Slam-dunk for Linux – a review of Fedora Core 6

Microsoft’s next-generation Vista promises to deliver radically improved graphics for end-users, promising 3D-accelerated user interfaces and special effects that will dramatically improve the way a user relates to the computing experience, similar to what current owners of Apple Macintosh systems enjoy. Meanwhile on the Linux front, Red Hat and Novell have been spearheading the development of their own next-generation display subsystems, and Red Hat is among the first to include it in a freely released operating system: Fedora Core 6.

A line has been drawn. Apple’s MacOS X and the free Linux desktop now possess modern 3D accelerated user interfaces that are absolutely top-notch, and Microsoft, as yet, does not. This marks the second time Microsoft has lagged behind Linux in terms of a major feature being shipped with its desktop OS (the first being desktop search, also integral parts of MacOS X and many Linux desktops), and it’s a clear indication that the times are beginning to change.

I say beginning, because the revolution is indeed just getting started. Linux has yet to be blessed with an overwhelming quantity of high-end commercial applications. It also has yet to reach that tipping point where the average user can sit down and make a pleasant remark about their Linux experience from beginning to end.

But with Fedora Core 6, the foundations for those two things have been set.

Fedora Core 6 follows up version 5 with the latest version of GNOME, the latest core Linux components (kernel 2.6.18, glibc 2.5) and dramatic functional improvements in some of its most important components.

Improvements for End-Users
As mentioned, the first and most noticeable of these is the new ‘desktop effects’ control panel, which provides the user with the option to enable the new 3D accelerated GUI. For those not familiar, this subsystem offloads the ‘compositing’, or actual drawing of the screen contents onto the processing component of modern graphics cards, known as a GPU. This enables the operating system to draw graphics onto the screen more quickly and with less negative impact on the rest of the computer as far as slowing it down. It also has the benefit of enabling the operating system to apply any number of special effects to the screen contents. When this subsystem is enabled, windows, menus and other screen elements have subtle shadows beneath them, giving them the effect of being layered on top of each other in a 3 dimensional environment. Windows and menus also shimmer and fade in and out of view when opened and closed, giving the user an almost tactile sensation when interacting with the computer. Overall, these effects can be far more pleasing to the eye and are proven to help users better relate to computing metaphors, making them a more than worthwhile addition to the Linux desktop.

FC6

Some examples of the new graphical engine in action – note the translucency in titlebars, window shadows, and the terminal application.

The flagship personal information manager Evolution has also received a great deal of attention from its developers, and was thankfully included in this latest release. Among the improvements in Evolution are dramatic performance improvements in IMAP support, as well as renewed support for Microsoft Exchange mailsystems. This newly reintroduced functionality will make it far more attractive for corporate clients to introduce Linux based desktop systems into their existing environment.

This release of Fedora Core also includes a newly revamped version of GnuCash, a free personal finance application. It’s important to note that neither Apple nor Microsoft have included personal finance management tools in their products, and seem not to consider these an important addition.

Under the Hood
Core components of the system have also received some pretty important enhancements – the time it takes applications to launch has been significantly reduced due to a new method of linking together shared libraries. The font manager has been upgraded and this new version includes a much lower memory footprint and better performance, so applications making use of many fonts like word processors and desktop publishing will perform better. Other improvements include better performance in the package manager and the filesystem.

High-End Computing Features
For power users, this new version includes administration tools enabling easier management of some state of the art features, including:

  • Virtual machine creation and management
  • Improved support for SELinux
  • A graphical tool enabling the user to manage clustered volumes
  • Support for booting/installing on new Intel based Macintosh computers.

In Summary
For the software industry at large to adopt a new platform, it must be shown to be mature and capable of supporting the design and release of commercial applications. It also has to demonstrate that it can be comfortably used by average people, and computer manufacturers have to be confident in this to the extent that they’ll market their computers with it. It has to be compatible with competitive products, allowing users to share files and other information with users of Apple and Microsoft systems. Most importantly, the platform must prove itself to be stable and reliable over the long-haul.

Fedora Core 6 is the second slam-dunk for Red Hat on the desktop front in all these categories.

