| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 492, 28 January 2013
Welcome to this year's fourth issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Fedora 18, following a desperately delayed development process and arriving with a dramatically overhauled system installer, has been received with a rather critical tone by many end users and even some high-profile Linux developers. Is this version going to be just an unhappy blip on the long road to the open-source computing bliss or is the criticism exaggerated? Jesse Smith reviews the release and offers some interesting thoughts on the installer itself and the default GNOME 3 desktop. In the lengthy news section, Fedora receives further spotlight thanks to suggestions to revamp the project's development model and followed by a thorough defence of systemd by the original developer of the controversial utility. Still in the news, Ubuntu dispels rumours about its possible move to a rolling-release development model, openSUSE responds to praise and criticism of its 12.2 version, Mageia receives a compliment for its strong community governance, and BackTrack announces the launch of Kali Linux with a wealth of penetration testing and digital forensics tools. There is much more, including a review of the Ubuntu Unleashed book, a link to a dramatic confrontation between Debian's GNOME packager and the SolusOS developers, and another look at the popularity of open-source operating systems with the help of statistical tools. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (26MB) and MP3 (44MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
The fashionably late Fedora
Fedora is a Linux distribution sponsored by the open-source giant, Red Hat, Inc. In recent years the Fedora project has generally tried to maintain a steady release schedule, putting out a new version approximately once every six months. Though minor delays often creep in, the developers have generally stuck close to their schedule. Fedora 18 proved to be an exception and the ongoing delays have kept Fedora fans on the edge of their seats for about two months. Well, the wait is finally over and Fedora 18 is here!
The Fedora distribution is available in a number of editions, or spins as they are generally called. The main edition is the Desktop spin. This edition sets us up with a live DVD and it provides us with the GNOME Shell desktop. There are also various spins featuring the KDE desktop, Xfce and LXDE. Fedora provides other installation options too, including a (non-live) installation DVD, a network installation option and various other customized spins. There are quite a lot of options available to us. I opted to try the default offering, the live DVD containing the GNOME Shell environment. The ISO image for this live DVD is approximately 890 MB in size.
Prior to experimenting with the latest version of Fedora I took a look through the project's release notes, which are quite detailed. The big item in this release is the new system installer. Anaconda has been showing its age recently and the developers have given the venerable program a new approach and style. We'll cover the installer more in a moment. A new tool called FedUP has become available which will allow users of Fedora 17 to upgrade their installations to Fedora 18 without the need of a fresh install. Support for Secure Boot technology has been added to this release. I learned the /tmp directory now gets its own home in a tmpfs file system. This should speed up access to the /tmp directory and reduce wear on SSDs with the tradeoff of limiting the amount of data which can be placed in /tmp. Fedora 18 adds two new desktop environments, Cinnamon and MATE, to the official repositories and we see upgrades to both the GNOME and KDE environments. In addition to the release notes I recommend looking over the list of known bugs in Fedora 18 prior to beginning an installation. The list provided will help users avoid common problems.
Installation and first impressions
Booting from the live media brings us to a graphical login screen. There we find we can login to the one available user account without a password. Once we have logged in the GNOME Shell environment loads and a window appears asking if we would like to try running Fedora from the live media or if we would like to perform an installation. Should we decide to try the live environment first we can run the installer later via an icon in GNOME's Activity menu.
The graphical installer has received a major makeover and the prime focus has been to transition the installer from having a linear flow to a hub-like form of navigation. After we provide our preferred language we're taken to a menu where we can click on icons for various items waiting to be configured. This hub style allows us to perform most configuration steps in the order of our choosing and navigate back to double-check our settings. The screen for selecting our time zone and setting the current time hasn't changed all that much. Neither has the screen for selecting a keyboard map. Partitioning has received an overhaul. In previous versions partitions were listed along the top of the page and we could click on a partition and then click an action button to bring up another window with the partition's information.
Now partitions are displayed down the left side of the installer's window and add/delete/edit buttons are displayed at the bottom of the list. Buttons with action words have been replaced with smaller buttons with icons. Once a partition has been created we can set its type and size on a panel to the right of the window. I found by default Fedora's installer wanted to create all new partitions as LVM volumes and the secondary option suggested by the installer was Btrfs. We can also create traditional partitions if we wish. The new partitioning screen supports encryption and I was happy to find the root partition is no longer required to be formatted with the ext4 file system.
Fedora 18 - the new hub-based system installer
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Once the partitioning section is finished the installer begins copying files to the hard drive. While this is happening we're shown another hub navigation screen. In this release the only screen we can navigate to from this second hub is the page to set a root password. When the installer finishes copying files we are asked to reboot the machine. I noticed that during the installation process there isn't any place where we can choose whether to install a boot loader or change the boot loader's settings. Another oddity I noticed, and I'm not sure if this is the installer's doing or the desktop environment, but found the installer's window would sometimes lose focus when switching between pages.
The first time we boot into Fedora a window appears showing us some licensing information and then we are asked to create a user account. Following that we are asked to set the system time (again) or enable clock synchronization over the network. With these steps completed we are brought to the distribution's graphical login screen. I tried running Fedora in three different environments and ended up with three experiences which were quite dissimilar. At first I tried running Fedora 18 in a VirtualBox environment and quickly found GNOME Shell wasn't usable in the virtual machine. Bringing up GNOME's Activity menu or launching programs could take from five to ten seconds and opening an application's menu took a few seconds. I tried switching to GNOME's fallback mode, which is still available in GNOME 3.6, but found the fallback desktop to be sluggish. Finally, for my experiments in the virtual machine I installed the MATE desktop environment from Fedora's repositories and experienced good performance from then on.
When running on my desktop machine (dual-core 2.8GHz CPU, 6GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) I again found GNOME Shell to be sluggish. The desktop environment was usable, but not as responsive as I would have liked. Eventually, after a few days, I switched to using GNOME fallback mode when running on the desktop computer. When running Fedora on my laptop (dual-core 2GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM, Intel video card, Intel wireless card) I found GNOME Shell to be responsive and I decided to stick with the Shell for the duration of my time with the distribution. With each computer (and virtual machine) I found Fedora was able to detect all of my hardware. I had no problems connecting to wireless networks, sound worked out of the box and my screens were set to their maximum resolutions. The amount of memory in use varied between the environments. For instance MATE, sitting idle at the desktop, used just 200MB of RAM, but running GNOME Shell required approximately 350MB of memory.
Software and package management
Package management with Fedora varies depending on our graphical environment. When running GNOME Shell the graphical front-end application for package management was called "Software". This application provides a very simplified approach to software management. To the left side of the window are a search box and a list of software categories. The right side of the window lists packages in the currently selected category. Next to each package's name is a little box. Putting a check in the box marks the package to be installed, removing the check causes the package to be removed. The concept is straight forward, but the package manager tended to run into problems. Sometimes opening the package manager I would find no software listed in any categories and I would have to manually refresh the package database. At one point I started to install a package and then performed a search for another package. Performing the search caused the installation in progress to be cancelled and I was unable to resume. The Software application is quite simple in its approach, but it is also slow and I eventually stopped using it.
When I installed the MATE desktop I found it pulled in the YUM Extender (YumEx) graphical package manager. This front-end is more detailed and allows the user to filter packages by their status. I found YumEx to be more reliable and it provides a good deal more progress information while it is working. The one issue I had with YumEx is that it is also slow and simply loading a list of available software in the repositories could take well over a minute. My experiences with both graphical front-ends caused me to use the YUM command line package manager for most of my software needs. YUM is a fairly quick and reliable command line utility. It has a very straight forward syntax compared to most package managers and it supports delta updates by default which greatly reduces the amount of bandwidth required when updating packages. Since during the first three days I was using Fedora over 200 updated packages were made available in the repositories the delta update feature was quite welcome.
Fedora 18 - the GNOME Shell Activity menu
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Fedora comes with a supply of useful software in the default installation. We are treated to the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client and the Pidgin instant messaging program. The LibeOffice suite is included in the application menu along with the Transmission BitTorrent client, the Cheese webcam tool and the Brasero disc burner. There is a document viewer, the Shotwell photo manager and the Rhythmbox audio player. Fedora doesn't come with Flash or popular multimedia codecs, nor are these included in the repositories. Such extras can be added later through third-party repositories such as RPMFusion. The distribution does include Java in the default install and Network Manager is there to help us get on-line.
Fedora comes with text editors, an archive manager and calculator. Perhaps the most welcome items in the application menu are Fedora's administrative utilities. These are powerful tools which assist us in setting up backups, configuring the firewall, managing printers and working with user accounts. I really appreciate these system configuration programs as they tend to find a good balance between power and user friendliness. By default Fedora runs a mail service in the background which is protected by our firewall. When I first installed Fedora 18 I found the distribution was running version 3.6 of the Linux kernel and by the end of the week the kernel package in the repositories had been upgraded to version 3.7.
Once I got settled in to the various desktop environments I found the system was fairly stable (GNOME Shell only reported one crash during the week) and the applications which came with Fedora worked as expected. I did run into a few minor issues through the week, not really problems, but annoyances. For example, the menu entry for the Users & Groups tool in the MATE System menu doesn't work as it points to the wrong executable. (The GNOME Shell environment links to the proper program.) Frequently when I would try to shutdown or restart the computer from within GNOME Shell a message would appear telling me other users were logged in and I would have to provide the system's root password to power off the computer. No other users were logged in when these password prompts appeared.
Thoughts on Anaconda desktop and GNOME desktop
I have some thoughts on Fedora, GNOME and the Anaconda installer and I feel it would be best to talk about these three areas separately. Given the many spins, the many desktop environments and the different hardware used in my test I feel it wouldn't be fair to lump all the pieces together. Let's look at Anaconda first. For the past several Fedora releases I've commented that Anaconda, while a capable installer, has had its problems. In past releases the venerable installer has been like an old tricycle -- a little rusty around the edges and one wheel wobbled, but it was pretty dependable over all, certainly easy to manage. In Fedora 18 the old tricycle has been replaced with a spoonful of jelly.
Some might argue that it's prettier and it doesn't have any rust, but it isn't stable, it isn't as straightforward to use and it makes for a slower form of transportation. Basically, the big move has been to go from a linear process to a central-hub layout. On paper this looks nice as we can pick the order of the screens we visit and it lets us go directly back and check settings on a previous page. The downside to this approach is navigating the installer takes longer because, after filling out each section, we come back to the hub before advancing to the next stage. It effectively doubles the pages we need to go through. The new style especially slows down partitioning. Instead of clicking "New" to create a partition and filling in three fields, we now create a partition, enter some information and then get to the form where we burrow through options to find what we want.
Some might call this approach cleaner from an interface perspective, but it meant I spent more time navigating the installer than filling in useful information. I will give credit where it is due, the new installer no longer demands our root partition must be ext4, a limitation that has bothered me for several releases. However, in trade, now there is no option to prevent Anaconda from installing the GRUB 2 boot loader. We're not asked about this at all, the installer simply overwrites our existing boot loader and tries to configure GRUB 2 automatically without any chance for us to override its settings. This seems a significant regression from previous releases.
Next, let's look at GNOME Shell, the default desktop environment. It has been some time since I last tried GNOME Shell, I think GNOME's version number then was 3.2. Version 3.6 brings some improvements. The desktop's look strikes me as being a little more polished and I like that I no longer have to hold down the ALT key to shut down the computer. I only experienced one crash while using GNOME Shell during my week, giving it an edge over my recent experiences with Unity and Enlightenment. There were problems though, the biggest one being performance. GNOME Shell was, for all practical purposes, far too slow to be used when running Fedora in a virtual environment and running the Shell in VirtualBox caused my host's CPU to constantly work at 100%.
My physical desktop machine with its Radeon graphics card handled GNOME Shell better. There were still moments of sluggishness, especially when bringing up the Activity menu, but GNOME Shell could be used on the desktop. I was happy to find GNOME Shell worked quite smoothly and responded quickly when running on my laptop with its Intel video card. Hardware and drivers, I found, play a big roll in whether GNOME Shell is usable. A complaint I had with GNOME Shell is that the interface requires the user to execute more steps to complete simple tasks. To find and launch a program in the "Office" category of software requires moving the mouse up to the Activity button in the upper-left corner of the display, then down to the Applications button in the lower-left, then over to the far right side to select the desired category and then back to the middle of the screen.
GNOME Shell doesn't have a task switcher in the usual sense, so swapping to a different application window again sends us to the Activity button and then to the window's icon. Application windows do not have minimize/maximize buttons and I miss these when working with multiple applications. When the display has been locked to access the desktop again we have to go through a graphical lock screen to bring up the prompt for our password. Dismissing the extra lock screen requires either dragging the mouse the vertical distance of the screen or pressing the Esc key before we can enter our password. Individually these are small things, an extra key press here, a few extra mouse clicks there, but they add up. I constantly felt like I was working around the interface rather than having it work for me.
Fedora 18 - downloading package updates
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Now, default interface and installer aside, how does Fedora hold up? Well, at first I spent some time manually adding third-party repositories as Fedora doesn't include several packages people will find useful and there isn't any automated process for enabling these repositories. The package manager(s) tended to be slow and regularly locked up or had to be told to reload their package data. The distribution does offer a good selection of software out of the box and many popular applications are provided. Btrfs support appears to be firming up, though it hasn't yet reached the level of integration nor ease of use of openSUSE's Btrfs implementation. The system administration tools are as good as ever and this has always been a strong point in Fedora's favour. I do worry about the direction the firewall configuration utility is taking as it seems to be getting more complex rather than easier to use. Some people may appreciate this flexibility, but I suspect most users will find the current firewall app overkill. The one feature which really stood out in my mind with this release is the distribution's support for Secure Boot. Once the Fedora distribution has been installed on a hard drive Secure Boot can be enabled and the operating system should still boot and I suspect users focused on computer security will appreciate this feature.
