Saturday, February 21, 2015

Thoughts Fedora 21

Even though my primary home desktop the past few years has been a Macbook Pro, my favorite Operating System is Linux.  It would be my primary OS if it wasn't for a few tasks that aren't as convenient on Linux such as photo management (which any father will know has to be good or Mother will bring down the hurt), so at home it's been Homebrew to fill the void.  Because of this I haven't kept up with all the changes with my favorite distribution, Fedora.

I have tried various distributions here and there, but Fedora has always felt the most comfortable to me.  A lot of it obviously due to familiarity as I've been using Fedora when it was first conceived as Fedora Core and Redhat Linux before it (and Slackware before that).  When the time came to put together a new machine for the family for things like Minecraft and playing videos I naturally was going to go with Linux and Fedora which is now at version 21.

In version 21, Fedora now offers 3 separate versions targeted at 3 different needs:  workstation (what most home and office users will use), server and cloud.  I suppose the idea is to make the installation process easier as each version is preconfigured with the software and settings that they feel meets the most likely needs of the target audience.  I'm not sure if I really agree with this approach.  I imagine that most people who are capable and willing to get and install their own OS will be configuring their environment and this just defers that to after the installation.   At the same time, the install process is very simple.  Just a few clicks and off it goes so if you don't mind claiming every bit of disk space maybe this is perfectly fine.

It's nice that the Live CD is used to start the install because it does make the disc more useful and provides a sanity check that everything works before installing to the hard drive.  What I do miss is at install time it doesn't give you the option of adding other repos (how many Fedora users don't add RPMFusion?).  Instead, you finish installing Fedora and then install RPMFusion and then add the packages from it such as VLC.

I admit that I was a bit caught off guard by the default desktop environment: Gnome Shell.  It is simplified and familiar especially if you come from OSX with the way the settings dialog is laid out and the application dock, but might be an oversimplification for developers.  I suppose if the workstation version is targeted at the enterprise office space that it makes sense from that perspective.  Whether or not that is the right direction, I'll leave that for the market to decide.  It is telling that if you search online that one of the first things people recommend after getting Fedora installed is to add the gnome-tweak-tool to customize Fedora.

Fortunately, Fedora makes it very simple to change to another of the other popular desktop environments such as Mate, Cinnamon, Xcfe, etc.

Fedora comes with Firefox and Yahoo as the default search engine.  I have no objections to Firefox or its choice of Yahoo, but the browser is so fundamental now to anyone using a computer that offering more choices here would be best for the user.  Given that Fedora is very much about open source software, I can understand if Chrome is not a choice but Chrominum can be.

These are all very minor complaints and Fedora is still awesome.   

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