Thoughts on Fedora 18
I recently decided to remove my long running Slackware install with Fluxbox and Tint2 and install Fedora 18. I chose Fedora because I know that is is well maintained and up to date, and I wanted to start delving deeper into SELinux . I thought it would be a good opportunity to see how Linux on the desktop has progressed.
I was sadly disappointed. Fedora may not be the first name people think of when they think of a polished desktop Linux experience, but it had to be better than the eternally buggy Ubuntu. I didn’t think it would be too different from Debian and so I had high expectations. I was very disappointed.
I should disclose that I may have been at a disadvantage as I did a full install from the 900mb live CD as opposed to the DVDs, however I noticed no warning that my experience would be hampered in any way if I installed this route.
The first thing I noticed was that there was no no easy way to minimize or close windows that was apparent, short of right clicking. This was quite frustrating, and did not seem to make much sense. I decided to install other desktops such as MATE and Cinnamon, to see how they were in comparison to the horrible Gnome 3.
The problems I had then were with the package manager. Using the package manager I thought I would search for the mate desktop, using mate as my search term. I found a bunch of packages, with it not being clear which ones I had to install or which dependencies were needed. After dealing with a lot of nonsense about waiting in a queue before I could actually install packages, it turns out I had not managed to install the MATE desktop.
I did manage to install cinnamon, although I had the same problem of trying to guess which packages were actually for the desktop environment. Isn’t package management on Linux now meant to be easy to use and intuitive? That is not all the experience I had. Compiling from source would have been significantly easier.
I also noticed that there was no way to easily disconnect from a wireless network. I had connected to the wrong network by mistake and when wanting to rectify this, I found no way in the GUI to disconnect from the current network.
Finally I decided to logoff to test out my newly installed Cinnamon (and I had thought MATE) environments. This was the kicker…there was no logoff option. Apparently this is a well known bug (feature?) with Fedora, in that if there is only one user account the logoff option is not displayed. Sigh. Even ctrl+alt+backspace didn’t work to restart the X server.
I still plan to use Fedora a lot more, but for my initial impressions I am not at all impressed. Year of the Linux Desktop? Not this year, or not with Fedora at least.