"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
Mini-Fedora Core 3 review.

Harry bitched at me for making that Red Hat joke the other day, so just to be an ass I went ahead and downloaded the Fedora Core 3 ISOs. Finally got around to installing it on a machine today:

Dual P3 900-something, 512MB RAM, SCSI, Ensoniq something or other, NVidia something, Intel EEPro.

It's a Penguin Computing workstation, so all the parts are pretty much guaranteed to work, or they're bad.

Anyway, it booted, saw stuff, installed.

So far it's not awful. I just went with the Workstation install, just to screw with it, since it's just a toy to me. The up2date tool is nice. The fact that it's in the menubar at launch is good stuff. I just pulled a 130MB of updates just now and it's installing.

Netfilter defaults to on, as does SELinux, so there's actual Workstation Security stuff going on, which is pretty awesome.

GNOME 2.8 is fast. The menu layout still sucks. After using OS X for the past two years, I'm not used to wading through menus to get at things anymore, especially not simply configuration/preferences. There should be some sort of central location for that stuff. (Is there? gconf doesn't count.)

The keychain icon in the toolbar when you auth to root is good stuff as well.

Overall, thus far, I would say it's a pretty good product.

That said, some people have run into problems with the install or various other things. Perhaps I'll hit those, but probably not before I install something else on the machine. :)

It should also be noted that the Windows Browser thing is still broken. I've never seen a distro where it actually does work, though, so you can't really hold it against RH (I guess).

I had initially intended on getting some RH server action and doing a real review, and how it stood up against other server OSes (Sol10, OpenBSD, etc), but obviously I can't get at the RH Enterprise bits, and reviewing FC3:Server against those just doesn't really seem fair.

I would reccommend it to someone who just wants a workstation, anyway.

January 26, 2005 3:15 PM


I just added another drive to this machine, and went to "Disk Configuration" under "System Tools", as that would make sense for formatting new drives, etc.

Unfortunately it won't let me, or even ask for authentication info. That sucks.

(After authing via another app, it still doesn't let me in. Sad. mke2fs it is.)

Posted by: bda at January 26, 2005 5:18 PM

Screwing around in Fedora (and I assume Red Hat's) internals makes me unhappy.

Again, suggested for workstation use, using their tools, doing things the Proper Way is a pain.... as with all commercial UNIX, I guess.

Posted by: bda at January 27, 2005 2:57 PM

Yeah, so far I'm not impressed.

I booted off the install image (from a usb pen drive), and before I knew what had happened, I had a kernel panic. Appears to be from when the kernel loaded the ohci1394 driver. So I rebooted, and told it not to probe for hardware. This got me as far as it asking for my install method (NFS)... It loaded the network driver, asked for the nfs server info, and tried to launch anaconda (which apparently launches X). For whatever unknown reason, X died almost immediately, and I got told I had to reboot.

So I've rebooted and am trying again. This time, X has apparently stayed up and anaonda is running. Mind you, I didn't do anything different this time... Maybe I'll be able to get through the install.

Posted by: Adam at January 27, 2005 5:20 PM

Wow... So as soon as I click "Next" I get a new window popping up with the title "Bug":

"Assertion (heads > 0) at disk_dos.c:485 in function probe_partition_for_geom() failed."

FC3 is a piece of crap.


Posted by: Adam at January 27, 2005 5:23 PM

Yeah, there's a lot I don't like about it now that I've done more than opened an xterm (for ssh), run Firefox, and uh. Didn't have to configure X (both machines I've put it on had Nvidia cards).

Play with yum some. It's... real special. Real special.

Posted by: bda at January 28, 2005 12:25 AM

eh. FC2 is okay. for a workstation. for RH. we have it installed on a laptop here. the only thing we use it for is minicom and battleship. it works.

Posted by: shady at February 10, 2005 8:52 AM

Try Ubuntu. I played with the LiveCD briefly. Pretty slick distro.

Posted by: bda at February 10, 2005 9:05 AM
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