Installing Fedora 19: What's new?

Installing Fedora 19: What's new?

Summary: On time and on target, this is a good release — and I've installed it on traditional BIOS and UEFI BIOS systems. Here's what I found.

SHARE:

The final release of Fedora 19 was right on the original schedule: considering the record of the past few Fedora releases, that is an accomplishment in itself. The really good news, though, is that this is another excellent release from the Fedora team.

Read also

The most popular end-user Linux distributions are...

The most popular end-user Linux distributions are...

...almost certainly not the ones you're thinking of.

The Fedora Download Page contains Live ISO Images for Gnome, KDE, Xfce and LXDE distributions, for 32 and 64 bit architectures.

For those who want or need other formats, there is also an installable DVD image and a network install image.

All of these are Hybrid ISO Images, so if you have a running Linux system you can simply dd the image to a USB stick to create a bootable Live system and/or installation media. If you don't have a Linux system handy, you can either burn the ISO images to CD or DVD, or use the LIveUSB Creator.

As was already the case with the previous release, the Fedora 19 Live images will boot with UEFI Secure Boot enabled. I did not actually perform the installation with Secure Boot enabled, however, because I just don't use that any more. 

I did see, though, that even when installing with Secure Boot disabled, Fedora still installed the necessary "shim" files so that if you subsequently enable Secure Boot, it will still work. Also, at least on my Acer Aspire One 725 with the latest UEFI BIOS, the installation managed to set the boot environment correctly so that after it completed, the laptop booted Fedora rather than Windows. 

Unfortunately the one thing that apparently is still not solved yet is that if you have other Linux installations Fedora will create a GRUB configuration file which lists all of them, but then fails to boot them. It does, however, boot Windows 8 without problem, so this is sufficient for the vast majority of users.

The installation process is very similar to what it was for Fedora 18, the anaconda installer has just been further refined for this release.

That means those who like the new anaconda (I did) will be even more happy, and those who didn't like it (to put it mildly, for a lot of people) are not likely to be any happier with this release.

I have previously written in detail, with screen shots, about the new anaconda installation process, so I will only include the significant differences here.

First, Network Configuration has been incorporated into the main "Dispatcher" screen.  This is certainly the most logical way to do it — I didn't understand why it had a separate screen in the previous release, perhaps they just hadn't gotten around to this yet.

Anaconda
The Fedora 19 Installer (Anaconda) Main Screen

 

Second, the design, description and options in the Disk Partitioning screen have been improved.  I think this new screen makes it more clear  what the options are, and what each one means — I like this much better than the equivalent screen in the previous release.

DiskOptions
Fedora 19 Disk Setup

 

Finally, the specification of the User Account to be created has been added to the Installation Progress screen, where the Root Password was already entered.  Again, this makes much more sense to me than having it as a separate step during the first boot, as it was before.

Configuration
Fedora 19 Account Setup

 

The distribution media will install Linux kernel version 3.9.5, but if you install all the latest updates after booting the installed system, you will end up with 3.9.8 (as of this writing). The Gnome 3 installed is 3.8.2.1, which has an Applications menu shown below.

Click the "box of dots" at the bottom of the sidebar to get the Application menu, then you can toggle between "Frequent" and "All" items with the selection at the bottom of the screen. Note the grouping of "Utilities" and "Sundry" items in this menu; click on either of those, and you will get a sub-menu listing the items in that group.

Fedora19Apps
Fedora 19 Gnome 3 Applications

 

Also worth mentioning is that when I installed this release on my Lifebook S6510, which has an external monitor in addition to the laptop display, Fedora detected and configured both displays correctly, automatically making them an "extended desktop". This is not new for Fedora, it has done this automatically for quite a while now, but it is still the only one of the distributions which I regularly use that manages to do it. 

What else is new and notable in this release?  Here is a short list:

- LibreOffice 4.1.0.1

- Shotwell 0.14.1

- Rhythmbox 2.99.1

- Totem video player 3.8.2

- Firefox 22.0

What isn't included?  Well, this is Fedora, so that means no proprietary or other non-FOSS packages.  The first thing that most people are likely to notice is that Adobe Flash is not installed; second would probably be that there is no Java installed. 

Also, if you have AMD/ATI or nVidia graphic hardware, the proprietary drivers for those are also not included.  All of these can be downloaded and installed, with effort ranging from trivial to moderate. There are plenty of descriptions on the Web of how to get them, so make a quick search if you want them.

In summary, this release is pretty much what we expect from Fedora — solid, stable, easy to install and use. 

