Friday, March 18, 2011

At Work with Linux: Fedora 15 Alpha 1 installation

You knew this was coming. After reading some of the rants about Fedora 15's Gnome 3 desktop, I decided to install the alpha to see what was coming down the pike. So far, from what I can see, it's no big deal. When I installed it, all I got was the regular Gnome desktop. And I can tell you that, yep, it's a first alpha release.

Live boot, ready to install into virtual machine.
First thing I did was to download and burn the ISO, then go through the regular step of booting the Live CD. I saw nothing revolutionary; in fact, I saw a problem with the desktop at the top and bottom where the panel is black. This could be due to the alpha state of the code, or a combination of alpha code and Virtual Box. It didn't effect the operation of the desktop, and I've seen worse cosmetic issues with operating systems. And repeat after me, "it's an alpha."

Ready to consume the entire virtual drive.
I didn't see the Gnome 3 desktop, but it appeared to be a regular Fedora Live CD, so I went on ahead and installed into the virtual machine. Perhaps, after an install and a reboot, it would come up in the Gnome 3 shell.

Successful installation.
Nothing during the installation process pointed towards any special Gnome 3 installation steps. I just took all the necessary defaults, and after a reasonably short time it finished its installation.

All ready to login.
Now I'm ready to log in with my typical login.

The Computer panel, one of the interesting changes in Fedora 15.
Again, the same desktop with the same cosmetic flaw, but it's workable. I piddle around a bit, looking at some of the applications. The menus were a bit sparse, either from design or because they weren't complete. The one application I found interesting was the Computer application, which seems to gather everything together into one central control location about your computer. Windows has had similar functionality for years, as have Mandriva and openSUSE, just to name the two distributions I'm familiar with. To me, it looks like somebody's been tinkering with the look and feel of Nautilus. There's still too much wasted white space at the top on the menu bar, but then I've been saying that about Window's 7 file explorer ever since it landed on my notebook. I don't care all that much for the wastage of window chrome.

To get the network running to my satisfaction I had to start nm-connection-editor from a shell. Once I set up a proper IP and DNS addresses, things were rocking right along with regards to the network. I did see where they've change the network device names. I was a bit puzzled at first, but it didn't get in the way of configuring a working network connection. A rose by any other name... as the Bard once wrote. I couldn't care less what you call your various device names, as long as it Just Works. Call em' Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice for all I care...

My biggest gripe is a long-standing one with Fedora and certain other distributions: the network proxy. I get very tired of having to configure the network proxy for both the system as well as for Firefox. It needs to be set in one location, and all other applications pick it up from there. This business of having to set it in multiple places has gone well past the 'tired' stage.

Minor nits aside, it's your bog-standard Linux distribution. I might keep this around for a few weeks and follow the various forums and blogs. If there's a way to update/enable to Gnome 3, I might try that. But for the time being I'll just let it sit on the SAN until it either proves useful or I delete it to recover the disk space.

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