During my week with Fedora there was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind and it took a while to figure out what it was that bothered me about this release. What I think was troubling me is that the components of this release don't feel integrated nor coordinated. Perhaps Fedora is going through a more tumultuous stage than usual as will happen from time to time with an experimental distribution. Still, I couldn't help but notice that some applications use the GNOME Shell integrated menu and some do not; the system admin tools have distinctly different styles of interface when compared side-by-side and even parts of the installation process feel like they were designed by different people. This approach is in contrast to other mainstream distributions such as Ubuntu, openSUSE and Mageia where system components tend to hold to a central, integrated design. This feeling of disunity added to the overall impression that Fedora 18 feels very experimental and not yet finished. There were a lot of little bugs and a few big ones in this release and it led me to believe that even with the two month delay Fedora 18 was released too early.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora release process and systemd myths, Ubuntu rolling-release speculations, openSUSE and Mageia overviews, Kali Linux
After the Fedora 18 development process, which turned out to be far more laborious than many expected, some of the distribution's developers are looking to revamp the release process. The latest on the subject is Máirín Duffy's blog post summarising some of the ideas that emerged at the recent FUDcon conference: "What if we changed the schedule to better handle large features that span multiple releases? Let's take Anaconda's new UI as an example feature for this proposed new model. The amount of work that Anaconda needed for the new UI really couldn't possible have landed in just six months. 'If you didn't know, and you looked from a distance at our feature page, you'd think that we were trying to land it in six months,' Spot [Tom Callaway] said. 'We need to better communicate to our community and our users what it means for these big features to land in Fedora, and how we indicate to them where they are in the cycle.' Spot then explained a little bit about Red Hat Linux's old model. When Red Hat Linux 6.0 came out, you would expect that if you installed it later on, at the 6.2 release, it would be more polished, more feature-complete, and more stable than the initial .0 release."
Fedora's decision to adopt systemd as the preferred system and service manager in Linux has not been taken well in some quarters of the development community. In fact, the coders behind Gentoo Linux have already forked udev (which is now an integral part of systemd), after accusing the upstream of removing useful features and generally being uncooperative. As a result, the controversial utility doesn't have the greatest reputation. But as systemd developer Lennart Poettering explains, much of the bad press is a result of "misconceptions and myths": "Since we first proposed systemd for inclusion in the distributions it has been frequently discussed in many forums, mailing lists and conferences. In these discussions one can often hear certain myths about systemd, that are repeated over and over again, but certainly don't gain any truth by constant repetition. Let's take the time to debunk a few of them: Myth: systemd is monolithic. If you build systemd with all configuration options enabled you will build 69 individual binaries. These binaries all serve different tasks, and are neatly separated for a number of reasons. For example, we designed systemd with security in mind, hence most daemons run at minimal privileges (using kernel capabilities, for example) and are responsible for very specific tasks only, to minimize their security surface and impact."
* * * * *
The Ubuntu distribution does enjoy being in the the media spotlight, even at the risk of getting there as a result of a misunderstanding. Last week's news about the distribution's planned switch to a rolling-release development model was dispelled several days after the first rumours hit the Linux media. OMG! Ubuntu!'s Joey-Elijah Sneddon explains what happened: "Ubuntu will not be switching to a rolling-release model anytime soon, despite recent reports to the contrary. But Ubuntu's Jono Bacon has revealed that pieces are being put into place to allow such a decision to be made at a later date. A rolling-release model would see Ubuntu continually updated with new applications and features as it 'rolled' along rather than, as is the case at present, them only arriving in one go every six months. Such a change would also mean fewer releases, or so says Leann Ogasawara of the Ubuntu kernel team. In a video Q&A session earlier this week she suggested that, should Ubuntu switch to a rolling-release model in the future, 'interim releases' would be ditched. Instead, Ubuntu would 'roll' between long-term support versions, currently released once every two years."
* * * * *
As openSUSE developers continue to work on the upcoming version 12.3 (scheduled for release on 13 March) the popular project's community manager Jos Poortvliet looks back at the September release of version 12.2 and the feedback, both positive and critical, that followed: "Criticism came on the focus of openSUSE: is it a desktop or a server? The enterprise functionality on the server side is there -- in openSUSE, you can click a domain controller ready in a few clicks. But it just can't compete with CentOS which offers binary compatibility with its enterprise cousin -- you can drop-in RHEL once you've tested on CentOS. Same in Ubuntu -- support is always close to what you are running. From openSUSE to SLE is still a hurdle. The gentlemen felt that with the default KDE desktop 'the most attractive I've seen', openSUSE has by far the best enterprise-ready desktop in hands, beating the Ubuntu and Red Hat competition. It is attractive, fast, responsive and easy, maybe openSUSE should focus on their desktop more? But there were also some problems. Prime among those were issues with package management."
* * * * *
Mageia is another distribution that is actively working on its upcoming release, scheduled for arrival in early April. Last week ComputerWorld's Rohan Pearce put the project under the publication's spotlight, praising its "commitment to creating a Linux distribution with strong community governance": "'People who enjoyed doing things the Mandriva way but were taken aback by the corporate attitudes were ready for a more stable place, and they found a great home in Mageia,' says Trish Fraser, a member of Mageia's communications team. 'It's one of the most inclusive, friendly and communicating environments I've found in free software, and it's very global.' The distribution's third release, snappily dubbed Mageia 3, is due in April. Mageia 3 hit beta in December last year. In the lead-up to its release, Computerworld Australia caught up with Fraser to talk about the lessons open source projects should learn from the Mandriva experience and future directions for Mageia. As a result of the experience with Mandriva and Edge IT, Mageia has a strong focus on community governance, 'so that the stability of the distro won't be endangered by any particular corporation or group,' Fraser says."
* * * * *
Distributions with a rolling-release development model are all the rage these days. But is there a good definition of the term? Many simply accept that any system that doesn't need to be re-installed over time is a rolling-release distro. As such, even development branches of many independent Linux distributions, such as Fedora's "Rawhide" or Slackware's "Current" would easily qualify. "Sid", the Debian's unstable branch, would be another popular "rolling-release" distribution, especially since many derivative projects base their code on that particular branch. Three of them, Semplice Linux 3.0.0, aptosid 2012-01 and siduction 2012.2, are briefly examined in this blog post entitled "A quick look at 3 distros based on 'sid'": "If you have any interest in a bleeding-edge distro, but want to stick with Debian, these are your best options. For people new to Linux, Debian is one of the oldest active versions, and has a huge set of programs and applications which are stored in a central location, called a repository. This trusted server is where you normally obtain most or all of the programs you use in your day to day life. Debian has the largest repository of any distribution, containing over 30,000 programs and libraries."
* * * * *
Here is an interesting update on BackTrack, an Ubuntu-based security distribution with a collection of tools for penetration testing and digital forensics. A change is in the works and the future is called Kali Linux: "Originally, BackTrack Linux was developed for our personal use but over the past several years, it has grown in popularity far greater than we ever imagined. We still develop BackTrack for ourselves because we use it every day. However, with growth and a huge user base, we have an obligation to ourselves, our users, and the open source community to create the best distribution we possibly can. ... What has happened in the past year? We have been quietly developing the necessary infrastructure and laying the foundation for our newest penetration testing distribution as well as building over 300 Debian-compliant packages and swearing in 8 different languages. These changes brought with them an incredible amount of work, research and learning but are also leading us down the path to creating the best, and most flexible, penetration testing distribution we have ever built, dubbed 'Kali'."
* * * * *
Last week we reported about the initiative of the SolusOS distribution to fork GNOME 3's Fallback mode into a new desktop environment called Consort. As the news spread around the Linux media, it didn't take long before a Debian developer took a closer look at this effort. And Josselin Mouette, one of Debian's GNOME packagers, didn't like what he saw: "Even if the fork gains momentum (which remains speculative), the amount of effort to rename packages makes you think twice before such a switch. I decided to go talk about it with them on IRC nevertheless. Mind you, they work on a GNOME fork and a Debian derivative, but deliberately use their own IRC server (you'll soon understand why). Just in case you would want to cooperate with SolusOS, you'd have to use their infrastructure. It is a euphemism to say that the conversation didn't go well. This could have ended there, but thankfully for your already widening eyes, Ikey (the charming person I had the opportunity to discuss with) made the log public, in an attempt at public shaming that would soon gather his followers, chanting out loud how the revolutionary SolusOS would quickly replace every other Linux distribution."
* * * * *
Finally, a yet another statistical look at the popularity and usage of free operating system, a notoriously impossible metric to measure. Derek Jones has been busy compiling some interesting data from various sources, including this site's Page Hit Ranking statistics, and the result is an interesting blog post entitled "Popularity of open-source operating systems over time": "How representative are the DistroWatch and Spinellis data? The data is as representative of the general OS population as the visitors recorded in the respective server logs are representative of OS usage. The plot below shows the percentage of visitors to DistroWatch that use Ubuntu, SUSE Linux, Red Hat. Why does Red Hat, a very large company in the open-source world, have such a low percentage compared to Ubuntu? I imagine because Red Hat customers get their updates from Red Hat and don't see a need to visit sites such as DistroWatch; a similar argument can be applied to SUSE Linux. Perhaps the DistroWatch data underestimates those distributions that have well-known websites and users who have no interest in other distributions. I have not done much analysis of the Spinellis data."
|Book Reviews (by Jesse Smith)
Ubuntu Unleashed by Matthew Helmke
Most of the tech books that land on my bookshelf fall into one of two categories. Some of them are beginner texts, taking people from a point of zero assumed knowledge and slowly building up to a point where the reader will hopefully be comfortable with the basics. The other style of book I often see is the expert reference manual. This second category of book is generally terse, almost point form in its nature, and there is an assumption we already know the material, we just need a refresher. One of my favourite technical books in college was a thick UNIX system administration book which started the reader at square one and dragged them through every aspect of using and maintaining a UNIX system.
Hand holding was at a minimum, the reader began a novice and walked away an expert (or gave up). That book, though very informative at the time, was prohibitively expensive and is now twenty-five years out of date. Luckily I have found a modern tome to take its place. The book to which I am referring is called Ubuntu Unleashed, though we shouldn't let the title fool us. While the book uses Ubuntu as an example platform and the tutorials included were tested on Ubuntu, the vast majority of the text is applicable to most Linux distributions. In fact, much of the information contained within Ubuntu Unleashed is applicable to any Unix-like operating system.
What is included within the covers of Ubuntu Unleashed? It might be a fairer question to ask what isn't included in its pages! As with many introductory books we start out with a talk about different flavours of Linux and what Ubuntu is. There is then an entire chapter on preparing to install the operating system and how to get through installing Ubuntu (and related) distributions step by step. In fact, the first 120 pages or so are essentially an introduction to Linux. We cover exploring the desktop (Unity and alternative desktops such as KDE are covered), the book talks about popular end-user tasks such as listening to music, playing videos, browsing the web and using productivity software. One step at a time we get introduced to the Linux way of doing things from the user's perspective.
In these first several chapters Ubuntu Unleashed isn't all that different in content and tone from other Linux books aimed at beginners. Where it gets interesting is in the book's third part where we are introduced to system administration. At first we cover common tasks such as package management, an introduction to the command line and basic networking. Then we get into more complicated command line usage, script writing and securing the operating system. By the end of the system administration section we are managing Linux kernel modules, compiling the kernel and patching the kernel. We're not in the warm embrace of the desktop GUI anymore, we are getting down into the (virtual) nuts and bolts of the whole software stack.
The forth section of the book deals with setting up services on our Linux machine. Do you want to turn your Linux machine into a web server or maybe set up databases? Perhaps you are interested in getting the most out of Samba or using thin clients? Perhaps you work in an office and think you could benefit from having a LDAP server? Ubuntu Unleashed covers installing and configuring all of these services. It also talks about working with various virtualization technologies such as VirtualBox and KVM. Then we get into Ubuntu's cloud technology and how we can create and maintain private cloud infrastructure.
The fifth and final section of the book covers programming languages. We are given quick introductions to Perl, Python and PHP. The developer and build tools for working with C/C++ projects are talked about, but the C language itself is outside the realm of the text. We are shown how to create simple build scripts though. We're also given tips on how to get involved with open source software projects and some advice on source repository tools is provided. The development section wraps up by discussing developing software for Android devices and how to set up a virtual Android device on our computer so we may test our Android apps.
In short, it doesn't matter if we are brand new to Linux and just want to figure out how to navigate the graphical interface or if we are a system administrator interested in setting up servers or even a software developer, Ubuntu Unleashed has us covered. Just about anything we might want to do with the operating system is discussed at one point or another in this book. Now, despite the fact the book starts us off at square #1, I don't want to give the impression Ubuntu Unleashed is targeting beginners. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say the book makes the assumption we do not wish to stay beginners. Ubuntu Unleashed has a teaching style equivalent to pushing us into the deep end of the pool to see if we can swim. It expects we are here to learn by doing.
The book tends to lay out the essentials on how to perform a task and, at the end of every chapter, URLs are provided for knowledge resources in case we wish to read further. Ubuntu Unleashed will help us get an Apache server up and running and it will teach us how to use the Python interpreter, but if we want to really get the most out of these technologies further exploration will be required outside of the book. Ubuntu Unleashed lays down a foundation of information on a vast range of subjects and gives clear instructions, then, at the end of each section, it points us toward further resources and moves on to laying down a new foundation of knowledge. In this manner Ubuntu Unleashed doesn't specialize in any one subject, but it does give us a very strong base from which to work. Both its explanations and instructions are clearly laid out and the writing style, I found, is easy to follow. Despite the direct, no nonsense approach we are given many graphical screen shots and, for the command line sections, we are shown copies of terminal input and output.
The Ubuntu Unleashed text isn't for experts, it is for people who wish to advance their knowledge and experience to become experts. There are a lot of tips and suggestions littered throughout the text to help us get started on our Linux journey and I feel the advice provided by the book's authors is sound. I really appreciate the organization of the book. After the first few chapters, which walk us through installing the operating system and performing some common tasks, the rest of the book can be read in just about any order. Once we have a taste of the command line and editing configuration files we can jump to any other point in the book (system administration, programming or virtualization) and just read the parts which interest us. I think this is great as it gives us a tree of information with many branches rather than a straight run from the beginning to the end. If you are new to Linux and wish to learn more, or if you have some experience and wish to get the most out of your operating system then I recommend getting a copy of Ubuntu Unleashed. It is one of the most complete guides to using and working with Linux I have had the opportunity to read.
- Title: Ubuntu Unleashed 2013 Edition
- Author: Matthew Helmke (with Andrew Hudson and Paul Hudson)
- Published by Pearson Education, Inc © 2013
- Pages: 888
- ISBN-10: 0-672-33624-3
- ISBN-13: 978-0672-33624-9
- Available from: InformIT and Amazon.com
|Released Last Week
Snowlinux 4 "Xfce", "E17"
Lars Torben Kremer has announced the availability of two new editions of the Debian-based Snowlinux 4: "The team is proud to announce the release of Snowlinux 4 Xfce and E17. Snowlinux 4 Xfce is based upon Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 'Wheezy' and uses Linux kernel 3.5. Snowlinux 4 Xfce and E17 are available in two ISO images. The Xfce edition contains Xfce 4.10 and the E17 edition contains Enlightenment 0.17. While the Xfce edition fits on a CD, the E17 edition doesn't. Both use Firefox, Thunderbird, AbiWord, Shotwell and Pidgin by default. New features: LightDM; Snowlinux LightDM greeter; Snowlinux Plymouth theme; improved Snowlinux Metal theme and icons; SnowMount; Firefox 17; Thunderbird 17; Snowlinux HD backgrounds; updated software; improved speed and response; system improvements." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information and screenshots.
