Fedora 17 - The "Beefy Miracle" Arrives

Fedora 17 - The "Beefy Miracle" Arrives

Summary: The official release of Fedora 17, code-named the "Beefy Miracle" was made available for download yesterday. The Release Notes give all the gory deatils, as usual.

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TOPICS: Linux
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The official release of Fedora 17, code-named the "Beefy Miracle" was made available for download yesterday. The Release Notes give all the gory deatils, as usual. Despite the rather flippant name, this is as always one of the best leading-edge Linux distributions available.

The standard distribution is Gnome 3 (Fedora has pretty much become the poster-child for Gnome 3), but there are alternative "spins" for KDE, Xfce and LXDE. There are Live CD ISO images, which can be booted and run as-is or installed to hard disk, and DVD images which are install-only (not Live images) and which include considerably more software (Live images are 645MB, DVD images are 3.7GB). The Live ISO images can be burned to CD, or can be copied to a USB memory stick using the Fedora Live USB creator tool, or it can be copied directly using dd.

Fedora 17

I always use the Gnome version of Fedora - it's just the way that I have always thought about it, the same as I have always thought of openSuSE as a KDE distribution. That is of course not true, as mentioned above both of them have various other options, but my old brain doesn't adjust very much any more. The download, copy to USB stick, boot and install took a total of about 30 minutes. I noticed a few small cosmetic changes to the installer, improving both appearance and operation. Fedora uses GRUB 2 (they were one of the first to switch), but unlike some other current GRUB 2 distributions, I had no trouble installing it to a Logical Partition inside of an Extended Partition, and multi-booting that from an openSuSE Legacy GRUB installation.

The standard distribution is based on the Gnome 3.4 desktop, as shown above and below. Although I am still not a huge fan of Gnome 3, they are clearly making steady progress in improving it, and I can use it without it driving me totally insane, which is more than I can say for Unity. Slamming the mouse into the top left corner of the screen still doesn't strike me as a particularly intuitive way to activate a launcher or menu system, but pressing the "Windows" key is a bit better. Either way, once it's up I find it to be an interesting contrast because here I find the interface and operation to be very clean and fairly obvious.

Fedora 17

So, briefly, what is under the hood? Linux Kernel 3.3.4, Gnome 3.4, X.org X Server 1.12.0, Firefox 12.0, Rhythmbox 2.96, Shotwell 0.12.2, eVince (pdf viewer) 3.4.0, and lots more. Equally important, what is NOT included? OpenOffice/LibreOffice, Adobe Flash, proprietary video drivers (AMD/ATI Radeon or nVidia), and pretty much anything else that is non-FOSS. All of the above you can easily install yourself, either directly from the Fedora repositories using Install/Remove Software, or by adding one of the other popular public repositories.

So far I have installed it ONLY on my Samsung N150 Plus (the only thing I have with me today). Installation was fast, easy and I had no problems or unexpected stumbles. It recognized and configured all of the hardware, including the Broadcom 4313 WiFi adapter. The Fn-Keys work out of the box for volume up/down/mute, brightness up/down, touchpad on/off, WiFi on/off and Suspend/Resume - including automatically reconnecting the Wireless network after WiFi off/on and Suspend/Resume. Oh, and one other thing specific to this N150 Plus, it gets the power controls and screen dimming right, it does NOT have the old problem with screen brightness fluctuating and power management causing the system to hang or crash.

