5. 3D printing: 3D printing is all the rage these days, and Fedora 19 ships with several 3D printing applications and utilities. Unless you have a 3D printer ready to print, these applications are of no use to you, but if you have one, or can afford one, yum-install any of the available 3D printing utilities and have fun.
6. Anaconda: The new Anaconda, the Fedora systems installer, with its ill-designed user interface (UI) and bad user experience (UX) that comes with it, appears to have all the advanced features in place, but there are still a few basic ones that are yet to be implemented.
You probably already know that, like the old Anaconda, the new one has support for: full disk and partition-level encryption; LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager; btrfs as a storage option; and support for installation on remote storage devices. The UI of the new Anaconda is fashioned after a hub-and-spoke scheme. This image shows its main hub.
Now, you can easily resize or reclaim disk space from a partition using a slider. First, you select the target partition, then click on the Shrink to button. This is one of the points where Anaconda crashed on me, just after I hit that button.
When Anaconda didn’t crash, reclaiming disk space from a partition was just a matter of moving the slider in the right direction.
This is the other step in the installation process where Anaconda crashed. The image below was taken during installation in a virtual environment, but the crashes (it crashed twice) occurred during installation on real hardware, on a computer with multiple hard disk drives (HDD). Both crash events occurred after I clicked to create root’s password, while package installation was still taking place. After the first crash and subsequent restart of Anaconda, the system failed to detect the target HDD, so I switched the SATA cable to another HDD and restarted Anaconda again.
Just like the first crash, the second crash happened after I clicked to create root’s password, while package installation had not been completed. And just like the first time, the system failed to detect the second HDD after I restarted Anaconda. So on the third attempt (yes, there was a third attempt!), I switched the SATA cable to an SSD and waited until package installation had finished before clicking to specify a password for the root account. As the saying goes, third time’s a charm. In this case, it was. So given that the third attempt was successful, I can say with some degree of confidence that Anaconda has a nasty but at the step of the installation process shown in the image below.
Though Anaconda has most or all advanced features in place, a few basic ones, like being able to specify a bootloader password and install the bootloader to a location other than the Master Boot Record (MBR), is not in place.
Ok, let’s take a look at areas specific to the main edition and the KDE Spin, starting with the main edition, which runs the GNOME 3 Desktop Environment.
7. GNOME 3 Edition: The GNOME 3 desktop in Fedora 19 features a “pure” GNOME Shell, that is, a stock or unmodified GNOME Shell. Which means that most users will likely find it a little bit on the user-unfriendly side of the desktop computing experience. One thing I fail to understand about the GNOME Shell, is why the Suspend option is not in the User Menu or why it’s not listed in the shutdown options window. Instead, the developers decided that the place location for it is on the login screen. So if you are logged into the system and wish to put the computer in Suspend mode, you have to first logout of the system. Bad implementation!
And to get to the application picker requires three. These, combined with the undesktop-like leaning of the GNOME Shell, means that it takes the installation of at least two extensions before I can even begin to feel comfortable using a GNOME 3 desktop.
Logging in using GNOME 3 Classic mode is an option for those that want a traditional desktop experience. But as I found out, that mode does not really offer a GNOME 2-type desktop experience. Rather, what it brings to the GNOME 3 desktop is an hybrid interface (see GNOME 3 Classic is more of a hybrid desktop). This screen shot shows the Fedora 19 GNOME 3 desktop when logged in that mode. Keep in mind that in Fedora 19, gnome-classic-session, the package that implements the GNOME Classic mode, is not installed by default.
Fedora 19 GNOME 3 ships with a welcome application or desktop greeter that I think is an attempt to implement a Kaptan-like application for Fedora. Kaptan is a desktop greeter for Pardus, a Turkish Linux distribution. It runs on first boot (or first login) and can be run at any other time. What it does is make it easy for users to customize different aspects of the desktop. It has been ported and enhanced in Chakra Linux, where it is known as Kapudan (see Every distribution should have its own Kapudan).
Compared to Kaptan and Kapudan, Fedora’s desktop greeter is very basic. All it allows you to do is change input sources and configure online accounts. But it’s a good first step. Like firewall-applet, a good desktop greeter is a user-friendly feature, one that I think all desktop distributions should have. There is an ongoing discussion within the Mageia development community for a similar application for their distribution. The Fedora team might want to consider borrowing some features from Kaptan and Kapudan. This screen shot shows the first stop of the desktop greeter.
And this one shows the online accounts that you can configure. Both the input sources and the online accounts can, of course, be configured from the System Settings window.
About the System Settings. Almost all the graphical management applications for the GNOME 3 desktop can be found there. “Almost all,” because the startup or auto-start module is missing. I found that in order to configure a program to start automatically at login, I had to drop to the command-line and type gnome-session-properties, then configure the target application from its interface.
This screen shot shows the interface of gnome-session-properties. By the way, I made one last attempt to start firewall-applet by making it a startup application, but that also failed.
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