BackBox Linux 3.01
Raffaele Forte has announced the release of BackBox Linux 3.01, an updated version of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution and live DVD with a collection of penetration testing, incident response, computer forensics and intelligence gathering tools: "The BackBox team is pleased to announce an updated release of BackBox Linux, version 3.01. This release includes features such as Linux kernel 3.2 and Xfce 4.8. The ISO images (for 32-bit and 64-bit architectures) can be downloaded from the download page. What's new? System improvements; upstream components; bug corrections; performance boost; improved auditing menu; improved Wi-Fi drivers (compat-wireless Aircrack patched); new and updated hacking tools (e.g. backfuzz, Beef, Bluediving, cvechecker, HTExploit, Metasploit, set, sqlmap, WebSploit, Weevely, WPScan, zaproxy, etc.)" Read the full release announcement for system requirements.
Clemens Toennies has released an updated build of Netrunner, a Kubuntu-based distribution with KDE 4.9.4: "Netrunner 'Dryland' 12.12.1 has been released. KDE updated to 4.9.4 from Kubuntu backports; Firefox updated to 18; VLC updated to 2.0.5; Tomahawk new version 0.6; WINE updated to 1.5.22; Samba Mounter updated to 0.3.1; Webaccounts updated 0.3; Veromixer installed; Runners-ID upgraded from 1 to 5 GB free cloud space; many more fixed issues and improvements. The version is based on Kubuntu 12.10 and has the following features: GNU/Linux OS kernel 3.5; Firefox 18 with KDE integration; Thunderbird 17.0.1; LibreOffice 3.6.2; Skype 4.1; GIMP 2.8; Krita, Gwenview, Kdenlive, Telepathy Messenger, Samba Mounter (easy NAS setup), Webaccounts (social accounts integration), Runners-ID (free and libre cloud storage and music streaming), Muon Discover, VirtualBox." Here is the brief release announcement.
Brian Manderville has announced the release of Descent|OS, a desktop Linux distribution combining the Ubuntu base system with the latest version of the MATE desktop environment: "I am pleased to announce that the 'Legacy' branch of Descent|OS has been updated to version 3.0.2. Since the main focus of the Ubuntu-based edition is stability, the main upgrades were big fixes. I have fixed the driver install issue, and also fixed the audio applet issue. Here is a list of the full changelog: PulseAudio is officially default, Mate-media-pulse is much more well-implemented than its GStreamer sibling, so I have implemented it to maintain consistency and make it easier for people to change their audio settings; MATE is updated to 1.4, this is actually a huge milestone, because MATE 1.4 is a stable, well-implemented version, and works better with everything in Descent|OS; Lubuntu Software Center is included...." Here is the brief release announcement.
François Dupoux has released an updated build of SystemRescueCd, version 3.3.0. SystemRescueCd is a Gentoo-based live CD with an extensive collection of data rescue and disk management utilities. The project's changelog reports the following new features and improvements: "Standard kernels are the long-term supported Linux 3.4.27 (rescuecd and rescue64); alternative kernels updated to latest stable 3.7.4 (altker32 and altker64); fixed 'waiting for uevents to be processed' by upgrading udev to 197-r4; updated XFS file system utilities: - xfsprogs 3.1.10 and xfsdump 3.1.2; updated dar 2.4.9 (Disk Archive 2.4.9); added grsync 1.1.1 (a GTK+ frontend to rsync); added fuse-exfat 1.0.0 (exFAT file system FUSE module); fixed Network-Manager applet in the graphical environment; re-based genkernel on latest upstream version; updated NTFS-3G to 2013.1.13."
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database|
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- OWASP Mantra-OS. OWASP Mantra-OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution built for penetration testing and secure computing.
- Pardus Anka. Pardus Anka seems to be the much-awaited community fork of Pardus Linux. The project is currently working on version 2013 with the upcoming KDE 4.10 as the default desktop.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 4 February 2013. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • fedora 18 and systemd (by Didier Spaier on 2013-01-28 09:49:21 GMT from France) |
About Fedora 18: I do not have an opinion, as I do not make distro hopping. But Alan Cox doen't seem to be very enthusiast - and this is uan understatement, see here:
About systemd and Lennart Poettering's blog, let me quote his last words on the page you linked to:
"Please note that I take the liberty to delete any comments posted here that I deem inappropriate, off-topic, or insulting. And I excercise this liberty quite agressively. So yes, if you comment here, I might censor you. If you don't want to be censored you are welcome to comment on your own blog instead."
(Anybody knows how to input a comment there anyway?)
I am not able to discuss all he said. But he doesn't address my main concern anyway, which is that udev is now part of systemd, if I understand well (hence the forks).
Anyhow, some of his statements do not fit well together IMO, as being UNIX (kind of ) but not POSIX compliant and usable with the Linux kernel only.
Wait and see... I am curious about the adoption of udev forks and about of the effort or putting OpenBSD user-space tools atop a Linux kernel or conversely use FreeBSD with Arch user-space tools (namely, Starch Linux and Arch BSD).
2 • Fedora (by Mat on 2013-01-28 10:51:10 GMT from Denmark)
One of the things that makes Fedora stand out is the /usr-merge. This makes the filesystem hierarchy is more intuitive than on other distros.
3 • GNOME 3's Fallback fork (by silent on 2013-01-28 11:00:04 GMT from France)
Is there any other choice than forking or abandoning Gnome fallback completely? Gnome 3.8 will not support fallback mode and fallback bug reports are already closed with WONTFIX. I am certainly interested in Consort, I even tried to build it from Arch AUR, but it failed. Anyway, not many have expected the success of Mate reviving Gnome 2 and today it is one of the most popular desktop environments with a very small team of developers.
4 • Fanning the flames, eh? (by Fairly Reticent on 2013-01-28 11:21:49 GMT from United States)
You gave a bitter DebIan packager your podium - is this to stir up more acrimony, thus more interest? It may work - count the comments on the public log posting, some of them from other DebIan-ites doggedly harassing the errant dev daring to stray from under their 'umbrella' (or thumb?) - except this fellow never was enthralled enough to attain to the ranks of the devoted ...
And here I thought Freed Open Software was about encouraging forking your own? I don't remember an exception in the DebIan guidelines for vision violation and enforcement; perhaps I missed that section.
"Let them go their way unmolested; for if this just another vanity it will fall apart in due course without your involvement; otherwise you may well find yourself opposing the relentless and merciless inevitable."
5 • Elive (by frnz on 2013-01-28 11:28:53 GMT from Italy)
Is it anybody interested in Elive anymore. If you want to go the enlighted way just look for Bodhi Linux. Much more 'elive' and kicking
6 • Pardus (by David L on 2013-01-28 11:54:04 GMT from United States)
Glad to see some of the developers of Pardus carry on this fine distro. It was really one of my favorites.
7 • Pardus (by Hollandhook on 2013-01-28 13:37:44 GMT from Mexico)
Agree, David L. I wondered if it could ever come about. Very nice bit of news this morning.
8 • Some randome Gnome comments (by vw72 on 2013-01-28 14:04:01 GMT from United States)
I, too, have noticed a lag on Fedora 18 on the display of the Activities screen, at least the first time it is displayed in a session. After that, it seems to pop up immediately. I assume, that it is loading some sort of cache the first time that might be better served loading in the background before activities is ever selected.
With regards to the extra steps to launch an app, I think that only applies when trying to do things the "old" way. For instance, hitting the super key (windows key) brings up the Activities pain and then starting to type the name of the application brings up possible matches.
When gnome-shell first came out, I was an avid user of the gnome2 menu extensions, but actually find doing it the new way to be much faster.
I do miss the minimize buttons and I understand the Gnome Developers reasons for removing them, but I use the tweak tool to put them back. Regardless, though, alt-tab cycles through them or the super key brings up the activities screen to switch between.
I am not saying that gnome-shell is perfect or even close to perfect, especially on large screens, but it seems to be steadily improving and is quite usable for most things.
Ironically, after having to use Windows 8 for a bit, gnome-shell is quite pleasant.
9 • Anaconda (by pouar on 2013-01-28 14:19:08 GMT from United States)
I do like the Hub design of Anaconda. Unfortunately, it's the only thing they got right. I agree, it was released too early.
10 • Debian/SolusOS bad vibes (by DavidEF on 2013-01-28 14:19:50 GMT from United States)
I read the log, and also the LiveJournal entry. I'm sure there is more history to this than any of us will ever know. However, with just the two pieces of the puzzle, my opinion is that Ikey is the one who made the IRC conversation go badly in a hurry.
Whatever you think of Joss or his attitude in this situation, he was right about at least one thing: it doesn't make sense to fork something if the opportunity is there to maintain the original. It is exactly zero benefit for a whole lot of effort. The only way it makes sense is if you are trying to inflate your own ego, or "get even" with someone.
Ikey seems to be offended to the point that it's worth it in his mind to put forth all the extra effort necessary to "show them!" Maybe he was treated badly by some dev's in the past, but if Joss wasn't exactly one of them, then why treat him with such vitriol now?
11 • Window minimizing in Gnome3 (by Arkanabar on 2013-01-28 15:04:24 GMT from United States)
Does alt-space, n not work to minimize windows in Gnome 3? I admit I haven't used raw GNOME-shell, but I've used that keystroke sequence to minimize windows in multiple environments for years now.
12 • Fedora: Anaconda (by Thomas on 2013-01-28 15:11:12 GMT from Germany)
Jesse, I think if anything you were too lenient with the new anaconda. I tried to use it and was appalled, especially by the new partitioning tool. Partitioning your disk may be the most intimidating part of installing a linux OS - after all, you may end up losing important data or, in case of a dual-boot system, your primary OS. But the new partitioning tool makes this really frightful. Not only is its GUI completely inconsistent and forces you to return to the same screens multiple times (as you note in your review). Not only is it prone to crash in mid-install (as has happened to me several times). It is also completely inscrutable and nontransparent - even after going through it a number of times, I still had no idea what partition would be created where on my disk, and I just couldn't figure out how to make use of an existing partition. Not enough options (bootloader, forces you to have a small boot partition on GPT disks even if you don't need it), not enough information - this is a total train wreck of an installer. I don't see how this can be improved in future versions, I think they would really have to start from scratch.
13 • Page Hit Ranking statistics (by Jon Wright on 2013-01-28 15:52:44 GMT from Vietnam)
Derek Jones sounds like he's been parsing webserver logs, regardless of page requested, for specific clues in UA strings (ie counting 'usage') whereas I thought DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking measured number of hits to the distro's specific page, regardless of UA. Could anyone clarify?
14 • Consortium/Gno3: we crop what we seed (by wronglish on 2013-01-28 16:07:00 GMT from Brazil)
Ok, David (10). I agree. Forks are the worst, sad way... to put some earphone on institutional deafness.
Specially when the desease seems incurable.
Better if, confronted with one more fork/reedition, despite being in Debian, other distros or in main GShell team, Gno representatives had the response-hability to admit their own strategic mistakes.
But the way they choose is to reengineer reality: "The guy who has offered colaboration, and had his offer refused, now is the non colaborative part !" The same as designate "terrorists" the people we explode their homes! Inversion of truth, imposition of a more convenient version of facts. At the end, offending our inteligences.
to ww72: when a menu disappears and some search-thing must be used to find an app, a transparent way of doing things has being transformed in some sort of Black-box. I don't think black-boxes are compatible with openess, adaptability and user control of procedures. Worst part, black boxes promote a subtle transfer of power, from the user to the developer/owner, exactly by the imersion of knowledge in the obscurity of some "Easiest" "Better Usability" mask. Without a menu, you dont know anymore what is in your own machine. At the limit, you dont know if your blackbox is sending your preferences to A, B, C, Z or else. (the Unity/Ubu/Amazon episode). The end of your message, comparing GShell with W8, only confirms what im saying: GShell tryes to mimic W8, but it still is a part of Foss. A "Graybox", in my POV.
15 • Solus and the IRC talk (by Darren Stewart on 2013-01-28 16:21:59 GMT from United Kingdom)
IRC frequently turns sour if there are base misunderstandings taking place in a subject. Ikey tried for some time to talk to people, maybe the wrong people, but if so they did not help point him in the right direction. These people are right, don't fork without a reason. It causes mass duplication of effort. But the trade of there is that the core program or topic of any fork really really has to play its part in being the cohesive, central, combination of ideas.
Fundamentally the Gnome folks have to take some heat here. They created this by actually ignoring seemingly everyone. No one wanted shell and it was imposed, and now you have the fall out. There is a balance to driving change and making new progress, but go wrong on that path and get forked.
What I will say is that its a shame when fundamentally to a laymen (that would be me) it seems that in actual fact, the debian gnome people would gladly like to have the benefits of Ikey's work in this area, and its a few minunderstandings that are going to keep people from finding some common ground.
Most coders are a bit artistic, and I believe in fact most would welcome the recognition of doing great work, and as such that comes by in fact spreading the work as far as it can go. Thus bridging this gap seems to me to offer benefits to both sides if a way can be found to bridge the problems - which probably are not so large as to be totally unbridgeable.
I suggest the parties get together over a beer, and have another discussion, and I am sure they might be able to sort it.
16 • Solus and Debian Developer Dispute (by Frank on 2013-01-28 16:24:19 GMT from United States)
I thought the comments by the Debian developer in the Distrowatch article amounted to little more than a one-sided, petulant rant and I was surprised that Distrowatch would deem it worthwhile to publish. Reading the attached log only served to reinforce my opinion.
I think Debian is an excellent organization containing many fine people who have made and continue to make significant and important contributions to the Linux community. However, I don't this particular individual did anything but make Debian appear petty and spiteful by his actions.
17 • New Anaconda (by Ryan on 2013-01-28 16:38:30 GMT from United States)
I was a FUDCon a few weeks ago and went to a break out session on the new installer. I agree that in it's current state, it is a complete mess. However, this is the first iteration of it. I believe by the time Fedora 19 hits, most of the annoyances will be ironed out. I have been using Fedora for 8 years, and I can say without a doubt, the new Anaconda is by far the largest turd in the punch bowl. Remember Fedora is RHEL's test bed, so to think of it anything but a Beta is wrong.
18 • Fedora 18 (by Ron on 2013-01-28 17:03:29 GMT from United States)
You are completely correct. Fedora should be seen as a beta release. That is what I love about them.