41 thoughts on “Slam-dunk for Linux – a review of Fedora Core 6”

  1. There are two things Linux needs to get fixed to get widespread desktop adoption: ease of software installation, and some hardware – particularly printers and wireless.

    I need to be able to install software without using the command line – ever. Same goes for setting up wireless. No ndiswrapper, no typing weird geek-language commands to get drivers installed.

    Do those things, and you make life a lot easier for people.

  2. Good article but biased…

    While Linux has made enormous strides and I have dabbled with it constantly for over 6 years, it is not ready to move into the desktop arena.

    Simply take the new RH and try to make the iPod 80Gb or Creative Zen Vision:M play with it easily. If your computer has Sata drives, then the Zen will not be id properly and simply will not work without reformatting – give the consumer a break.

    Consumers want to be able to do these things and not think about it. MP3 software and video editing software on Linux just isn’t ready for prime time as are many other packages. Office productivity is almost there but gamers and other things a computer is used for just, isn’t and that’s were it loses. I constantly am forced to go back to Windows. It just keeps working and I don’t want to.

  3. I agree to a point, allthough I am serious linux user both at home and as a profession, the lip service paid to using only OSS (which is simply fear about being sued IMHO) can be frustating at times. Take for example the support for the mp3 format. Sure its proprietary and not as quality as ogg/flac but its been my particular standard for years. I have some 100 gigs worth of mp3s and I dont want to spend the time/effort/heartache converting all of them. After a little digging I found it easy enough to tweak xmms to play mp3s instead of displaying a disclaimer about there being no support for the format but it bugged me none the less.

    Oh well, thats a minor enough thing and Ive been using it as my main box/webserver and test box since it was released. Over all Im pretty damn happy with it. Much more so than my experience with openSuse (or ‘Linux for Workgroups’ as I have taken to calling it since the M$/Novell deal was announced.

  4. Make no mistake, this isn’t intended to be the typical “Linux is on the cusp of overtaking Windows” article – simply to point out that the foundations exist for that should the right decisions be made.

    Example: My GPU (Radeon 9600 using the open source radeon driver as configured by default) gave out while dragging a terminal window about 5 minutes ago.

    The groundwork is there but like so many things the finer points have yet to be hammered out. Success is within sight, but there is yet a long road ahead.

  5. “This release of Fedora Core also includes a newly revamped version of GnuCash, a free personal finance application. It’s important to note that neither Apple nor Microsoft have included personal finance management tools in their products, and seem not to consider these an important addition.”

    AFAIK GnuCash is not developed by RedHat, so the analogy with MS and Apple seems a tad misplaced here.

    If MS was to include their own finance app (or even someone else’s), they’d be hauled over the coals for anti-competitive behaviour and face even more fines.

    Linux is certainly making good progress. But, in my view, there’s a long way to go on the ease of use and app management side.

  6. mike: Well, GNOME, the Linux kernel, and glibc aren’t developed by Red Hat either (although Red Hat contributes a lot to their development) – the concept of software bundling with the distribution implies that it came from an external source. I’m more interested in the execution of the whole thing – the assembly and packaging of all the components into a desktop operating environment.

    On the subject of Linux having a long way to go – absolutely agreed. Like I said, the groundwork is there in FC6 and a few other distributions, but it does need polishing.

  7. Vis a vis microsoft lagging behind Linux: the suspicion remains that there has been some plagiarism with the 3D graphics now available on some distros.
    The Vista development process has been uncharacteristically open so perhaps some of their ideas have been (mis)appropriated.
    Besides, it’s not appropriate to compare an unsupported Linux distribution with a Microsoft product. The support for Fedora consists of hoping some other unfortunate has run into the same problem (and has found a solution).
    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve installed Fedora 6 on my laptop and believe it to the best distro out there at present.

