Fedora 15 was recently released and I decided to snag a copy to review. Since there are a billion reviews already of the default desktop version with GNOME 3, I’ll be covering the KDE version in this review (though I may circle back to the GNOME version at some point for a review). As I noted in my column “The Many Faces of Fedora,” there are quite a lot of Fedora spins now available. You can get spins that focus on gaming, design, security or that use different desktops (such as LXDE, KDE, Xfce or GNOME).
Fedora has moved into a number of niches with this release and it should be interesting to see if makes this distro even more popular than it already is. As I write this review, it’s #3 on DistroWatch’s page hit ranking list. Not too bad for a distro that used be regarded as a bit of a fuddy-duddy with limited appeal.
What’s New In This Release
There have been quite a few changes in Fedora 15, I’ve focused mainly on the notable KDE changes in the list below. You can see much more in the full release notes.
Activities easier to use
Power management system improved
KWin has new scripting interface
KWin can detect graphics hardware and adjust performance for your computer
Open applications can be pinned to the task manager
Plasma netbook interface improved for touch-screen monitors
Dolphin has search bar and filter sidebar
Graphics applications can export photos to social media sites like Facebook
Oxygen-GTK theme works for GTK+ applications (KDE and GNOME applications look the same)
Fedora 15 provides the excellent KDE 4.6 desktop. If you aren’t familiar with what 4.6 has to offer, check out the KDE 4.6 release announcement for details and screenshots. Given all of the hoopla going on about GNOME 3 (and Unity of course), KDE 4.6 is quickly emerging as an important alternative to some GNOME and Ubuntu users. The KDE developers have wisely refrained from going the same route as the Unity and GNOME 3 developers and KDE itself may well see an influx of users coming from the other two desktops.
Activities are simply different applications that close or open at the same time. You can add an activity by right-clicking on the title of a window. I confess that I never use activities so while this is nice, it’s not something that I’d use on a day-to-day basis. But your mileage may vary.
The power management system has been overhauled to be faster and various bugs have been fixed. I’m not on a mobile system these days so power management isn’t as much of a concern for me, but it’s good to see these improvements anyway.
KDE 4.6 has a helpful search bar and filter included in Dolphin. Very useful for quickly finding files that you need.
Although I can’t imagine using it too often, it’s nice that KSnapshot and other graphics programs can easily export files to various social media platforms. With so many people on Facebook, etc. this is bound to be a popular feature.