Other then some minor installation, (not issues I would have to say annoyances,) the install process was great for me. Not exactly 100% newbie friendly yet. I had Fedora 17 KDE spin installed. I tried to use Fedup, well that did not work at all. No big deal. I had everything backed up and Fedora 18 KDE spin on my USB drive just in case. Honestly the Fedup issues may have been caused by user error. Everything else works great for me.
One thing quickly before I move on. Their final choice will let me know if Fedora is still the distro I need. I love it but I agree and disagree with them. I agree that six months is too short for a major release. However two years is too long. A rolling release would not work with Fedora, but I do think a distro like Ubuntu (Or Arch, etc) a rolling release is a smart idea.
Even though I installed F18 KDE, I have installed the rest of the DE's and a WM as well and several dm's.
* KDE, Gnome, Cinnamon, MATE, LXDE and XFCE.
* KDM, GDM, LXDM, LDM and lightdm (I use system-switch-displaymanager to switch between them.)
* I have Fluxbox installed and Openbox(which intalled with LXDE.)
I have no issues at all with Fedora 18. They do need to work on a few things but I don't know what people expect. This is what Fedora is about.
19 • elive (by rick on 2013-01-28 17:22:12 GMT from United States)
@ #5 (frnz). I'm running the latest elive image right now. I really like E17, but for personal reasons, I will never support Bodhi (Jeff). I'm glad that elive IS alive and kicking. It is sweet, sweet candy!
20 • There are no winners in name calling (by Sam Graf on 2013-01-28 17:30:11 GMT from United States)
If there are very many people like me visiting Distrowatch, then there are at least a few who aren't going to understand Linux (and BSD) politics very well. We do, however, understand name-calling behaviors to one degree or another. Some people enjoy that kind of drama, others don't. Speaking just for myself, I don't. Maybe I'm a minority of one so my comment can be iognored.
But just in case there are at least two of us out here, let me just say that the name calling is not fun to watch, the ad hominem "arguments" are very tiresome, and the general perception it all gives of a harmfully fragmented "approach" to alternatives to non-free software is discouraging at best.
I wonder if it really matters who is in the right in this kind of confrontation, since I fear that the reputation of the entire FOSS affort is diminished in the eyes of outsiders. Thankfully, most people I know ignore Linux and BSD altogether (most of the Android lovers I know simply hate Apple); nobody even knows about the name calling.
21 • RE: 1 - 15 (by Landor on 2013-01-28 17:46:51 GMT from Canada)
Lennart's aggressive stance on his blog is expected. He never takes kindly to any 'opposition' of his work. I find it enlightening though that in the same turn he goes off on a tangent against anything that isn't his work in turn, bemoaning the failings of other people's work that his 'miracles of creation' will replace and the world better like it because it's coming.
That kind of attitude, and the fact that Red Hat has way too many fingers in the Linux pie already is a reason why I avoid anything he creates like the plague. I'm quite thankful for a community full of alternatives. In fact, if Red Hat and Fedora were the only Linux distributions left I'd switch to OpenBSD instantly.
You mean nobody wanted GNOME Shell 'after' it was designed. The fact is (and I've said this a million times) nobody actually cared about GNOME enough to be involved with its development. Then when changes hit that they didn't like, everyone and their brother was screaming, "How dare they!" . Well, I didn't like how KDE changed, and still really don't. I didn't do a thing to try to bring out another idea, or help them create it. So in reality I get what they give or move on. I chose to move on. Us discussing desktop environments and such doesn't make it their fault though. For that matter, how could they listen after the fact? Clairvoyance?
What I find disturbing is that nobody is really looking at the big picture here. Yes, all these forks and creations are wonderful for the FLOSS community, and I'm utterly ecstatic! Don't they all create distributions though? What happens to quality control when resources get stretched thin? I wonder how long these 'alternatives' will be such, based on that alone. The projects have a long way to go before anyone can put any stock in them due to longevity issues.
Keep your stick on the ice...
22 • SolusOS (by Thom on 2013-01-28 18:02:54 GMT from United States)
I have used Debian (or a derivative) since Sarge and have no plans to change. Several months ago, I installed SolusOS 1.2, have used it regularly and I like it. It is stable, fully functional and polished.
Now the developer wants to experiment with a new DE and a port of the Debian repositories to .pisi. He is a capable person and I look forward to his new offering. If it's comparable in quality to 1.2, it will be good.
23 • Fedora 18 Anaconda (by MarkD on 2013-01-28 18:17:10 GMT from United States)
After reading the bug page, I was able to get Fedora 18 to install on my older (Thinkpad R60e) laptop over a wireless network, but the install took off on me without letting me change my partitioning. I was quite stunned that I was not presented with a chance to review what partitioning would be done before the install started. Fortunately, I had my data backed up offline.
F18 is barely useable with LXDE or Mate, too slow to use with the Gnome 3 and Cinnamon desktops on this hardware.
Thomas is correct. Fedora 18 should not have been released until Anaconda was working correctly The style of the installer is debateable - I don't like it. The fact that it doesn't work properly is not debateable or acceptable Once installed F18 is OK. This is Fedora, after all.
24 • F18's Anaconda, SolusOS vs. GNOME (by eco2geek on 2013-01-28 18:26:26 GMT from United States)
Jesse's much nicer than I would have been, were I reviewing the new Anaconda. The old Anaconda displayed a gparted-like, graphical layout of partitions on your disk when you chose manual partitioning. When I installed F18, I was looking to install it on an existing partition, and the way the new Anaconda presented installation suggestions in the new manual partitioning screen just confused the hell out of me. It's hard to explain without a screenshot. Try it out for yourself, and see what you think.
It's unfortunate that there's a flame war between the SolusOS dev and a GNOME dev. However, separating out the personalities involved, it makes sense to fork gnome-panel. There are a lot of folks who still want to use it as their main UI. The GNOME devs don't want you to; they (obviously) want you to use gnome-shell. They named gnome-panel "fallback mode" and put the option to permanently turn it on in an obscure corner of System Settings. If you wanted to make a distro where gnome-panel is your main UI, why would you want to take over maintenance of what's essentially a second-class citizen in the GNOME ecosystem, and have to deal with the constraints of its parent project?
25 • Gnome/SolusOS/EtAl (by Hawkeye52 on 2013-01-28 18:30:06 GMT from United States)
I understand Distrowatch, and it's willingness to allow a comment from a lead developer from an important linux organization, but such statements rise on fall on the opinions of those who observe them. This is a small example of the Gnome fragmentation debacle that has been occurring since the introduction of Gnome 3.0.
I will not pick apart the way the ikey and joss handled themselves in this exchange. No one ever 'loves' all they have said in anger or frustration, such a critique would be meaningless. It is more important to look at the larger picture.
The unaltered Gnome 3 desktop has lost a large portion of end users who want a more tradition computing environment -- those who fail to see the logic behind many of the changes that were made. Although there are few who would disagree with the idea that changes had to be made to update the underlying technology, the changes to interface (e.g. panel, window manager, etc) were designer preference, NOT necessity. Therefore, joss' suggestion to ikey, to come back and do the things he (ikey) wants to do through the existing system, with the existing mindset within Gnome, is a meaningless and useless gesture. Joss could not guarantee that ikey could do what he wanted to do, exactly, without delay and interference; why bother? Ikey is responding 1> his vision of how the desktop should operate and 2> his understanding of the desires of his end users. Sounds a whole lot like clem and Linux Mint to me -- not in how the finished product will look and function, but in the reasons behind what is happening.
If Gnome dislikes this fragmentation, they should look at why it is happening. The alternative desktops of MATE, Cinnamon, and now Consort are appearing for a reason -- end user dissatisfaction. The message here, loud and clear, is if Gnome does not want fragmentation, and wants distributions such as Linux Mint and SolusOS back in the foal, LISTEN TO THE END USER.
Discounting Ubuntu (and its Unity DE), a distro that marches in their own direction for their own unique reasons, the backlash to Gnome 3 was instantaneous and vocal. The primary example of this is backlash is the resounding success of Linux Mint since Gnome 3's introduction. Always a successful distribution, LM achieved its current position of popularity because they (led by Clem) actually took the time, trouble, and risk to listen to their end users. Their main DE's are Cinnamon, created by themselves, and MATE. Cinnamon has not only been embraced by Linux Mint users, but is showing up as a primary or alternative in many other distributions; this is success demonstrated by end users. Ikey (the creater and primary developer of SolusOS and Consort) is doing the same thing, in his own way. Why is he being castigated? Whether or not Consort, and all its other renamed applications, becomes a success will be determined by the end user, not Gnome and its disagreement over the fragmentation of its former constituency. Time and user opinion will decide, not the verbal swordplay that we read today.
26 • Linux? (by Tom on 2013-01-28 18:34:46 GMT from United States)
27 • Fedora 18 (by Gary Frankenbery on 2013-01-28 18:36:46 GMT from United States)
It took me 3 tries before I finally got a good install with Fedora 18 on my laptop. I use KDE, and Rex Dieter and crew have done a good job at integrating it into the 18 release.
The installation process is unreliable, and troublesome to people who are installing on both an SSD drive and a hard disk drive.
I scrubbed it off after a couple of days, and I'm using my two favorite distros, Kubuntu and Mageia. But, Fedora 18 would be my third choice.
28 • Could not Fedora installer use Gparted? (by Jeffersonian on 2013-01-28 18:47:54 GMT from United States)
Excepted the old Mandrake, I have not seen a Linux installer tool which makes partitioning easy. So most of the time, I did the partitioning from a live distro, using "gparted".
I am wondering why Linux distros developers try to reinvent the wheel and at best make a mediocre one, when "gparted" is just what is needed: simple to use, fully features functional.
So let me reiterate here, that if "gparted" can be integrated (yes, it can!) in the Linux installer, for optional partitioning, there is little more to add that selecting created or modified partitions for proper mount (fstab creation).
I continue to hope that Linux Installers in the future will be done of fully functional building blocks, like "gparted".
The next step indeed should be to be able to select packages using simple an functional builing blocks, like perhaps synaptic or yumex.
"razor-qt" is also building very useful building blocks, I hope that continue too.
29 • Pardus Anka (by tuxworx on 2013-01-28 19:00:41 GMT from United States)
According to Google Translate, "Anka" is the Turkish word for "Phoenix," so Pardus Anka does appear to be presenting itself as a reincarnation of Pardus Linux.
30 • Elive (by Barnabyh on 2013-01-28 19:39:37 GMT from United Kingdom)
Is Elive still commercial and requires one to purchase/donate to be able to install it?
31 • When to fork (by Fairly Reticent on 2013-01-28 19:42:55 GMT from United States)
"it doesn't make sense to fork something if the opportunity is there to maintain the original." - and when such maintenance is deliberately sabotaged and constrained, in order to force users away from their preference to the new paradigm (for their own good, you understand), it begins to make perfect sense.
So many rancorous clouds of FUD - why are agents of DebIan behaving like Microsoft spies? They don't have Canonical's excuse. Or RedHat's. Or Novell's, or Google's, or Mozilla's, ... hmm. Never mind.
At least this fork aims to be distro-agnostic; maybe in time it'll fill the gap patched by Mate. Unless somebody builds a spin from E17 ... .!.
32 • @25 Gnome and SoulOS and Debian - Three entities (by DavidEF on 2013-01-28 19:50:32 GMT from United States)
It seems you may have missed the fact that Joss is not with Gnome. He is with Debian. I agree Gnome devs seem to have been very arrogant in the whole Gnome3 Shell deal. Ikey says he was cold-shouldered by Gnome and by Debian as well. But unless Joss is the very one who offended him, why did he strike out at Joss? In the narrower context of the Ikey-Joss convo, Ikey was the offensive one, or at least he started it. Other people or organizations should not be used as an excuse for his behavior in the IRC conversation.
If someone at my company, or at a supplier of mine treated one of my customers badly, I would hope my customer would have the decency to treat me with respect even if they viewed my company differently from that point on. I don't know what actually happened between Ikey and all those other "bad people", but it shouldn't have anything to do with how he treats Joss or anybody else. Unless, as I said, there is more history that we don't know about and somehow Joss himself did strike first at an earlier date. But, there is no indication in the IRC log that that ever happened.
33 • Consort fork (by Philippe on 2013-01-28 19:50:36 GMT from United States)
Although anyone is free to do as they want, I still don't understand why it was deemed necessary to fork gnome-fallback. The gnome team themselves have hinted at the fact that fallback mode was half-baked (which is why it was dropped). Why fork something that was never meant to be great in the first place. I speak as a standard gnome 3 user and I haven't used any of the forks. But from an outsider's perspective, we have two forked desktops that attempt to bring the gnome 2 style desktop metaphor, one using gtk 2 (in mate) and one with gtk 3 (in cinnamon). Both have been getting good reviews from users that wanted those sort of things. Make your pick. It seems wasteful to me to spend a lot of developer time to start working on a code base that was bad to start with when two popular actively developed forks are available to be contributed to. Let's face it, the real goal here is to bring back the gnome 2 metaphor and I think MATE and Cinnamon achieve that goal very well. Why not work on those?
34 • Rebellin (by arno on 2013-01-28 19:57:27 GMT from Germany)
Comment deleted (for corrections please send us an email)
35 • @31 When to fork (by DavidEF on 2013-01-28 19:57:41 GMT from United States)
I agree with your logic. If Gnome "deliberately sabotaged and constrained" the maintaining of the original, then it may seem easier to just fork it, or even to make a new one from scratch, if need be. But, the convo between Ikey and Joss on IRC was not about Gnome devs. It was about a Debian Gnome Packager reaching out to the SolusOS dev for some collaboration on maintaining what Gnome was dropping.
36 • @14 Gnome comments (by vw72 on 2013-01-28 20:23:41 GMT from United States)
My comments with regard to hitting the super key and typing the name were in response to the extra steps involved to launching an app. All I was pointing out was that actually, it is fewer steps if done that way versus gnome2.
I agree with hiding features and the like, but with gnome 3.6, I'm not sure how valid that is anymore, now that the activities window has the show apps button (square of dots) that almost all smart phones and tablets have. It is only different if coming from the traditional start button type of interface.
It is also not even necessary to use as there are at least two shell extensions that give a traditional drop down hierarchical menu. While it is true that the extension is not installed by default, it is readily available and there is nothing to stop a distro from installing it by default.
When I first got involved with linux back in the 90s, the slogan was that it was all about choice. Luckily, for those who don't like where Gnome 3 is headed, there are other DEs and even Mate and Cinnamon.
OTOH, after using it for awhile, while it is definitely different, it is quite functional and I find going back to gnome 2, after using it for years, counter-intuitive. But, other people have different needs, so as before, its all about choosing what works best for you.