I have installed on most of my laptops and netbooks so far, and have not had a single problem yet.  This covers a range of Intel and AMD CPUs and graphic controllers, wired and wireless networking adapters from Intel, Broadcom, Atheros, Ralink and Realtek. Every device has been recognized and supported, and everything has simply worked out of the box: good stuff.

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

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.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

24 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Kudos Fedora Team and Red Hat for support

    Outstanding Distro.

    :)
    daikon
  • Fedora maintains its quality

    Good write-up Jamie. I'm glad to see that Fedora improved the installer, I felt that it was a little unclear last time myself.
    If I ever get a new laptop I'll definitely check out the KDE Spin for Fedora 19. I prefer it because it is a "pure KDE" edition, without even Firefox nor any GNOME 3 libraries installed as far as I know.

    As far as Flash, installing Google Chrome will let you watch and listen to media that uses Flash (YouTube, Grooveshark, etc.). I have found that if you still need additional (nonfree) software, the RPM Fusion site fits the bill perfectly - easy to understand instructions to add 2 repositories, and very reliable.
    Thomas Gellhaus
  • As usual...

    ...your typical post: clear, thorough, concise, engaging.

    I really would like to know how to get a job writing for ZDNet, so I could post articles which were nothing more than warmed-over PR releases such as other "authors" do; and with NO obvious hands-on work, and absolutely NO research.

    On a lighter note, would you consider doing an article on a distro which seems to be getting a lot of attention, and on which I would really like to get your typical outstanding analysis; Puppy Linux?

    Warmest5 regards...
    frrranzzz
  • As with any linux product.

    No flash/java no installation. I use both far too often to even consider a product that doesn't have that available.
    jammerg55
    • the beauty of choice!

      jammerg55 - that's one of the great benefits of Linux...you are free to choose another distribution that includes flash and java OOTB. May I recommend Linux Mint 15? (I strongly suspect that both Jamie and Steve would agree).

      While I do use both Flash and Java, Fedora makes it quite clear that they are not included in a default installation, and there are many Linux users who prefer their desktop free of both.
      Thomas Gellhaus
      • Java (Oracle) and Flash aren't included in any OS default install.

        Not retail Windows, nor OSX, include Oracle Java or Flash on their media, because just like Fedora, MS and Apple have no right to distribute software from Oracle and Adobe.

        Now, some OEM install media might have them, but only if the OEM has signed an agreement with Oracle and/or Adobe.

        My Fedora systems all have current versions of both Java and Flash installed. Works fine.
        anothercanuck
    • easy

      Java should work out-of-the-box. The open source Java has come a long way, and I used it at my previous university sysadmin job to administer Dell servers via idrac and Cisco firewalls with no issues. Or, it's easy to add non-open Oracle Java if you really need that.

      Flash isn't quite as out-of-the-box elegant, but it's actually really easy to install from Adobe's yum repo and after that Just Works.
      mattdm
    • Java

      Java is included out of the box.
      AdamWill
      • Java confusion, proprietary vs. open-source

        AdamWill wrote:
        "Java is included out of the box."

        The default java for Fedora 19 is the open-source OpenJDK JRE 7. In addition, as a technology preview, OpenJDK JRE 8 is available for download/install from the repositories and testing:

        http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/Java8TechPreview

        From the article:
        "What isn't included? Well, this is Fedora, so that means no proprietary or other non-FOSS packages. ... second would probably be that there is no Java installed.

        There is no Oracle proprietary Java installed on Fedora 19 as the various Linux distros no longer include the package in their repositories, including non-free repositories. One must visit either java.com or oracle.com to download Oracle's proprietary Java.

        Just wanted to make the distinction clear.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
        • Indeed

          Quite correct, thanks for explaining in detail.
          AdamWill
    • No Java or Flash on the Fedora media, just like Windows or Mac!

      And just like Windows and Mac, you must download and these 3rd party products yourself
      The article clearly states this.

      Did you not read the article, or are you just doing your best to spread misinformation?
      anothercanuck
      • Java: the difference between the GNU/Linux desktop and OS X/Windows

        Once Java (and here I mean the OpenJDK JRE) is installed via the GNU/Linux package manager, assuming that it has not been included by default, the update manager will help you keep Java up-to-date. Whereas with OS X, Lion and Mountain Lion, as well as Windows, the user is responsible for keeping Java up-to-date once it has been installed.

        Out-of-date Java has been the downfall of many Windows and OS X users as the malware miscreants know that a large proportion of these users fail to stay current and, therefore, target vulnerable, old Java versions with their malware. And none of the major web browsers on any operating system currently sandbox the Java plug-in. By default, Java goes commando on Windows, OS X, GNU/Linux and BSD.

        You're much safer running Java (and Flash Player) on the GNU/Linux desktop than with either OS X or Windows, since you're much more likely to be up-to-date. [The GNU/Linux desktops' update manager also helps you keep Flash Player up-to-date.]

