Home > linux, software > Fedora 10 Review – Desktop Emphasis

Fedora 10 Review – Desktop Emphasis


Since the days of 10.1, I have been an openSUSE fan. I have been trying out new distros regularly, finding some to be very good, but always in the end rolling back to SUSE for one reason or another.

And then came Fedora 10: I wanted to see if it could finally win me over.


I am testing on the same system as before: an Acer Ferrari 5005WLMi laptop (AMD Turion 64 X2 2.0Ghz, 2.0GB RAM, 160MB hard drive, ATI Radeon X1600 Mobility)

This is a rather regular specification set, shared by many others around the world.

First Impressions – Live Run and Install

It was a simple matter to get the Fedora 10 GNOME live CD ISO from the Fedora site, and burn it off.

Booting it up live, I noticed a very cranky progress bar that led to the loading of the desktop, it looked much like a DOS load bar of yore.

But then, that is perhaps best leading up to a surprise: the beautifully done GNOME desktop. After logging into the live session, what you get is artwork that is unparalleled in mainstream distros (my opinion, obviously). If only they had done something about those antiquated icons too…

Fedora 10 Screenie 1

Leaving the goodies till later, I went for the install. It was a live installer with unique features: almost exactly like the ones we see everywhere else. It took about 10 minutes to install. Then I rebooted.

Booting up

For this Fedora release, what had been hyped was the high speed Plymouth graphical booting mechanism. In fact, the boot was actually slower than my Ubuntu 8.10 or SUSE 11.0. But while you wait, you cannot help but notice the brilliant, animated, blue solar theme.

Once loaded, it asks you to make a username, and finally logs you into the GNOME desktop.


In all my time using mainstream Linux distros, the stability of this Fedora 10 release nearly tops the list. I have been using it for over two days now, and I have failed to crash it even once. And this phase of testing includes very horrible stress tests, opening many things at once, randomly clicking around, opening conflicting programs, playing movies etc.

Server-like stability on a system used as a desktop? What more could I want?

The graphics surprise

On most distros, my graphics card is not configured for 3D effects out of the box. Fedora 10 not only picked the right resolution, but actually allowed me to turn on Compiz effects straight after installation. Not that Compiz effects mean much to me, but they mean a lot to other people, and besides, this is a good way of really testing out if a distro has your hardware right.

This was a fairly pleasant surprise.

Software collection

One of my objections to Fedora: they try to stay on the cutting edge, but omit many apps in their primary disk images. Abiword is the only Office application, requiring you install the massive OpenOffice.org over the internet. This one of the few qualms I have against Fedora 10.

Fedora includes GIMP and Rhythmbox. It also includes the Empathy messenger instead of the Pidgin client.

Fedora 10 Screenie 2

Package Management

Given that Fedora is so conservative in its software collection, one must install many apps and codecs (in particular) from the internet. Here, the PackageKit does fairly well – though I miss the power of the YaST visual package manager of SUSE.

Final Words

I like Fedora 10 very much. I can find practically nothing to really complain about. It looks good, works well and keeps working. And most of it out of the box.

On the negative side, the conservative package selection really bugs me – this is definitely not a recommended install for those with dialup connections. Moreover, there is a lack of really visible innovations – under the hood innovations are good, but a desktop user needs to be able to notice them.

Essential for those already on Fedora, recommended for people wanting a really stable, mainstream desktop linux.

Rating: 8/10

  1. Joel
    28 November 2008 at 7:03 PM

    If you want OpenOffice and all the goodies, why did you use the Live disc? The full DVD has just about everything you’d want, but you still need to do some work (MP3’s, Flash…)


  2. wview
    28 November 2008 at 7:08 PM

    Nice review. I’ve mentioned in other places to check out “autoten” (google/search for it). I’m not affiliated with them, honestly, it just automates a few things, like codecs, etc.

    I’ve been using F10 for a few weeks, not a single problem.

  3. 28 November 2008 at 8:04 PM

    @ Joel: I used the Live Disc because:
    a) My internet connection is not that fast, downloading a DVD would take ages
    b) Other distros like Ubuntu, Mint, Mandriva DO fit OpenOffice.org into their live CDs (and a lot more besides), and thus Fedora should have been able to.

    @wview: That autoten program does take care of most codec and proprietary software related programs. Thanks for pointing it out.
    By the way, the PackageKit tool by Fedora also makes it own suggestions when it finds something missing.

