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Fedora 16 KDE

February 22, 2012
By

Fedora 16 was released a while back, and I’ve finally gotten around to checking it out. For this review though I’ve opted for the KDE version of Fedora. As you may already know, Fedora comes in multiple spins including GNOME, Xfce, KDE and others.

If you’re interested in checking out other versions of Fedora, you can see a full list on the Fedora Spins page. There are ten different versions of Fedora listed there, so chances are that you’ll be able to find one that might work well for you.

Fedora 16 KDE Desktop

Fedora 16 KDE Desktop

Software Manager

Software Manager


What’s New In This Release

Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

KDE 4.7
DigiKam 2.0
Updated KWin
New shutdown dialogue

One of the things that annoys me about Fedora is that it’s more of a headache to track down the new features that are specific to each spin. The Fedora developers do not do a good job of easily documenting them the way the Linux Mint developers do. It would be extremely helpful if the Fedora folks would have a What’s New section or link on the page of each spin.

Okay, my griping aside, I’ve listed what I could dig up on Fedora 16 KDE. There’s not a huge amount of stuff to get excited about in this release.

KDE 4.7 does have some interest features. If you aren’t familiar with it you should check out the KDE 4.7 announcement page to familiarize yourself with all of the new stuff.

The DigiKam update adds geotagging, face detection and recognition, and some other new features.

The shutdown dialogue will be useful for those running multiple operating systems since it lets you choose the next OS you want to boot into and run.

Next, I’ll look at the hardware requirements and I’ll show what the install routine looks like in this distro.

Hardware Requirements & Installation

Hardware Requirements
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:

  • a CD or DVD drive, and the capability to boot from this drive.
  • a 400 MHz processor or faster
  • at least 1 GB of memory (RAM)
  • at least 10 GB of permanent storage (hard drive) space.

Installation
The install is easy, as you’d expect. The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.

Install 1

Install 1

Install 2

Install 2

Install 3

Install 3

Install 4

Install 4

Install 5

Install 5

Install 6

Install 6

Install 7

Install 7

Install 8

Install 8

Install 9a

Install 9a

Install 9b

Install 9b

Booting & Login
Here’s what the booting and login screens look like:

Boot Menu

Boot Menu

Grub

Grub

Login

Login

 

The Desktop
The desktop is…well…it’s a bit drab looking if you just go by the wallpaper. I generally prefer something a bit more upbeat and colorful when I first boot into a desktop. Fedora’s wallpaper leaves a little to be desired. However, it’s obviously very easy to change it and wallpaper preferences are very subjective. I’m sure there are some out there who would like the little submarine floating in a dreary looking ocean.

If you’re new to KDE, take note of the Desktop link in the upper right. Click it and you can begin using helpful widgets on your desktop. Widgets are small applications that do various things. Click the + sign after you click the Desktop button to add widgets. You’ll see a big list of them pop up at the bottom of your screen.

Here are some of the widgets that are available:

Bookmarks
Bouncy Ball
Comic Strip
CPU Monitor
Current Applications
Calendar
Hardware Temperature
Keyboard Layout

That’s just a few, there’s quite a bit more to choose from. So take a moment and browse around. You can probably find some very useful widgets to run on your Fedora 16 KDE desktop.

Fedora 16 KDE Desktop

Fedora 16 KDE Desktop

Widgets

Widgets

Admin Tools

System Management
Here’s a look at the system settings menu.

System Settings

System Settings

Bundled Software

Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.

Games
KMahjongg
KPatience
KMines

Graphics
Gwenview
Kamoso
KolourPaint
Ksnapshot
Okular
KColorChooser
KRuler

Internet
Akregator
Blogilo
BlueDevil
KGet
KMail
KNetAttach
KNode
Konqueror
Konversation
Kopete
KPPP
KRDC
Krfb
Ksshaskpass
Ktorrent

Multimedia
Amarok
Dragon Player
JuK
K3b
Kmix
KsCD

Office
KAddressBook
Kontact
KOrganizer
KPresenter
KSpread
KTimeTracker
KWord
KThesaurus

Software Management
Apper is the software management tool for Fedora 16 KDE. It’s…um…okay. I really can’t put it in the same category as Linux Mint or Ubuntu’s software management programs. It feels outdated and the interface seems somewhat non-intuitive by comparison. But it is very functional and it will no doubt get the job done for most users. I’d like to see a bit more polish in future releases though, the user experience should be better than this, given how other distros have progressed in that area.

Software Manager

Software Manager

Software Categories

Software Categories

Updates

Updates

Sound and Multimedia
YouTube & Flash
You’ll need to install the flash plugin to watch flash content in Konqueror. It’s not there by default so fire up Apper and go get it.

YouTube

YouTube

Multimedia Applications
There’s a reasonable mix of multimedia applications included with Fedora 16 KDE. Amarok, Dragon Player, JuK, K3b, KMix and KsCD will perform many of the functions needed by users. However, I also recommend that you spend some time browsing Apper’s Sound and Video section. There are other programs that you might useful listed there.

Problems & Headaches
I didn’t run into a lot of problems with Fedora 16 KDE. It installed well and ran fine for me. If you notice any problems, please list them in the comments section below. Others might benefit from your experience. Thanks in advance.

Where To Get Help
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum; everybody is welcome. Feel free to post a message in the forum and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, as well as other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.

