Printers

10 things that will make you want to use Fedora again

If you abandoned Fedora a few versions ago because of its instability, you may want to take a look at recently released Fedora 13. Jack Wallen itemizes the improvements that have made him a Fedora fan again.

I will confess that I jumped off the Fedora Linux boat somewhere around Fedora 9. It just seemed the distribution that served as a testing ground for Red Hat Enterprise Linux was too much work to get stable and too prone to falling to pieces. That was then; this is now. Fedora 13 was just released, and I am here to tell you it's a completely different ball game. Fedora 13 is solid... rock solid. So much so, it has made me a believer in the Hat once again. Here are some of the reasons I think you too will find Fedora 13 ready for your service now.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: Automatic printer detection/installation

For the most part, printing has become almost an afterthought in Linux. But sometimes, you still have to walk through the steps of administering the setup of your printer. With Fedora 13, we are getting close to complete auto-installation/configuration of printers. Prior to Fedora 13, I had to manually install Splix drivers for a Samsung ML1310 printer. Now? Fire up the printer tool and the printer (even networked) is nearly 100% auto-detected. Yes, you do have to walk through a wizard, but it is so simple anyone can manage it.

2: Deja Dup

If you're looking for a simple backup tool, you will be hard pressed to find one as simple as Deja Dup. This tool is so simple, the interface contains two buttons and a menu bar. The buttons are: Backup and Restore and the menu bar offers Backup, Edit, and Help. But don't think Deja Dup is without features. You can back up to the Amazon S3 cloud, on a network, or locally. On top of that, you can do scheduled backups! Yet another tool that anyone can use.

3: Rock solid performance

I have always thought of Fedora as fun to play with, tweak, and then leave because it was such a chore to get it working well. Out of the box, I have so far found Fedora 13 to be one of the most solid Fedora release to date. In fact, I would go so far as to say my experience has been that Fedora 13 is more solid than Ubuntu 10.04. If Fedora continues in this direction, it might lose its title of "sandbox" distro and find itself with a more "production distro" title. I know it seems a bit farfetched, seeing as how Fedora really is a sandbox distro for RHEL, but so far it seems true. I was taken off guard as well. Fedora 13 brings the Fedora distribution to new levels of reliability and solidity.

4: Network Manager improvements

Although most users won't appreciate this, the release of Network Manager that comes with Fedora 13 has, for the first time, a command-line utility! This is long overdue. Along with that, you will find tons of updates that make mobile networking a lot easier.

5: Ahead of the curve

Fedora 13 ships with KDE 4.4, GNOME 2.30, Firefox 3.6.3, OpenOffice 3.2, kernel 2.6.33, and other most recent releases of many software titles. If you long for the bleeding edge but require stability as well, Fedora 13 is the distribution for you. Out of the box, you will be ahead of the curve.

6: System rollback

With the help of the experimental btrfs file system, Fedora 13 can do rollbacks. This feature is not enabled by default. In fact, you can use it only if you install using the btrfs files system. Although you can convert ext3/4 file systems to btrfs, you shouldn't. Instead, do this on a test system and install Fedora 13 using the btrfs file system. With Fedora 13 installed using btrfs, you have the snapshot ability at your fingertips. If something goes wrong, simply roll back to a previous, working state. No, this system is not ready for prime time, but it foretells what's to come -- and what's to come should be pretty amazing.

7: Troubleshooting tools

Fedora 13 ships with an SELinux troubleshooter, as well as an automatic bug reporting tool. This is really good news for both end users and the Fedora developers. One of the problems many end users face (that affects developers) is the lack of bug reporting. This is made much easier with Fedora 13 and the auto bug reporting. As well, troubleshooting SELinux has become a heck of a lot easier with the SELinux troubleshooter. This will make for much more secure Fedora installations because users will not be tempted to disable SELinux when it conflicts with various applications.

8: Simple Scan

Prior to Fedora 13, anyone who wanted to enjoy the "simple" task of scanning were out of luck. Now, out of the box, a solid scanning tool is included. This, of course, relies on a supported scanner (which has also improved significantly). This is welcome news to anyone who has tried to use XSane as a scanning tool. For the simple task of scanning, XSane is like going to the grocery store in a helicopter -- it can do it, but most people won't be able to figure out how.

