Review: Fedora 10

This month’s Linux Format Magazine includes Fedora 10.  I upgraded to Fedora 10 a few months ago via a yum upgrade.  I started by looking at Xfce as I’ve been using Xfce non-stop ever since starting “I’m Not Mad” in November.  Xfce is much lighter than Gnome and I’m able to use Blender more effectively.  Fedora 10 comes with Xfce 4.4.3.  Overall, nothing major has changed on the surface although I know they’ve been doing a lot of work under the hood.

Fedora 10 Xfce Desktop

So there’s my Xfce desktop.  One thing I like about Xfce (and KDE 3.x did this too) is that I can have a different background per screen.  With Gnome, at least as of Fedora 9, can’t do this and so I am stuck with an image stretched across the screens or tiled awkwardly.  I have added some buttons to the Xfce bottom panel to launch programs that I always use.  I don’t know if this will ever change, but it annoys me that Xfce can’t use the Seahorse keyring to store my passwords instead of asking me for each and every program.  Now I’ll log into Gnome and see if anything major has changed.

The first thing I notice about Gnome is that the startup sound appears to have changed.  The second thing I notice is that Gnome loads up A LOT faster than it used to.  Finally, my problem with Compiz starting up every time I start Gome appears to be settled as well.  One thing I never noticed before is that the default Font for Gnome is a lot larger than in Xfce.  So here’s the Gnome desktop:

Fedora 10 Gnome Desktop

I’ve added a lot of launchers and extra things in the top panel.  Overall Gnome 2.24 isn’t too different from the version used in Fedora 9, Gnome 2.22.  Most Gnome programs have been refreshed, but other than a few cosmetic changes – most of the changes ocurred behind the scenes.  Let’s move on to KDE.

Startup takes longer than either Gnome or Xfce.  Frankly I’m not impressed.  One of the things that drove me away from KDE back in the 3.5 series is that it was very unstable.  The same thing happened in KDE 4.2 in Fedora 10.  Kontact kept crashing every time I tried to do anything with email.  Kwallet crashed, so I had to manually enter my passwords into Kopete.  Here’s how I have my desktop set up:

Fedora 10 KDE Desktop

Overall, KDE is unusable for me in this condition.  But I thought I’d see if Amarok has been updated to version 2.  It had indeed been updated to Amarok 2.  So I wanted to see how much I would like it. It took a few minutes to scan my music collection.  On the one hand, I think it looks a bit uglier than it used to.  But on the other hand, I think it feels less cluttered.

Amarok 2 Default Playing

At first I was left thinking – is this it?  There used to be so much more information in Amarok 1.4!  That’s the reason why I liked Amarok so much!  Then I realized I had to load soem widgets.  Here’s  how it looked after the playlist was complete.

Amarok 2 - with widgets!

and here are the widgets when a song is playing:

Amarok 2 - widgets while playing music

Overall, Amarok 2 is good.   It’s not quite as good as Amarok 1.4.  There’s just a tiny bit of polish left.  But it’s getting there.  Now, one AWESOME thing they’ve added into Amarok is the Biased Playlist.  You can do crazy things like tell it to fill a random playlist with songs that are Track 2 and then set the percentage of how strict it is.  One interesting thing could be to set a certain song length and then give it an 80% bias.

Amarok 2 - biased playlists

So, what else is going on with Fedora 10?  They’ve moved on to Open Office.org 3; it’s a bit faster to load.  Overall, Fedora 10 is a very stable release.  I haven’t had any problems whatsoever with it.  They’ve done a very good job at integrating the various components that go into a distro.  I never had any problems with PulseAudio when it was introduced back in Fedora 8, but – for what it’s worth – I still am not having any problems with it whatsoever.  I can do everything I need to do on a daily basis in Fedora 10 and I don’t have any problems.  A few years ago I got my Fedora desktop just the way I like it and, for the most part, I’ve just continued using it that way.  My major tweaking days seem to be over for now and Fedora works the way I want it to.  I find that it “just works” and also gives me cutting edge software.  Seems to be the best of both worlds.  The only caveat is that you should probably wait a few months after a new release if you want to make sure the software’s a bit more stable.  I recommend Fedora 10 for anyone who wants an easy, stable, and cutting-edge distro.

After writing this review I went in to read LXF’s review to see if I missed anything.  The only other things they mentioned were that PackageKit and the Printer Adding dialog were much improved.  I think PackageKit is a bit faster and a few tweaks make it a better experience vs Fedora 9, but it’s not THAT much of an improvement.  LXF gave Fedora 10/10 and I think I’d probably give it a 9/10.  So check it out – if you’ve been burned by unstable Fedora releases before, you’ll be pleasently surprised with Fedora 10.  And now, I’m going back to Xfce….