  8. Desktop effects from What?
    all I saw in vista previews are some glass cracking, Goes well with the OS , There has been books written and articles published in media about how the so called great OS is now going to provide multiple desktops, and claims this is a new tech, The only time Win is good at is when it has a novice sitting before it, The moment someone starts to use it or stress it , The thing looks like broken glass

  9. The belligerence of comments like “just saw some glass cracking” is so indicative of the brain dead snobbery that holds back both the Mac and Linux it is depressing. Sure you can say the interface doesn’t work for you but the underlying API behind Vista is very powerful. There is simply no sense in denying this. I’m not saying it is better by any means but it does have some juice. It has been a part of the Vista dev for a long time and given the relative openness of the Vista debacle it would be easy to argue that the addition of Core Animation to Quartz is in fact Apple’s response to the depth of the WPF.

    I wouldn’t make that case though because it couldn’t be more obvious that the 3D accelerator interfaces and the attendant extensions were only way forward. It is the same with instant search. MS showed this working back with a WFS at a PDC in 2003 but somehow they are copying off Apple because they are implementing it? Pffft. If anything their way of initially trying to do it was far more ambitions (and now utterly failed). But again, it isn’t like ideas like this are pulled from thin air! Programmers have been talking about it in theory for 25 years and frankly no one has bested Be OS yet! The author smartly *shipping* features and without question MS is way behind but the problem is they only have to be just good enough to maintain their position.

    OS is now going to provide multiple desktops

    Who is saying this about Windows? Vista doesn’t have multiple desktops. I think you are confusing this feature with Apple’s last PDC presentation.

  10. We shouldn’t be looking for Linux to be stand in same light as Win or Mac OS. I dont understand or see the benefit to having Linux be a “one size fits all” desktop nor do I think its possible.

    I think for moderately techie inclined people is a good alternative to the big 2 and will only get better.

    I say this because I don’t think hardware support issues will every go away, thats kinda a perpetual problem. Hardware is commercially driven, gadgets cost money, to make and to sell, can’t download hardware, people have to buy. It sells better if the source for the technology is limited… now we’ve got proprietary stuff to deal with.

    Linux is going places, with stronger emphasis on core tehcnologies and standards. I’m very excited about where its going.

  11. Regarding your remark:

    “It also has yet to reach that tipping point where the average user can sit down and make a pleasant remark about their Linux experience from beginning to end.”

    Doesn’t the same apply to the average MS-Windows user?
    In my opinion an average user is better off with a Linux OS. Remember the re-installs because of a virus infection, the system cleanups after you found the next ad- or spyware infection?

    Before every Windows re-install I perform for family-members, neighbours, friends, etc, I tell them about this safe OS I can install for them. I distribute Live-CD’s among them. But somehow they are afraid, or simply do not believe that such an OS really exists.

  12. Hardware issues? I have been using Linux as a desktop OS for many years.

    If you checkout the hardware BEFORE you buy it, you can find sound, network, wireless, flash memory devices, mp3 players, printers, print servers, you name it.

    If you buy from vendors that don’t publish specifications for their products and refuse to follow standards … you will have problems.

  13. Here are some things I think need to be fixed before Linux will obtain widespread adoption.

    1/. COMPLETE GUI SUPPORT.

    All major functions must have a GUI front end. A user should not have to resort to the command line to access any common functionality. For example, whilst modern Linux distros are able to write data to an optical disc (formatted for packet writing) via a GUI file manager (such as Nautilus in Gnome), there appears to be no GUI way to format the disk in the first place – you have to use the command line and do a “mkudffs” . This is made even more difficult by the fact that the udf tools package is not usually installed by default so you have to find it.

    2/. SIMPLE DESKTOP ACCESS TO REMOVEABLE DRIVES.

    The current sitation with the integration of removeable drives within the GUI desktop is untenable. There are many problems, such as: Put a rewriteable disc into the drive which has data on it, and an icon will pop up on the desktop (so far so good). But what does it pop up as? Apparently a hardware device, accompanied by an icon resembling an optical disc. But where in the Unix directory hierarchy is it mounted? Is it a device or a directory?

    Open the “icon” and a folder will display the drive contents. Now format the disc for packet writing using “mkudffs”. Continue to stare at the folder displaying the now erased contents. Minutes pass and the old and now non existent data still shows. You have to eject the disc and then re install the disc to show the now blank contents.

