[Nelug] Redhat Fedora Core 4 - First Impressions

Rob Hall rob at waylock.co.uk
Sun Jun 19 13:07:31 UTC 2005


Just thought I'd share my experiences with Fedora Core 4 - apologies for
the crossposting.

The CD set was easily downloaded from one of the mirror sites (don't
even bother with the Redhat site - its like having dial-up all over
again!) and they all checked out with sha1sum so no bothers there. 

I am not using my usual set up so I'm not totally comparing like for
like in this review. I am using a 1.6Gb P4 with 1Gb RAM and a 120Gb
Seagate PATA drive with a Radeon 9600 graphics card and an Intel Pro 100
NIC and Soundblaster Live 5.1 sound card in it.

Installation started well with the usual choices (language, keyboard
layout etc.) and I chose to upgrade my FC3 system. I am not that
precious about it really because I have home directories on a different
partition and a second HDD formatted as vfat which I share with a
Windows installation.

Bizarrely the estimated time fluctuated wildly and promised me initially
an estimated 60 minutes and then within 5 minutes had shot up to a
Windows-esque 120 minutes and it wasn't until nearing the end of the
upgrade that it dropped dramatically. The whole process took under 60
minutes - not bad I thought but a little longer than normal. It is still
fantastic though when you think that it can take 3 hours or more to get
Windows to the same state with apps and everything else installed.

One strange thing was during the installation of Open Office, I noticed
that all the languages under the sun were being installed and quite
hefty packages they were too. I hope that Linux and Linux apps aren't
going to suffer from the bloatware syndrome that M$ have got running
through their packages.

In use, it feels very similar to FC3 although the latest version of
GNOME has a few refinements such as a Desktop menu. It is not laid out
in a particularly logical manner although anyone who has used GNOME for
any time will soon get used to its little quirks!

I was a bit surprised that they have chosen OpenOffice 2.0 Beta as the
office suite - I would have been happier with a fully stable release
although so far it hasn't proved to be any trouble and if anything feels
a bit quicker in operation than previous releases. I like Open Office
and I feel that it is now a real alternative to the big guns in the
office suite stakes. Maybe I can push its use at college!

Strangely, now when I play CDs, the CD player makes a hell of a racket
which it didn't previously so I need to look into this.

Another peculiar thing is that it lost my local printer but it only took
a couple of minutes to fix. However, if you had a lot of printers
connected then this could be more problematic.

All in all, not a bad experience. It doesn't appear on the face of it to
be as big an upgrade as from FC2 - FC3 but the word is that the stuff
under the bonnet is a lot more improved so time will tell. I am looking
forward to getting my replacement motherboard so I can try this out


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