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16 thoughts on “Review: Fedora 10

  1. Fedora 10 has given me many of the same problems as previous Fedora releases. Too manybugs, and my computer freezes for no reason with F10 installed. People need to know that Fedora is the “testing” ground for RHEL, and as a result, users cannot be expected to see a fully stable release. Nor do I like the Fedora package manager and its automatic updates that seem to take forever. Personally, Ubuntu is head ans shoulders above Fedora for the everyday desktop user.

    1. As Big says Below, YMMV. I’ve almost never had all the problems I hear people complain about with Fedora. But perhaps I’m just lucky to have just the right hardware.

  2. Unlike Hank for me it has been the opposite experience. Every version of Ubuntu that came after the 7.04 has been extremely unstable on the various computers I have tried it on. But Fedora on the other hand has become more and more stable. 8 was very good, why 9 was a step back, but now 10 has been rock solid on no matter what hardware I have thrown at it.
    Your mileage will always vary and the main thing to remember is to use whatever distro works best with your hardware and covers your specific needs.

  3. It’s not a good idea to try out KDE 4.2 on a Gnome-centric distribution like Fedora. Try openSUSE or Mandriva and you’ll have a better experience.

  4. Nice review. I installed F10 and liked it a lot. I was very polished and gave an impression of high stabilty. However, burning DVD’s takes more than 1hr on F10 and system stutters when playing video dvds. (no it’s not the media type). The same disks work fine on my Archlinux install which I am dual booting with.

    F10 was always planned to be a “polishing” version due to the large number of invasive changes introduced in F9. Good that they pulled it off. Quite a rounded distro by all means.

    1. Thanks for that info. Ever since graduating from uni I haven’t watched DVDs on my computers (for the most part) so I no idea there were issues there. As far as burning DVDs – I haven’t had to burn either video DVDs or data DVDs since upgrading. I’ll keep that in mind if it seems to be taking a long time for me. Would you mind posting on here which programs you were using for DVD playback as well as DVD burning?

      Thanks!

  5. I run Ubuntu 8.10 on my eee 701 (2gb Ram, 16gb SD card). I find it very fast and stable.

    When PCF said fedora 10 “kicks Ubuntus ass” (their words not mine) I thought I’d better give it a go as I’ve always had a soft spot for Fedora since FC 5 or 6.

    Well, on the Eee it’s too slow. Takes ages to boot and the gnome desktop feels sluggish. Gnome under Ubuntu is very snappy. I was even running Fedora from a faster 8gb SD card than I use for Ubuntu. Oh well, it looks nice and I’ll give it another try when my Eee 1000 arrives.

  6. Why anyone would use Fedora over Ubuntu I will never know (to each his own i guess). I tried Fedora 10 and as I was setting up after the install (Nvidia, codecs etc) it occurred to me that this setup IS the difference between Ubuntu and Fedora it takes me A LOT longer to setup Fedora after the install than it does for Ubuntu. Lets face it, after all my setup is done I am left with the normal Gnome after setting up in either distro and both distros do the exact same things. So the question is, why would anyone use a distro that takes longer to setup if the end result is the same environment and functionality in either distro? it also occurs to me that this can be true if someone was more used to Fedora than Ubuntu. In your review I noticed you don’t mention about codecs and Nvidia/ATI drivers and the difficulty or ease of this part of the setup. Most reviews I read don’t mention this setup phase, as if it doesn’t count, for me how long it takes me to get any distro to a functional level of useability is most time what will make me use it or dump it. By useability I mean the distro has to do more than email, web surf and update/install packages. Theres codecs, plugins video drivers and countless other pieces of “nonfree” software that needs installing. I just think this part of a distro install is often neglected in reviews, any thoughts on this?

    1. Sorry, I was reviewing my upgraded Fedora so I ironed those problems out years ago. Still, it’s a good point. Perhaps next time I’ll also review a fresh install in VirtualBox.

      1. Well, through VirtualBox you still cannot test the nvidia or fglrx installations. Codecs should be simple though and shouldn’t be that important for a review.

  7. You mean you can upgrade to a new major release from an older one via yum? Is the result as “clean” as upgrading via CD/DVD? I’m using a Red Hat EL clone, where you can’t “jump” to a new major release only via yum.

  8. I have F10 XFCE on my Acer Aspire One with 8G SSD and 512MB ram. With a bit of tweaking, like disabling some services and SELinux, it is fast enough and boots under 25s. Everything works – sound, standby, wifi, even Compiz. I also installed ProgeCAD under wine and it works. And it is by far more usable and configurable than Linpus Linux Lite that comes with AAO.

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