Fedora/Red Hat 9.0 Linux distribution
A good distro once it's up and running
- "Stuff just works" — once it's installed, allows for easy transition to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
- Installing Fedora can be very technical, problems during installation, robust, not great for a dual-boot system, can't purchase technical support
On the whole, Fedora is a solid Linux distribution that will probably serve you well for desktop usage. Red Hat can rightly claim extensive experience as a commercial Linux vendor; it practically invented the market. Installing Fedora is a good way to ensure an extensive repository of pre-built software. The hardware support is right up there with any other user-friendly distribution. But our experiences with trying a multiboot install make us leery of recommending it to anyone who wants to use it in a dual-boot environment. The distribution may be robust, but the installer needs to learn to play better with others. It's also a little too intimidating for non-geek users, so if you're going to get any less-experienced friends on Fedora, you might want to schedule an afternoon to help them out.
Fedora 9.0 is a solid Linux distribution that will probably serve you well for desktop usage — but it's tricky to install and not ideal for non-technical users.
For many of us, our first painful introduction to old-school Linux installs came from installing early versions of Red Hat. Like most early Linux installs, it was a highly technical, highly finicky process that was best left to the experts.
Well, times have changed. Today, many Linux users are getting blase about the ease with which we can install Linux. We've been spoiled by distributions such as Ubuntu, which is actually easier to install than Windows. Unfortunately, Fedora 9.0, the community edition of Red Hat, was a bit too much of a blast from the past for me. This new release keeps Fedora in step with the rest of the popular distributions, updating Gnome and KDE to recent releases, improving the network management capability, freshening the kernel and adding USB booting capability.
However, when comparing Linux distributions today, the differentiating factors are fairly limited — a 2.6.x kernel is a 2.6.x kernel, Gnome is Gnome, KDE is KDE and so on. So you have to look at a few specific factors. How easy is the install? How well does it recognise and accommodate different operating systems that share the disk? What's the package manager like? Does the distribution offer you the chance to use proprietary drivers for your hardware? How well does it work with Wi-Fi?
Unfortunately, it was with that first question — the install — that we almost hit a wall with Fedora. All installation experiences are by their nature anecdotal. Everyone has different hardware and makes different decisions during an installation. What is a nightmare for one person may be a walk through the park for another with a different system.
Still, when you install a different version of Linux practically every week as we do, you get a good feel for the relative stability (or, in this case, the instability) of the install process.
What follows is a brief diary of our attempts to install the preview release of Fedora 9.0 on an HP Pavilion laptop as a multiboot operating system alongside Ubuntu.
Try 1: Downloaded and burned Fedora to a DVD. Booted off the DVD. Chose a graphical (rather than text-based) install. Requested to reuse a partition that had formerly held a SUSE install as my root partition. Chose software packages, username, networking and so on. Got an error from the Python installer and couldn't proceed.
Try 2: Booted off the DVD. Chose a text install. Decided to make sure the DVD was good. Ran the verification check to ensure the DVD wasn't corrupted. At the end, the DVD popped out, and we were informed it had successfully verified. Put the DVD back in and found ourselves in an error loop when we kept getting the same error window when we tried to proceed.
Try 3: Booted off the DVD. Chose the text install. Managed to make it all the way through the installation process and rebooted. Seemed to be booting, then left us with an honest-to-goodness Blue Screen of Linux Death (in this case, a solid blue screen with mouse tracking). Finally hit ctrl-alt-return to restart the window manager and found it had hung trying to mount swap off the fstab. For some reason, the installer didn't like trying to reuse the swap partition left over from the previous install, and it made something go pear-shaped during the initial boot.
Try 4: Reported installer bug to Red Hat. Tried again, telling Fedora to use the entire disk, instead of just the existing partition we were trying to reuse. This time it installed and booted correctly.
Apart from the problems mentioned above, Fedora's install also failed to identify the version of Ubuntu that was installed on an alternate partition and placed it in the GRUB boot menu (GRand Unified Bootloader, or GRUB, is a tool that lets you select between various operating systems in a dual/multiboot environment.)
Other distributions seem to have no problem finding and adding existing Linux and Windows installations to the boot menu.
The install process also fails the newbie test badly. There's no way we'd expect a non-technical person to be able to reasonably answer a few of the questions asked during the install. For example, asking if IPv6 support should be enabled for a network card and if the host name should be set via DHCP is going to be a bit intimidating for non-geeks.
Join the newsletter!
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Apple iMac Pro
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Ballistix Sport AT
Toys for Boys
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
ESET Smart Security Premium
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Tivoli PAL BT
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Internet Security
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
In multicultural Australia, the opportunity for home cooks to expand their culinary horizons is too tempting to resist.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Moto G6 review: A solid mid-tier effort with few compromises
- 5 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
Latest News Articles
- Intel unveils the Intel Neural Compute Stick 2
- Adobe announces next generation of Creative Cloud
- Logitech announces Logitech Rally
- Access thousands of movies for free thanks to Telstra TV Kanopy App
- RMIT Online and AWS offering course in VR and AR
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Ghost in the machine
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies