This is a very old review, left here only for historical purposes.
Before I say anything else, let me say that this Fedora Core 1 release has made me re-think my position with regard to DeskTop Linux. I can't see why any random User, no matter how inexperienced, would have any more issues with this than they would with Windows.
I hadn't looked closely at RedHat since 7.2, so this was quite pleasant and much improved. I could easily recommend this to anyone without a strong need for Windows applications.
One of Fedora's objectives is "Be on the leading edge of open source technology, by adopting and helping develop new features and version upgrades." That lead me to expect a far less polished and user friendly system. I was pleasantly surprised to find this is a Linux almost anyone could likely use and, more importantly, enjoy.
I did experience problems downloading, but the installation was smooth and unenventful. It looks very much like a RedHat 8 or 9 install - except for the background colors, which are blue and gray.
The first difference I noticed was that it offered to test the install cd's: that is a very good idea, and after all the download problems I had, very much appreciated. It's such a waste of time to find that a bad CD 3 prevents your install: this eliminates that. The rest of the install was quite quick. I chose a Workstation install, which only requires 2 CD's; even so I thought it was quicker than previous RedHat installs. The defaults are quite reasonable; for example the use of ext3 means that the default file system layout is just /boot and one large root fs. That's far less confusing for the new user, and safe enough today.
Upon first boot a few minor details are asked, nothing anyone should have any trouble with: a user name, time zone details, etc. Nothing geeky or Unixish to frighten the newbies.
The next item I noticed was that ntp was offered for time settings, and that you can pick ntp servers right there: good move, because that at least gets things working for the neophyte. People who have a better choice can certainly do that, but it's good to have something for those who have no idea.
There was automatic sound card detection, but I never have speakers hooked up, so I have no idea if it was right. The X display configured completely automatically and gave me 1024x768 immediately.
The first thing I looked for after logging into the Gnome desktop was "up2date": it is still called "RedHat Network" in the menu, but actually goes to fedora.redhat.com and since I had just downloaded CD's, it found nothing.
I was a little surprised to see Mozilla 1.4.1 rather than a more recent release. Konqueror of course was also present, though the default is Mozilla (smart again - Konqueror has its problems).
I clicked on Print Manager and was told that no printers were found - would I like to run config tool ? Sure, and I easily configured an HP network printer in a few seconds.
I found OpenOffice found through "Start Here". It is also on the task bar. This is the (current) 1.1 version. I clicked on "Development Tools" and found Emacs and Glade (which I'm unfamilar with but will look at later). The smb browwer found my network as easily as my Mac did, and gave a login window. Odd that it said the password would be sent unencrypted, though.
There's a dictionary (uses https://dict.org) in accessories and "file roller" which can handle tar, gzip, bzip2 files - I haven't tested it but that's a good tool for new users to find.
Mail is Ximian Evolution, which I have never used but certainly have heard good things about. I was quite impressed that sticking in a blank cd was automatically recognized and brought up Nautilus to burn it. It was easy to use, quick, and I doubt anyone would get too confused.
Pretty much everything a typical web/email/word processing user will need is here, ready to go. Anything they want to change is easily found in Preferences or System Settings, which both quite prominent after clicking Start Here. It's good not to have to hunt for these things.
So, Fedora Core 1 looks like a great start. I recommend it.
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2011-05-08 Tony Lawrence