHat/Fedora's Kudzu does a decent job at detecting and configuring hardware, I'd say: not better and not worse than its competitors.

Before I start, let me explain how I am planning this article: I will list all the problems I found and write my workarounds. These problems range from "severe, highly annoying" to "minor flaw". I'll just report all that I saw and that I caused irritation to me.

Before I start complaining, I want to say some positive things: I have used Fedora Core 2 as my production system since it was released and I am very happy with it. I use Mozilla, Openoffice.org, Nautilus, File-Roller, Gnome-Terminal, gFTP, gedit, Bluefish, the Gimp, gThumb, XMMS, Rhythmbox, Easytag, and Gaim every day. Besides having 0 kernel crashes during this time, I can't remember that i saw any of these applications (with the exception of Rhythmbox and Gaim) crash. That's pretty impressive! Linux-distributions have reached a high level of maturity in 2004. If I had to set up a computer for my grandmother today, I would certainly not choose Microsoft Windows, but a Linux flavor. They're more secure, robust and, if configured correctly, do exactly what they are intended to, not more, not less.

But now, let's start with the stuff that I found unsatisfying in Fedora Core 2:

Problem 1 (very annoying): the Gnome PDF-Viewer is horribly broken in FC2 (see bug). It does not display .pdf-files that were created with Openoffice.org correctly. I have reported this problem in my first article. This needs to be fixed for FC3: Gnome PDF Viewer is Fedora's standard program for viewing .pdf-files and it "just doesn't work". An easy workaround to this is to open these files with ggv. Alternatively, you can install acroread from dags rpm-repository. I prefer ggv, because Acrobat Reader for Linux is still a 5.x version, looks and feels pretty outdated, and doesn't integrate with the desktop well (plus, it's a proprietary application). ggv hasn't let me down once this summer, and I regularly have to deal with large, complicated .pdf-files.

Click for a larger view Problem 2 (annoying): no sound-mixing in FC2 (couldn't find a bug, but I posted this myself on the Fedora-devel-list here). This means, just to name one example, when, let's say, XMMS is running, you can't hear any gaim-system-sounds. Sometimes, gaim even crashed on me because of this. There is a workaround, posted in my devel-list-entry, taken originally from fedoranews.org. I got some responses saying that sound-mixing is a complicated issue and that some apps (for example xine) do have problems with sound-mixing. Still, I think that proper sound-mixing should be an absolut priority for Fedora Core 3. I also think that only the core/extra applications have to work. If there's a problem with xine, well, I don't see xine included in Fedora Core 2 anyway, so where's the problem? Flame ahead, I also use xine every day and I would be pissed if it didn't work, but I think we can't hold back basic improvements forever just because some applications are not ready. As a final sentence: the problems with xine seem to be solved anyway, so this one should no longer be a blocker to nice sound-mixing in Fedora Core.

Table of contents
  1. "FC2 Reloaded, Page 1/2"
  2. "FC2 Reloaded, Page 2/2"
e p (0)    43 Comment(s)

Technology White Papers

See More