37 • @32 and 33 (by Hawkeye52 on 2013-01-28 20:29:26 GMT from United States)
DavidEF, I really didn't miss anything regarding the relationships. I also didn't call the Gnome devs arrogant -- if anything, misguided would be more appropriate. But joss is a Gnome dev for Debian, and as such could not guarantee the freedom to take the DE in the specific direction ikey wants to take it. I continue to refuse to critique the specific discussion joss and ikey had. I wasn't looking to pick an 'intellectual victor', just point out that the original offer was pointless at this point in development.
To Phillippe and DavidEF, whether ikey, SolusOS and it's Consort DE will be an ultimate success, is based purely on the acceptance of the product presented and the quality of its ongoing support. If ikey has decided to work 26 hours a day to make that happen, it is his decision. How this inconveniences Debian or Gnome in any way eludes me. Their actions are independent of any fork, and those forks must respond to what is done upstream, not the other way around.
To all those who may care, this is not a fanboy defense of ikey, or the specifics of the conversation that was made public through Distrowatch today. I have used SolusOS in the past, contributed to it financially at its inception, and continue to follow its development, but currently do not have it on any of my four computers...
38 • Fedora 18 bootloader installation (by Chris H on 2013-01-28 20:37:48 GMT from United States)
"When all else fails, read the instruction book"
-- more wisdom from my Steam Engineering instructor at the USMMA
Fedora 18 Installation_Guide,
To specify which device the bootloader should be installed on, select
Full disk summary and options
at the bottom of the Installation Destination screen.
The Selected Disks dialog will appear.
In the boot column, a green tick will mark one of the devices as the intended boot device. To change the boot device, select a device from the list and click
Set as Boot Device
to install the boot loader there instead.
To decline installation of a new boot loader, select the ticked device and click
Do not install bootloader.
This will remove the tick and ensure GRUB is not installed on any device.
The Dedoimedo review
has a discussion of this and the problem that arises if you have two identical hard disks.
I've done half a dozen Fedora 18 installs, on computers fast and slow, new and old, live disk and full install DVD
and after the first few installs, everything comes easily.
39 • Netrunner (by Jordan on 2013-01-28 20:39:55 GMT from United States)
Is it ok to come in just to give props to a distro (after dozens of tries over the years)?
Netrunner (not even the latest, this is the release prior to the one that just came out) gives me the whole web functionality, including some game sites that demanded java updates etc with every other distro I've used. It's all just there working (I did have to run updates right after installation via Muon Update Manager).
I'm shocked, as the only one before Netrunner that did this was Vector Linux 64 bit, which borked the functionality upon updating!
Good job Netrunner devs!
40 • Fedora review and GNOME 3 (by Scott Dowdle on 2013-01-28 20:45:22 GMT from United States)
@12 - When I first started using the new installer (about two months ago with the Alpha release) I too was appalled with it... yes, especially the partitioning portion After doing several installs I figured it out. I'm a long time Fedora user and I was used to Anaconda... and the new installer is a lot different. The resistance to change and not actually reading the screens is what made it a bad experience for me. Once I decided to give in and actually read the screens, it started making sense. I think a lot of the issues that people perceive with the new installer has to do with the fact that it is very easy to use now. Almost too easy for us with Linux experience. As a result, too easy becomes hard... but once you do it a few times and actually read the screens, it works well. I have done various installs and I haven't had the first bit of trouble with it. One thing I haven't done though... is try to install Fedora on a system that has another Linux distro on it. Maybe it isn't well suited for that. For new Linux users, I think it is more friendly and usable than the previous installer and that was one of their goals with it. What is there isn't an accident. They did mockups and planned for quite a while... and how it turned out is exactly how they planned it except for any bugs that might have creeped in.
@Jesse Smith - I agree with most of your review. I've been fairly lucky and haven't had any problems with the video cards I've used (about a dozen) except for one. I'll grant you that if the video sub-system is not optimal, it becomes less pleasant to use.
Fedora really needs to do something with PackageKit. I understand that it is a distro-neutral package manager and is fairly easy to use... but it just plain doesn't work well... which is why I think everyone who isn't afraid of the command line (and we aren't) use yum. Hopefully they'll change that... and given the fact that they are working on an alternative to yum which will probably land in Fedora 19, I think that is likely to happen. No disrespect to Richard Hughes who I believe wrote the bulk of PackageKit.
Regarding GNOME 3 and launching applications and switching between them... there are a few ways to do that and I think you picked the slowest way with the most steps. As @vw72 pointed out, GNOME 3 has search-based launching capabilities so why not hit the logo key, start typing and select with mouse (or hit enter). That is the fastest way. Another way would be to add your most commonly used applications to the dock (drag and drop to add) and just launch applications from there.
Regarding switching between applications there are several hotkey ways to do that too. My preferred way is Alt-Tab. For any applications where you have multiple windows open, Alt-Tab is augmented with Alt-~. Another way to do it, especially if applications are on different virtual desktops, is to simply switch directly to the desktop your application is on. The hotkeys for that is Ctl+Alt+up/down arrow.
While GNOME 3 takes a little getting used to and can fail completely on unsupported hardware... and be slow on hardware that is sub-optimal... on systems where it loves the hardware, I find it to be a pleasure to use. I also use KDE, XFCE, LXDE and others... depending on my needs and the hardware I'm running on.
Regarding the "various applications have slightly different looks and everything doesn't seem to be integrated as tightly as it could be" thing. I agree... but that really isn't something I care about. I use a lot of applications from a lot of different desktop environments and there isn't really an easy way to make everything integrate with every desktop environment. All of them share way, way more than they differ so it really isn't much of a challenge to use. I'd prefer Fedora to continue doing what do and focus less on the "make everything have GNOME topbar menu entries" work. I'm a Fedora fanboy so I know I'm not typical but hey I dig what they do.
Regarding it was still released too early assessment... maybe... but in Fedora's defence... as long as it isn't a critical bug (aka a show stopper) why delay the release? That's what updates are for... and as you mentioned, they have a firehose of updates. As you are probably aware, a lot of things change and are updated during the lifecycle of a Fedora release. They can add new desktop environments. They can upgrade existing desktop environments and the kernel version. They add new packages... and they fix a lot of bugs. With tens of thousands of packages, there are always bug fixes and updates to do. It is unfortunate that Fedora doesn't refresh their install media during the lifecycle (so there are lots of updates) but that is understandable given their short release cycle and that they are usually supporting 3 releases much of the time. Some have called Fedora 18 the worst release ever... but I totally disagree with that. I find Fedora 18 where I want to be.
41 • Fedora 18 (by Adam on 2013-01-28 21:50:57 GMT from United States)
I would fall somewhere on the newb to intermediate scale. Fedora 18 KDE from installation to day to day work has run smoothly for me. The installer gave me pause but I decided to just wipe my Windows 8 install and go for it. Once I installed EasyLife, Fedora 18 has worked with zero significant problems. If anything, I commend Fedora to taking a step towards innovation. Thanks for the review.
42 • @37 If it stands... (by DavidEF on 2013-01-28 22:01:23 GMT from United States)
Agreed, if Consort succeeds, it will be a testament to its usefulness to somebody, or possibly to a lot of bodies. If it fails, that will probably not mean anything. And it won't hurt Gnome or Debian for the fork to have existed, whether it succeeds or fails.
43 • delta updates (by Paraquat on 2013-01-28 22:02:39 GMT from Sweden)
Jesse introduced the term "delta updates" without any explanation, and I have to confess that I didn't have a clue what it meant. Fortunately, there is Google, which of course gave me plenty of hits, though not all of them useful. Among the rubble I found this link which gives a reasonably good introduction to this feature:
The above link is probably old since the author is talking about Fedora 13. I don't know how the current status of delta updates on other (non-Fedora) distros has evolved. I'm a Debian (Testing) user, and my updates usually result in some pretty massive downloads so I kind of suspect that Debian isn't doing delta updates yet. Could be wrong though. Anyway, whether I'm using it or not, it's an interesting feature nonetheless.
44 • GNOME gave me the finger (by mz on 2013-01-28 22:41:34 GMT from United States)
I remember seeing a presentation video of some sort by a GNOME guy a while back, & I distinctly remember a slide with middle finger on it & the caption below read something like "GNOME 3 Rocks!". I used GNOME some in Mint 6 & thought it was a bit better than windows @ the time, but there now seems to be a major problem with the attitude from most GNOME devs. I think that giving everyone who doesn't like what you're doing the finger says a lot about the attitudes inside the GNOME project & why so many forks now exist. Given the fact that neither the Ubuntu folks nor the Mint team could sway GNOME from their 'bold new vision' it's easy to see how Ikey could get frustrated with the whole thing & overreact. It's sad but GNOME doesn't want to play ball with anyone, & the only downside I see to the reaction is that more emphasis has been placed on making lots of little forks rather than a creating a single more flexible option or improving other alternatives like KDE.
45 • @12 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-28 22:45:01 GMT from Canada)
Sorry you had such a negative experience with the new installer; but I think being in a space where you have no idea where it works is not a great place from which to make a judgement of its long term potential. Maybe if we could help you understand how it actually works a bit better you'd change your opinion.
Comment @38 explains that you can, in fact, configure the bootloader install options.
"even after going through it a number of times, I still had no idea what partition would be created where on my disk, and I just couldn't figure out how to make use of an existing partition" - again, sorry you couldn't work this out, and it's obviously on us to make it easier, but once you understand the layout, the partitioning process does in fact provide this information. If you use manual partitioning, the manual partitioning screen does in fact give a full description of the planned layout at any given time, once you learn how to read it. The screen shows the layout that will exist once you begin installation and hence trigger the modifications you've triggered. The volumes are all shown in the left-hand pane; the volumes that will be created or mounted as part of the f18 install are shown in the 'New Fedora 18 installation' group, and all pre-existing volumes that you have not scheduled for removal are shown in the other groups.
Information on volumes is shown on the right-hand side of the screen when you select one: over here you can see partition type, whether the partition will be formatted as part of install, where (if anywhere) it will be mounted in the new install, and so on. All the information is actually available here. The set of storage volumes shown and described on the manual partitioning screen at the time you leave it is the exact set of storage volumes that will be present on the target disks after the installation process.
46 • @23 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-28 22:51:49 GMT from Canada)
"F18 is barely useable with LXDE or Mate, too slow to use with the Gnome 3 and Cinnamon desktops on this hardware."
That sounds odd. I saw people using F18 on systems rather older than an R60 at FUDCon and it worked fine. Have you checked resource monitors (htop is my favourite) to see if maybe you're hitting some kind of bug where some rogue process is sucking all your resources or something? How much RAM do you have?
"Thomas is correct. Fedora 18 should not have been released until Anaconda was working correctly The style of the installer is debateable - I don't like it. The fact that it doesn't work properly is not debateable or acceptable"
Well, yes it is. You can't just declare an installer 'works properly' or 'doesn't work properly' - well, in certain cases you can declare it 'doesn't work properly', okay, when it's just utterly busted and fails to start up. But most of the time this is far too simplistic a distinction. At a rough estimate there are approximately eleventy bazillion use cases for anaconda, when you combine all the variables of the hardware you're installing to, the way you're installing, the repo you're installing from, and the desired configuration in terms of partitioning, package selection, keyboard layout selection and all the rest of it. Inevitably, some of these cases are going to be broken. Rather a large part of the job of releasing a distribution is coming up with some kind of system for deciding how many of those use cases you can possibly test directly, how many you can test indirectly in some way, and what level of breakage is acceptable for a release. This is a very complex process, and I'm willing to accept informed criticism of it from anyone who's actually followed a Fedora release process and analyzed the way we do things, but with respect, you can't just do a couple of test F18 installs, maybe read some reviews, and then declare 'it's broken! they shouldn't have released it!' I would be ecstatic if my job was that easy, but I'm afraid it isn't.
47 • @28 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-28 23:00:25 GMT from Canada)
"I am wondering why Linux distros developers try to reinvent the wheel and at best make a mediocre one, when "gparted" is just what is needed: simple to use, fully features functional."
Except it isn't, really.
gparted is okay (I'd say okay, not amazing) if you're a person who understands how disk partitioning actually works, and you just want to create partitions. That's actually not really that awesome. Both of those stipulations are rather a big problem for a distribution installer.
Generally we want to be _some_ kind of useful for someone who doesn't actually know how to set up software RAID from scratch. gparted really is literally a front-end for parted; it's not much use without significant prior understanding.
The other one is even more important. Take an LVM disk. Run gparted on it. What do you see? A giant partition of type 'lvm2 pv'. Well that's about as much use as a fricking chocolate teapot, isn't it? If we took the partitioning screen out of Fedora 17 *or* Fedora 18 and replaced it with gparted, we'd have a giant regression: 'you can no longer set up LVM or software RAID'. In the F18 case, add the regression 'you can no longer set up btrfs'. Well, that's a bit of a problem, isn't it?
This is a big thing, and only going to keep getting bigger. One of the things I think a lot of people miss about btrfs is that it's not just a filesystem like ext4; it incorporates logical management / abstraction like LVM does, and it incorporates software RAID, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Even if btrfs itself turns out to be a damp squib, this is where storage management is going in the future: a significant amount of users are not going to be simply laying out raw partitions on single disks. gparted is fine if you want to stick a bunch of ext4 partitions on a disk, but that's really not all we need in storage management any more. I haven't even bothered going into the really complex enterprise storage stuff anaconda supports. There's a reason I'm using the word 'volume' and mostly avoiding the word 'partition' in these comments - storage management is not just partitioning any more.
48 • A quick look at 3 distros based on “sid” (by GoinEasy9 on 2013-01-28 23:58:22 GMT from United States)
Quote from the article:
"Because they are based on the unstable branch of Debian, using this in any production environment is definitely not recommended. I also would not install these to a computer that you absolutely rely upon."
I think that those of us who work on "siduction" (and the other distros mentioned in the article) and those that just use it as a desktop would be surprised that it is thought of as an unstable environment. I've used Sid based distros for quite some time, and, the only hiccups I've seen were due to major changes, like the release of KDE 4.0, and, even then workarounds were created.
The distros mentioned in the article all keep an eye out for problems that can bork a users system, and, I know that if something is found, fixes are usually available before any damage can be done.
I have "siduction" running on many machines from netbook to desktop, all are stable installs and I feel confident using it on my production machines. To me, having a rolling release is a lot safer than having a distro that you have to update once a year. Especially since I've also been using fedora and have had problems using their official updating procedures.
