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Testing Fedora 10 KDE Edition December 1, 2008

Posted by rm42 in Computers, Linux.
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My Fedora KDE Desktop

My Fedora KDE Desktop

My experience with Fedora has not been bad at all. I think a big reason for that is that my Thinkpad T61 laptop has practically no need for proprietary drivers. The Intel graphics card open source driver has gotten quite good and provides painless and efficient compositing out of the box. In fact, every piece of hardware, including sound, works out of the box. So, that leaves me free to compare distros by their features and ease of use. So what have I found in using Fedora 10 KDE version?

The good:

  • Beautiful KDE 4.1 and artwork.
  • Fast boot up – With auto-sign on enabled, it takes less than a minute from boot start until the last tray icon loads! (For comparison, on the same machine, PCLOS takes 1 minute 15 seconds.Yes it loads a few more things, like the compiz icon and the OOo icon, but still, the desktop is not even shown after 1 minute wile Fedora shows me the desktop after just 45 seconds.)
  • Up to date repository – Firefox 3.0.4, OOo 3.0, Django 1.0-1., Gimp 2.6.2, etc. (I only wish it came with Python 2.6 Smiley)
  • Adequate package manager. KPackagekit has had no trouble resolving dependencies so far and it is quite fast.
  • Because packages are presented in a more granular way, instead of as single large packages, some nifty extra packages are discoverable, such as the Ufraw plugin for Cinepaint and the one that provides extra PDF functionality for OOo.
  • Good wireless networking – connects very reliably and fast.
  • Good Print Configuration tool (it really is quite intuitive, but it took me for spin at first because I didn’t think that connecting to a printer on a remote CUPS server would involve creating a new printer object on the local machine).
  • I love the new KDE4 Gwenview image viewer. Kiss
  • Comes with a slick translucent Folder view widget ready to be populated by dragging and dropping from the application launcher or any way you like.
  • I was able to create an icon to launch konqueror as root (other applications launch as root from there if needed) [/usr/libexec/kde4/kdesu konqueror].
  • So far no crashes or hangups.

The not so good:

  • It is not obvious how to get some things working, like flash, DVD playback, etc. One has to know what to look for and be proficient at Googling.
  • There does not seem to be a way to make “File Management” the default profile when launching konqueror.
  • It does not have OOo or Firefox installed by default.
  • Dolphin will not load as root using the above method.
  • KPackagekit sometimes sits there for a little while with no feedback for the user to know that it is doing something.
  • Installing applications like OOo involve selecting several packages instead of just one (while the granular approach has advantages, there should still be the option of just selecting one all encompassing package with sane defaults).
  • Amarok does not yet have a graphic equalizer.
  • It asks for the keyring password before connecting to wifi every time you boot.

Of course, both of those lists will probably grow as I use the distro more. But, using it exclusively for about 4 days now that is what I have found. Overall, I am finding it a pleasure to work with.

Comments»

1. devnet - December 2, 2008

If your pclinuxos takes 1 min 15 seconds to boot…there is something drastically wrong with your setup. Mine takes about 30-40 seconds to desktop.

2. rm42 - December 2, 2008

devnet,
I doubt it. It is fully up to date. Maybe you have a faster machine?

3. ric storms - December 2, 2008

I don’t understand the rational to not include firefox. Konqueror is capable, but it is not a full feature browser. I was very impressed that it picked up almost everything on my HP laptop, with the exception of the Nvidia graphics card (I expected that as Fedora is fairly strict of only including FOSS). The more I use KDE 4, as slick as it is, it just comes off as more annoying than functional. Been using GNOME to long, I guess.

4. Surreal - December 2, 2008

I’ve tried valiantly to install and use Fedora 10, “KDE version”, “Live version”, even downloaded the 6 iso CD version. Given that, I’m very comfortable stating “we hates it!”.

