Okay, now I'm using Fedora 9, actually for a few weeks already. This post also should have been made earlier, it actually has been, but in German, and just now I've found the time for the translation. So, this article has been written when I've been using Fedora 9 for a couple of days, so the update to KDE 4.0.4 has been done already, but it didn't help very much with points that will be mentioned in this article.
Okay, so here we go...
As I, since 1999, am a KDE-User this post is being written in Konqueror, version 4 now, as Fedora 9 drops KDE 3 and goes full speed onto the new shiny KDE 4.
It was a bit of work to get Fedora 9 onto my boxes, as I had a little elictricity-problem during the upgrade from Fedora 8 to 9, which caused me quite a lot of work.
So, never unplug your PC while doing a major distro-upgrade. Even though you may be able to resume it, it'll be a hell of a mess!
And since I've been so clever to previously have all data on one partition I also had to spend quite some time (which I usually would have spent on sleeping) on resizing partitions and logical volumes and moving about 80GB of data (about 10GB of CD-images, 5GB Live-coverage of this years Mayday, about 5GB of photos and lots of other stuff).
Now I have a /home-partition, and actually have no idea why I didn't do that before. After all, I already use Linux for a few years, and should know that this really is better.
Okay, so I had to do a fresh install. As my PC has a Radeon X1250 onboard I sadly had to install in text-mode. It seems the RadeonHD-driver didn't make it into the installer. Well, that's okay, also that Fedora boots into runlevel 3 after installation is survivable, it's easy enough to change that to 5 to have graphical login (after installing RadeonHD from the repository).
Having the graphical installer using the vesa-driver instead would have been nice though, in Fedora 7 and 8 it did...
As one is used to from Fedora installation goes pretty straight forward. Text-mode may not look as nice, but it's still pretty easy, even partitioning and LVM-setup.
As said, from day 1 I was using KDE (I still know KDE1, yes, I'm that old... ;-) ), so I was waiting to see the new shiny KDE4. So I launched the new package-manager and got my first slap in the face. Why? Because the new package-manager sucks big-time!
It's really nice that now I can open package- and update-manager at the same time, without having big ugly notices telling me that another instance of yum already is running (now you get little messages telling you it's waiting for other actions to complete, but still it's a bit nicer), but why on earth do I have to install packages 1-by-1 and cannot just select a bunch of packages I want (like Gimp, Blender, Inkscape, ...) and then install the lot? It worked with older versions of Fedora! And yum itself also didn't lose support for multiple parameters!
Okay, but I'm skipping stuff here, because after launching the package-manager and clicking on "KDE Desktop" I got quite a surprise, the category was empty...
I have to get the application-list before I can see anything. It would have been nice if that could have happened automatically, at least on the first start of the application. After all, without the whole program isn't much use...
Okay, that was no big problem, and also having to install packages 1-by-1 (reminds a bit of good, old Slackware-times...) is survivable, although it is annoying (it's big big fun to install all available fonts!).
It's also pretty nice that doing the actual installation doesn't lock the application as it did before, but it's no use during that time as clicking on another application doesn't give you it's description as you'd expect, no, it will wait first to complete "other tasks" (the installation you just started). Now this is responsible for another problem, because this makes it impossible to just click through one category and then click install each time. Well, you can, just that it doesn't work as excepted... After the running installation is done it'll load the description of the next application and then clear the task-list (or maybe the tasks aren't even added, I'm not sure about this; doesn't matter anyway, as it doesn't work as one would wish).
Well, aside from that installation works as good as usual, dependencies are resolved properly and there are lots and lots of packages waiting to be installed.
So, after all the important packages (including KDE4) were installed I logged out and full of anticipation logged into KDE.
Here's where it really got confusing, because the resolution was a bit messy. Here's a screenshot of what it looked like in 1280x1024. In order to make it work I had to "unify the output" (which means something like grouping the two outputs together) and switch to 1024x768 (my unified output doesn't support "my resolution").
I hope this will be solved with KDE 4.1, but I don't think that this will be available for Fedora 9, so it seems I'll have to wait for Fedora 10 for that.
Now to my notebook. There I followed the game of the PC, resizing partitions and moving around data.
Thanks to the Intel-GPU the graphical installer worked fine.
KDE presents itself really pretty. It looks very good, but sort of incomplete. Okay, it was known that not everything would be ported, like the PIM-package, which includes KMail, that I use quite a lot. Good that Fedora made an effort to provide the necessary packages to use the KDE3-versions of those packages until hopefully everything will be ported with KDE 4.1.
But also programs that already are ported somehow leave the impression of being not yet ready to rock. Konqueror for example seems to like displaying form-fields in the background-color of the page, so that you need to guess their location. And on the German site where I posted this post first I had quite a bit of trouble selecting the correct category from the combo-box.
Also here I put my hopes on updates.
Well, these were quite some negative points, and I think they (sadly) mostly have to be booked on KDE4's account.
Aside from those points Fedora 9 is a good system. And there are quite some positive changes too. For example it now is not necessary anymore to "login twice". On my notebook I had to provide my password to login to the system then again to unlock the keyring which held the WLAN-key on Fedora 8. The keyring now is unlocked on login, which makes it a bit more comfortable.
Another point I like (libervisco may object here ;-) ) is that even more is worked towards PulseAudio. I think in the future it will take a central role in Linux on the desktop. A role that was supposed to be filled by programs like Esound or Arts, but which these could never really do properly.
This is supported by KDE4 dropping Arts, the sound-server it previously used. I really appreciate this, as Arts often enough blocked the audio-device and disrupted the operation of programs that directly go onto Alsa, like Audacity.
Finally one more good and one more bad point.
The bad news first, as I don't want to finish with bad news:
Who, as I, likes using Xen for virtualization will be disappointed by Fedora 9 as it does not support running as Dom0. But as far as I have read Dom0-support is planned to be back in Fedora 10, and then without the big gap in kernel-versions as it's the case in Fedora 8.
As final and good news it shall be mentioned that Fedora now uses upstart, which, if I remember correctly, comes from Ubuntu. It's not yet used consequently I think, but it still is a step in a good direction.
Okay, one final notice: Here I have mostly written about the sites of Fedora 9 that annoy me, as these are points I think cannot be hidden in a critical review. And although I really like Fedora I want to be honest about this. I not only like Fedora in general, but also Fedora 9 in particular, but as a recommendation for other users, especially "normal users" I think I'd still pick Fedora 8. The Fedora-server I run in the office also will stay with Fedora 8, as updates will still be available until Fedora 10 is released (if I remember the project's update-policy correctly). I don't think there would a problem with the upgrade, it's mostly really a server, but there is no necessity to upgrade it.
Actually, right now I think CentOS may have been a better choice for that box, if I had known that system before (but I guess CentOS will go into a new post).
Much has been been done in the background on the transition from Fedora 8 to Fedora 9, so I couldn't ever have covered all positive aspects of Fedora 9, but this post, you might nearly call it a rant, was intended to point out the problems I found. If you prefer Gnome you will not run into some of the mentioned problems, but if you, like me, want to use KDE4 you'll have to live with them for now.