BTW - "siduction" is a great distro. Come by and visit. We have a friendly and helpful community. http://siduction.org/
49 • Fedora 18 and "the conversation" (by cflow on 2013-01-29 00:22:30 GMT from United States)
Well, I tried the KDE spin of fedora. I also think the installer is quite unintuitive as well.
- The installer window uses up too much space, and this made me worry that there were several steps that required it - even though it really wasn't the case.
- When doing partitioning, I was creeped out about the windows notifying me. They sounded to like the installer would automatically partition my hard drive that had 3 other linux distros on it, and I could not figure out when the real partitioning process would truly take place.
- It could not tell which OS on my hard disk was which. Each of them were labeled as "unknown file systems," and I had to go into the file manager just to double check the one I wanted Fedora to replace.
Sure, if you look into all the areas of the installer in depth, you could come out with fewer problems. But I consider this requirement as the main design issue itself, being "unintuitive." I hope they fix these issues.
As for Ikey's confrontation with Joss, I thought Joss was merely asking him over and over to maintain fallback without any assurance that Ikey could integrate his work into it, and it seemed like there wasn't any sign Joss wanted to compromise. From what I know, Ikey tried submitting his work to the fallback session for a year, but that it was ignored. And then, gnome decided to stop maintaining it for version 3.8 unless someone came maintained it. Yet while he could have been a candidate, Ikey was completely ignored in this discussion all that time... Until he decided to fork it months after. There's irony here if you think about it!
The folks at Gnome seem really stubborn about compromise. Even Mark Shuttleworth had a really rough time negotiating anything with Gnome when the gnome shell was starting to appear. Themers of gtk also have gotten annoyed by how each gtk release breaks their hard work, and I'm intrigued that many major applications still stick to gtk2. Sorry, gnome folks, but if there's no compromises you get little support in your own work, and you get more forks of them...
50 • Fedora 18 (by thomasg on 2013-01-29 00:59:29 GMT from United States)
I have been using the KDE edition of Fedora 18 for a couple of weeks and really like it. Was planning a review but got sick this weekend.
Hope to post it later this week. Essentially, if you add Google Chrome and the RPM Fusion repos, you have an excellent distribution (unless you can't stand using the KDE desktop).
51 • @49 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-29 01:09:56 GMT from Canada)
"When doing partitioning, I was creeped out about the windows notifying me. They sounded to like the installer would automatically partition my hard drive that had 3 other linux distros on it, and I could not figure out when the real partitioning process would truly take place."
That's one of the most common items of feedback on f18, and we're already working on improving it.
"It could not tell which OS on my hard disk was which. Each of them were labeled as "unknown file systems," and I had to go into the file manager just to double check the one I wanted Fedora to replace."
What OSes did you have installed? Did you select all your connected hard disks as target HDs, or did you leave one or more unselected? If you left some unselected, did they contain part of your existing OS(es)?
52 • @51 @49 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-29 01:11:32 GMT from Canada)
Er, to be more practically useful right now, I should add that: no actual partitioning operation takes place until you hit the 'Begin Installation' button on the hub screen. Nothing at all is written to disk until you do that. All operations you do inside the 'partitioning' screen (and any other screens of the installer) are simply 'plans': when you 'create' or 'remove' a partition you're not really doing that operation, just scheduling it to occur when installation begins. We know this is not made sufficiently clear in the current interface, and we're already changing that for F19.
53 • response to GoinEasy9 (#48) (by thomasg on 2013-01-29 01:38:24 GMT from United States)
You are correct, my article was perhaps being too cautious with that warning. I should have merely encouraged people to use the resources provided by siduction, aptosid, and semplice to make sure they stay on top of potential issues.
I won't rule out revisiting siduction for a longer review, and if I do I'll certainly point out that it's in daily use by many people.
54 • @51 (by cflow on 2013-01-29 02:53:24 GMT from United States)
I had only 3 linux OS's on the single hard disk on my computer. I'm rather shy about which ones, but during the "manual partitioning" stage, the other partitions read each OS as "unknown linux" (correcting my previous comment that said "unknown file system - sorry!)
Thank goodness I'm not the only one confused about when the installer starts partitioning and I hope this part gets fixed. Otherwise, after the update to KDE 4.9.5 and getting my NVIDIA driver to work, this distro works pretty decently on my computer.
55 • de developers (by imnotrich on 2013-01-29 03:31:04 GMT from Mexico)
Developers must be smoking some really good weed.
First, we get Unity.
Then Gnome 3.
And now Windows 8.
DE's need to take into some consideration things like functionality, user needs, preferences and requirements, and maybe common sense too. Gee, is this too much to ask? Apparently so. Until then the Linux community will remain fragmented like a Windows XP machine.
Instead of 32 very different DE's can't we just have two or three that work really well?
Naw, this is Linux.
56 • What I love about Linux (by Ron on 2013-01-29 05:14:49 GMT from United States)
Yeah there are a lot of distro's and DE's but that is the great thing about Linux. The ability to spread your wings and do what you want, to choose what you want The best will stay, the so-so will stay for a little while. The not so great and very bad ones will fade away fast.
I decided to check out the Distrowatch list from 2002 and I checked out the ones that where around back then. Amazing the differences, yet some things are the same, some distro's survived. That is the way it goes. Survival of the fittest. I hate hearing how people wish there where less of distro's or even DE's. I hope that never happens. The variety, the choices are great. One might as well say they wish all people had the same skin color, the same hair color and style, the same language. What fun is life if everything is the same.
This in-fighting is to be expected at times. Because of the very nature of Linux you will always get those who see the Linux dream a little differently or a lot differently. I hope they all keep in mind just because someone wants to do something differently, that it doesn't necessarily mean they are against the people doing it the other way.
At the end of the day it is all Linux, it is all Open source, it is all great in its own way for its own reasons. Let Microsoft and Apple do it that way, we in the Linux community don't need to follow their example, ever.
57 • SolusOS Consortium (by PePa on 2013-01-29 07:19:07 GMT from Canada)
Firstly, I am really happy that at least someone is continuing the development of gnome-panel. As far as I am aware, Mate is only maintaining the gnome2 panel, which will be more problematic the more applications move from GTK2 to GTK 3. Cinnamon I find to be really inflexible and not fit for how I want to use my desktop. Consort seems to be the way forward.
The IRC discussion between Ikey and Joss went really unfortunate, Ikey was rude and Joss resorted to name-calling. I really hope that the fruits of Ikey's work on gnome-panel will be able to land in Debian (of which Joss is the maintainer...) Credit to Gnome-developer Jeremy Bicha who tried to move things along in a helpful direction, but it didn't seem to help much.
It is tempting for SolusOS to not want to make it easy for other projects to use their work -- if it would be developed on the Gnome infrastructure, it would be easy and natural for anybody to offer Consort(ium) as a desktop option, which would diminish SolusOS's uniqueness and advantage over other distributions. But in FOSS, this is how it works, projects are standing on each other's shoulders all the time, and good FOSS citizens should make it easy for others to integrate their work.
SolusOS would still be fairly unique once they manage to clone Debian's packages in the pisi-format. I hope more people will be able to join their effort, because what they are going for is very worthwhile.
58 • Fedora philosophy is RERO (by Luca on 2013-01-29 10:19:07 GMT from United States)
Fedora software development philosophy is "release early, release often". If you use it, it's because you're excited in the latest emerging technologies, and, the same time, you're creating a tight feedback loop between developers and users.
Fedora allows the software development to progress faster and enables the user to help define what the software will become: Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
59 • SolusOS, Gnome and Pardus (by Sayth on 2013-01-29 10:25:44 GMT from Australia)
A persons actions back up what they are saying. You would have noted Pardus Anka added to Distrowatch. Did you know Ikey when wanting to change SolusOS to Pisi contacted the Pardus devs asking how they could co-operate and assist each other and then followed through. It demonstrates his willingness and want to be co-operative/
Joss appears to not have come to the table to discuss co-operation but to enforce his view. What ground did he want to give and how did he want to co-operate? I notice Joss didn't at any point ask how they could work together, just deemed 'forks stupid' and by inference anyone that works on a fork as stupid. That's too arrogant and has never been representative of my experiences with Debian, shame.
60 • Consort-ium (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2013-01-29 10:44:14 GMT from United States)
While I understand the drive for some Gnomers to save face, I don't see them in gilded terms: they're human, their menace clear enough under the too-thin veneer of "helpfulness" in the article and chat log. Maybe we should rinse the gall off the olive branch and give it a rest. Agree to disagree. Convergence may come in time.
The aim to keep up with Gtk3/Cairo shows a friendly enough ambition, keeping distro-agnostic should be benign for the community.
61 • forks, distros and whatnot (by ix on 2013-01-29 11:12:46 GMT from United Kingdom)
The strange thing is that any fool will gather followers.
62 • Cadence (by Roy H Huddleston on 2013-01-29 11:15:44 GMT from United States)
I really like Linux. Even though Ubuntu is letting other versions choose whether they want to go ahead with Raring Ringtail 13.04 Ubuntu itself is waiting with 12.04. Cadence is making the early upgraders more stable. :) Lubuntu is enjoying Kubuntu's jump ahead with Ringtail.
63 • Debian (by Darko on 2013-01-29 11:23:41 GMT from Italy)
Debian is such a nice distro, wasted by arrogant manteiners. Even on forums or IRC it's hard to get support without being named ignorant.
64 • arrogant maintainers (by ix on 2013-01-29 11:51:35 GMT from United Kingdom)
I've been using Debian for years and I've used their forums and IRC channel, nobody has ever been rude to me.
65 • @54 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-29 17:25:01 GMT from Canada)
Ah, yeah, I don't think we have a huge list of distros in there, so anything outside the big ones is liable to come up as 'Unknown Linux' indeed.
66 • Fedora 18 feedback on first impressions (by gee7 on 2013-01-29 18:49:55 GMT from United Kingdom)
Quote: [65 • @54 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-29 17:25:01 GMT from Canada)
Ah, yeah, I don't think we have a huge list of distros in there, so anything outside the big ones is liable to come up as 'Unknown Linux' indeed.] Unquote
Too right you don't, Adam. Your installer shows all my other distros as "Unknown Linux" except for your fellow Red Hat connected distro CentOS. It didn't recognise Debian and it didn't recognise Slackware, so what exactly do you mean by "the big ones"? It took me a minute or two to figure out that I had to click on the words "Unknown Linux" repeatedly to find the sda partition that I was looking for so that I could select the root partition on which to install.
Thank goodness I have experience of installing distros and so could make the right guesses when faced with a mish-mash of icons and new ways of expressing standard procedure. It was like being trapped inside a giant Smartphone and when I got to some suggestion about "making space" I certainly could see the possibility of the 12 other distros on my hard drive being deleted. If you had used the standard step-by-step format instead (with information about what was going on at each step) it would be easier for someone installing Fedora to understand the process and it would take away the worry of the hard drive(s) being trashed.
By the way, I'm writing this from SolusOS-2-A7 which I installed 5 minutes ago, and its installer is so sweet and eay to use. There was never any doubt about what was happening and what was going to happen next. Kudos to Ikey. Perhaps you could check it out ...
The other problem I had is with the Fedora display of the Grub 2 bootloader. I found difficulty in seeing all my operating systems at boot time because rather than using the full screen, there was a smaller rectangle like a picture frame right in the centre of the screen, and my list of systems was cramped in there. I re-installed Grub 2 from my Debian system and use that instead.
Having given my personal view of your horrible installer, Adam (please make an installer fit for desktop users, a desktop computer is not a silly smartphone), I must say that I was impressed with the solid feel to my new installations. So congratulations to you and your team and even though the installer is not pleasant to use, I would recommend anyone to give Fedora 18 a try.
I installed Fedora with LXDE on one partition and Fedora with Mate on another. I then downloaded Cinnamon to have a choice of Mate and Cinnamon at log-in. So thanks to your team in giving desktop users the chance to use such good desktop environments. Mate is charming and easy to use now. It has improved so much since the early days. Perhaps the default installation next year could be with Mate or another alternative to the Gnome 3-something?
Thank you, Adam, for reading this feedback from a Linux user. It is my first installation of Fedora and I have been pleasantly surprised at how good it feels to use.
Best wishes all.
67 • @55 KDE & Desktop Environment Developers (by Elcaset on 2013-01-29 20:21:25 GMT from United States)
Try KDE. You might like it. While all the GNOME-related alternatives fragmentation has been going on, KDE has continued to develop nicely & grow in popularity.
68 • Colorwheel Linux is fast! (by James on 2013-01-29 20:48:51 GMT from United States)
I just tried Colorwheel Linux, and it is fast! It is designed to make the transition from Windows to Linux easier, Like Zorin. Colorwheel is a must for Zorin lovers, at least for their laptop. I am so impressed by it, that I decided to come here, and post this message about it. Will I keep it? I have too. It runs my Wine Windows apps faster than any other distro I've tried. Due to this technicality, I can't leave it if I wanted, too.
69 • It's just personal choice (by Dave Postles on 2013-01-29 21:55:27 GMT from United Kingdom)
I'm a great admirer of all things Debian and Fedora because of Raspbian on the Pi and Sugar on the OLPC, but, although I installed Fedora 18 with no problems, it's just not my cup of tea right now.
I'm happy to use Trisquel on my desktop (and am an associate member), because it feels right (recommended by FSF).
I am running down my use of anything Google because it systematically avoids UK corporation tax. My exception is continuing to use the Picasa repository as I have thousands of images there and it will take time to transfer them.
70 • addendum: Google (by Dave Postles on 2013-01-29 21:57:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
BTW, renouncing Google palces me in a little difficulty, because I use PUIAS and the PUIAS people communicate through Google groups, so I now use it 'blind', as it were!
71 • Fedora 18 (by Chris on 2013-01-29 23:59:28 GMT from United States)
I like Fedora 18. In fact, I'm running it now on my desktop and I have it installed on my desktop too. However, there are a few problems.
1. The new Anaconda is bad, I mean really bad. It's so dumbed down that I feel I dropped a few IQ points using it. Partitioning is horrible, it's so unintuitive that I didn't get it at first because I'm used to custom partitioning with tools like gparted.
2. It's not what I'd call nwebie friendly. I had to do a lot of tweaking to get it working smoothly, things that Linux newbies won't know how to do.
3. Pakcagekit locks up Yum. This is an ongoing problem with Fedora that needs to be fixed but apparently won't be.
For staters, let me say that I installed the KDE spin, because I don't care for Gnome 3 at all. After I got past Anaconda, I got to work getting it updated. I found that Apper wasn't working very well at all. It takes 20 to 30 minutes to llist updates, so I switched to Yum Extender using the terminal (I'll take the minute or so it takes over the time Apper takes.) I also found that Yum Extender and Yum in the terminal were returning errors because Packagekit had Yum locked up. I solved this by reopening Apper and turning off checking for updates. I then foud that I could use Yum with no error messages regarding it being locked up.
