Yeah, I’m late. I said I’d have this written by Monday. I’m sorry, or “Mea damn culpa,” as San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll likes to say.
While I blew that deadline — only the second in a 31-year journalistic career — I have what I think is a pretty good excuse.
It’s Fedora 11’s fault.
There’s a 12-step program for this, no doubt, but I’m powerless in trying to tear myself away from Fedora 11, putting version with the de facto default GNOME desktop through more paces than I really should (about nine straight hours worth, last time I looked up, counting the download of OpenOffice — more on this later).
GNOME 2.26.1, the desktop version that comes essentially as the default with Fedora 11 is like an old friend; an old friend with a couple of extra benefits. Most notable in the additions department in 2.26 like a new Brasero (with which I burned the Live CDs that went into each of the three test machines) and monitor detection improvements that prevented me from the xorg.conf tango I usually have to perform this time around.
What makes the rock-steady, ever friendly GNOME a good fit is what’s new under the hood for Fedora 11, especially ext4 and PackageKit to name only two of the 60 or so new features which, even with all the time I’ve spent on it, I haven’t gotten to yet.
Because this test machine doesn’t have a DVD drive — while I proudly built this frankenbox myself several years ago, it does lack a certain je ne sais quoi in the hardware department — the install came courtesy of the Fedora 11 Live CD, upon which OpenOffice is absent for space reasons (i.e., it doesn’t fit). Adding OpenOffice and other software was a snap and, while I have no benchmarks to go by, seemed a lot faster this time around.
In addition, everything worked right away, right out of the box, so to speak. Everything I downloaded came right up and, with the standard tweaking, ran flawlessly.
In closing, I’d like everyone to remember the adage, “Your mileage may vary,” meaning in this case that you may not have the same results as I do.
But having said this, I can now safely proclaim that this latest release is nothing short of remarkable.
Coming tomorrow: Follow the bouncing cursor when I detail The Three Faces of Fedora 11, Part 2: KDE.
(Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)