W[hat]* are they trying to do, recreate the “Windows Black Box” experience? The same system that ran Fedora 8, SUSE 10, even Windows XP without problems is a friggin basket case with any flavor of F10. My Viewsonic VM920 monitor isn’t recognized and there are about 2 inches of desktop “lost” off the left side – that includes the “start” button. Worse, there’s apparently no longer a system-config-display – I can’t even get it to confess what it thinks the monitor is much less let me change it.

Then there’s networking, or an aggravating lack thereof. Forget system-config-network. It flat doesn’t freaking do anything anymore. Click at the right moment on the popup stating that the “network is disconnected” and I got an nm-some[-]*thing utility that I got networking going with long enough to download all the current patches. One reboot later and I’ve got broken READ_ONLY networking.

Arrrgh! I’m reinstalling Fedora 8 as I write this. God help Redhat if they try to inflict this on me in the RHEL installation. Ooooh, we hates it. More than Fedora 9.
*[] Edits by moderator.

5. Meis - December 2, 2008

I think that leaving out Firefox and OOorg is a good thing. It leaves one able to use there preferred system without necessary uninstalling extra software. Some people prefer other browsers in Linux, like Opera (though personally I prefer Firefox, in Linux that is, it is far too buggy on any other OS). And still others may not like OO.org and may prefer KOffice (like myself, I can’t stand OO.org, KOffice isn’t too bad, but I prefer MS Office). So I think leaving this choice up to the user isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just my two cents.

6. aby - December 2, 2008

Now I’m wondering why KDE was buggy when I used it in my Fedora 10. I might re-install it though I’m comfortable with Gnome.

@ Surreal, hating it won’t do any good. By the way, there’s also Gnome, I wish you tried it first before declaring hatred towards Fedora 10 as a whole.

7. Andrea - December 3, 2008

Being used to KDE 3.5, I found myself suddenly confronted with the new KDE4.x. After 3 weeks of trying to use it, I found myself digging out an older installation CD and revert to the old KDE. Instead of simpler, everything appears to be more complex.

I don’t understand why the developers try to improve on something that is perfect (for the user).

8. linuxcanuck - December 3, 2008

I have had a similar experience, but came to another conclusion. I don’t find Fedora all that usable as it is. However, I will stick with it as I am determined to understand why people use Fedora and like it. See: http://linuxcanuck.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/an-ubuntu-user-takes-fedora-10-for-a-test-drive/

I will keep using Fedora 10, but Ubuntu 8.10 will be my go-to distro for reasons that I outline in my blog. I have a bad history with RPM that goes back to my early years as a Mandrake user. IMO, RPM is still second rate. Improved is not the same thing as good. Anyone who prefers RPM has never used both and put them through their paces.

As for KDE 4 vs. KDE 3.5, there is no comparison. QT4 applications look better and are snappier. KDE4 outperforms KDE 3.5, it looks better with plasma and it is cross platform. You will be able to use it on a Mac, on Windows and on Linux. It is the future, so get used to it.

It took me awhile to warm up to it, but it will grow on you if you give it a chance. I have used it for a year now, so I have seen the worst and the best of KDE 4. We seem to be past the hump. It is stable and very usable, In fact, I am using it now in Kubuntu.

9. rm42 - December 3, 2008

@linuxcanuck

Thanks for dropping by. I read your write up about your experience with Fedora. Too bad it went so bad for you. I am not a fedora expert by any means. Red Hat was my second distro, after Slackware, about 10 years ago. Since then, I had not found a release from them that I felt comfortable enough using for every day work. I did try Fedora 8 and it was close, but like you I ran into some repository issues that made me stay away. So far, I have not had the same problems, but I haven’t used it that much (I went back to Mandriva briefly because I wanted to install the 4.1.3 update).

As far as the RPM vs DEB issue, I am convinced that it is a matter of how good the repository maintainers are at packaging. Why do I think that? Because PCLinuxOS, an RPM distro, has made me a believer. Yes, they use Synaptic, but I think the reasons for their excellent repository experience are due more to the quality of their packages than to the package manager. I do agree though that Synaptic is the best package manager I have used.

