New to Fedora 15 is the Administrators group. A user in this group may use sudo to perform system-wide administrative tasks. When you create an account on a running system, you may add it to the Administrators groups by adding it to the “wheel” group.
An application I could not use is the Disk Management tool (System Tools > Disk Management). Trying to start it generated the error shown in this image.
Security Tools: Like other Fedora 15 editions, the LXDE Spin ships with the firewall enabled. There is a graphical firewall installed and configured. Out of the box, the firewall is configured to allow ssh traffic (port 22) in – from all hosts and networks. Thankfully, the Secure Shell server is installed, but not active by default.
Aside from the ports and services listed on the main window, additional ports from a list of more than 60,000+ tcp and udp ports may be added from the Other Ports window. Like the ssh service, any port you add and enable from here will be accessible to all hosts and networks.
You can add custom rules from the Custom Rules window. However, adding custom rules requires loading the rule(s) from a file, which in turn requires that you know how to write IPTables rules.
New to Fedora 15 is FirewallD, a firewall daemon with a D-Bus interface, which is being designed to provide a dynamic frontend to the firewall application, so that reloading is not required when a change is made to the firewall rules. It is not installed by default, but if you do, you also need to install its applet. With the applet installed, you can make changes to the firewall from the panel, without needing to launch another application. And if it lives up to its billing, you will not need to reload or apply changes when a new rule or service is added.
If you look closely at the image below, you will see a “Panic Mode” checkbox. I could not determine exactly what enabling that mode is supposed to accomplish, but the applet crashed every time I clicked on the checkbox. I could not find any reference to a “Panic Mode” in FirewallD’s official page.
FirewallD has a very user-friendly command line utility called by firewall-cmd. For example, to enable access to the Secure Shell server, all you need to type is, firewall-cmd –enable –service=ssh. And to enable the same service for, say, 30 seconds, you would type firewall-cmd –enable –service=ssh –timeout=30.
FirewallD is expected to be the default on Fedora 16 onwards. You may read more about it here.
Another new security feature in Fedora 15 is the removal of setuid applications. These are applications that run with the permissions or privileges of the applications owner or group. Potentially, they can be a security nightmare. More about this feature here.
Final Thoughts: The last time I used an LXDE-based distribution, LXDE was considered a geeks-only desktop environment. Since then, it seems to have developed into a nearly fully-featured desktop environment. It is usable by all, but not yet at the level of a KDE desktop. The main problem with Fedora Spins is that they do not seem to have received the same level of development attention as the main edition. But if you are looking for an alternative distribution to a GNOME 3-based distribution, and have the time to tweak and customize a lightweight distribution to fit your needs, this LXDE spin might be what you are looking for.
Resources: Torrent and direct download 32- and 64-bit installation ISO images of Fedora 15 LXDE are available here. Information about the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment is available at the projects Web page. Support questions may be posted here and here.
Screenshots: View more screenshots from a test installation of Fedora 15 LXDE.
The login screen.
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