  4. Rahul Sundaram
    28 November 2008 at 11:08 PM

    We made the deliberate to choice to include a lot more locales and additional software instead of including Openoffice.org which performs poorly on a live cd leading to a bad impression. One could argue about that choice nevertheless.

    Other than that, there is a lot of innovations like connection sharing in network manager and packagekit and the graphical bootup called plymouth

  5. johnwills
    29 November 2008 at 12:15 AM

    Nothing changed for fedora. I downloaded both cd and cvd. cd failed to boot in my system. DVD installation fail after some percentage.

  6. MacLone
    29 November 2008 at 12:48 AM

    Well, i have tested fedora 10 but after installing the multimedia repo there was no lbdvdcss2, flash plugin, win32 codecs an so on. In a quick look at rpmfusion i saw no trace of them. Omitted? …Gstreamer is not enough for me.

  7. kris
    29 November 2008 at 1:27 AM

    1)This is a poor review-the web is awash with “reviews” that just give a superficial rundown of an install experience and some screenshots-I learned less about f10 from this than i would i just checked out the 1st page of the fedora wiki.

    2)Comparing packagekit to yast is pointless, package kit is a package management tool, yast is a complete system configuration tool.

    3)Fedora is “conservative”- What are you talking about???!!! Fedora is (in)famous for it’s bleeding edge, experimental approach to it’s releases. I can’t wait to read your Debian 5.0 review where no doubt you’ll tell us that it doesn’t support many architectures.

  8. Jan
    29 November 2008 at 7:38 AM

    I just tried Fedora 10 just 2 days ago in my office desktop and sorry to say my experience is not pleasant. My ATI Radeon x1200 series which is working on other distros as well as Fedora 9 simply won’t work, I’m stuck with a 800×600 resolution whereas before I can get the usual 1200×800 which is more like it and most of all it always freezes so I have no choice but to do a hard reboot. I’ve just read the common bug section regarding ATI, and it mentioned a tweak in /etc/grub.conf to temporarily adjust resolution, anyways I hope they can device a way to fix this issues asap permanently. Overall impression of Fedora 10 for me is disappointing.

  9. kris
    29 November 2008 at 8:49 AM

    Hey guys, you’re not going to believe this:

    I went into a bicycle shop today as I needed a new way to get around; the guy in there told me that I could either buy a bicycle with maintenance support, or he could give me a bicycle at no cost. He said something about the bicycle at no cost not having any patents or any other proprietary rights over it, so I could improve it and pass it on to others if I wanted to. I didn’t really listen to the blurb, but since I have started riding my bicycle I have noticed that it isn’t the same as the ones that (insert name of well known patented/proprietary bicycle manufacturer) sells. I know that I didn’t help anyone make my free bike, and I didn’t pay anyone for the time that they spent making it either, but I really feel the need to bitch about how disappointed I am with it.

  10. 29 November 2008 at 1:18 PM

    @ kris: A review is an opinion, a point of view, and a relation of experiences, not a tutorial or an in-depth analysis. You do not have to like it, and because it does not match your own does not mean it is invalid as is.

    As to your other points, I agree that YaST is complete system configuration tool, while PackageKit is not. However, I was talking about UI (note the use of the word ‘visual’) for package management. SUSE provides no separate visual module for package management so, that is the nearest I could compare PackageKit with. Once again, that is my opinions – and those of many others.

    Secondly, I never called Fedora ‘conservative’, just its ‘software collection’. Even so, you need to read my section on ‘Software Collection’ once again, just for luck.

    I like your analogy with bicycles. However, Fedora is not just free software given out of generosity. It is used to back the commercial Red Hat distro. Free or not, I reserve my right to point out things that are lacking – if I stay quiet, the whole open source software world would stagnate. It is the negative tone that causes problems, not criticism.

    @ Rahul Sundaram: I can understand. However, as most LiveCDs are eventually installed, it might have been a good idea to still include OO.o, after all, a short impression of bad live performance is much overthrown by a good software collection.

    @ Jan & johnwills & MacLone: Linux experiences are rarely the same with everyone. It’s sad to see an otherwise great distro falling flat on a segment of computers.

    Like I pointed out, codecs are a problem for nearly everyone, unfortunately. Try Mint, or better yet, Sabayon.

    And the ATI Radeon problem seems to be almost quirky – my colleague here has an ATI X1200, and Fedora 10 is working perfectly fine out of the box.

