The return of Fedora

Fedora LogoThe first Gnu/Linux distro I used for day to day was Red Hat, 7.3, 8.0 and 9.0. Then they seemed to drop the desktop user so I switched. An aversion to U.S. products of any kind during the Bush reign helped keep me away.

Some months ago I attended a Red Hat do downtown and was impressed with what I heard about where Red Hat is now and how they want to go forward. I came away feeling friendly toward Red Hat again.

I’ve had a little used computer in the basement running the no longer supported Mandriva 2008, that I’ve been meaning to backup and upgrade. Instead of an upgrade, why not install Fedora and see how it feels? So that’s what I did.

Fedora comes on live CDs these days. The default Fedora 12 comes with Gnome desktop environment. I don’t much care for Gnome so after a quick look I went back to the web and downloaded the KDE version. The install was dead simple. Really if you can poke the power button and move the mouse you can install Fedora.

There was one problem when an attempt to run updates resulted in a repository not found error. As usual with things Gnu/Linux a minute of Googling found the answer, which was to run as root yum clean all; yum update.

With that done, a bunch of things updated and I was able to yum install firefox, emacs, gnumeric and a few other things I like that were not in the default install.

I found that Fedora doesn’t ship with mp3 support. Again a minute with Google found a solution to that. In hindsight I should have just used mpg123 or mpg321 to convert mp3 to ogg. Will do that from now on.

The only other gotcha I ran into, one that most people encountering it would be Gnu/Linux savvy enough to fix, was that the authorized_keys2 file can’t have permissions 664. Took me a few minutes to figure out why I couldn’t ssh into the box with public keys in place. Changed authorized_keys2 to 644 and all was good.

With KDE and familiar apps, Fedora feels like home to me. With the gui apps polished to the degree they are these days, Fedora is likely a good choice of desktop OS for most any user.

UPDATE: I had a bit of trouble with a colour laser multifunction not printing. I thought it was due to an empty colour cartridge, but eventually realized it was SELinux preventing printing. SELinux is new to me and with the added complexity it brings I’d have to say that Fedora is a good choice of desktop OS for most any user who feels comfortable with either disabling it or learning to use it.

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