Looking Forward: Fedora Core 5: Feedback
sundaram at redhat.com
Wed Jan 18 02:41:34 UTC 2006
In between the ever so crazy work involved in getting a new release of
Fedora Core 5 out of the door, it was a pleasant surprise to generally
get a good pat on the back through your detailed review of the second
test release of Fedora Core 5 . Thank you for that. I wouldn't want
to quote and gloat about the positive comments. Your readers are already
all over it anyway. I would just like to offer my viewpoints on some
potential criticisms in the review.
" Red Hat's (and consequently Fedora's) installer hasn't changed much
over the years, so when I loaded this version one of the first things I
took notice of was the differences. This release will finally see some
definite changes to the install process, and from what I could tell
they're well thought out and welcome changes"
I would agree that the overall look and feel of the installer has not
been changed much and this has been to a good part, intentional to
provide some familiarity to the users of Red Hat Linux and subsequently
Fedora. The underlying changes though have been more or less steadily
progressing towards improving the installation process. We now use yum
as a backend to the installer in hopes of minimizing the differences
between a upgradation through the installer and through the ill advised
option of using Yum to upgrade a distribution and more importantly
providing the ability to support additional software repositories such
as Fedora Extras. You can find a major list of planned changes to
"How many newbies do you know who will know right off the top of their
head what SSH, FTP, HTTP, etc are? Sure, I know many might, but I've
been in the business of supporting end users for over a decade now and
let me tell you that you'd be amazed. So this isn't a slant on Fedora at
all. They've done very well. The only thing I could say would be to
maybe put some plain English titles next to the check boxes or maybe
some short but descriptive comments."
Agree with that completely. Now we do provide the ability for everyone
to file requests for feature enhancements to all the Fedora components
in http://bugzilla.redhat.com. It would very nice if you can file such a
request and then refer to it within your review and set an example of
community feedback. Getting such media attention to small but nice
requests such as this might be a good idea to get your favorite peeves
resolved since the distribution being reviewed will like to pay better
attention to such requests. (hint hint ;-).
" SELinux is here again in this release, but without it's baggage from
what I saw. For quite some time now you've had to disable SELinux at the
boot prompt if you were to use a file system such as ReiserFS for the
bootable partition, but this time I wasn't affected at all. "
The default filesystem Ext3 is being supported by Fedora project. Others
are merely been made available as the upstream project provides it. The
project on the whole has decided to concentrate its expertise and not so
unlimited resources into others areas that require more attention
instead of gaining support for yet another filesystem. SELinux is
actually broken again in both XFS and reiserfs.
The general lack of upstream involvement in providing SELinux capability
which is one of the driving features and part of the pro-active security
strategy of Fedora ( Refer to http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Security for
other details) is also the reason why Ext3 is preferred within the
Fedora project as it is something that Red Hat has contributing heavily
and has engineer expertise on to stand behind and support any issues or
the ongoing feature enhancements within the subsequent releases in the
" GDM, the GNOME login manager, hasn't changed much at all for the next
release. It's still very plain, which is all fine and good. As with
everything else in Linux, It's themeable, so if you require more eye
candy it's available to you. I don't mind the minimalistic look at all
so I left it untouched."
While you might prefer the minimalistic look, it might be of interest
that our interaction design expert, Diana fong has produced some
excellent artwork for this release and as part of her efforts has also
produced a mockup of a new GDM theme to match the rest of the artwork
included in this release. Our engineers unfortunately have not had time
to implement this new GDM theme though. Hopefully they will be able to
do this before the GA release of Fedora Core 5.
" Performance on the desktop up until this point is not good at all.
Applications were extremely slow to load and Nautilus would crash on cue"
Dave Jones, Fedora kernel maintainer introduced a patch in the
development tree that added some important debugging features. Though it
slowed down the performance considerably, it has resulted in some
interesting findings that will help towards fixing some issues. I
believe the performance issues cited in the review might be related to
Nautilus issues mentioned in the review is a known bug.
"There was one issue I found with mounting CD media and it appears to
stem from their new volume label usage in fstab. Basically, what happens
is it generates mount points on the fly depending on the volume label of
the media being mounted. For instance, I inserted a DVD with a volume
label of “DiscMakers”. When the system mounted the device, it mounted it
(//dev/hdc/ as the DVD drive is properly known on my review PC) as
//media/DiscMakers/. That's all fine and good under normal
circumstances, but in this case it fouled it up to the point of not
allowing me to unmount it properly... if at all. As you can see by the
screenshot below, I was having some real trouble getting the thing to
eject. When I would right-click the CD/DVD icon on the desktop and
select /Eject/ from the menu, it would generate and error saying that it
didn't exist in fstab. To add insult to injury it would tell me I wasn't
root... as if I didn't already know. "
I would request again a bugzilla report on this problem to enable our
engineers to fix this issue.
" Fedora includes a package management tool called Yum. Think of it as
being very similar to the way Debian's <http://www.debian.org> Apt
works, dependency resolution and all. While Yum can be slow, and an all
around pain in the ass at times, I have to say the wealth of software
available is really amazing and it /does/ work."
Yum is usually perceived as being slow since it checks the repository
metadata before its runs its operations while you will have to manually
do this with Apt. As an example of this, if you do a installation of a
latest package called "foo" in Debian or even in Fedora using Apt-RPM
available in Fedora Extras. (APT-RPM is not recommended for other
reasons documented in http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Tools/Apt), you
would use the following commands
# apt-get update
# apt-get install foo
If you use yum, it does a equivalent of apt-get update (yum
check-update) automatically and only have to use the following command
# yum install foo
While this makes it appear slow you can use Yum -C install foo to do a
equivalent of a typical apt command thereby showing similar performance.
Yum in this release of Fedora Core goes even further by retaining a
timeout period of 1800 seconds by default (which is configurable in
/etc/yum.conf using the option metadata_expire) for repeated operations
of Yum during which it does not attempt to resync its metadata and
performing its operations faster.
" On the topic of support, I have to take this time to plug
FedoraForum.org, which is official forum of Fedora and the best resource
possible for this distribution. Period. It isn't just because Mad
Penguin™ staff member Ewdison Then owns/operates it either... it's just
/that/ good. Since this is a community release, it's up to the community
to provide support for it, and they've done so with exceptional results.
Thanks to Ewdi, we've got FedoraForum.org, and there's others out there
as well. Here are a few of them plus others for those of you who are
getting into Fedora and are looking for help, tips, tricks, tutorials,
and everything in between"
Being a active forum users and one of the community managers there I
totally agree on this. /me waves to Ewdi.
"*Management: *Good (needs a centralization control center)"
# yum install system-config-control and you will see a work in progress
(Screenshots available from indianoss.sourceforge.net/) volunteer effort
from one of the local language computing people - Ankit enabling
Gujarati language in India who also happens to my office colleague
locally. Incidentally we were brainstorming on this tool when I came
across your review. So yeah we are working on it. Thank you once again
for your interest in the Fedora project.
Fedora Bug Triaging - http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/BugZappers
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