The final version of Fedora 17 does not arrive until May 22nd, 2012. I have installed the final Beta version, and it is the best version of the Fedora operating system that I have ever used. In TLWIR 37, I will look under the hood of Fedora 17, and let you know what you can look forward to in the “Beefy Miracle”.
- Under the Hood: I take a closer look at what’s installed.
- Improvements: I look at how Fedora 17 improved from the Alpha to the Beta version.
- Bugs and Problems: I look at a Yumex/Package kit bug.
- The Bread and the Butter: A look at the GIMP 2.8.
Under the Hood
The first thing that I do when I install a new Fedora GNU/Linux OS is to run “yum update”. This shell command updates all of the packages to the latest versions. After the update, here were the versions of the operating system components that I was running:
- Linux kernel: 3.3.4-4.fc17.x86_64
- Gnome: 3.4.1
- Audacity: 2.0.0
- Code::Blocks C++ IDE: 10.05
- Firefox: 12.0
- LibreOffice: 220.127.116.11
In other words, Fedora 17 is packed with the latest versions of everything! It is a fantastic operating system. When I first logged into my Fedora 17 system after the install, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the “fireworks” desktop wallpaper. It is not as beautiful as some of the previous Fedora wallpapers, but it has grown on me. Here is a screenshot of my desktop.
Figure 1: The Fedora 17 Desktop
As you can see, the Gnome 3 generation of desktop environments (which includes Gnome 3 and Ubuntu’s Unity) have a similar look and feel. KDE 4 has a little bit more traditional look and feel, but is just as refreshing as Gnome 3 and Unity. There has been a lot of controversy about Gnome 3 and Unity. Many say that they are “dumbed down” interfaces. However, I am a power user, and I have found how to still get the most out of Gnome 3. The command line is still available, and you can get down into the guts of the operating system, if you want to. I love Gnome 3!
Improvements From Fedora 17 Alpha to Fedora 17 Beta
I did notice one huge improvement: Dropbox works now! When I tried to install Dropbox on an Alpha version of Fedora 17, I got an error message. This has been fixed in the Beta version. Dropbox installed perfectly, as shown below.
Figure 2: Dropbox Running on Fedora 17
I also noticed that the boot time and the act of running programs seemed snappier in the Beta version of Fedora 17. In fact, I have been using Fedora 17 Beta as my main OS for the past two weeks. It is ready for the prime time.
Bugs and Problems
I have only noticed one problem: when the system starts up Packagekit is running, and it has a lock on the yum process, so you can’t run Yumex without killing Packagekit. Every time that I startup my computer, I have to run the kill command if I want to run Yumex. For example, the most recent time that I started the computer, Packagekit was running on the PID 2357. so I had to open a terminal, become the root user via the su command, and then issue this command:
I was then able to run Yumex. This is a minor bug, but it is extremely annoying. Hopefully, it will be fixed by the final release.
The Bread and the Butter!
The most impressive addition to Fedora 17 from my perspective is GIMP 2.8. I have been waiting for the upgraded version of the GIMP for a long time, and Fedora 17 delivers!
Figure 3: GIMP 2.8 Starting Up
I am a power GIMP user, and GIMP 2.6 was getting pretty long in the tooth. GIMP 2.8 is a welcomed addition. GIMP 2.8 has a cleaner interface and faster startup time. Files are now saved in .xcf format by default. To save them to another format (such as .png), you actually have to export to the non-native format. This is a great feature that prevents you from writing over your original file.
Fedora 17 Beta is a powerful operating system that is ready for daily use, despite the warnings to the contrary. In a couple of weeks, I will have a review of Fedora 17 Final when it is released. I cannot wait!