9: GNOME Color Manager

This has been a long time coming. Built-in color profile management. Before this, if you wanted color profiles, you had to walk through a rather complicated installation process only to find out the usage of the tool was equally complex. Fedora 13 includes a tool that should make just about any graphics designer/printer happy.

10: iPhone/iPod Touch support

Just a year ago, I was bemoaning the fact that Linux couldn't seem to figure out the iPhone issue. Well now it has, and it's done so with much elegance and style. When you plug in that iPhone, you will be asked if you want Rhythmbox to open. When it does, you will be able to manage all that music as if you were working with iTunes. Now all Fedora needs is a music store akin to the Ubuntu One Music store.

C'mon, try it!

What do you think? Tempted? Can Fedora 13 bring you back to the Hat? Or did an earlier version put such a bad taste in your mouth you may ever return? I think if you give Fedora 13 a try, you will change your mind.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

20 comments
ddalley
ddalley

One thing about Ferdora that stands out like a hammered thumb is how long it takes for updates to complete. Even with the fast update system installed, it still takes *magnitudes* longer than any Linux I have used. This needs fixing.

LeonBA
LeonBA

Those look like nice features, but none of them sounds compelling enough to pull me away from *buntu.

yawningdogge
yawningdogge

I gave up on Ubuntu because it wouldn't recognize my internal mic and I need skype because i travel overseas a lot. I switched to Fedora 13 and I'm in love with it. It's not perfect and I don't think any distro is, but Fed 13 is working beautifully for me. I've officially switched.

lefty.crupps
lefty.crupps

Printer autodetection, simple backups, whyPhone support... I'll bet these only function with the GNOME desktop, which is the same mistake Ubuntu makes with all of their new technologies. I'll pass, thanks.

Okieman46
Okieman46

I installed Fedora 13 when it came out on a spare computer of mine. I did so because a lot of the Linux+ course study I have is loosely based on Red Hat. After struggling with YUM's inability to detect that the installation media was in the drive, having to reset the conf file each time updates were needed, no fix insight for a bug that showed up several versions ago, the final crash I could not recover from, I finally gave up and tried CentOS which at least did most everything correctly and got me the Red Hat base I wanted.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm sure it's everything Jack says and is a huge improvement over the last version of Fedora I tried (7), but for the moment my Linux experimenting days are over.

Jaqui
Jaqui

That is making an assumption that I have in the past used it as my distro of choice, which has never been the case. sorry, ANY distro that picks GNOME as default gui [ KDE 4 now also ] is forever off my distro of choice options. to bad Fedora is so far behind the times, it's just getting reliable hardware detection? just getting reliable backup tools? Sad, really really sad that the "flagship" commercial distro company Red Hat can't even keep current with a fork of their product. [ Mandriva has had everything but version specifics that you mention being in latest fedora, for years Jack, YEARS. Fedora can't be all that current to be years behind a stable software only distro.] :D

Jaqui
Jaqui

the Red Hat servers. all Red Hat sites are slow to access, and Red Hat updates have always suffered speed wise. Suse used same tools for system management last time I looked at it, and was far faster updating. Centos does use same tools and is faster updating, so it has to be the Red Hat Corporation's internet connection or server load.

pgit
pgit

Jack mentioned you can install fedora 13 with KDE 4.4 in the article. But I don't recommend it, as you suggest I discovered a lot of stuff did not work "out of the box" with KDE as it did with the Gnome install. (though I have to say I installed both from the live CD versions) I did install the Gnome version then later add KDE 4.4, which was a serious PITA, but I eventually got a working KDE environment... and some of the great features were indeed broken, which I assumed to be the fault of the KDE packaging itself, not the underlying OS. It appears fedora is Gnome-centric, a shame because I'll use enlightenment, XFCE, LXDE, IceWM or any other environment before I'll use Gnome... I haven't checked but if some user group or community rolls a custom fedora with KDE solely in mind I'll have a go. Fedora 13 is quite remarkable, hate to say it but no doubt in large part precisely because they focus on Gnome as the default environment.

