Red Hat Linux 9.0.93 beta, codenamed “Severn“, was released today. Read more for a quick commentary and six screenshots of the release.Installation hasn’t changed much, it is now more refined, and the last bit about configuring graphical/text mode booting and X configuration is now completely gone. Red Hat Linux beta has successfully probed my E-540 Sony 21″ monitor and my Matrox card, but for safety reasons, defaulted it in 1024×768 res instead of 1600×1200@85Hz (monitor’s recommended). All hardware is working correctly, it even found my USB Creative WebCam Pro for use with GnomeMeeting.
After you install the 3 CDs and you do the first booting, right after the kernel is loaded, you are greeted with a graphical booting procedure. It is plain, but it works… I have to note here that while Red Hat successfully told LILO to load an SMP kernel for my dual Celeron system, it would stop loading the OS right after initializing the swap. Reseting the machine and booting with the non-SMP kernel, worked fine.
There is a first-time wizard, where you can create new users, subscribe to Red Hat Network etc. After that, Gnome is loaded and it looks pretty much, exactly the same as in Red Hat Linux 9. There are of course some new packages, like Evolution 1.4.3, Mozilla 1.4, but a lot of other packages are still not updated, e.g. OOo, the core Gnome itself (2.2.0 the About box says), but they should be before the release.
There are updates on many preference panels, and a few news ones too. There is new panel for graphics display (and even a per-user resolution panel –no need to be root to change your res), an updated package manager panel, updated hardware list panel etc.
There are still a few bugs around, which is normal, as this is a beta. Most noteworthy are Mozilla’s fonts which are now bolding on many web pages where it shouldn’t (including osnews’ and parts of slashdot’s), the Theme Manager has a problem when displaying the little theme thumbnails when changing themes, notification area is completely buggered up on my fresh installation. I am sure these small problems will be fixed before the final version though.
I hope some packages will be added till then, like the Vera fonts (which exists on Rawhide, but not on Severn). Another addition I would like to see is BlueFish 1.0, Gnumeric 2.x and AbiWord 2.0. At least two of these packages should be releasing their final versions before the release of Severn itself in October.
Please note that the screenshots below are showing the Gnome desktop using the high quality Vera TTF fonts, which I installed afterwards. The default Red Hat installation is still using the Sans fonts as in its previous versions.