  11. 30 November 2008 at 1:02 AM

    Hi dude, I read your review yesterday and decided to try Fedora 10 on my Macbook. It’s surprising, and it is said by a Debian-lover 🙂
    Anyway, here is my personal review regarding Fedora 10 on a Macbook Santa Rosa, with some fixes for hardware issues.
    Thank you very much for the review.

  12. Jeffrey
    30 November 2008 at 1:06 AM

    I think that Fedora 10 is a rock-solid operating system. I installed it on a Dell Optiplex 755 with the Gnome Desktop. However, I have one complaint: The Gnome Display Manager. It is basically a carry-over from Fedora 9, without the ability to log on as a root user. In addition, I had installed Ubuntu 8.10 on an IBM ThinkPad T-30 (on which I have since installed Fedora 10) and I see that it comes with Gnome 2.24.1 and a menu to change your login window (System-Administration-Login Window). Will Fedora 10 obtain the ability to change the Gnome Display Manager or will we have to wait for the Fedora 11 roll out?

  13. Kris
    30 November 2008 at 4:38 AM

    I think it’s because Ubuntu use an older version of GDM (2.20?). The new one isn’t customizeable yet.

  14. 30 November 2008 at 1:15 PM

    @ bodom_lx: Thanks!

    @ Jeffrey: That is deliberate. Fedora does not want you to log in as root from GDM. So I guess that waiting for Fedora 11 will not help much… Here’s a helpful link, though: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-newbie-8/unable-to-log-as-root-in-fedora-10-686322/

    @ Kris: Like I said, this is deliberate in Fedora, not a version problem.

  15. Lyla
    30 November 2008 at 6:45 PM

    “Moreover, there is a lack of really visible innovations – under the hood innovations are good, but a desktop user needs to be able to notice them.”

    sounds like “pretty is a feature” huh?

    it’s odd that you don’t consider the “infinity”,”waves” and “solar” themes as innovations (F8/F9/F10 respectively)… pls point out what exactly do you mean by “innovations” because a desktop that transforms during the day is what -i consider- to be an innovation.

    the set of icons is a gnome thing…and you only only get the antiquated bar at bootup if your hardware doesn’t support KMS (or if it is disabled)

    “Well, i have tested fedora 10 but after installing the multimedia repo there was no lbdvdcss2, flash plugin, win32 codecs an so on. In a quick look at rpmfusion i saw no trace of them. Omitted? …Gstreamer is not enough for me.”

    there’s no dvd playback package in rpm fusion yet. But you can use the ones on livna.. and you get flash directly from adobe… try googling for personal fedora 10 installation guides, you ‘ll find ANYTHING there… i have F10 for 3 days now and there is NO multimedia format i am unable to play…

    –As far as OO is concerned,the real difference is that other distributions included OO but NOT the final version. F10 is the first major distribution that ships with OO 3.0 FINAL

    –Also, I believe that being unable to boot as root is a GOOD idea. You (as in “you, the people”, not as in “you, personally”) can’t possibly criticise a distribution for not being user-friendly and then criticise the very decisions that make it a safer choice for a linux newbie…

  16. 30 November 2008 at 9:15 PM

    @ Lyla: Thanks for a very well written comment. I just want to point out a few things:

    * I DO consider the look to be amazing, that was the whole point near the beginning of the review.
    * The antiquated bootup bar happened only in the Live bootup, not later. Once again, I noted the brilliant bootup theme in the section about booting up.
    * The set of default GNOME icons can be changed for the better: Ubuntu has done so
    * By innovations, I mean a blinding new feature, say, like a unified system administration tool.
    * I can understand the lack of default codecs: to include them would be against Fedora’s core philosophies. Nevertheless, having to hunt for codecs is a bit of inconvenience.
    * OO.o is not available in the LiveCD. You are right: OO.o 3 Final is available only on the DVD version
    * Not allowing root logins is a choice Fedora has made, perhaps for the better protection against “newbies”. However, they should have left an option for root logins available, at least.

  17. Lyla
    30 November 2008 at 9:51 PM

    personally, i believe it’s a good decision for all kinds of users… you don’t need root privileges all the time, use su or configure sudo in a way that suits your needs… and you CAN change that option:

    Go to /etc/pam.d/gdm and remove “user !=root quiet”

    😉 it should do the trick. anyway, i’m just against it, everyone has their own “root” policy anyway…

    I can understand why you miss a unified administration tool since you are a suse user… i was too but i never regret switching to fedora… it’s a matter of personal preferences i guess but i like the “non-unified” way better… everything lies under “System” anyway… it ‘s unified enough for me 😛 that’s the thing about linux… you find the distro that suits you 🙂

  18. 1 December 2008 at 1:03 AM

    @ Lyla: Yes, I did comment that line out of the GDM config for myself 🙂

    “”that’s the thing about linux… you find the distro that suits you :)”” Cheers!