    Now try writing data to the disc. Unless you are logged on as root you will bang into a “permission denied: brick wall. Even though I formatted the disc from a non-root shell, somehow the “folder” or “device” (whatever it is) has root as the owner. So what do I do now? Log in as root? Try that, and you will find the GUI does not allow you to log in as root without changing some set up option to allow this.

    This kind of non-functionaility, where the operating system at every turn places obstacles in the way of the user is simply not acceptable, and neither is the counter argument that it is possible to break down the obstacles via setup options or via the command line. The obstacles should not be there in the first place.

    3/. CENTRALISED PACKAGE MANAGEMENT.

    I do not agree with the current Linux/BSD concept of centralised repositories for packages. It is undesireable for several reasons.

    Firstly there is a very good chance that at least one or more packages you want or need to install are not in the repos of the particular distro you have chosen, or perhaps is there but the wrong version. This disadvantages the end user.

    Next the software authors are disadvantaged by having to either make multiple packages for all the many different distros (the number of which expands almost on a daily basis) or relying on individuals to come forward to do that job. The simple fact is it rarely happens. Only the most popular and mainstream packages make it into all the major distros.

    There needs to be an open source installation package management system that uses metadata held in the distro which guides the installer and allows a single package to automtically adapt to the target distro dynamically at run time. All the current package management tools under development that I have seen all conform to the old paradigm of centralised repos. I see no sign of this changing which is a crying shame.

    I think of all the distros around PC-BSD and GoboLinux (and ROX) seem to be heading in the right direction with the idea of clustering all the files needed for an application under a single directory (or in ROX’s case something similar but more sophistitcated that achieves the same result – i think!).

    I think the ideal is for there to be a single package for each application on the original software authors website, and in addition repository sites could be set up to hold large numbers of applications – but with the packages being distro agnostic – one package per application and no more.

  14. stolennomenclature:

    I can’t help but totally agree with you. While distributions like Fedora are making great strides in some areas the issues you mention are core usability issues that are perhaps some of the most important before one can say the free desktop is an unqualified success.

  15. Two years ago, I spent weeks getting FC3 to work with an ordinary mid-range ATI graphics card. The Fedora forums were awash with module patchers and recompilers trying to do the same. Cheerfully helpful as posters were, it took weeks to get it working. This I thought, is not an OS for the punter. I was stunned a few days ago when I did another installation of FC6 on a Thinkpad which has a ATI USXGA+ graphics controller, and encountered an equally intractable problem and the same frantic forum appeals. The admittedly much-improved ATI GUI-based driver installer, while far from perfect, works without incident on Suse, Slackware and Ubuntu, but fails as ever on Fedora. Will this OS ever get out of the bit? Don’t start me, by the way, on the Intel 3945 wifi net adaptor!

  16. Re: stolennomenclature

    IMHO stolennomenclature perfectly formulates what kind of things untechy people asking Linux to do so that they can move to it and get their software free. I wonder why that matters. I wonder why anybody wants that happen. Let us look at the big picture.

    Quality software is made by payed developers. Students and hobbyist can help, no more. Developers are payed by users. Few will do hand holding for free. So, untechy people pay, should pay, and will pay forever. If an untechy gets something free, then there is another untechy who pays for that.

    Techy people benefit from exchanging their solutions. This produces FOSS. Anyone can download, configure, compile, install, and enjoy it any time. No problems at all, just a little effort. There is enough FOSS for an everage user desktop.

    Techy people also benefit from exchanging their findings in the process described above. This creates Debian, Gentoo, and so on, differentiating on what that people think is “good for them”.

    Business people, like Red hat, can make money organising and funding the process. Only they care about stolennomenclature needs. Can they help?

    1. GUI. Someone must 1) write that GUI and 2) check that it is 100% as capable as a text editor or command line. Techy people often opt to “I do not want any GUI to mess with my config files”, “I want that GUI explicitely list what and where it changes”, or at best “Is this GUI really saving time compared to the command line?”. Not likely they will make more GUIs then absolutely necessary, right?

    Can Red Hat write all the missing GUIs? Yes, if they get as much money as Microsoft does. That is, not now.

