Back in 2003 I was starting to seriously get into Linux. I found myself in sink or swim when my old computer died and my new computer with Windows XP wouldn’t recognize the network card. At that time I installed Red Hat 9 (dual booted with the XP) thinking I had nothing to loose, and with no Internet and a broken backup, nothing better to do. Red Hat 9 not only installed smoothly, it picked up the Network Card that XP wouldn’t recognize. I’ve been a huge Red Hat fan ever since. But immediately following Red Hat 9 were the Fedora and Fedora Core Distros. For a long time, things were never quite the same. In fact, I still have Fedora Core 4 on that old server because of all the effort I put into getting it to run smoothly (not that I have ever done less with Windows). Tonight I installed Fedora 9 on my primary Laptop. The good days of Red Hat are back!
The initial install led me to believe that I would have to do some tweaking, as I’ve had to in the past, in order to get the wireless card working. I had to plug the laptop into the wired network in order to get a few extras during the install. It was also useful for setting up the NTP server and sending Red Hat my Hardware configuration. As one who usually uses older hardware, I want to encourage Red Hat to build in the best possible support for my machines. As soon as the install completed I went to see about setting up the wireless. It was already there! A quick connection to my network and we were downloading the latest updates. At the same time I plugged in my USB drive and started restoring my backups. Incidentally, Fedora 9 (and the Fedora 8 before this) recognize the 8GB Scandisk that I’ve been using without a hitch. For some reason my Mac won’t recognize it (I haven’t eliminated the possibility of a broken USB drive) and my XP laptop has to go through a long, involved, though mostly automated process before I can use it there.
The next step of course is to add a few things. I used Yum to quickly install Thunderbird, Wireshark, Ruby, and Filezilla for starts. We also customized the look and feel very nicely. It was then off to get the essential in Firefox Addons: Web Developer, Firebug, Yslow, Adblock Plus, Show IP, the Clear Cache Button, All-in-One Sidebar. The Sidebar is on trial. I’m not sure it’s worth the reduced view-space. I then adjusted Firefox to never save passwords, always show the tab bar, and set http://www.google.com/linux as the start-up page.
Everything that bugged me about Fedora 8 is gone. I had some trouble with window borders when I turned on my desktop effects. No sign of that now. As much as I’ve hated Yum in the past, it’s working smoother than ever. When I installed the additional programs I guessed the name of most of them. No problem. They all installed beautifully.
The few grips that I have really have nothing to do with Fedora. I wish Gnome came with an auto Desktop Changer. I’ve been looking up a few alternative options online that look promising. And we may yet have another go at Emerald.
I also need to setup this little machine to play movies. As most Linux people probably know, the codecs for playing DVD are proprietary and often cost money. As such Fedora doesn’t include them by default. I’ll need to look up the free alternatives. That will come later today. My Mac Mini is still my first choice for movie playing anyway.
Finally there is the matter of upgrading between releases. I didn’t do that between Fedora 8 and Fedora 9. Things degenerated a bit towards the end with Fedora 8. But I’m quite optimistic about the eventual move from Fedora 9 to Fedora 10.
So, this means I shall be breaking down and buying and external DVD drive to plug into my Fedora 4 server. As smoothly as this has gone, I now have no qualms about updating that machine. Also, in hte past my first choice for newbies has been Ubuntu. I hate it with a passion, but it’s easy for those who don’t know what they’re doing. No more! As far as I’m concerned, Fedora is back on top. As such we will probably back up Kristen’s box tonight and move her over. Kristen is keen on this. Could be my own infectious enthusiasm.