Some desktop Linux distributions are perennial favorites and Fedora is definitely one of them. Fedora’s slogan is “freedom, friends, features, first” and, while some may consider it rather cheesy, it’s a nice sentiment.
The latest release of Fedora is version 12 and it includes some nifty new features. I downloaded the Live CD version of Fedora 12 that features the Gnome desktop environment.
What’s New In This Release
Here’s a sample of some of what’s new in this release:
Updated version of Grub with ext4 support
Faster boot time
Spanning desktop across dual monitors
Better webcam support
ABRT (automatic bug reporting tool)
Empathy replaces Pidgin for IM
Epiphany uses WebKit instead of Gecko
Ogg Theora 1.1
PackageKit command line software install enhancements
RPMs use XZ for compression instead of gzip (smaller downloads)
For most desktop users the faster boot time, better software compression, Gnome 2.28 and KDE 4.3 will probably be the main reasons to upgrade to this release. Some of the other new features may come in handy though, depending on your individual needs.
I don’t run multiple monitors nor do I do much with webcams so neither of those features is useful to me. Nor do I install software from the command line so the enhancements to PackageKit don’t hold much appeal for me. Still, there’s nothing to really complain about as far as new features go. There’s probably more than enough here to make it worthwhile to upgrade.
Requirements & Installation
Here’s a list of hardware requirements necessary to install Fedora:
The following CPU specifications are stated in terms of Intel processors. Other processors, such as those from AMD, Cyrix, and VIA that are compatible with and equivalent to the following Intel processors, may also be used with Fedora. Fedora 12 requires an Intel Pentium Pro or better processor, and is optimized for i686 and later processors.
- Recommended for text-mode: 200 MHz Pentium Pro or better
- Recommended for graphical: 400 MHz Pentium Pro or better
- Minimum RAM for text-mode: 128 MiB
- Minimum RAM for graphical: 192 MiB
- Recommended RAM for graphical: 256 MiB
The Fedora 12 installer was fast. Very, very fast! It took about 4 minutes for it to install from the Live CD desktop. I think it’s probably the fastest installer I’ve seen recently on any Linux distro.
The install itself was easy and I had no problems with it. Kudos to the Fedora folks for speeding up the install in such a big way. I had expected a much slower and rather chunky experience from Fedora 12 but I was pleasantly surprised to note how fast the install went.
If you opt to install Fedora 12 be sure to post in the comments and let me know how quickly it installs on your system. I’m curious to know if my experience will be typical for most Fedora 12 users. Thanks in advance to all who share their install times.
Desktop & Apps
The Fedora desktop is somewhat bland looking in comparison to distros like moonOS. It has the usual blue wallpaper, etc. You aren’t going to be dazzled by how the Fedora desktop looks but that can always be changed. Functionality and features matter far more than aesthetics to most people and Fedora’s desktop is easy to navigate. The default set of icons consists of the usual:
Jim’s Home Folder
So you don’t have to worry about a zillion icons scattered everywhere. Fedora doesn’t have a cluttered default desktop.
gThumb Image Viewer
Empathy IM Client
Remote Desktop Viewer
Audio CD Extractor
Brasero Disc Burner
Cheese Webcam Booth
Rhythmbox Music Player
Evolution Mail and Calendar
Adding & Removing Software