    2. Easy access to removable disks. Many techy people do not need that at all. They know they can pass by a Windows PC, push a small flash disk into its back end, come back 3 minutes later and the chances are good that all the “no more confidential” data will be there. The distro vendors can help here though, since it is a single issue. I guess next Fedora will have that done.

    3. Centralized package management. Impossible. I am a Gentoo user and cannot care less about Fedora packages. I do not see why a developer should care also. They sometimes do, but if they do not nothing can help. All you can expect from a software author is to use autoconf in the build process, and they normally do so.

    Different distros exist because people have different needs. No techy people want it “just work” at any cost. This would turn their systems into Windows kind of junk.

    Having a folder for an application does not help if you are not ready to sacrifice disk and memory providing each application with its own copy of a normally shared library. Even if you do, there are deamons the app talks too and no package can work in any environment.

    This does not create any problems for commercial or closed source software vendors. nVidia drivers make a perfect example. Only commercial sofware vendors targeting stolennomenclature and wanting to exclude distro vendors from the loop have problems, but who cares?

    Another problem is testing. What is good for one distribution is untested, experimental, or plain buggy for another. Thus, if there is no package for your distribution – download, configure, compile, test, package, and upload for the rest of us.

    The bottom line: stolennomenclature requests cannot be met. Should they be meet first place? I guess no. First of all, Linux does not need more then 15% user base to assure that hardware and software vendors do not ignore it. With 7% it already has nVidia and Oracle. Not bad for 7%, right?

    Will we get closer to 15% adding more GUI or packages to Fedora? I doubt. So, one of the questions that a review should but does not answer is

    Does Fedora Core help an untechy person to become a techy one?

  17. 1/. COMPLETE GUI SUPPORT.
    the function you seek is available in KDE

    2/. SIMPLE DESKTOP ACCESS TO REMOVEABLE DRIVES.
    the function you seek is available in KDE

    3/. CENTRALISED PACKAGE MANAGEMENT.
    the function you seek is available in smart (http://labix.org/smart)

  18. I am looking forward to upgrading from Fedora Core 5 to this latest release.
    I’ve used upgrade installation feature from relese 1 and it has worked flawlessly for years now.No need for ‘reboot’ with this linux OS, term widely used by all Microsoft slaves, no blue screens of death.
    Get free, move to linux and stop paying for crap from Redmond….

  19. Linux will never really end up surpassing Windows because of the simple fact that most people run Windows.

    Also Windows supports all the games that run on a computer and makes it easy to get support if something goes wrong.

    I have been running the buggiest version of Windows (Microsoft Windows ME) for a while now and when something goes wrong (It rarely ever does)I never have to resort to a command prompt to get it work again.

    Another thing that Linux doesn’t have is a safe mode. When something big goes wrong in Linux all you get is a command prompt. It would make things allot easier if there was one of these in Linux.

    Also hardware vendores will probably never fully suport Linux simply because there are too many distros to count and Linux is not a comercial product.

    Long live Microsoft Windows!

  20. The fact that windows comes preinstalled in most PCs it gives to windows a big advantage. We all know that most people keep windows just for fear of something new.

    What is wrong with using a terminal window? the only diference is that is more usable than the current command prompt in windows (windows itself was a ms-dos program)

    Easy support when something goes wrong is available everywhere in the net due to the open source nature of Linux, also there is an extensive testing before regular releases and continuous bug fixes.

    In the case of games or any proprietary software, it all depends on who made it regardless of platform.

    About Linux not having “safe mode” that is not true. Some Linux distributions even have “safe mode” as boot choice or you can just use “init (2 or 3)” in a terminal window and you got it, It doesn’t look as ugly as Windows safe mode but it is there.

    Hardware support is one of the weak points of Linux but it is not exclusive to the platform. The problem is even worse with Windows 64bit edition. Where there is virtually no support for most hardware. In fact more hardware worked for me using a 64 bit edition of fedora than Windows 64 bit edition.

  21. Maybe the stage is set,but still not for John Q Public. I am no novice to linux but the gotchas in fc6 are the worst in a long long time. Its time to give up the hype and get back to work. There will be no bows to ZOD at this desktop…Not yet……..

