Fedora 21

Fedora 21 is out and I’ve been able to spend some time with it. The last version of Fedora I looked at was more than two years ago, so there have been quite a few changes since then. The new version of Fedora comes in three basic options: Fedora Cloud, Fedora Server and Fedora Workstation.

For this review I opted to use the GNOME version of Fedora 21 Workstation. The GNOME desktop is the default environment of Fedora, but there are a number of other Fedora spins available for including the following:

Scientific KDE

So do check out the alternative spins if GNOME isn’t your cup of tea. The Fedora developers have made sure that there is a desktop environment for everybody to choose for their computer.

What’s new in Fedora 21
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

Linux kernel 3.16.3
GNOME 3.14
Software installer
Terminal application improvements
Support for Wayland (experimental)
DevAssistant developer helper
Web service integration
HiDPI support

GNOME 3.14 has a number of changes including a redesigned GNOME weather app, a redesigned Evince app, better support for Wi-Fi hotspots, multitouch gestures on touchscreen devices, Google services support in Photos, and a few other things. The GNOME 3.14 release announcement has more information about its features and changes.

I’ll have much more to say about the Software installer in that section of the review, but suffice to say it’s a big step forward for Fedora and kudos to the Fedora developers for getting it done.

The terminal application now supports transparent backgrounds, automatic title updates, a toggle for disabling shortcuts and you can search for terminals by name in the GNOME desktop.

Experimental support for Wayland is included in this release for developers to test their applications. Developers will also enjoy the DevAssistant which helps setup different programming environments, as well as better web service integration. And all users will appreciate the improved HiDPI support in Fedora 21 Workstation.

Fedora 21 download and install
You can download Fedora 21 from this page. You can get Fedora 21 in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. I downloaded the 64-bit ISO file and it weighed in at about 1.47 GB.

Fedora 21 is also a live distro, so you can run it right off the disk to test it before installing it on your computer. I recommend that you check out the live desktop if you’ve never used Fedora before, it will give you a chance to familiarize yourself with what Fedora has to offer before committing to an actual install.

Here are the recommended minimum system requirements for Fedora 21:

1GHz or faster processor
1GB System Memory
10GB unallocated drive space

The installer in Fedora is quite good though it is a bit different than what you’ll get in Linux Mint and some other distributions. It may throw you off if you haven’t seen it before, but stick with it and you’ll find that it’s very easy to use. Just follow the on-screen prompts and you should have no problems. You’ll need to type in a root password and create a user account. While you do that the installer will be installing software and you can watch its progress at the bottom of the installer menu.

At one point you’ll also be able to connect your various online accounts. Google, ownCloud, Windows Live and Facebook are all options on the Connect Your Online Accounts menu. Since I have don’t plan on using Fedora as my day to day desktop distro, I opted to skip trying to connect any online accounts. I also loathe Facebook so there was no chance I would have bothered with that anyway.

The Fedora installer seemed pretty fast (though I didn’t actually time how long it took, I would have noticed if it lagged like some other distros), and I had no problems completing my install. One thing that it lacks is a slideshow that users can view while installing Fedora 21. Other distributions offer this and it can be a nice way of easing new users into a desktop distro by pointing out various things such as new features, updated applications, etc. I’d like to see the Fedora developers add something like that in the next release.

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21 thoughts on “Fedora 21

  1. i don’t mind to install, but i have a long time to use Ubuntu, i need to learn new something, but i am not sure where i can install graphic driver—AMD, and it would be pain in ass for me.

    1. Install both the Free and Non-Free Fusion repositories. You should also install yumex, it’s a much better installer than the standard software installer.