After fixing the issues with Yum, I find it to be a very smooth running system. I don't necessarily care for having to install extra repostitories for adding things like Flash, but I understand that this is how Fedora does things. However, this will be an added inconvenience for new users (especially ones coming from Windows, which does everything for you) and may turn them away from the distribution. I've gotten a few bug reports, but no major crashes, so I just report them and move on.
So, my first impressions are that Fedora 18 is a winner, but it's not for the newly initiated or the faiint hearted.
72 • @66 @71 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-30 01:38:01 GMT from Canada)
@66 Well, it picks up Ubuntu, I know that much. I didn't check much else personally. There's a hell of a lot of ground to cover.
The installer team looked at a lot of other installers when designing the new anaconda, I don't think Solus' was in the list (though it may well be using some other project's installer, small distros often do). I'm downloading Solus to take a look, but I'll hazard a guess that it comes in a fairly popular category, which is 'distros with nice simple installers that do a lot less than anaconda' - anaconda is more capable than most other installers, it supports a hell of a lot of stuff, and we needed to keep most of that capability in newUI, which made the design that much tougher. If you limit what your installer can do you obviously make the design problem a lot easier, but then you have a more limited installer, and we had pretty hard limits on how far we could reduce anaconda's capabilities.
The new installer has absolutely nothing at all to do with smartphones. Or tablets. Not a thing. dedoimedo pulled that idea out of thin air, and some others have assumed he was onto something, but he wasn't. The design process did not consider smartphones in any way whatsoever. The design was done on, and for, traditional computers. (There's a perfectly sensible reason for this, of course, which is that even if you want to put Fedora on a smartphone or tablet, given how OS deployment is usually done on such devices, you're unlikely to use the interactive installer).
Fedora's grub2 config out of the box is pretty much upstream default, with a Fedora theme. The 'console window within a background' thing is standard when using a graphically themed grub. If you don't like it, you can tweak default.grub a bit and re-run grub2-mkconfig to get rid of the theming (I forget the exact change that disables theming, but it's a one-liner).
@71 So, um, anaconda is so 'dumbed down', but you can't understand it? You might want to think what your phrasing implies about your capabilities ;)
"Partitioning is horrible, it's so unintuitive that I didn't get it at first because I'm used to custom partitioning with tools like gparted."
gparted isn't intuitive either. Let's face it, partitioning isn't intuitive. You can't sit down in front of a hard disk and magically figure out how it works. At some point somewhere, if you ever partitioned a hard disk, you must've sat down and read something which functioned as 'instructions'. Hard pill to swallow, I know.
So, here's my take at a high level: I think the new anaconda is confusing people, but not really because it's a terrible design, just because the f18 implementation doesn't do enough to explain the design. We know about that. It wasn't practical to change it at the last minute because you can't really go making significant design changes to something that's about to be released and not break something inadvertently. But we're already changing it for f19. There is a label on the 'Begin Installation' button, now, which says 'We won't touch your disks until you click here' (or something like that). The first screen of the Storage spoke will have some introductory text that explains what's actually going on. The 'Continue' button on that screen is gone. The 'Full disk summary and options...' text is being tweaked to include the word 'bootloader', so it's clearer that that's where you configure the bootloader.
I dunno if we all look at things from the same angle, but to me, there's a huge difference between this stuff and 'it's terrible! it's completely broken!' All this kind of stuff is tweaks, and that's really what the new design needs: just tweaking to be somewhat more understandable. The design itself is fine, I think. We're not really surprised at this, FWIW: we were always expecting that the first implementation of the new design would need tweaking. New designs always do.
@71 on yum/PK - it's not really a 'problem' that PK locks out yum. It has to. They're both front ends to the same package database; they can't both operate at once. Shortly after you first boot a Fedora install, PackageKit kicks in and does its initial update check. This is going to take a while as it involves doing the initial download of all the metadata for all the repositories. It often takes even longer than usual right around release time, because the mirrors are usually under heavy load. But this is a one-time abnormal operation: it doesn't happen _all the time_, it's just the first time the repos get setup and the metadata downloaded. Future repo update operations involve less data transfer and happen faster. Bottom line, that initial long PK operation is pretty normal, but it should only happen once; thereafter, PK should be able to complete an update check in a minute or do, and only does it once a day, I think.
73 • @66 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-30 02:00:36 GMT from Canada)
Here I am, liveblogging the SolusOS (2 alpha 7) installer!
Well, first off, a bit of judicious Googling shows me that it's actually Mint's installer - I didn't bother looking up anything about SolusOS first, dunno if it's Mint-derived, but it's using Mint's installer.
Solus seems to default to English (UK) as a keyboard layout, which doesn't seem like the best gamble unless it's highly UK focused. It's just about impossible to type a | on a US keyboard with the UK layout selected, which is a PITA. Found GNOME control center to switch to UK.
Mouse wheel scroll doesn't appear to work on the time zone selection screen. Which is just a big long list, no kind of map. The list doesn't include the non-geographic 'Etc' timezones, which are important if you need to, for e.g., set your servers to UTC (which is not the same as London time).
After picking English (Canada) as my language the keyboard layout thing defaults to the French (Canada) layout, which doesn't seem great. There's also semantic problems with offering a keyboard layout config screen in a live installer and not making it clear whether you're offering to set the keyboard layout of the running system, the installed system, or both. (For the record, it does change the layout of the running system, which you might not necessarily be expecting).
For partitioning you just get a list of existing partitions, you can choose to format ones that exist, and you can set mount points. Clicking 'edit partitions' gives you gparted.
Well, that's...simple. Okay. If you know how to drive gparted, it's probably 'easy'. You also need to know what partitions you ought to create for a Linux install, of course - it doesn't give you any help at all with that. Oh, hey, gparted pops up a bogus error message on start! That's pretty busted, hey? 'Invalid partition table - recursive partition on /dev/hdc'. Well it shouldn't be trying to do anything with /dev/hdc, cos that's a CD drive.
Ignoring that, and switching to /dev/vda which is my actual hard disk, I see that gparted is complaining it can't handle LVM because the lvm2 package isn't installed - seems like that's something you might want to have included in a live image which ought to be able to install to generic existing systems. So to a terminal I go to install the lvm2 package and restart gparted, and now the warning flag has gone away, but gparted still doesn't appear to be able to do anything meaningful with my existing LVM setup: it just sees it as one big partition.
There's a 'key' icon that I have no idea what it means. So bottom line - Solus has no apparent capability to deal with LVM, either to handle an existing LVM install of something else, or to install to LVM itself. Hey! I can't even *delete* the partition - maybe that's what the key means? The 'Delete' option is greyed out.
So I can't actually change my partition layout at all, with this disk that has a straightforward default Fedora 18 install on it (a /boot partition and the rest in LVM). All I can do is ignore gparted entirely and use the installer itself: I just have one 500MB partition and one 14.5GB partition to use. Well, I guess I can make the 500MB partition /boot and format it, and the 14.5GB partition / and format it: that should be good enough for a simple config.
The 'naming' page seems pretty nice, though having user creation and hostname setting on one page seems a bit arbitrary, and it doesn't do much of a job of explaining what a hostname is or why you'd care about setting it. (And it misses an apostrophe in "computer's"). It doesn't appear to do any weak password detection - it waves through 'test' as a password without a murmur.
'Bootloader' page again does nothing to explain to me what the hell a bootloader is or why I'd want one or what I should do, though the default setting is probably good for most. The 'review page' is nice.
Summary: sure, it's a nice installer, but like I thought, it's helped out quite a lot by being very simplistic. If you're going to farm out your partition management to gparted that makes your design problems a lot easier, but it comes with the rather large limitation that gparted apparently can't interpret LVM2, and so far as I know, has zero capability to configure software RAID or btrfs. Those are kind of significant limitations. If we took all those capabilities out of anaconda, we could make the design a lot simpler too...
74 • @73 (by Pierre on 2013-01-30 04:19:51 GMT from Germany)
I have to agree with this last comment by Adam Williamson.
It is quite easy to give away the partition management to another program but this limits my possibilities on the one hand side and on the other it simply interrupts the installation process which might be even more confusing for inexperienced users than the somewhat different design concept of the new Anaconda.
Nevertheless I prefer some more classic installer. Yast2 makes a very good job here and still features one of the best installers I have seen until today. It has all the nice presets that lets beginners just hit 'next' and enter a few things and you have a good installation of openSUSE running.
And the design of the installer stays coherent throughout the whole process. Next is always on the lower right and everything step delivers a good bunch of information. So maybe the Anaconda team shouldn't have focused too much on an 'innovative design' and more on the practical usecase of each screen. Additionally the concept of hub-based screen makes less sense for me than the common linear approach.
So, long story short: Anaconda is not really finished and still needs to be polished and tweaked a lot to become more straight forward. Nevertheless, with much attention and careful selection the installer does it's job, gives a lot of choice during the installation process and is quite feature rich. So we cannot call it 'crap' or anything else. It's much about taste like seen with the discussion about Unity. And if you can manage to install Fedora with the new Anaconda you can finally forget about it again. ;)
Well, and if the Anaconda still should turn you away from installing Fedora, give openSUSE a try. :D
Greetings from Germany.
75 • @Adam Williamson (by eco2geek on 2013-01-30 05:00:15 GMT from United States)
I've read through Mr. Williamson's comments, and have some observations on what he's said. So:
Mint essentially uses Ubuntu's installer, modified for its purposes. If SolusOS uses Mint's installer, it's also using Ubuntu's installer. Who's their audience? What percentage of people who want to use LVM, software RAID, or btrfs are going to be installing SolusOS, Mint, or Ubuntu desktop edition?
Ubuntu has a server edition with a text-based installer taken almost straight from Debian. You can do many more complicated things with it than you can do with Ubuntu's GUI-based installer. But the audience for Ubuntu Server Edition is different than the audience for Ubuntu Desktop Edition.
From what you're saying, Anaconda is being developed in order to target the professional and server market, which is not surprising, given that Fedora's the test bed for RHEL. What, if anything, are you going to do in order to accommodate the needs of newbie desktop users? (You should definitely keep that "we've got reasons for every GUI choice we've made, you've just got to accept it, learn how it works, and go on" attitude; it's done so much for GNOME3. :-)
I have no idea why you'd kick sand on a gparted-style installer. (You're going to slag an Alpha release? Really?) As a distro-hopping end-user, I'd take an Ubuntu-style installer over "new Anaconda" because it meets my needs better.
Chances are very slim that I'm going to use something, like LVM, that's going to add an extra layer of complexity and opaqueness over the top of my hard disk layout. But it's the default in Anaconda. Say I install Fedora, using LVM. If I pop in a live CD like Knoppix, which I might do if trouble occurs, will I transparently be able to read the data off my hard drive?
Here's a suggestion: If you don't like the fact that gparted can't understand LVM, why don't you suggest to your employer that they spend some money and developer time hacking on it?
Regarding your criticism of SolusOS's "weak password detection": I installed F18 on VBox and chose a root password that Anaconda thought was "weak" but Anaconda let me use it anyway. GNOME3's "User Accounts" creator also thought it was weak, but it wouldn't let me create an account with it until I beefed it up. :-)
76 • @75 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-30 05:31:23 GMT from Canada)
You clearly haven't followed the conversation very well, because you're misrepresenting me all over the place. I have never at any point said "we've got reasons for every GUI choice we've made, you've just got to accept it, learn how it works, and go on"; I have *multiple times* said precisely the opposite, which is that we know the interface needs adjustment and we are adjusting it. I am not reviewing Solus's installer, I am following up on a suggestion someone made:
"By the way, I'm writing this from SolusOS-2-A7 which I installed 5 minutes ago, and its installer is so sweet and eay to use. There was never any doubt about what was happening and what was going to happen next. Kudos to Ikey. Perhaps you could check it out ..."
i.e., someone specifically recommended that I look at Solus - specifically 2A7, indeed - as a model for an installer. So I did. And so I commented on it, as a model for Fedora's installer. It doesn't work as one, because Fedora's installer needs to offer more flexibility than Solus'. I did not say it is a bad installer for Solus, I said it doesn't work as a model for designing an installer for Fedora.
I don't know why you think LVM, software RAID, and btrfs are not for desktop users, though. They're all perfectly useful for desktops. Their advantages are not specific to 'enterprise' or 'server' use.
"I have no idea why you'd kick sand on a gparted-style installer."
It's not a gparted-style installer, it's an installer which *literally launches gparted*. I'm not kicking sand on it, but pointing out where it does not provide capabilities we need Fedora's installer to have.
"As a distro-hopping end-user, I'd take an Ubuntu-style installer over "new Anaconda" because it meets my needs better."
"Say I install Fedora, using LVM. If I pop in a live CD like Knoppix, which I might do if trouble occurs, will I transparently be able to read the data off my hard drive?"
LVM's a perfectly normal storage technology. I'm pretty sure Knoppix can read it, but if there's another distro that can't, it seems pretty churlish to define that as a fault in *Fedora* for using LVM in the first place. Isn't the fault in the other distro for not being sophisticated enough to read a perfectly commonly used storage format?
"Here's a suggestion: If you don't like the fact that gparted can't understand LVM, why don't you suggest to your employer that they spend some money and developer time hacking on it?"
Why would we, when we don't use it for anything? It's not that I 'don't like' the fact. It's that the fact that gparted isn't capable of handling LVM makes it unsuitable as a simple drop-in partitioning tool for use in anaconda. Several people have suggested we shouldn't write a partitioning tool in our installer but simply call out to gparted instead; I'm saying we can't do that because gparted doesn't handle all the stuff our partitioner does. If we have to write all the code into gparted to do all the stuff our partitioner can do before we can use it as a 'drop-in replacement', what's the point?
"Regarding your criticism of SolusOS's "weak password detection": I installed F18 on VBox and chose a root password that Anaconda thought was "weak" but Anaconda let me use it anyway."
Okay? So...Fedora warns about weak passwords? Right. Yes. It does.
77 • Posts about Fedora (by mechanic on 2013-01-30 10:24:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
Aren't there forums for all this discussion about the pros and cons of Fedora and its installer?