  22. higgy, you hit the nail on the head – that’s what I wanted to convey exactly. The stage is set. Not yet, but the pieces are almost ready.

  23. Regarding the proffessor – safe mode!! What a crock?
    I have been using Linux since RH7.1 and have not had need for a ‘safe mode’. If a problem does arise, you can change to a different runlevel and repair then change the runlevel back again – no need for reboots every other 30 seconds. Thats the beauty of it. Even if the system becomes totally unresponsive there are ‘kernel commands’ from the keyboard that will initiate shutdown. Also no need to reboot to start/stop services – this is where the OS triumphs!!

  24. Derek Says:

    November 10th, 2006 at 7:02 am
    1/. COMPLETE GUI SUPPORT.
    the function you seek is available in KDE

    Never seen it. How does it work?

    2/. SIMPLE DESKTOP ACCESS TO REMOVEABLE DRIVES.
    the function you seek is available in KDE

    Where and how?

    3/. CENTRALISED PACKAGE MANAGEMENT.
    the function you seek is available in smart (http://labix.org/smart)

    I think not.

  25. AndreiG Says:

    November 10th, 2006 at 4:52 am
    Re: stolennomenclature

    Regardless of all your comments re techy people, it is absolutely clear that “techy” people are working at getting Linux to be able to be used by non-techy people. You seeming assertion that no one cares is not true. Companies that use Linux for a business such as Red Hat know that there is tons of money to be made by making Linux into a mainstream operating system, and are working hard at it. They have not succeeded yet but the time will come.

    Your comment re people picking the distro which suits them is really often on the same level as people who pick a car by its colour. All the modern distros do more of less the same thing. They have the same kernel, use the same productivity apps, have the same drivers, etc. Where they differ is only by which particular bits of the distro have been stuffed up and dont work properly, and by the colour scheme.

    They use different package managers but they are all me-too clones that do more or less the same thing. The main difference with Fedora’s package manager is that it does the same thing but much more slowly.

    As to the comments re commercial software for non techies, I would like to point out that Windows facility with optical drives is not much better than Linux. None of it works properly either. To get optical drive support you have to install third party cripple ware like Nero InCd, whose main claim to fame is that it never ever works correctly.

    In fact the worst and most bug ridden software I have ever used has been non open source software produced by commercial companies like Microsft, Nero, Pinnacle, etc.

    Finally, I am actually a tecchy. I have been in the IT industry for most of my life as a software developer (nearly 40 years). I have seen it all from the inside. The reason I want to use a GUI is mainly for pleasure and convenience, not because I lack the skills to use a command line.

    The reason Linux GUIs lack the required sophistication is really mainly about time, not about development philosophy.

  26. The Professor Says:

    November 13th, 2006 at 4:15 am
    Linux will never really end up surpassing Windows because of the simple fact that most people run Windows.

    People talk about Windows as if it were a shining example of software excellence. Come on now – back to the real world.

    Linux will end up surpassing Windows simply because Windows is really not actually that good and not that difficult to surpass. The fact that a bunch of volunteers working in their spare time for a laugh (mostly) have been able to get so far in a fraction of the time Microsoft has taken to get Windows where it is now (after millions of man hours and billions of dollars) is surely a testimony to how good Windows really is.

    The open source people are much better motivated, have better aims and goals, and are not as hampered by top heavy bureacracy nor bogged down by politics as those people working in corporations are.

  27. Oh boy. Here we are again. The same old subject. Well here are my 2 pennies worth.

    I like Linux for what it is, and not as the alternate to Windows (or for a shortsighted hate of Microsoft). Linux is special in so many ways.
    Like quite a few people mentioned above, I have also had a few dabbles (actually a bit more than that, starting in 1997) with various Linux distros.

    Linux has had tremendous improvement over the last few years. Supporting Open Source initiatives is only now really coming to the fore in stability (innovation was pretty much a given). Having its roots as a hard-core techie OS it is now slowly starting to take the form of a maintainable desktop environment to those less hard-core.

