I have been using Fedora consistently since F14 with several upgrades along the way. Last year I picked up an Asus referb laptop for my daughter and put Fedora 18-beta then upgraded to 18 stable. That had some minor issues as it was beta, very much to be expected.
Since then there has only been 2 issues with her laptop. One was the result of a kernel update that broke the Function (Fn) key for controlling her media buttons (sound/screen brightness) That was resolved by re-enabling several mods.
The 2nd issue that is still an issue today is the Logitech Wireless trackball (we all use them here at the house, so much better then a normal mouse especially with a laptop if you are short of work space) They all stopped working in Fedora about a week ago.
Everything I have read on line talks about a mod that seems to be broke. hid_logitech_bj it is not even in the new Fedora 19 and I am unable to locate any way to install/configure so it will work. This is a MAJOR issue with Linux, not just Fedora.
Now for the review of the Fedora 19 fresh install. I picked up 2 more laptops of the same model, not the exact make extension, but for the most part the same hardware as my Daughters.
ASUS K55 Series
very nice laptops for the most part. Light weight, great screen and ALL of the hardware works out of the box with Fedora 18/19.
Now with the two new ones I had to fight with the BIOS to disable the secure boot, but after that it was smooth normal install.
I downloaded the full DVD 4.xGB in size and burned it on my iMAC with Titanium Toast.
booted the laptop with the DVD and selected test this media & install option.
that worked flawlessly.
It would seem the Fedora team has added a nice feature for the keyboard/language screen. Now there is a nice check box at the bottom left corner. Configure your keyboard and area settings to match your language of choice. This is nice as it cut out 2-4 steps of the pre-configuration phase.
The storage selection is still not very intuitive. I much prefer the older vs of this that is much more clear on how to choose what drive/partition/etc... to manipulate. Also the newer Anaconda installer, since Fedora 18, does not make it clear how to format the HDD to make room for the new OS, or even howto create multiple partitions for a dual boot system. This is a drawback for those who are not 100% sure if they want to use Linux full time or for those who still require MS Windows for some function or an other and must dual boot.
A side note on full disk encryption pass phase page that is broke IMHO. I entered a pass phase followed by 12345, this is listed as insecure and was not accepted, but when i reduced it to 123 it was listed as very secure (highest they offer 5 green bars) and worked? Sorry, but how is less elements to a phase more secure then a longer phase?
Once you are past this and into the install you are faced with the Network configuration. This is great if you are in a location with at PUBLIC WiFi or you are wired. There is ZERO choice for selecting a hidden WiFi network. As I run a hidden WiFi network at the house I had to plug in a wire to connect for the install to update along the way.
This is a major knock for the new Anaconda, what If I was installing in a location with a hidden WiFi connection and NO means of accessing a switch/router that I could plug a physical wire into? Bad bad Fedora team.
Next is setting up root p/w and user account. This is greatly improved over the Fedora 18-beta Anaconda. Very clear and intuitive. Big plus for the Fedora Team.
There was an issue with the reboot when you are prompted. According to dmesg printout on the one of the terminal screens there was some kind of issue with displaying one of the GUI logout screens. Im hoping this is a simple bug that will be addressed soon. A simple ctrl+alt+backspace resolved the hang.
The first boot, as is typically the case with Fedora, took longer then normal as the GUI is being configured along with personal settings.
Still frustrated the trackballs are not working, get in and configure the touchpad to allow tap for click. very nice except the new GUI is missing the right side list of options (internet, editors, applications, graphics, system, etc...) so i had to search for settings just to find it. That is a knock on either Fedora or Gnome3, not sure who is at fault there. I know on my daughters laptop, still running Fedora 18, the right side bar is still there running Gnome3.
Installed EasyLife, Chrome, RPMFusion all with a few clicks via FireFox. WOW I am loving the new GUI installer. This is a GREAT powerful tool for new people getting used to Linux and even those who have been around for a while. It just works.
You click the download/configure/etc... on the web page, then you are prompted what you would like to do with it. Save or Open with Installer. Chose the installer option and it is a nice GUI front end for YUM. After some pre-configuration it will prompt the user for the root password and finish the install nice and clean.
This is a GREAT improvement. excellent work Fedora Team.
After just a little bit of work I was able to get libdvdcss working for DVD playback via VLC and poof everything is functional, flash, shockwave, java, etc...
FYI it is 100x faster opening LibreOffice under Fedora19, then under Fedora18. I am not sure what they did, but its bloody fast. Click on either the icon to open LibreOffice, or a document connected with LibreOffice and within a few seconds it is open and ready to go unlike any other computer ive ever used LibreOffice/OpenOffice on that can take upwards of 2min to fully open and be ready to rock.
This is a Fedora 19 thing as every computer in the house from my iMAC (also an i5, to my daughters laptop with 6G RAM(2G more then the 2 new ones mind you) running Fedora 18, to my MacBook laptop also an i5)
So this is an other nice plus for the Fedora team. Not just LibreOffice opens faster, but many of the other applications as well. Now some just dont work at all, like the built in Weather application. It opens, you configure it, and nothing happens. So go figure.
All in all on a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being the worst installation ive seen to 10 being a perfect installer, i would rate the new Fedora 19 as an 8.5 and almost a 9.
If they would fix the network section to allow for the option to choose hidden WiFi networks id put this up to a 9.
Very happy with what I have seen today with Fedora 19.