Why I’m Still Waiting to Upgrade to Fedora 9

I’m not 100% sure, but I think this is the longest I’ve purposely waited to upgrade to another Fedora release. I’ve been reading the Fedora user and developer mailling lists and what’s I’ve seen there has pretty much convinced me not to upgrade. First of all, there are a lot of answers to people complaining about Fedora 9 being unstable which include variations on “no one told you to stop using Fedora 8.” Some answers put it more politely and some more bluntly. And that’s ok. Just like the people who bought the iPhone last year got their pants pulled down over the price, so do those who upgrade to distros right away pay the price in instability. This happens with all distros from Fedora to Ubuntu. Sure, there’s an alpha testing period and a beta testing period, but not everyone can take part in that. I, for example, use my Fedora computer as my main computer for everything but gaming and photography. I can’t be unable to do my banking or type stuff up or work on my animations just because I’m trying the latest bleeding edge Fedora. And there are others like me, so the distro doesn’t truly get tested until it comes out. This is the argument used by the KDE team with respect to the POS that KDE 4 is, according to others – I haven’t tried it out.

This brings me to the second reason why I haven’t upgraded to Fedora 9 just yet. I’m waiting for KDE 4.1 in July. I’ve been waiting for KDE 4 to come out for years and it’s supposed to be this amazing thing. Except that KDE 4.0 is trash. And even if it weren’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be, I’ve been keeping up with Aaron Siego’s blog and they’re changing a ton of APIs and the way a lot of stuff works for KDE 4.1. I like KDE and I used to love it. So I want my first experience with KDE 4 to be a good one. So I’m waiting since that’s supposed to come out in July.

Speaking of months that start with J, I am also waiting for a non-beta version of Firefox. Extentions, themes, etc don’t really work with the beta version of Firefox. Sure, I pretty much only use Epiphany on Fedora anyway, but I’ve been thinking of switching back to Fedora now that they’ve supposedly worked out a lot of the bugs that made Firefox take so long to load and take up so much RAM while loaded. So I’d like to wait for that to be in the final version.

Also, Preupgrade, the live upgrade program for going from Fedora 8 to Fedora 9 is broken. At least, the majority of accounts I’ve heard of people using preupgrade have ended in failure. They’ve either had to go the yum upgrade route or the graphical install route. I don’t know if the Fedora development team has stopped caring about Preupgrade until Fedora 10 comes out. That’s probably the case as they’ll have a heckuva time getting people to test it since everyone’s probably upgraded already.

And, it seems that every time there’s a Fedora upgrade there’s some kind of issue with the hard drives. Last time they went from /dev/hda to /dev/sda and that caused problems because before all of the external drives and pen drives and all that were /dev/sdX. Now they’re switching to some UUID thing and everyone online is saying that Fedora confuses regular drives with external drives and can’t boot. I really don’t feel like debugging that right now.

One of the bigger show stoppers revolves around Fedora’s decision to ship a pre-release of the latest X.org. It was supposed to come out in May, so this isn’t Fedora’s fault, per se. But this has caused no end of problems with people’s displays. The biggest problem has to do with the nVidia drivers. nVidia is not releasing their Linux driver until X.org 7.4 finally comes out. But most people have nVidia from that time when nVidia was providing drivers while ATi wasn’t. So you can’t use 3D acceleration. This doesn’t just affect the ability to turn your desktop into a cube! It also affects 3D games, 3D modeling programs and a host of other things.

So, basically, Fedora 9 just isn’t ready. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who wanted a trouble-free experience. I’ve had a much better time with the latest Ubutnu on my laptop. But, I have faith the Fedora team will fix all of this. It’s just a minor bump in the road and I’m not about to jump ship yet. Anyway, I think the general rule is that odd numbered Fedoras are generally to be avoided if you like stability.


after writing my post, I found the following via Linux Today which shares the same sentiment.


3 responses to “Why I’m Still Waiting to Upgrade to Fedora 9”

  1. KDE isn’t totally awesome? No way!

    Just messing with you, I’m not gonna give you too hard a time about using the windows manager that you prefer…

    That’s too bad that they are releasing way too early. Ubuntu has upgrade pains sometimes, but I rarely see problems for more than a few days whenever I do and I’m able to find solutions either on Day 0 or, at the latest, Day 2.

  2. @Dan:

    You commented!

    I used to really love KDE and I thought KDE 4 might really get me excited about it again. They have some really neat concepts and have strayed away from the typical Desktop Environment enough that people are up in arms over some of the changes. I’ll check it out in another month or so.

    Yeah, Ubuntu’s been pretty good about getting stuff fixed right away. I think they know that the top position is a precarious one and are trying really hard to make sure they don’t lose it. Some of the other distros that are further from the top tend to take a more laissez-faire approach.

  3. There is one and only reason why I won’t upgrade to Fedora 9. It doesn’t support xen hosts.

    I can compile from sources but it seems too much trouble. (debian lenny and archlinux are also facing the same problem with xen.) The xen kernel is 2.6.18 and it lacks many features present in the stock Fedora 9 kernel.