    My issues with Linux however are:
    More often than not, you will find that hardware vendors support Linux ‘badly’ or not at all. This isn’t helped by a myriad of Linux distros and a kernel release schedule that is very hard to quality assure and target software against.
    The innovation and choice in the Open Source associated with Linux tend to do just as much damage to its reputation as it is doing good. I have had numerous encounters with programs that reacts funny, hang etc; this extend to high quality Open Source like Open Office. This reminds me of the earlier years of Windows and may constitute maturity/growing pains in Linux? Following is a generalisation but in my sphere of work using Windows, I find unexplainable failure to be less than rare. Windows present these issues to me in a consistent way, leaving me feeling safe with my work performed/performance and the functionality around it.

    However, when I started out with Linux, I was sitting on the internet 24/7 to read threads on fixing, deploying, patching, and updating specific things that I needed to get a functional system. This, for somebody who has a life other than computers is unattainable. Module version dependency between kernel modules and packages still has me quivering.
    Even companies generally associated with Linux and Open Source make better work of deployment and configuration of their software in Windows than in Linux! May I name a few…
    And… when I run Linux, I do not want the source code; I want to implement the driver or software without having to build it – regardless of how easy or how difficult it is to build. Just let it work!
    This goes with my opinion that I do not want to be an expert in make, gcc, kernel modules etc to get my WiFi card to work!

    To sum up:
    Linux needs more strict and central governing. End-user, especially the stupid ones like me, experience should be eased by getting some kind of consistent configuration up and running… and then I am not talking about the Setup of this and the Whatever of that, I am talking about a setup that is similar in interface between different Linux distros! Dare I say, like Control Panel Applets? 🙁
    Application and systems software should be forced into having easy-to-find 90% complete or better configuration utilities.
    Application programmers should use the look-and-feel of the theme implemented at the OS level. This goes for Windows as well. Some programs make a desktop look like a badly decorated Christmas tree.
    Linux need to be taken seriously by hardware vendors and more seriously by software vendors.

    Killer

  28. There have been a lot of good points made here. As far as the things that are lacking in Linux, for the most part I would agree with. I have been using linux as a desktop, and server/workstation for about 10 years now. I still use windows, but only as a gaming system. I am beginning to wane on that as well, and not because I think that gaming is about to move to Linux.
    Yes almost all of the really hi end games, are made for windows. These hi end games, also require a system with some fast hardware. Windows gaming PC’s, are sellling for thousands of dollars, I could buy all three next gen consoles for that price. Windows by itself, will run on “older” hardware, but not very quickly. (I’m referring to older, as in my current Linux system)
    My point here being, the one thing I have used XP for, is quickly becoming no longer viable. The flip side to this is that Linux, no matter how much top of the line hardware you throw in it, is not yet ready for a game system. The software just isn’t there.
    My linux box is a micro atx, pIII with 196MB RAM, and integrated sound and video running Mandriva 2007. My XP machine, is an athlon 64 based system, with 1GB RAM and a geforce 7600, and it runs smooth and fast, especially once you figure out how to get under the hood and mess with it. (Actually it’s probably more like under the floor mat…)
    Each one has it’s good and bad points. Where they shine, they shine like diamonds, and where they suck, it’s like a black hole.

    On the note of a central software repository for all distros, why not? Yeah it would take some work, well ok, writing the OS was no walk in the park right? Maybe start with something a little more broad reaching. An all in one repo, for RPM based distros. Set up nothin but arch independent software, that has all the needed metadata, to tell each distro, basically, hey this is what you need. Isn’t that one of the reasons for RPM in the first place? The ease of software installation?

    Why not work on making a software installer that is standardized at the kernel level, (security, stability, yeah I know.) I don’t mean put an installer “in” the kernel, that would probably take security and throw it out the window, (no I’m not trying to dog MS here). Write an installer, that ships with the kernel. I know that not everyone would go for it, but maybe it’s something to consider for the non-techie people. Make the gui for it part of xorg, that would set a standard method across all distros.

    As far as the comments about techie people not making software for the non-techie people, anyone who has ever talked with a programmer or an engineer knows that is about as far from the truth as you can get. I have never met a geek, who was in it for the money. (Yes it’s a plus). Geeks love to share there knowledge, and they will do it however they can. Linux, like the internet, became a great place for geeks to get together and show what they could do.

