My Fedora 8 escapades were delayed by my OpenWorld experience, but better late than never.
The first article is a run through of a fairly basic Fedora 8 install, showing what it looks like. The second is the Oracle install guide in my normal format. There’s one little nasty in there, but for the most part it was pretty smooth sailing, especially since a guy called “Robert W. Benton” emailed me to tell me what the problem was before I had even finished downloading the OS. Thanks for that Robert.
I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll no doubt mention it again, but I’m really struggling to see what the Fedora distribution is aiming for. It seems to send out contradicting messages at times. For instance, it has features that make me think it is a desktop OS:
- Looks very soft and cuddly like a desktop OS.
- It pops up an annoying warning message if I log on as root.
- Users get sub-directories like Documents, Downloads, Music, Videos created by default.
But for me the big contradictions are:
- The distribution is really big. I would expect a desktop OS to come on one CD, with the extra features available for download.
- The installation process seems rather clumsy compared to Ubuntu. It’s not a big difference, but that slight bit of extra complexity makes it feel like a server installation to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not hard, but I’ve been doing this since Red Hat 5.2, so I’m not exactly a Linux newbie. I feel it could be simplified further.
Looking from the other angle, it could be considered a server OS, after all it is a playground for Red Hat (a bit of flame-bait there ), but some of the previously mentioned points detract from that message. I remember all those people telling me that Windows wasn’t a real server OS because it forced you to have gizmos like Media Player etc. Fedora has this same feel to me now. Plus the DVD is missing a number of packages that I would expect an enterprise distribution to have. I know they are available for download, but as a server OS I would prefer to forgo the fluffy guff in favor of the enterprise stuff.
I can image some of the responses to this post. No doubt some Fedora fan[boys|girls] will post telling me that Fedora is a great desktop and/or server OS… blah, blah, blah… I’m not doubting that. I just think that we have to recognize that the server and the desktop are two totally different experiences and I don’t think Fedora sells itself well enough on either front.
Ubuntu is a classic example of how to do it right. I don’t believe it is significantly better than Fedora, but it had a clear message from day one. We all knew it was a desktop OS and it acted like that. They’ve subsequently gone the server route also, but they’ve kept it as a separate entity. This is no different to the way Microsoft tackled the same issue.
I really feel like Fedora must decide what its purpose is, or it’s just going to end up another one of those faceless distributions you try, think of as OK, then ditch in favor of something else that suits your purpose better…