Drop by the forum to get help, talk about Linux or just hang out.

You might also want to check out the Fedora KDE spin support page. It has links to various support mechanisms.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
Fedora 16 KDE is fine for what it is, but frankly it left me feeling rather ho-hum. There’s not a heck of a lot to complain about, but there’s also nothing to get really fired up about either. It’s a competent version of KDE, but it’s not something I would opt to run. I’d much prefer Kubuntu or Linux Mint KDE.

Fedora 16 KDE is probably best suited to those who are true Fedora fans, and who prefer the KDE environment. Others should look elsewhere as there are other distros are less blah than Fedora 16 KDE.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux opinion columns and distro quick looks; visit JimLynch.com for other technology coverage.

Summary Table:

Product: Fedora 16 KDE
Web Site:  http://spins.fedoraproject.org/kde/
Price: Free
Pros: Includes KDE 4.7, updated version of DigiKam.
Cons: Software management interface is somewhat outdated, wallpaper is dreary.
Suitable For: Fedora 16 KDE is best suited for true Fedora fans that also prefer the KDE environment.
Rating: 3/5

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4 Responses to Fedora 16 KDE

  1. Leslie Satenstein on March 3, 2012 at 4:07 am

    One question for the author. By what procedure do you rate a distribution or a user interface? This is not a criticism question, but an interest to know if you have a list of or a matrix of requirements, against which you assign points, and at the end present your rating.

    If so, can you share the list?

  2. Leslie Satenstein on March 3, 2012 at 3:53 am

    I found that using the repros from outside of the USA, that Fedora is complete with all the codecs and software that you would find in any other distribution.

    I have also found that Scientific Linux 6.x is consistently further advanced than is Centos, and each release has support to 2017. That is six years hence.

    SL6.2 is my RPM distribution after Fedora. And I agree with the author, the ballon wallpaper was the major attraction of F7. I sure miss some beautiful wallpapers for desktops. SL6.2 has some beautiful wallpaper scenes, that make working with this linux version most enjoyable. SL is supported by a few universities. It too can have all the additional codecs, and applications

  3. elias k on February 25, 2012 at 4:26 am

    so your conclusion is that the distro is.."blah" ?? define "blah" please

    also, you didn't encounter "a lot" of problems? could you share with us the ones you did?

    really, what kind of review is this??

  4. Brian Masinick (@mas on February 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I have found Fedora to generally be a solid system, and if you prefer mostly "free" software, defined as having software that has the source code available, Fedora does a better job with this than most other systems.

    Reliability is generally good, but I've had a few versions of Fedora that have problems correctly detecting hardware, and in a few cases, inexplicably, it had problems partitioning the disk, even though the partitions were largely set up already. These are problems that rarely show up; Fedora generally does well with them too, but I've had a few builds in the past that were a total bust.

    I have no problems with the background images. Fedora 7 – which now seems like ages ago, had one of the coolest "hot air balloon" themes. The recent themes have been somewhat bland in comparison, but frankly, I install my own wallpaper anyway, so that is not a factor for me.

    What is a factor is the ease in configuring whatever hardware I use. I cannot speak for this particular release, but I had a disappointment with a recent release (either 14 or 15, can't remember offhand which one it was any more).

    Performance of the installed system is an area where Fedora doesn't distinguish itself either; I'd say that it is generally "middle of the pack", neither at the bottom, compared to other major distributions, but rarely near the top in boot time, memory usage, compared to comparable software installed on the same system, and overall feel and responsiveness. It usually works fine, at least on releases where it cleanly installs, but it does not stand out. That may be a result of the default configuration of SELinux, which is usually configured by default, unless you disable it.

    That same factor, SELinux, is one area where Fedora really stands out. If you want to configure a highly secure system, Fedora is at the top of the heap in this area. I've never encountered another Linux distro that puts more emphasis in this area than Fedora, except for its commercial counterpart, Red Hat Enterprise Linux or a Red Hat derivative. For a server configuration, you can't beat it. For a desktop implementation, it's less clear that you even need it unless you are preparing workstations in an office environment.

    So who ought to use Fedora? Based on the description and feature set where Fedora stands out, a work environment, either where you want to test out future implementations that will go into the enterprise edition, resulting in future Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases, is a clear candidate for Fedora. If you want Red Hat but can't afford it or you want to test it first, this is the one. CentOS tends to lag Red Hat Enterprise Linux in releases and features, so it is way behind Fedora in features, but tends to be more stable. Both are free, so they are good choices where stability, security, and cost have to be weighed in; choose CentOS for stability; choose Fedora to test out the latest software; choose Red Hat Enterprise Linux for commercial support.

    If all you want is a straightforward KDE implementation, I'd opt for Kubuntu, if you want the latest; it is at least as current, if not more so, than Fedora, especially if you either wait for the 12.04 release coming out in April, test the current release that is over halfway through the testing cycle, or use the 11.10 release (and get PPA – Personal Package Archives to get newer software).

    For something with more "non-free" additions, PCLinuxOS has a pretty good release; for something aging, but extremely stable, SimplyMEPIS is timeless; it always works. With Debian back ports or MEPIS Community Repository package updates, you can keep key packages reasonably up to date without having to spend a lot of effort doing so.

    Any of these alternatives are more appropriate for home use; Fedora, to me, is more for developers, enthusiasts, and office use.



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