All in all my first impression of the Beefy Miracle is very positive. I am looking forward to installing it on the rest of my systems.

jw30/5/2012

Update:

As pointed out by Thomas Gellhaus, the Fedora 17 KDE Spin is particularly nice. So I have downloaded and installed that on the Samsung NF310 netbook, and it went every bit as smoothly as the Gnome version did. Here is the standard KDE desktop:

Fedora 17

And of course I can't resist... here is the lovely KDE Netbook desktop:

Fedora 17

Good stuff. Try it.

jw

Update: At home this evening, I have installed Fedora 17 on my Acer Aspire One 522, once again with no problems at all, and everything works. AMD C-60 CPU, Radeon graphics (using the FOSS radeon driver), and Atheros 9285 WiFi adapter, all just fine.

jw

Update (again): I have installed the Fedora 17 KDE Spin on my HP Pavilion dm1-3105ez. As with all of the other systems, there were no problems with installation, configuration or operation, including the Ralink WiFi adapter. In fact... ready for this?.... IT GETS THE NASTY SYNAPTIC ClickPad TRACKPAD right!!!!! Whoop-de-doooo! Left-click. Right-click. Drag-and-drop. Even two-finger scroll!!! This just instantly became my unconditional favorite distribution on the dm1!

Update (last one, I promise): I have installed the standard (Gnome) version on my desk laptop, a Fujitsu Lifebook S6510, and like the others it was no problem. This system has two monitors (notebook display and external VGA), and Fedora is STILL the only distribution that recognizes and configures them for use automatically, with optimal resolution in each display, and it does that even when booting from the Live ISO image!

jw

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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9 comments
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  • I've just started using it too, and like you I feel that Fedora is a fine GNOME 3 showcase distribution. I am torn, though, because I checked out the KDE Spin CD and discovered that unlike some distributions, Fedora has what I call a "pure" KDE edition; no software from GNOME at all. And I still prefer KDE over GNOME....
    anonymous
  • JW,

    Thanks as always for the great review on these new releases. One thing that I've also read is that Fedora 17 will include GIMP 2.8 which is a big update for this Photoshop replacement. Many new features including a main application window (as opposed to multiple windows in past versions) is included in GIMP 2.8. I'm not a big fan of Gnome 3 yet either as it's still in its infancy. Based on feedback so far, Fallback Mode is still actively being developed even in Gnome 3.4, so that to me is good news. Just how long they will continue to develop Fallback Mode though, is a mystery for now.

    Thomas Gellhaus :

    I've noticed the same when you install only the Gnome desktop environment, no KDE applications are installed. I think they made the right call though, leaving it up to the user to add what they want or need. Thankfully we can just add KDE applications as needed, which will automatically install the KDE libraries. I've done this in the past and it works very well. For example I've never found a better CD/DVD burning application than K3B (which as we know is a KDE application) so I always install that as the default burning application in Gnome.
    Chris_Clay
  • @Thomas - Thanks for the tip, based on what you said I went back and downloaded the KDE spin, and installed that one another netbook (NF310). You are right, it looks very good.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

    jw
    j.a.watson@...
  • @apexwm - You are basically right. GIMP is not included in the Fedora 17 base distribution, but it can be installed from the Add/Remove Software applet, and what then installs is 2.8.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

    jw
    j.a.watson@...
  • UPDATE: I have added comments concerning the Acer Aspire One 522 and HP Pavilion dm1. There is excellent news concerning the latter.

    jw
    j.a.watson@...
  • @apexwm.

    Regarding GIMP 2.8, following your comment I've just installed it in Ubuntu 12.04 and still have the multiple windows instead of a single main window. The single Window has been promised for a long time now.
    The Former Moley
  • Moley :

    Hmm, that is interesting. I haven't yet had the chance to use GIMP 2.8, but the release notes showcase the single window mode:

    http://www.gimp.org/release-notes/gimp-2.8.html

    I wonder if it is defaulting to a classic mode type view. I think I did read that the user can toggle between multiple window vs. single window modes.
    Chris_Clay
  • The GIMP site does say the single window mode is an optional mode -

    GIMP 2.8 introduces an optional single-window mode. You can toggle between the default multi-window mode and the new single-window mode through the Single-window mode checkbox in the Windows menu.

    Are you saying that you cannot select the single-window behaviour?
    terry@...
  • My mistake. I was just about to delete my comment since it was incorrect. I had erroneously expected GIMP to *open* in a single window, but subsequently discovered the toggle in the 'windows' menu.

    Thanks also for the responses.
    The Former Moley