78 • Consortium and Gnome fallback (by Hoos on 2013-01-30 12:22:13 GMT from Singapore)
I have Solus 1.2 on my PC, but I feel I can be fair and balanced in my comments about the issue. I've been reading Ikey's posts on Google+ for some time and my opinion is he's a bit of a character - generally a good guy but very prickly when riled up by other people. I see no reason not to believe him when he says he tried to approach the relevant people about Gnome 3 fallback mode and was rebuffed. He then went his own way with the fork and has done a fair bit of work on it. From what I gather, he feels it's too late now to turn back and take over maintenance of the fallback mode after putting all that work into Consort.
How accurate is that "too late" statement from an objective point of view? Don't know. Could the chat with Joss have been more civil on both sides? Maybe, but then I don't really see a problem with his forking of the fallback mode. From what I gather, Gnome is dropping it anyway.
If Consort doesn't work out, I have KDE4, Gnome2, XFCE and LXDE on my Pentium 4 PC, and they are running well. I'm not a rabid Gnome2-UI fan.
On the other hand, if it transpires that Consort can give me a great Gnome2 experience on my old PC yet updated with all the Gtk3 stuff, it's great for me, because my PC cannot handle Gnome 3 (including fallback mode) nor Cinnamon because of the hardware acceleration requirements.
You see, to date I can't even comment on whether I like or hate how Gnome 3 works, because I've not been able to try it. Cinnamon looked really interesting, but my PC can't run it. I don't see the point in spending on a new computer or hardware when my PC still runs well.
I find it strange that a desktop environment would exclude a whole segment of users when it isn't absolutely necessary (my machine can run KDE smoothly with some desktop effects on, so it's still pretty capable), but that is the current state of affairs.
For people like me, Consort sounds promising so I await its eventual launch with great interest.
79 • @77 (by jack on 2013-01-30 14:29:49 GMT from Canada)
Adam Williamson is one of the most lucid writers on the internet.
If he had written these posts on the Fedora forum I would not have seen them and would have been "dumber ".
Thank you Adam
80 • @73 (by cflow on 2013-01-30 17:42:32 GMT from United States)
I can see your criticisms about the SolusOS installer - even Ikey thinks it's not the best one either, if you follow his Google+ page. And if you see what he's doing right now there, he isn't so much an egoist about his own distro like the debian developer would suggest.
Just to note that the most intuitive installer I know is the Ubiquity installer. The reasoning is that partitioning for the normal user is way easier - it visualizes the distros in your hard drive and automatically suggests reducing space on the largest partition. All the end user would do is scroll that partition around to reduce the space for the install, automatically partition there. Is there a plan to use that for fedora's installer in the future?
Sure, Ubiquity doesn't have all the advanced features that I know other installers do, but I could easily see lvm, etc. fitting in Ubiquity if Canonical wanted to add them (I think they're completing LVM for 13.04). I don't think it would affect its good design that much either. Missing features doesn't mean nonintuitive...
81 • Change is tough (by RayRay on 2013-01-30 18:40:53 GMT from United States)
I remember people complaining about KDE3. I remember people arguing over which was more bloated KDE3 or Gnome 2. I remember when people argued that XP was a step back from windows 98.
Nothing is ever perfect when it's introduced,those who can develop, those who can't complain. (I jest).
I'm sure that the gnome developers have a roadmap of where they want to go, anyway I hope so. Gnome 3 could be a good framework and all the niceties which people want can be added on in a way that won't break the desktop.
Fedora in the past released too soon and this time they took more time, some people aren't pleased, so that's life. Their new installer will eventually be accepted and if it's ever changed people will complain.
I think that all this change will in the long run make Linux a better and more flexible alternative to the proprietary Operating Systems.
82 • @80 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-30 20:48:06 GMT from Canada)
The 'reclaim space' screen you see if you don't use custom partitioning is intended to offer the ability to shrink existing partitions: it was taken out of F18 at the last minute for HILARIOUS TECHNICAL REASONS, but it'll be back for F19.
83 • @73 Fedoraman AW trying alpha (by Fairly Reticent on 2013-01-31 00:58:20 GMT from United States)
I am certain the SolusOS team will appreciate your feedback on their alpha, though the tone may not maximize their receptivity.
I agree in favor of using the most recent stable release of gPartEd, which is better with LVM2 and RAID - many distros neglect this.
84 • @83 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-31 02:07:02 GMT from Canada)
Like I said, it wasn't really meant to be feedback for the Solus team (or rather, Mint team) - just notes on the mooted idea of using it as a model for Fedora's installer. I just threw in a few little snarks about issues I noted on the way because, hey, isn't 'whack the installer pinata' the game of the week in Linuxland? =)
85 • Whack the ... UI user communication/education (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2013-01-31 02:38:32 GMT from United States)
I suggest the new Fedora installer earned its criticism. It presented installation in a new way (good idea), but failed in keeping the user well-informed and optionally educated. This wasn't so much about the overall approach, which received deserved praise, as about the same defect you noted in the alpha. Since Fedora is intended to be a test bed, and the alpha you booted (on vm? without reading about known bugs first?) is only testing a new DE, both development teams should be more receptive to reactions from others, and glean instruction on UI quality.
After all, it's not easy for an experienced Linux developer to suspend all that knowledge and put themself into the viewpoint of a neophyte, and if the installer presentation is new, more people qualify as neophytes.
And yes, it hurts when those who should know better carp at your efforts and propose throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Better to thicken your hide than throw more fuel on the fire.
86 • Re: #8 Gnome-shell activities screen (by silent on 2013-01-31 04:45:07 GMT from Hungary)
If one doesn't have a touchscreen device, the best thing one can do is disabling the hot corner with an extension ("No Topleft Hot Corner") and adding a menu extension. In the unlikely case one would still need the activities screen, it can be activated with Alt-F1 or Meta keys, but without the irritating ripples effect, so it is a faster and more ergonomic way than pulling the mouse to the top corner anyway.
87 • @#63 -ever try going to Arch forums? (by brad on 2013-01-31 06:59:35 GMT from United States)
even if you like arch proper.. their forums leave a taste in your mouth enough so that you want to try the arch based alternatives.. you would really swear that people have been born knowing/using/understanding linux from the womb.. I found the Cinnarch/Manjaro forums amazing.. non-judgemental, helping you find your way or just more welcoming.. just my .02..
88 • Fedora 18 social connections (by sol on 2013-01-31 08:36:09 GMT from Hungary)
Fedora 18 released and because I read about possibilities for connecting with microsoft SkyDrive I tried out. I found that after setting up microsoft account the Documents shortcut will show my documents on SkyDrive. But... It's looks a shit. Doesn't work well. Better to use the web interface. Really. In web browser I can choose images, documents, anything in a simple interface. Documents is not informative, not minimal just primitive. If it's the future of Linux Desktop, I don't want it.
89 • Fedora-18 and Installer (by gee7 on 2013-01-31 10:53:01 GMT from United Kingdom)
@72 Adam Williamson
Thanks for the reply and thanks for that information about Grub2 configuration, Adam. As I multi -boot and try out new installations now and again, I regularly encounter minor problems with Grub2. The use of rerunning Grub2-mkconfig is a new lead for me on controlling Grub when it goes wayward. I will check it out.
Just to mention the Fedora installer again, it really would be beneficial to new users if you explained what was going to happen next during the installation process.
Such info as:
"You have now selected your keyboard layout.
Click Next to continue.
On the next page you will be asked to select a partition on your hard drive on which to place the Fedora system."
and when the next page is reached,
"You now need to select a partition on which to install Fedora.
Select a partition from the list below to install root (which will later be displayed as /).
This partition will be named something like sda1 or sda7.
If the partition already contains an operating system to be removed, you will need to select 'Format the Selected Partition' too.
If you have no partition ready, click on Make Space so that you can format your hard drive to make space for Fedora.
Click Next when you have finished."
Some experts might say this style is overkill and unnecessarily verbiose and some purists may sneer because it is not as elegant as being cryptic but the world is made up of diverse people of different abilities and coming from different educational backgrounds and when creating an Installer, surely clarity and step-by-step guidance would reach out to the greater number of people. We all start off as newbies anyway. And short simple sentences are easy enough to translate into Italian or Tagalog or Urdu or whatever market you reach out to. Let Linux spread its wings.
And the Solus installer worked like a dream for me, but then I always enjoyed using Clem's Mint installer and found it the most user-friendly Installer so far encountered but maybe that's just me. Each to his own, I guess.
90 • 87 • @#63 -ever try going to Arch forums? (by mandog on 2013-01-31 12:18:14 GMT from Peru)
I've used both Debian & arch forums for over 6 years never have I encountered any arrogance against me on either. Both Arch and Debian are aimed at intermediate users you are expected to have a basic knowledge of linux. Cinnarch is a easy entry to arch it does not make you a intermediate user. The forum is friendly but you are mainly redirected to the arch wiki and forums for answers. so you could of saved time by going there in the 1st place.
91 • Rebellin Review! (by Vibin on 2013-01-31 12:42:51 GMT from United States)
I enjoy distrohopping! So finally after arguing with myself, I purchased Rebellin. The Synergy version. Here's a short review:
Rebellin's not bad. It's not bad at all! But there's nothing exceptional about it either. They have a very simplistic approach. No bells and whistles here. Plain Debian clone. But this has actually made the distro very light and fast. I liked the fact that I could bring my father's old desktop back to life. Under XP it was crawling like a zombie. But with Rebellin, it has got a new life. Speed and simplicity are the key elements in this distro. The software selection is good. Great for beginners.
But $5 price tag? Personally I don't want other distros to follow the route Rebellin has chosen. The OS is good. $5 won't be a problem in its adoption since it's not much. I don't mind spending... But if others start doing that, how will I distrohop!? Distrohopping's like dating. Purchasing Rebellin was like getting married! LOL!
92 • @88, @89 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-01-31 15:55:22 GMT from Canada)
@88 The 'cloud integration' stuff is very new in F18 (it's a GNOME 3.6 feature) - it's more or less just the framework at present, it'll be improved in each coming GNOME release.
@89 That's one of the main things we're working on at present - just adding and refining the informational/instructional text in the installer. It's worth noting something that perhaps isn't obvious - we couldn't really do that late in the F18 cycle as each time you change a text string like that, 20+ people have to translate it into another language; translation coverage for F18 was already down compared to F17 just because of the huge amount of change in the interface, and we didn't want to make things worse by changing and adding all sorts of text late in the cycle. But we've already, for instance, added a note next to the 'Begin Installation' button which says that we don't touch your disks till you click it, an explanatory note on the Installation Destination screen, better text at the top-left of the custom partitioning screen when you haven't created any partitions yet, and we've agreed on changing the 'Customize...' label to something like 'Device and file system options...', changing the 'Full disk summary and options...' link to mention bootloader specifically, completely re-wording and re-arranging the Installation Options screen to make it clearer what's going on there, and stuff like that.
On the Solus installer - again, I'm not saying it's a bad installer, and I wasn't really 'reviewing' it. I was just following up on a suggestion that I look at it as a model for Fedora's installer. If your use case falls within the range that Solus' approach covers, and you have basic knowledge of how to partition a disk to receive a Linux install, it's a decent approach indeed. It's just not one that would quite meet Fedora's needs.
93 • Helpful vs dismissive (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2013-01-31 21:02:31 GMT from United States)
"The forum is friendly but you are mainly redirected to the arch wiki and forums for answers. so you could saved time by going there in the 1st place."
Go there in the first place, with no idea where to look, and get snarky comments or "go fish (Giggle)", or go to a helpful friendly forum and actually get directions? How does getting ridiculed save time?
94 • 93 • Helpful vs dismissive (by mandog on 2013-02-01 01:44:30 GMT from Peru)
I said in the 1st post arch & Debian are for intermediate users. Cinnarch is debatable if it is easier to setup its still for intermediate users and all the help comes from the arch wiki and forums. if you have no idea where to look then you don't know whats wrong in the 1st place. put it another way people setup arch then go to the forums not the beginners forum and "Say xorg don't work fixit for me" That person should not be using arch or Debian. Now if that person said Ive set up arch today, gives the specs of the comp/laptop, I've installed nvidia but x does not start, i've aleady done a search of the beginners guide, and googled. They will get sensible answers or links. its about attitude. Read the forum etiquette its all there how to post.
95 • @91 Rebellin gives email support. (by Jovito on 2013-02-01 05:58:50 GMT from United States)
Following your advice, I purchased Rebellin. After installation, the wifi didn't work. But here's the fun part. I get this email from them. Asking me whether I like the product or I have any problems. I'm a complete newbie. So I replied saying my wifi doesn't work. So the guy asks me to send output of lspci. I did so. Then I get a mail with a solution. Now Rebellin's team is a one-man-band! But he's giving email support in $5! Email support's not mentioned anywhere on the website so I told the guy to update his site. People need a reason to buy. It's his call anyway. But I'm happy. If the support stays the way it is, those 5 bucks are money well spent!
P.S.: Vibin, you can't depend on your girls the way I can depend on my wife! Your call! ;)
96 • http://tinyurl.com/cjo5vpn (by Fedorism on 2013-02-01 08:58:00 GMT from India)
Fedora is known for take bold step and implement innovative steps fisrt but still we are eager to improvement in modem management area where there is only connectivity option, Linux still misses a UI for management phones contact, SMS ,USSD Support, there should be a common interface to support all those funtionality.
97 • Zorin 6 core (by Nat Both on 2013-02-02 13:49:33 GMT from United States)
I can't, for the life of me, understand why Zorin OS is not number 1 on the Distrowatch List. It is stable, easy to use, runs everything except Starlite right out of the box. Also installs the fastest, boots fast, is great looking and runs without crashing day (16 hr) in and day out. WHY?? ....and I've tried some of the other Distros above it.
98 • Zorin 6 (by Jordan on 2013-02-02 16:50:31 GMT from United States)
Netrunner could have the same things said about it.
So could ... well, never mind ... I was about to say Vector, but it suffers once it is updated after install.
How about Mint? No, wait, Mint can't run the Java needed at certain game sites.
Ok, just Netrunner and maybe Zorin (I gave up Zorin because I could get Java to run right, but not "out of the box," and I'm lazy).
99 • Rankings (by Terence on 2013-02-03 00:55:39 GMT from China)
Because the Distrowatch ranking list is not an endorsement list, that is why Zorin is not number one. It only measures how often a specific distro's page is looked at each day.
100 • # 99.Rankings and priorities (by Kubelik on 2013-02-04 01:23:27 GMT from Denmark)
I guess You're right: In an expanding "market" and among beginners distroes like Zorin, Netrunner and Mint will have a lot of popularity: They come right out of the the box. No need for a lot of adjustement or adding programs. - But when You are a bit more experienced and acquainted with the principles of free/libre software, You might like to start from "the bottom" and add only those of the closed parts that You alsolutely need.
- Keep the posts coming from China :-)
Number of Comments: 100
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