Justin James
Justin James

... were the statements at the beginning which reminded me why *I* don't use Fedora. It's beta software. Stability issues and performance issues? Isn't that why people evangelize Linux over Windows in the first place (aside from GPL love and security)? If a distro isn't secure or stable, it had better trim my grass or change my oil or otherwise make life insanely better in some other fashion... J.Ja

ogoforth
ogoforth

Once upon a time we started off on the wrong foot and I reacted to your strong convictions. For that I apologize. What distro do you suggest? I have tried many. Most worked 80 to 90%. Ubuntu (I know how you feel about it...) was the only one that actually provided me with 100% HW detection, easy software selection and install without having to master the command line first. I was pretty spoiled with Windows. So I have become used to Ubuntu. Kind of like an old pair of jeans. Compared to XP pre SP1, it has never failed me. I don't need an i5 proc with 8GB of ram to have quick boot times. In you opinion, what should be touted as the best of the best and why?

adrianfoot
adrianfoot

I agree with Jaqui in the sense that the hardware detection has problems.. Gone are the days of Red Hat 9 which came so close to competing with Xp. Today I have Fedora 13 on my Lenovo 3000 N200 however I am reluctant to use it because Fedora 13 can't detect and manage the network card or circuit. I must use my USB ethernet adaptor to work reliably with Fedora 13.(they did try to fix the bug) I also have a Dell Latitude D505 and I bought it a Western Digital 340 Gig disk, I can install it on that laptop, but it won't boot so I have to dash for my Xp disk, restore the boot sector NTDLR etc and I can work with it ok.. I can do very little with Grub.. I also miss Lilo How could we recommend Fedora 13 to be used across production? Unfortunately it must remain in the background until one day all the distributions will standardise and support each other even Google could join in. At present Linux is devided and to be ruled for some time. The lessons of Unix have not sunk in, sadly it has potential to rule and do great things, we can all see this won't happen as we are going.

quinn.rm
quinn.rm

Fedora already has a KDE "spin", a customized version of the default Fedora disc, available. It also has LXDE and XFCE spins as well. Here is the link: http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora-options I installed the KDE spin when I got done building my new machine and everything works pretty well.

Jaqui
Jaqui

that this weeks security bulletins are windows, 3rd party windows or cross platform or hardware. None that do specifically impact only GNU/Linux. so while there may be security issues with a distro, the os itself is still in far better shape than windows :D

rob.ward78
rob.ward78

Hey, i use a Compaq CQ61 notebook, and i agree with you. Ubuntu 10.04 has, in my opinion, performed the impossible on notebooks. I personally think that ubuntu 10.04 is a stable, reliable, simple, trustworthy and solid Operating System, on notebooks, but i also believe that it is ready to commence riveling Microsoft. You might disagree with me, but that is my opinion.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I like a very custom selection of packages based on the "install only desirable" versus the "uninstall all undesirable" approach of Ubuntu. For me, "better" is stability, security, available software library, default config, flexible custom install - Debian. I wouldn't say that's the "better" other people are after though. Pre-packaged type "user friendly"; look at Mint, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu (also popular). Security; Backtrack. It depends on your intended use and what constitutes the subjective "better".

Jaqui
Jaqui

well as bloated as Mandriva is, they do have LiLo available for bootloader, and it works still. with UUID labels for the partitions even. the failure of every other distro to have a functioning install of LiLo is most definitely a competency problem. Their devs are lacking it. ;)

pgit
pgit

But like Jaqui said above, Mandriva has had 'it all' for a long time. The machine the KDE version of fedora didn't detect properly has been 100% out of the box with Mandriva since 2008.0. I will say that fedora seems to have nailed a more universal wifi detect/config. Mandriva still has a couple of problems with that, notably broadcom chips in an intel system. While I'm thinking of it I'll swap an ati card into the test bed, ati video drivers have been getting worse it seems, I'll see how fedora handles it...

Jaqui
Jaqui

it will rival Microsoft for exploits. as long as they have a rootless config where an END USER password grants full admin access, they are not trustworthy nor secure. so yup, they will rival Microsoft, for the insecure / unstable / malware victim crown Microsoft has held for so long.

Jaqui
Jaqui

which distro is very much personal choice, and should rightly be influenced by the use the system will be put to. CAELinux, with some tools and all configuration targeted at Computer Aided Engineering being an example of picking a distro to fit the usage. You wouldn't use CAE for a typical secretary's desktop, but it might fit well for a Structural Engineer's desktop. Vector, a Slak based distro that tries to be user friendly and work on older systems. They aren't end of lifeing drivers for older hardware as rapidly as other distros.

Editor's Picks