Fedora Linux 12

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)
Gnome 2.28
KDE 4.3
Empathy replaces Pidgin for IM
Epiphany uses WebKit instead of Gecko
Ogg Theora 1.1
NetworkManager enhancements
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 complete packages can occupy over 9 GB of disk space. Final size is entirely determined by the type os release being installed and the packages selected during installation.

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.

AisleRiot Solitaire

gThumb Image Viewer

Empathy IM Client
Remote Desktop Viewer

Audio CD Extractor
Brasero Disc Burner
Cheese Webcam Booth
Movie Player
Rhythmbox Music Player

Evolution Mail and Calendar

Adding & Removing Software
Fedora 12 comes with a good tool for adding and removing software. However, I had an initial issue with the time it took to refresh the package list (more about this in the problems section) after I started it.

For the most part it reminds me of the Ubuntu Software Center in some respects. The categories are well organized and it’s easy to find the packages you want to install onto your system. Overall, I give it a thumbs up.


Sound and Multimedia
I popped in my usual test DVD (the old Superman cartoons) and noticed that it didn’t play. I got an error message when I tried to open the movie player. Youtube videos also did not play by default as Flash was not installed in Firefox. If you do a search for Flash in the Add/Remove software tool you will find a number of different options for adding it to your Fedora 12 system.

Problems & Headaches
I was somewhat surprised not to find GIMP or OpenOffice.org available as part of the default installation. When I looked under the Office section of apps neither was present. Both are pretty much a must-have on a desktop version of Linux like Fedora 12 and their absence was glaring, to say the least.

When I started the Add/Remove software tool to find these apps and install them, it took about 15 seconds for tool to refresh the package lists. There was a visual cue that told me that it was starting but no progress bar or anything like that. I found this to be somewhat disconcerting as I expected to click on a category and see packages available without having to refresh the list or do anything else. I wasn’t sure if I was seeing some kind of bug or malfunction until packages finally started to appear in each category.

After the package list refreshed, I found OpenOffice.org and GIMP and installed both of them. I liked the fact that OpenOffice.org was broken down into each app, I opted to install the word processor part of it and skip the rest.

Beyond that and the multimedia issues I noted above, I didn’t find too much in the way of problems with Fedora 12. For the most part this seems to be a pretty polished release.


Where To Get Help

You can always post a note in the Desktop Linux Reviews Forum and we’ll do our best to offer feedback or at least point you in the right direction. You might also want to check out the Fedora forum, mailing list and documentation.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
Fedora 12 is a nicely polished release and I put it at the top of my best desktop Linux distros. It provides a good alternative to Ubuntu and some of the other common desktop distributions. It’s definitely worth trying as a Live CD at the very least.

I feel comfortable recommending Fedora 12 for anybody looking for a good desktop distro, including newbies to Linux.

Summary Table:

Product: Fedora 12 Linux
Web Site: http://fedoraproject.org/
Price: Free
Pros: Fast install, better webcam support, KDE & Gnome updates, and a faster boot time.
Cons: Doesn’t include OpenOffice.org or GIMP by default.
Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate or advanced desktop Linux users.
Summary: This release includes a faster install, updates to KDE and Gnome, faster boot time, update to Grub with ext4 support, and better webcam support.
Rating: 4/5


19 thoughts on “Fedora Linux 12

  1. Pingback: Lanzamiento de distribución : Fedora 13 « Gustavo Pimentel's GNU/Linux blog
  2. @ Dennis Schafroth:Ok. I really like to boot my GUI root. Why can't I do that with Fedora 12? Another thing…, Nexuiz game does not work with Fedora 12?? what's up ?? Disappointed now. I have been faithfull to Red Hat for along time. It's time to find another Distro. Sadly

  3. Personally, I’m excited to see what we get when the KDE and XFCE Community editions of Mint come out. The 7 versions were really high quality, so the bar is set pretty darn high.

  4. Thought we'd see the Linux Mint review by now… oh well. Jim, tell us all about Linux Mint and how it fails to include the new, improved Google Chrome and how you have little else to complain about! 😉

    Expecting Mint to be another good one as long as Clem shuts up and sticks to writing great software.

  5. I tried to upgrade Fedora to Fedora 12 and it did not work. I had to redo a fresh install over my Fedora partition. I also found my Fedora 12 install to make other OSs unbootable in seperate partitions, grub would not boot other OSs. I fresh install of Ubuntu after installing Fedora fix everything. I also found no why to report bugs like Ubuntu now has. Fedora 12 has the "Automatic Bug Reporting Tool" but that is for crashes not bugs. I have found numerous bugs so far in Fedora 12. However, I still like Fedora 12 when things work they work very very good in Fedora 12. I just wish Fedora would better compete with Ubuntu. Fedora is a very good OS I have been using it on servers since 2001 and it has as good of up time as Sun Solaris except it's easier to use still some work to get it as simple as Ubuntu my current favorite OS. :smile:

  6. I'm giving the XFCE and LXDE spins a go in a virtual machine at the moment, and I have to say that they are impressive, especially the LXDE one. I usually prefer XFCE, but this is the sharpest looking LXDE desktop I've seen so far. Both are definitely worth a look.

  7. For what it is worth, one of our relative newcomers over at USALUG recently started using Linux with SLAX, but he reported this week that he successfully installed and is using Fedora 12, so it certainly is not difficult for a newcomer to install, so in the interest of balancing my earlier comments, and to provide a bit of substance to what Jim has said, some relative novices may enjoy using it, especially if they are content to run nearly all free software.