As far as Ubuntu, all I have to say is that as long as the GTK File Save/Open dialog box prevents me from renaming files and folders I will not useGNOME. Having to deal with that in Firefox already is enough torture already. (I can’t wait for the QT Firefox project to release.) And Kubuntu felt too much like a step child distro for me.

10. Surreal - December 4, 2008

aby wrote: @ Surreal, hating it won’t do any good. By the way, there’s also Gnome, I wish you tried it first before declaring hatred towards Fedora 10 as a whole.

I give Gnome a try with each new release just to see if I can tolerate it. Unfortunately, the answer remains “no”. It just feels like being in a playpen or, as I mentioned, the “Windows black box” experience.

Ask a C programmer to work in Pascal and you may witness similar sentiments😉

I started using Linux (Redhat 5.2) after becoming completely disgusted trying to write code for Windows 95 (a “VSD” driver to sit above the disk controller, as if anyone cares) I kept hitting roadblocks with undocumented APIs until I had no choices left other than “embrace homicidal rage” or “switch to an OS with source code”.

I suspect my problems with Fedora 10 are mostly with the installer. I have a primal need to make decisions like “pre-break everything with SELinux = no” during the initial install.

Surreal

11. Open Source - December 8, 2008

for me i like gnome becaus he’s developed with gtk😀
very nice subject
Tutos linux

12. Stephano - December 9, 2008

Great review. Thanks for the info.

I just installed 10 on my Thinkpad T61. Other than than a little error on update (see below), things have gone fine.

I’m a little lost when it comes to my duel displays via the dock though. I can see both monitors in the settings window, I can even turn off “Mirror Displays” and arrange them. Regardless of my settings I just get one monitor.

If anyone can point me in the right direction that would rock. Also, any thoughts as to the below problem are welcome. I simply did a fresh install and didn’t update🙂.

http://sathyasays.com/2008/12/09/december-7th-fedora-update-breaks-packagekit-gives-failed-to-get-a-tid-error/

13. rm42 - December 9, 2008

Stephano,

Yes, I heard about that issue with the bad update. Good thing that you avoided it. I recommend that you head on over to the Fedora forums and see what they recommend doing. I am sure they will be able to tell you when it is safe to update again.

http://forums.fedoraforum.org/index.php

14. rm42 - December 15, 2008

Stephano,

The problem has been resolved. Just open a terminal and enter the following command to do a full update:

su -c ‘yum update’

15. Sara - December 22, 2008

Could you give us an idea of how stable Firefox is in Fedora 10? I’ve just installed openSUSE 11.1, and Firefox runs better on openSUSE than it *ever* ran on Ubuntu or Kubuntu! And openSUSE really makes KDE look good (especially after I applied the fix to return the menu icons back to the Oxygen set, instead of Crystal). Very polished. But, frankly, I’m a little disappointed in openSUSE’s repos, and I’m very interested in Fedora, as they’re using Plymouth. Really, that long to boot though? I averaged 30.5 seconds till everything was loaded, with only wireless left to go, in Ubuntu, 27.5 seconds in Kubuntu (somehow, KDE seems to be faster), and openSUSE is fast, but I haven’t timed it yet. I have a Thinkpad too, the X61 tablet.

rm42 - December 22, 2008

Sara,

There was a very bad bug with one of the updates in Fedora (see comments above). But, other than that, I have been rather pleased with the performance and stability of the OS. Things in KDE are changing very rapidly at the moment. As patches and updates keep being rolled out, you are going to see a lot of improvements. So that may be what you are seeing between SUSE and Kubuntu (although I do seem to remember that Kubuntu has a smaller developer team than SUSE or Fedora’s respective KDE teams.) Another excellent KDE4 implementation is Mandriva’s.

16. Sara - December 22, 2008

Another positive for openSUSE: Plasma hasn’t even once crashed, and it was crashing all the time in Kubuntu… And openSUSE handles screen rotation (for the tablet), absolutely wonderfully.

