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Fedora 12 on the Samsung NC10 - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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http://forums.fedoraforum.org – I've been running Fedora on various machines since Fedora 2 appeared over five years ago, and have been mostly impressed with its evolution. Now, 10 versions later, how is it doing? I installed on a Samsung NC10 netbook, I assume this will be quite a popular target machine, with well over a million sold there ought to be at least 10,000 linux users, and shirley some of them will try F12. Note: there are loads of advanced additions in networking and virtualisation (amongst others) in this release which I'm not commenting on, see the Release Notes for details of those goodies, this is mostly a "first impressions" type review. The Good ========== VERY quick install from USB stick with i686 LiveCD image, I'm not exaggerating when I say this can be done in under 5 mins, including custom partitioning. Pretty fast Boot time, although seems to have lost ~10secs from the beta release, but can still get the Gnome Desktop up and running in under a minute. Not sure if the new Dracut system is responsible for the speed improvements. Grub now supports ext4, a nice addition, but not lvm, which is really required in Fedora. The iso images are now all hybrid images, which means you can just copy them to a usb stick with dd (or even cp) and boot (unless your unlucky to have a crappy BIOS) The default naming scheme for packages in 32 bit is a sensibly simple *.i686 rather than something involving 'pae' in F11, and the packages have been compiled for i686 and tuned for atom processors, so that's good unless you have an unsupported cpu, in which case it's not very good at all (!) The now rather splendid NetworkManager no longer prompts for gnome-keyring passords, hallelujah! (The text mode cnetworkmanager should also be included by default on the LiveCD, since it's a pita to do runlevel 1/3 maintenance on wpa protected wifi networks without it) Web Cam working by default, very nice (except I wish 'gst-launch v4l2src ! autovideosink' didn't do maximised mode by default) Palimpsest Disk notifications can now be disabled on a per disk basis, which is useful if your smartctl is returning buggy info on a disk (like trillions of pending sectors on a certain fujitshu mhy2250B) Hardware support is EXCELLENT, wifi (Atheros), ethernet (Marvell), display (intel 945GME), audio (Intel HDA), webcam (Z-Star), bluetooth (broadcom) are all autorecognised (Just some Fn keys not working: Brightness, Wifi) yum-presto! It works like a dream. And, last but not least, the main app, Firefox 3.5.4 is the best browser there currently is (imho), a real pleasure to use day in day out. The Bad ========= If Fedora devs don't enable touchpad tapping by default in F13 I'm going over to Redhat offices and tapping then all over the head with a large stick (It doesn't help that the enable dialog is too tall for the netbook screen, so the button at the bottom is hidden). Forgetting to enable tapping before running the installer will start your Fedora experience off very frustratingly. And you'll find that enabling tapping on gdm login requires a little research. Hibernation on the Samsung NC10 is an epic fail. Particularly since it fools you into thinking it has resumed, only to then crash on any attempt to launch a new bash shell, and then refuse to even shut down. No Brightness controls, again NC10 specific, and from googling looks like a fix is in kernel 2.6.32, or a BIOS update can be performed, apparently. Bluetooth is buggy (obex-gvfs errors) and once connected (after a few attempts) obex file transfers are stutteringly slow compared to Windows XP on the same machine. A new addition to package kit is bound to infuriate more than help, if you type a command which doesn't exist it runs a process (pk-command-not-found) which is supposed to find the missing package for you. That would be nice, except it does it so ineptly and slowly that it's getting disabled as soon as I figure out how. I'll be using 'yum provides' and 'yum search' for now (as usual) thanks. The default dictionary mostly returns definitions from a 1913 source (Websters), which is a little silly, and potentially misleading. Why does memtest86 get installed but not enabled in grub boot by default? You have to run memtest-setup manually. The anaconda installer apparantly isn't clever enough to distingush the Samsung recovery partition from the actual Windows partition, so requires manual editing of grub.conf afterwards to change (hd0,0) to (hd0,1). Still, at least it makes an effort to include other OSes, unlike MS installers. The Ugly ======== The very first thing you see after installing Fedora 12 on a dual boot machine with Windows XP is a terrible white on blue (on black screen!) grub boot message ("hit any key to see menu"). A very cheap first impression. After booting from grub things don't really improve, the plymouth "charge" theme gets 1 mark out of 10 for artistic impression and technical accomplishment. The kernel boot options have become unnecessarily longwinded to add language and keyboard settings (don't need this, I just use 'loadkeys gb' to change the keyboard in a terminal) Spacing around gnome panel icons is irritating (there's a gconf command to remove it, see ReleaseNotes section 4.1.4.2), I assume one of the gnome developers had nothing better to do for a day. Default LCD subpixel hinting/filtering in Fedora is crappy as always, that's a patent issue and there are packages around to "fix" it, so I won't go on about it (too much) The Gnome calendar now opens Locations panel by default, it's nice to see The Terminator the first few times but then gets tiring. Was someone desperate to shove this little gem in our faces, maybe concerned that peeps had overlooked it in the past? ================================================== ========================== In summary, despite the whinges above (nothing really fatal there) my overall impression is that this will be a superb OS to use for the next six months. Thanks to all concerned :) (HowTos)