Fedora 13 (Goddard) Hits the Waves

The final release of Fedora 13, known as Goddard, was made yesterday. The Release Notes describe the changes and new features in great detail, so check them for complete information.

The final release of Fedora 13, known as Goddard, was made yesterday. The Release Notes describe the changes and new features in great detail, so check them for complete information. You can download a Live CD of the 32-bit standard Gnome version, but don't overlook the More download options... link on that first download page, because it leads you to the 64-bit Gnome version, as well as alternatives for KDE, Xfce and Lxde versions. If you want the Full Monty (DVD distribution), you'll find that underOther Options. Any way you get it, it is definitely worth getting.

I have loaded the Gnome 64-bit version on my Lifebook S6510 (Intel Core2 Duo and 965 graphics) and HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez (AMD Athlon Neo and AMD Radeon graphics), and the Gnome 32-bit version on my HP 2133 Mini (VIA C7-M and Chrome9 graphics). All loaded easily and without significant problems. The 2133 has a small (10") relatively high resolution (1280x768) screen, and I thought the default font size was much too large, but it took just a few mouse clicks to reduce that, and it looks fine now.

Here are a few of the significant changes and improvements that I have noticed personally.

For photo management, Fedora now includes shotwell, which I think is a lot better than F-Spot (which I have never liked), and as a bonus is not encumbered with Mono. My experience with shotwell, both using it myself and showing it to friends, indicates that if you are coming from previous use of digiKam, it just looks like another nice photo manager, but if you are coming from previous use of F-Spot, it produces lots of "Wow" exclamations.

Network Manager has been significantly improved, particularly Mobile Broadband support. When I insert my Huawei USB modem the first time, the Network Manager offers "New Mobile Broadband connection...". That walks you through a selection of your country, your provider (carrier) and your plan. It then connects, and I was surprised to see that it now also shows signal strength in the Panel icon! Very nice.

I mentioned Automatic Printer Driver Installation in an earlier post, when I connected my HP h470 Bluetooth printer. This is not a feature that pays off very often - connecting a new printer is usually not something you do every day - but when it is needed, it is very nice to have it all work so well.

One other thing that I noticed immediately, which is a huge improvement for me but will not affect many users. I am now using two displays, the laptop itself and an external (VGA) screen. Fedora 13 is the first distribution that I have seen which recognizes and configures them automatically, extending the desktop across both and getting the resolution correct for both without me having to do anything. For comparison, Ubuntu can handle them in the same way, but I have to configure it all myself manually - it starts out using the "lowest common denominator" for the two screens, which happens to be 1024x768, and mirrored display on both. I have to tell it not to mirror, then individually select the correct resolution for each (1280x800 for the laptop, 1280x1024 for the flat-screen). Well done Fedora!

There are lots more changes and improvements detailed in the documents I mentioned above. The bottom line is, this is a really good, solid distribution with a lot of nice features.

jw 26/5/2010

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