        Note that with Oracle's proprietary Java, obtained either at java.com or oracle.com, the user must manually download and install Java on the GNU/Linux desktop just like with Windows and OS X. However, because of the GNU/Linux desktops' relatively low market share of 1 to 2 percent, one is still safer than with Windows or OS X because the malware miscreants tend to target the more popular operating systems with their Java-based malware. They could choose to target the GNU/Linux desktop with Java-based malware, but why bother with a desktop platform (1) where distros and most users have switched to the OpenJDK JRE which tends to be up-to-date and (2) with such a small market share, especially for systems with Oracle's proprietary Java installed?

        Although I use both Windows and the GNU/Linux desktop, Java gets installed only on the GNU/Linux desktop.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
        • Re: "with OS X ... Mountain Lion ... the user [must] keep it [current]"

          Rabid Howler Monkey:
          "Once Java (and here I mean the OpenJDK JRE) is installed via the GNU/Linux package manager, assuming that it has not been included by default, the update manager will help you keep Java up-to-date. Whereas with OS X, Lion and Mountain Lion, as well as Windows, the user is responsible for keeping Java up-to-date once it has been installed.”

          That may be the case. However, if you install Apple’s Java from the Apple Developer Connection, then OS X keeps you apprised of any updates in the usual way - just as if you’d bought Java from the Mac App store.

          I know this is the case, because I was warned to update Java on my Mac within the last week - something that surprised me.

          So it isn’t strictly true that "the user is responsible for keeping Java up-to-date once it has been installed.”

          Furthermore, so long as Safari has “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” disabled then I understand it will run javaws files in sandboxed mode. I’m not sure about Java run from Safari via the plugin: there’s been a lot of work on that lately so it’s hard to keep up.
          StandardPerson
    • Re: No flash/java no installation

      You get OpenJDK Java, which leaves out the Oracle adware.

      You should also get GNU Gnash for playing Flash. That should handle all the legitimate uses for Flash just fine. So what if it fails on the ads?
      ldo17
  • Fedora 19 can boot parallel Linux installations

    "Unfortunately the one thing that apparently is still not solved yet is that if you have other Linux installations Fedora will create a GRUB configuration file which lists all of them, but then fails to boot them. It does, however, boot Windows 8 without problem, so this is sufficient for the vast majority of users."

    Are you talking about UEFI?

    Yesterday, I updated a notebook (with traditional MBR partitioning) from Fedora 18 to Fedora 19, using fedup. That worked, with minor problems.

    I then installed Ubuntu 12.04 on another partition, and didn't let it install grub in the MBR. That left Fedora's Grub2 in control of booting. Then I used the Fedora systems grub2-mkconfig to recreate the /boot/grub2/grub.cfg file.

    If you are experiencing a problem, can you point to a Fedora Bugzilla entry for that problem? Then we can watch for when it gets fixed.

    After this, Fedora 19's grub2 had no trouble booting Ubuntu 12.04.

    Every time Ubuntu replaces its kernel, I will have to boot to Fedora and rerun grub2-mkconfig.
    HughRed
    • Yes, UEFI

      I just re-read what I had written above, and you are right it is not at all clear what I was talking about on this. Yes, I mean UEFI installation. As you say, with "traditional BIOS" (non-UEFI) Fedora multi-boots just fine.

      As for having to recreate the grub.cfg file (grub2-mkconfig) that is a bit of a pain. There are ways around that, but none of them are very nice and all require manual editing or manual re-creation of the grub.cfg file from time to time.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      jw
      j.a.watson@...
      • Multi-boot etc

        Fedora 20 will implement the Boot Loader Specification effort - http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Specifications/BootLoaderSpec/ - which is an attempt to standardize grub2 usage between several distributions so we should be able to have reliable multi-booting. Hopefully when F20 and other compliant distro releases come along, the distro multi-boot picture should get rather nicer.

        UEFI multi-boot in general is an area we need to do more work on, I have it as one of my 'things to focus on' for f20.
        AdamWill
        • UEFI Multi-Boot

          Hi Adam. The spam filter here seems to have gone crazy again, it is blocking every comment I try to post. So I will just say, Thanks for reading and commenting, as always.

          jw
          j.a.watson@...
          • Yup

            Yeah, it ate one of my comments too, apparently :(
            AdamWill
  • Fedora 19 Cloud images

    We also have cloud images for easy launch in Amazon EC2 or for download for use in OpenStack or etc. (Eucalyptus, CloudStack, OpenNebula...). You can get them from the same download page, or via http://cloud.fedoraproject.org/
    mattdm