      Once you’ve set up the Fusion repos you can install non-free software. With Nvidia you would just install the binary drivers just like any other package, it’s harder then this for AMD users. I’ve always used Nvidia, and increasingly just the built in Intel graphics, and avoided AMD/ATI because their Linux support has always sucked. Apparently it’s even worse now, they aren’t compatible with Gnome and even if you don’t use Gnome (I use MATE) there is enough Gnome dependencies in Fedora that it makes life very difficult for AMD users. Frankly if I were an AMD user I’d just pull the card and use the built in Intel graphics. If that isn’t available on your box I’d buy a sub $100 Nvidia card. Here is a link that discusses using AMD on Fedora 21


  2. I only try Fedora out periodically, not because I have problems with it; (I don’t), but more because I’m not really very close to the development space any more. However, when I do have interests in development, Fedora is one of the first places I look, because efforts developed in this space frequently end up in subsequent versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so at some level the Fedora project feeds into that work, and therefore I’m interested in it.

    If there’s anything “security-related”, I can almost always find what I want in Fedora, and given increased relevance of security initiatives in my work, I can look to Fedora to see where some of the leading Linux-based efforts are proceeding in this space, so in that sense, Fedora is important to me, so I at least try to keep my eyes on it.

    I recently downloaded a Fedora 21.5 live build and it worked fine. I’d recommend it for people who want to keep track of security developments in Linux and what the Red Hat-based distributions are doing with them. Fedora is the cutting edge distribution in that space.

  3. I installed it and saw its functionality, it is fabulous and working smoothly. I have been using ubuntu 14.04 and it gave me a lot of troubles and glitches now I am relaxed and enjoying fedora’s features.

  4. One day somebody will have the guts to quit Gnome 3. Right now it only reason to exist is the fact that the people who built it don’t want to (or are not capable to) recognize it is another unneeded answer looking for a question. Meanwhile it not only caused more waste of resources with forks but it also has got “Gnome Classic” which is self-irnoy.

    1. Totally agree. I used to love Gnome2 but now I can’t even look to Gnome3.
      I moved to XFCE. Amazing Desktop.

      1. Personally, I really like the newer versions of Gnome. It seems that starting with Gnome 3.10, Gnome has become usable. I didn’t like it at first, but after using the newer versions, its really nice. I like the dock on the left side, especially with widescreens. Gnome also seems to stay out of my way when I am working on software.

    1. Have you filed a Bugzilla report? Fedora is a development platform aimed at sophisticated users who can assist in debugging problems when they occur. The mechanism is the Bugzilla system wher you report bugs and then interact with the maintaiers to get things fixed.

  5. As a long time Redhat user, since 1999, I can say that 21 is the best Fedora release since 14 (the last Gnome2 release). I’m using the Mate spin, I can’t stand Gnome3. Mate has always worked fine but it didn’t look as good as the last version of Gnome2 until now. Out of the box font rendering was much worse than it was in Gnome2. There were some third party patches that helped but it wasn’t great. That seems to be fixed in Fedora 21.

  6. This is the first time i see someone writing about how “good” the fedora installer is… Actually is the worst and most dangerous installer from all i have tested. Even a simple script installer is less clunky than fedora’s.

    1. I haven’t come across an installer that’s stumped me yet, and that’s coming from a guy who installed Arch, which is one of the more involving distros to install.

  7. I’m using Fedora GNOME from the beginning (Fedora 1) and Fedora 21 is certainly the best and most stable release of them all. I don’t know any other Linux distribution which contains so many up to date applications. For example: after updating Fedora it will contain LibreOffice 4.3.4, the newest release of this Office application. Since I don’t care about codecs and Adobe flash Fedora is for me the best distribution available (I can’t remember about the last crash I had with any Fedora release).

    1. “I don’t know any other Linux distribution which contains so many up to date applications.”

      How about Arch Linux? I don’t think there is any other distro who can come close to Arch from this point of view, maybe Gentoo, but Gentoo is a source based distro, so it’s another story.

    2. That’s exactly what I thought : I’m using Antergos that use Arch Linux repositories so i’m always on bleeding edge, no need to reinstall new released version.

      Even Linux Mint that i have installed along side is updating some of their core applications like Libreoffice regularly so the point said above isn’t right.

  8. I gave it a look, running the live system from USB. Then went back to my precious – Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon. Good to see Fedora improving though.

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