    Quick parting thought. The command will not likely dissapear until computers run internally at the speed of light. Lest face it, no matter what the OS, the majority of the worlds server machines, don’t run a GUI.

  29. I would definitely agree. As a server platform it’s great. As a desktop, it’s not bad either. Still has a long way to go though. I guess when you come right down to it, the ten year old child of Linus Torvalds, is a lot more mature than most of its forbearers were. Theres a long way to go, but look how far it’s gone already.

  30. The other side to that is any Linux install can be broken down into several stages. Overall I like the Fedora 6 install. Thats about where it stopped. Once I got everything to install right, rebooted, and got all kinds of errors relating to the XFS, after that I went back to Mandriva

  31. I’ve installed Fedora Core 6 on 3 computers. I’ve used 2 different DVD’s. And it keep crashing and having trouble booting up. I did many reinstall but with the same issues. Problems during bootup. Problems during installation. Weird quircks that make something work somtimes, but not the other. Fedore core 6 is not a stable or good O/S. I guess you get what you pay for, so that’s why it’s free.

  32. I installed fc1 and have since had fc4, 5 and now 6. It has made a lot of progress. One problem for the ordinary user is that, as was said earlier, they are used to the os coming preinstalled. If you have an os that does what you need it to do – maybe it goes wrong sometimes – but you probably know someone who can fix it for you – often a simple mistake like deleting your printer (A problem for a neighbour yesterday). So such people will never get to experience Linux. I tried Linux because I am interested in trying new things and getting them to work – I have learnt a lot, but unless you are sorting out similar problems every day you forget.
    There is a vast opportunity for Fedora – but there is a huge amount of work to be done:
    More documentation – aimed at the beginner/ unskilled home user.
    More easily usable hardware – without searching the web or having to use the command line. I know what a struggle I had trying to get my new colour laser printer working – and yes I bought it as Linux ready.
    Software from one repo installable on any distro would be a dream- but surely this would mean standardising all distros? At least to some extent?
    Games – I hate games on computers – but my son loves them. If there was a commercial market for them they would be available. Because they are not available there is no market for them. I don’t know how to overcome this.
    Media – unless a hardware retailer has a pc packaged and ready to go I do not see how an average home user could have a machine that works – TV card, mythtv, DVD, MP3, WMA etc.
    It would be great to have a large retailer do this – advertise it and support it – but they get M$ OS so cheap that it is hardly worth their while thinking about it.
    I love GNU\Linux FC6 – but unless I knew for certain that an ordinary out of the box home user would only use it for OpenOffice, Web browsing/email (but not the latest web page gimmiks – and only if they have broardband with an ethernet router and pcl cable!) I would not sugest it. That makes me sad.

  33. I have been working with Linux since redhat 4 I believe it was. That was a beast. I was using SCO Unixware when I started to tinker with Linux. My father got a 2 seat license for Unix, way back when, and we had been using it since. Ive been exposed to using Unix since I was 8 or 9. I have some experience under my belt. Which left me flustered as to why I could not install Fedora 6. I had problems with the installs, figured them out, then had problems with booting the machine. That was when I had enough. I like to tinker with Linux, but I’m not interested in having to do a line by line recode, just to install it the way that I want it. If I was gonna go through that much effort I would install Gentoo. (Which is a good os I have used it in the past.)
    From the end user stand point, if it doesn’t work out of the box then it’s going to get replaced with something that will.
    Linux may very well be the killer of giants, as it were. With the underwhelming release of Vista, the formation of the Linux Foundation, (which by the way seeks to eliminate the multiple distro life that we currently enjoy), there is a wonderful oppurtunity here. SCO Group in there statement to the SCC said in a nutshell, “were losing money because of the adoption of linux, and we expect that we continue to do so” that says something. The oppurtunity is here, the time is now, but Fedora will not be the one who will slay goliath…

  34. I agree, my linux box does what it does, and is damn good at it. Has anyone seen the postings, that Linux will no longer support non GPL drivers?

  35. The main reason that I bring this up is that for the average user, (the one who doesn’t want to compile squat), this is just going to farther complicate things.

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