It’s been ages since I last did a review of Fedora. I had planned to do one of Fedora 11 at ExtremeTech but I couldn’t get the beta to install properly in VMWare (my preferred tool for doing Linux distro reviews). Fortunately the final release is in much better shape and I was able to finally do this review.
Please note that this is the Gnome version of Fedora 11. I will be taking a separate look at the version that uses KDE later on. As you may have noticed from some of my ET reviews, I have always tended to be more of a Gnome person than KDE. Nothing wrong with KDE, it’s quite nice. But for some reason I always leaned in the direction of Gnome.
The Fedora developers are continuing in the Four Foundations tradition:
Freedom represents dedication to free software and content. We believe that advancing software and content freedom is a central goal for the Fedora Project, and that we should accomplish that goal through the use of the software and content we promote. By including free alternatives to proprietary code and content, we can improve the overall state of free and open source software and content, and limit the effects of proprietary or patent encumbered code on the Project.
Friends represents the strength of our community. The Fedora community is made up of people from all walks of life, working together to advance free software. There is a place in Fedora for anyone who wants to help, regardless of technical skill level, as long as they believe in our core values.
Features represents our commitment to excellence. The Fedora community creates many of the technical features that have made Linux powerful, flexible, and usable for a wide spectrum of millions of users, administrators, and developers worldwide.
First represents our commitment to innovation. We are not content to let others do all the heavy lifting on our behalf; we provide the latest in stable and robust, useful, and powerful free software in our Fedora distribution.
New Features in Fedora 11
There’s quite a bit of new features in this release, more than I can list here but here’s a small sampling of new stuff you’ll find in Fedora 11:
20 Second Start Up
Anaconda Storage Rewrite
Automatic Fonts & Mime Installer
ext4 Default File System
Fingerprint Reader Support
NewTexUI Installer for Anaconda
Improved Power Management
Better Volume Control
You can check out a full list of new features here.
Since Fedora 11 is a Live CD you get the option of running it without installing it. Booting into the Live CD posed no problems and I soon had my installation going in VMWare. The installation took just a few minutes. After it finished I had to add my user name, etc. and then I was able to login to my Fedora 11 desktop.
This release seems very fast to me. When I played with the beta it was just god-awful slow. If I had to characterize this release in terms of boot performance for the Live CD, I’d say it’s much quicker than before. And thank goodness. I detest slow-loading distributions that waste my time when I’m writing a review.
After booting into my installed desktop, I noticed the performance was still very good. The Fedora developers really seemed to have cleaned up the slowness of previous versions. At one point I’d more or less written off Fedora as it seemed just way too chunky and slow but those days appear to be over.
Desktop & Apps
Booting into my Fedora 11 desktop was quite pleasant and, as I noted above, fast. The desktop is uncluttered and the default wallpaper is attractive enough albeit rather bland in comparison to what you get with the satanic version of Ubuntu.
If there is a weak area in Fedora then it is with the number of apps included with it by default. Now I’m a bit of a hypocrite here because in the past, in other reviews, I’ve complained about “app overload” where a developers pack in huge numbers of apps and bloat up a distribution unnecessarily.