17. konstantin - December 22, 2008

Hey, I’ve been running F10 for quite some time now. Didn’t have any problems with installation on my hp laptop. Got sound and wi-fi working right after installation. Got compiz-fusion right after kmod-nvidia installation (yum install kmod-nvidia). I did have problems when I decided to re-partition my hard drive, though this is probably just a linux issue, not fedora. Anyways, some thoughts about it: http://kovshenin.com/archives/fedora-10-partitioning/

18. everett - December 23, 2008

Really Love new Fedora 10. Except KDE. Not really specfic to fedora or all hardware but I get fonts that are about 2 iinches so its impossible to do anything. Could be the 64 amd turion or ATI graphics card. Had the same problem with other distros. Right now I have a purchased copy or Mandriva powerpack 2009 and Fedora 10 with a dual boot, KDE does work on Mandriva.

19. DannyB - January 9, 2009

I just got a Fedora 10 DVD and went for a full upgrade from Fedora Core 7 to 10. This was not a crucial machine and I wanted it to keep the configuration. It worked well even when in the middle of the upgrade it could not read one of the packages for some reason. I restarted the upgrade and it completed fine. I am not happy with the lack of control in plasma. It feels to much like a Mac which I don’t like. It used to be that I could make quick changes with a right click on the “object”. That has gone away and there is no intuitive way to make things work the way I like. I am sure that the KDE developers will “improve” things, but I hope they don’t think that all things Mac like are an improvement.

rm42 - January 9, 2009

Danny,
I appreciate your comments. However, it would be better if you provided specific examples of what you don’t like in plasma. That way, if there is a reason for the change, someone could try to explain it or provide a workaround and everyone would benefit.

20. DavidJ - February 16, 2009

I’ve been using Redhat & then FC for years. I recently tried to upgrade from FC8 to FC10 and it was a total failure. Had to create a fresh install then had a heck of a time just to get KDE up (I HATE gnome). The session option at log on had no effect, I finally figured out I had to build a file /etc/sysconfig/desktop and make a manual entry ‘DESKTOP=”KDE”‘ to finally get KDE up. Now I have to rebuild my mail, dev environment etc. to get back to where I was with FC8.
I then tried to upgrade my wife’s PC from FC5 to FC10. It sort of worked, eventually – I had to do a lot of fiddling with xorg.conf just to get it to start. Again KDE would not run and in gnome I couldn’t configure anything – tried to change network settings, display settings etc, but nothing came up when trying to invoke the various utilities. Again I gave up and did a fresh install. But again KDE can’t be used – I created the /etc/sysconfig/desktop file but the system freezes half way through starting KDE. She’s stuck with gnome.
All in all my experience with FC10 it that it is a flaming disaster.

rm42 - February 16, 2009

David,

Sorry to hear that. What I don’t understand is whether you installed Fedora 10 using a KDE CD or a Gnome CD? From what you write it sounds like you were using a Gnome CD and trying to add KDE afterward. As for upgrading distros, I always just install fresh. The only exception is with PCLinuxOS since it is a rolling release and upgrades just keep working (usually). I think Arch is also supposed to be a rolling release, but I had a hard time with it on my hardware.

21. DavidJ - February 17, 2009

Hi, rm42,

No I created a full installation DvD and when I installed I asked for gnome, KDE and sugar (wanted to see what this last one was). But trying to use the session menu for KDE or sugar simple did not work.
Additional frustrations in trying to recreate my dev environment includes trying to get firefox to run from a desktop launcher (unable), trying to get Sun’s Java installed (installs but won’t run on one machine, won’t download on the other). I’m going to have to write of FC10 and go back to FC8 or use another distro alas.

22. Cumpanasu Florin - July 28, 2009

realy sead that firefox is not part of fedora(kde destribution) i can’t install RPM-s on my ACER ASPIRE 5735z. Webcam, Sound and Wireless work fine. I try to reinstall it. In Debian i had no webcam orwireless.

rm42 - July 28, 2009

I guess my question is why can’t you install RPMs on your Acer? I would think that if you don’t have network access you could at least copy an RPM into the machine with a USB drive and install it then.


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