    That was good news to hear this week.

    Thanks again for the review.

  8. That's a good distro for newbies users. But the main point here is that Fedora has turned into the new XZ compression packages…and Slackware was the first Linux distro to turn into XZ (LMZA) compression… Follow Slackware and someday it will be a high-level distro, perhaps.

  9. Jim, I think that Fedora has great software, and it is particularly useful for those who fall into one of these categories: 1) enterprise user who is evaluating future Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases and wants to help make them as solid as possible. 2) Free software enthusiast who wants a pure, or as close to pure, Linux experience as possible; Fedora delivers. 3) Those who want to use or evaluate the very latest in Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) features. Fedora leads here as well. 4) Those who want the latest virtualization features; again Fedora is a leader.

    I cannot, however, recommend any Fedora release to a beginner unless they are a self driven beginner. The Free Software stance alone is enough to keep people away. I am sure that Adam will howl about this, but the last couple of releases, while very much leading edge, have not been the models of stability or ease of installation because there have been a number of impediments that a large number of people have complained about.

    That does not make Fedora (any version) a lousy release; it is a leader in quite a few respects, as I have highlighted. I just think it is best for the experienced user, one who will use it, test it, evaluate it, and report back on findings. I have done so many times in the past; unfortunately for me, this is not one of those times, for I feel it does require an investment in time, both to take advantage of it, scope out potential issues and their solutions, report defects to help improve it, etc., and right now, I just cannot devote much time to those things.

    I wouldn't push people away from Fedora, but I would hesitate to recommend it to a beginner without at least bringing up its strengths and weaknesses. It has a LOT of strengths; it has a few weaknesses – the cutting edge nature sometimes reveals things unexpected that the user community finds after release. Based on my own experiences with Fedora 7,8,9,10, and 11, (I think I liked 7 and 10 best, but had a horror of an experience with 11 Final after a great initial Live experience with 11 Alpha), I would leave this one to the veterans.

  10. Fedora has been my distribution for my servers since FC1, but sadly they have dropped support for Via C3 in F12. Looking for an alternative…

  11. Install speed from the live CD is very fast because it's just cloning a filesystem image – the same one the live environment uses – onto your hard disk. Installation from the traditional installer (DVD, or a net install) will be somewhat slower, as it actually installs a whole set of RPM packages as you'd expect.

    The live CD is somewhat light on software because of space issues. Fedora ships a very large range of languages on its live CDs which reduces the space available for software, so there isn't room for OO.o. For F13 we're probably going to introduce a 1GB or 2GB size live spin, which you could burn to a DVD or write to a USB stick. That will allow us to include software that doesn't fit on the current live images.

  12. My one issue is the recommendation to beginners. While the tech oriented will be able to add the RPMfusion repo and acquire multimedia codecs as well as video drivers, the system is not intuitive to those un-familiar with Linux in general.

    Don't get me wrong, I like Fedora in theory (though I hate their package management), but there are many distros ahead of Fedora that I would recommend to beginners.

  13. Ran Gnome version in VM Ware Player under Vista. It did install in about 5 minutes. Only minor hickup was when it gave me an error and said it had to "reinitialize" the hard disk. I said OK and install proceeded without a hitch. I use VM Ware Player exclusively now as I am able to change video resolutions at will. Virtual Box still has not figured this out yet. I am running VM's at my laptops native 1280×800 res. regardless of distro.

    Running the Gnome LiveCD right now on the laptop. Wireless had to be set up manually, but it did work(Atheros). I also like the fact that it includes only the essentials. I can do all the photo work I need on Gthumb, including light editing. All I had to add was Gnumeric, K3B, and Wine. It still makes me wonder though, with such a minimal compliment of preinstalls, how did they still get to 694mb?

    Oh well, still a very fine effort. It seems as if Fedora is finally getting in the game. Ubuntu should be very worried. I for one, am switching to Fedora on my desktop machine, and will run it in VM on the laptop under Vista until I can do a bit more stand alone testing. After that, it may replace Vista on the laptop. Unfortunately Ubuntu has lost me with their failure to support my laptop video and other oddities since version 9.04. They finally got wireless right, but that is about all.

  14. I installed Fedora 12 KDE and it's been working nicely. It included KOffice 1.6 instead of OpenOffice or Abiword.

    It should come as no surprise that Flash and DVDs don't work out-of-the-box as with most major Linux distributions they cannot (legally) include these pieces. It takes a moment to install it, but it isn't a killer.

    On the plus side, my Broadcom wireless card was recognized and available out-of-the-box in Fedora 12! A First! No need to use fwcutter or anything to slice-and-dice the proprietary drivers! This alone is a feature I hope the other distributions include!

  15. FWIW, I have had problems with the last 2 Fedora releases on my Compaq Presario (Athlon/nvidia). For me, if I can't make Compiz work AT ALL, then a distro isn't up to snuff. OTOH, Fedora works great on my Dell Latitude D810 with Intel video. I guess it's just a matter of proprietary drivers but c'mon… I LOVED Fedora 10 (that blue flaming globe during startup ruled!) and Compiz worked on it once I jumped through a few hoops… why not now? It took me hours to even get the nvidia drivers installed on f12, only to find that Compiz either white-screens or leaves you without titlebars. I know this is off topic… sorry… as a final digression I'll just mention how much I despise grub2.

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