Fedora 13 is the latest update to the Redhat-sponsored, RPM-based Linux distribution. It has long held a reputation of being a testbed for features that will eventually make it into Redhat Enterprise Linux, and, therefore, less stable than other desktop-oriented distributions. And I think that’s one reason why Fedora has features that you’ll not find on other desktop-focused distributions.
It’s not a distribution that works out of the box, but if you are willing to spend an hour or so tweaking it, you can get it to the point where it just works. With this short review, I’ll present some of this distro’s best features, features that may entice potential users. I’ll also give a listing of those features that are not very well implemented, or are missing and would, therefore, create usability issues for users – especially new users.
Let’s begin with the features I think will make you love this distro:
- Anaconda – This is the graphical installation program for Fedora. It is, in my opinion, one of the most advanced graphical installation programs you are ever going to find on any distribution. Why do I think so? Let me list the reasons:
- It’s all point-and-clicky. Very clean, intuitive interface.
- Linux Logical Volume Manager (LVM) is the default disk partitioning scheme. LVM brings a level of flexibility to disk management on Linux that is not possible with the old method.
- Anaconda makes it very easy to encrypt the hard disk, thereby making it very easy for you to enhance the physical security posture of your computer.
- With Anaconda, it is possible to password-protect GRUB, the boot loader. Password-protecting the boot loader is one method you may use to achieve a higher physical security rating for your Fedora-powered computer.
- With its advanced storage features, Anaconda makes it possible to install or upgrade to local and remote storage devices.
- You can customize application packages that you want installed.
- Network Time Protocol may be enabled during the installation phase.
- Advanced Firewall GUI – Fedora 13 has an advanced and easy to use graphical firewall management tool that is installed and enabled out of the box.
- Excellent update manager and update notifier that informs you in a non-intrusive manner when there are available updates that you need to install.
- Package Manager – Fedora’s graphical package manager is just as easy to use as any other. It does not have the visual appeal of Ubuntu’s Software Center, but it gets the job done.
- Hardware detection seems better than Ubuntu’s. My old webcam which Ubuntu could not detect worked like a charm on Fedora 13.
- No Automatic Login – Automatic login makes it possible to, well .. log in automatically whenever you reboot your computer. It’s a very bad practice that I do not encourage. Luckily, the Users and Groups graphical management tool on Fedora 13 does not have this “features.”