Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fedora 7 Gallore - Get Less by downloading More !

Hi there technofreaks that may happen to stumble on this part of the webverse.

We bought ourselves a new machine, which for sure is intended to run Linux. I used my holidays in Europe to buy a good graphic card (they are unavailable in Cambodia) & I simply set up the rest here locally. For the detail-hungry around: dual core 2.66Ghz, 2Gb Ram, 256Mb nVidia 8600GTS, a dvd writer and a reader, 3 sata disks of 160Gb and that's it, if you add the widescreen asus flat monitor. the motherboard came with 5.1 sound and 1Gb Ethernet as standard. But for the graphic thingy, most everything is ASUS, and I am happy with the chinese case slightly bigger than atx format, but bundled with 4 (four!) fans. I added a 650w power supply, from china as well alas but it was the only one to offer a separate 12v outlet for the graphic card as recommended.

While I was in Europe, I toured my friends with highspeed internet to grab the latest in available distros; among them, Fedora now at 7 (got debian, gentoo and slack 12 as well, more on this later).

Let's get to the point: slipping the live disk fired the thing, network recognized, screen def too low but correct in its widescreen settings... and not much more. For the end user that's not completely dumb, while remaining an end user without any other aim in mind, I kept my opinion about one thing: it's definitely the window manager of choice that gives you the taste of a system, and you'd have to dig further than the average normal desktop usage to feel the difference in flavour from one distro to another. In this case, Gnome is the one available, with xfce and kde in need of further download to be available.

Right now, I am on xfce which is definitely sleeker than gnome. But, for sure, I am downloading Enlightenment DR17 as I write.

So, where's the Flavour, the one I read on the Fedora forums as "you'll either Love it or Hate it": well, I don't Love or Hate fedora, and I can at least say that some of the info I found was wrong. I would assume that a distro specificity, the thing that distinguish itself from the others (in my order of preference), are:
- The way you can tweak it's behaviour, it's parameters,
- The workability right-out-of-the-box, then the workability as such, as a production tool,
- The Community around,
- The stability, the confidence it builds with the user,
- It's credible perspective of survival.

On tweaking, we are still tied to the window manager of choice, with gnome spreading it's various settings among three sub-menus, with duplicates here and there. So it's a downpoint here, as opposed to openSUSE, there is no Settings Central to be found, unless you opt for xfce which have their own. for looks at least.

Workability: No openoffice, nothing non open source (means my screen looked shit without nvidia drivers). you sure have a software installer, so it's down to bandwith... the YUM package manager is overly simplistic, doesn't give you a clue on the size of the package you attempt to retrieve, nor a timeframe or even a resizeable progress window to help you get the idea by yourself... Waited a bit, crashed it several times by attempting to download in one shot all my usual bundle, stumbled upon unreachable repositories, waited for ages in front of "resolving dependencies" message &, finally, got OpenOffice downloaded and quoted as available. Sure, you even had it appearing in your Menu. Click, nothing, not even an error message; grinning, I fire up a terminal and enter the manual command for the spreadsheet editor "oocalc" - the terminal at least displays messages, and this one told me than some was missing. Downpoint: they do have a problem with dependency calculations in Fedora, if a well documented software fails to install with all it needs. There must be a failure of me somewhere though, I con't believe OpenOffice not to work in Fedora...

More on this later, including:
A Word on Eye Candy, Compiz & looks/speed + which drivers to use:

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