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Fedora 11 11 June, 2009

Posted by aronzak in Uncategorized.

I’ll confess, i used to like installing new versions of Linux. I used to find it exciting, starting up into a new system, with a new look. Unfortunately, the excitement tends to wear off when you realise that there is no perfect system. In reality, The biggest difference between many versions of Linux is the desktop background. Oh, except and sometimes you strike a jackpot with an OS that has things that don’t work.

SJVN says that the best 5 features of Fedora 11 are :

– Fast boot

– Ext4

– New Xorg

– Synaptics drivers


Interestingly, he misses out the new virtualisation feature, which is also interesting. It is nice that the boot time has been worked on, and there are some pretty features like smooth wallpaper switching. But then there are heaps of annoyances. The graphics are mostly nice, but the default gnome layout with two whopping great white bars that trap your desktop in some kind of cage is terrible.

It’s nice that Ext4 is used, which can give some performance speedups, but this means that there must be a boot partition with an ext3 filesystem. This is where the pain really sets in. Fedora insists on marking the partition as bootable and placing it as a primary partition. It’s annoying when the partitioner in the installer, already very hard to use, disregards what you tell it to do and does something else. This really doesn’t make me feel confident about potentially destructive changes.

Next, the installer wants to install a bootloader, but only recognises Wondows 7 and itself. This is unacceptable for a 2009 Linux release. It’s easy for me to go and guess the grub setup needed, but having to do it is a pain for me. And yes, these days it is possible that someone might want to multiboot more than just Fedora. If anyone is stuck, here’s the part from the grub loader:

title        Fedora 11 Guess
root        (hd0,3)
kernel        /vmlinuz- ro root=/dev/sda11
initrd        /initrd-

This is a support disaster waiting to happen.

After that major issue, there’s a string of minor problems to contend with. Firstly, opening the file manager shows nautilus’s basic display. Great. This is really ugly and should never be used. The browser view is much better, letting you use bookmarks and tabs.

I’m amazed that nobody thought of this. In a distribution shipping the latest version of gnome, very basic usability considerations have been left out.

The next annoying thing is that a root password is needed to mount other hard drive partitions. Really, this should be done automatically. SO fstab will need to be edited. What next, needing to manually mount your own CDs?

Next annoyance is that unlike in Ubuntu, there isn’t an easy way to set up samba sharing.

The next annoyance is that for some reason firefox runs slowly. It’s scrolling is terrible until you turn off smooth scrolling. Another poorly chosen setting.

There’s a range of others, like something called ‘makewhatis’ and ‘updatedb’ running in the background and chewing up resources.

Fedora 11 has some nice ideas, but a major issue in installation and other major annoyances keep me from using it. Hopefully the good ideas will feed into Ubuntu 9.10’s development.



1. Rahul Sundaram - 12 June, 2009

Can you file bug reports on the issues faced?


unity - 12 June, 2009

Of course not. It is easier to bitch and moan then to really do something about it.

aronzak - 13 June, 2009

In reality, there’s only so much that you can do to flog a dead horse. I’ve had a long history of being interested in some feature or another in fedora, and having it fail badly. Sometimes, networking would not work. The F11 beta would not work with my desktop computer’s USB ports.

I can’t find a recent survey, but probably somewhere over 60% of Linux installs are Ubuntu. Sooner or later there needs to be less competition in the unspecialised/unremarkable Linux space.

2. Ridgeland - 12 June, 2009

I installed Fedora 11 on my PC. I keep a Fedora, Mandriva and SuSE partition but keep staying with Ubuntu (9.04 now). When I installed F11 I was surprised that it refused to let me use ext4 on the partition I wanted (sda9). I always use chainload from a menu.lst on sda1. I’ve seen several kernel crash messages that send a report to kerneloops.org or such. Not pleasant to see.
Being experienced I wasn’t hesitant to change fstab to what I wanted. Booted again and no GUI, just flashing screens. OK I’ll fix xorg.conf — no such file! I changed fstab back to the original and I got back into F11. The installation did not offer choices on SELinux which I suspect is the problem.
My first installed Linux was Fedora Core 4, I’ve tried every release since then. I’ll get the kinks out of this install. It’s too soon to write it off.
My conclusion is I’ll keep installing Ubuntu on other’s PCs.

3. Srhegde - 12 June, 2009

Oh Thank God, I did not try Gnome!

After reading your post, I do not want to try!

I am pretty happy with the KDE Desktop. You can check out my post @ http://srhegde.blogspot.com/2009/06/my-latest-linux-hop-fedora-11.html

4. Don Birdsall - 12 June, 2009

Your criticism of the Firefox scrolling setting may be correct but could the responsible party be Mozilla and not the Fedora team? I would expect that any distro would include a software as provided by the publisher. It is up to the end user to explore the options and set them to his or her liking.

aronzak - 12 June, 2009

Possible, but I don’t remember this being enabled in Debian or Ubuntu, so I don’t think I’ve run into this before. Given that nautilus uses the Windows 95 mode, I’m inclined to think it’s the distribution’s fault.

neo - 12 June, 2009

Well, none of them use Firefox 3.5 yet. Fedora is just on the leading edge as usual. Nautilus mode you see is again the GNOME upstream default as well. Fedora has not changed it either.

aronzak - 13 June, 2009

I’m pretty sure they shipped a beta of it, still branded as 3.1.

5. neo - 13 June, 2009

60% Ubuntu is just stats pulled out of someone’s ass. Fedora is leading according to


Ubuntu hasn’t shown any real numbers. If you tried the beta, did you file bug reports?

And no, there is nothing called Firefox 3.1 anymore. What they include is a pre-release of Firefox 3.5 and labelled correctly.

6. aronzak - 13 June, 2009

Ok, but there’s some here:


2009 stats have not been published, possible bearing in mind the difficulty in getting accurate stats.: http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS6997734761.html

But in terms of support, nearly all of the decent support I’ve seen is in the Ubuntu forums and other pages about Ubuntu. (Like this one(OK, it’s brief, and aimed more at experts.)).

No, I don’t tend to file bug reports. The point I was making above is that if something isn’t working I don’t really feel obliged to help. I’d rather just put effort into working with a distro that does work. And I want to recomment that distro, and advise against the other one.

7. neo - 13 June, 2009

Survey doesn’t usage. Just fanboyism. Fedora’s stats are much more compelling.

Free and open source software is a collaborative effort. Users don’t need to be just consumers. Instead they can be full fledged participations. Regardless of the distribution, it is usually made up of contributors participating largely voluntarily. When you find a problem, you can do your part by filing bug reports. After all you get a free operating system. If everyone thought like you did, the ecosystem would crumble and wither away.

8. Sean O'C - 2 July, 2009

Open Source 2009. ?? I wanted to try out Fedora 11 as it was Fedora that first opened my eyes to Linux some 4 years ago. Installed Fedora 11 on a spare drive and shock horror I could no longer access my other system on the main drive.(Ubuntu 9.04) I’ve reinstalled Debian 5 on the spare drive and it lives side by side with Ubuntu 9.04 very happily. My point is, why should jo average have to be a programming expert just to have the freedom to choose which operating system he wants to use? Ubuntu isn’t perfect, I had a lot of problems with drivers for printers and graphic card, but the forums are excellent and get you out of trouble 99% of the time.

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