Would you recommend the product? no | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 6
It works well eventually
but there's a lot to do. Next year you have to do it all again.
This review is of Fedora’s 32-bit live disks for Gnome and Xfce. These come as hybrid iso files, which can be put on a USB stick without Unetbootin. I was going to review the standard disk, which is not live, but which offers lots of options and will upgrade version 17. Unfortunately, that would not install: the installer complained of a squashfs error. Since the disk’s check had pronounced all of its files to be sound, that was presumably a bug.
The installer has been rewritten, and not for the better: at one stage I almost gave up because I was uncertain of what it was likely to do. As a poster at Bugzilla remarked, the developers might do well to read Apple’s design guide. It is essential to read the on-line instructions very carefully before attempting to install, particularly those about partitioning. The standard version has also lost some of the customisation options which were so useful. On the good side, encryption can still be applied to any partition except that containing /boot.
With Fedora, one has to install media codecs from the RPM Fusion repository, and this had to be done from the command line with GPG checking disabled because of a bug in yum. Gnash, the free replacement for Flash, also has to be installed.
The Gnome version came with LibreOffice, Firefox, Evolution, Empathy, Rhythmbox, Totem, and Shotwell. Evolution gave several critical warnings when run from the CLI. Totem refused to play any videos, complaining that it couldn’t find the plugins. I installed Gnome-mplayer, but that was impossibly slow. Both the pager and notification area refused to work if I changed the colour of the panel, perhaps because I was using the fallback version of Gnome. The keyboard configuration tool also failed to work.
The Xfce version came with Abiword, both Firefox and Midori, Claws mail, Pidgin, Parole, and Pragha, all of which ran from the CLI without bug reports. When I actually used Parole, however, it failed to play any videos, exactly as in Fedora 17. Some useful things were missing, like the services manager and the menu editor. For adding software, gpk was replaced by yumex: no listing by categories. That did not make finding a dictionary for Abiword any easier.
Both versions lost my ethernet port and the configuration tool proved a bit unstable. Generally, however, the configuration tools are good (my USB speakers were easily set up) although some lacked help in Xfce because they expect to use Gnome’s yelp. The firewall has various ports left open by default, as usual.
I used Fedora from versions 1 to 14: watching its subsequent career has been like seeing an old friend take to drink.