  19. srikanth
    1 December 2008 at 8:02 PM

    is it worth to download fedora 10? i need all my windows media files to be played.. and good visuals

  20. 1 December 2008 at 10:29 PM
  21. Lyla
    2 December 2008 at 7:51 PM

    Srikanth: I’ve had F10 for a little time now, but it instanlty recognized/mounted:

    -my ntfs partitions
    -my webcam
    -my sony cybershot camera
    -my sony walkman cell phone

    (and also tried read/write to mem cards and partitions…who needs win and disc2phone? 😛 )

    i’ve had better performance in a 6 year old system… 3d effects, transparent windows and all…(no 3d acceleration yet because of new x server) so, yeah, it’s worth it… but make sure you understand that application-wise linux is NOT windows..

  22. rs82824
    2 December 2008 at 9:41 PM

    Great review! I’ve been very impressed with Fedora 10 since it came out. Had a few hiccups with the multimedia codecs, but found fixes for those issues on the Fedora Forums. Thanks again! 🙂

  23. 3 December 2008 at 1:30 AM

    @ Lyla: Exacty. Applications are perhaps the only problem left in the way of Linux becoming truly mainstream in the massive home/office user base.

    Fedora even picked up my Bluetooth mouse, BTW 🙂

    One fear I have is that, in the effort to become feature intensive, Linux distros are becoming bloated. It is still massively faster than Windows, obviously, but the best, easiest distros are not for the faint hearted PCs anymore.

    @ rs82824: Thanks!

  24. Lyla
    3 December 2008 at 4:33 PM

    Well,linux is slowly becoming more and more mainstream and it’s always a treat to see *serious* corporations offer drivers or software for linux… (like matlab, intel’s Vtune etc)

    I agree that it’s getting a bit bloated but that’s a necessary evil.. At least it’s highly customizable, you can even re-spin a distro, create service packs of the apps you really need, or go for a “lighter” distro for your most faint-hearted pcs, even the ones that you’ve given up hope for… (ie damn small linux). Still, it’s really nice to see that even the most “packed” distros (and F10 is considered to be one of them, definitely) still offer a major performance enhancement… 🙂

    PS: since there is always the issue of proper disposal of electronic devices, it’s always a good idea to use really small distros for old pcs instead of taking your pc at a random dump site(because “proper” dump sites are not always easy to find)… Don’t throw them away… turn them into routers/small file servers if you have the room to keep’em…

  25. 3 December 2008 at 10:29 PM

    @ Lyla: Well said! Here at my university, there are hundreds of PCs connected together. When the PCs get really old, people donate them to the Network Society, which turns them into Share Search servers using server distros of Linux. Old PC being used well…

    Linux IS becoming more mainstream, but I am not really satisifed with the pace it is doing so. I have been hearing these stories for 10 years now: Linux is gaining the market, Linux is gaining the market. Truth is, even I would not, or could not, shift to Linux completely till softwares like MS office 2007 and Adobe CS were available…

  26. Michael
    22 February 2009 at 5:23 PM

    I had to write this somewhere. Yeah I know what people mean about CD-DVD disc space.

    Fedora 10 is 698 gigs and I’m blowed if I know what it contains.

    No OpenOffice (spoilt brat), no Skype unless you take a punt on an older version.

    Then, starting from scratch; 300 megs of updates/bug fixes you name it.

    And every time tou want to install an application, it’s re-boot after re-boot even after disabling auto updates. What a pain.

    Your new app has to wait in line as the whole update scenario starts again and again.

    Yes I’m used to Ubuntu. I really gave Fedora 10 a good go over the last couple of days (booting and installing from a live CD iso copy)

    I thought I was doing well until I tried to get desktop effects with nvidia drivers. Yes it was akmod* …then BIG crash.

    It’s ridiculous.

    Ubuntu gives everyone a free shot at a Linux distro.

    There will always be bits missing, but Fedora 10 is virtually unusable without its updates ….3 hours plus on my ‘broadband’, for crying out loud.

    No wonder Ubuntu is streets ahead.

    I really wanted to try something new.

    Fedora 10 was a waste of bandwidth and ten hours of my time.

    It has nothing new to offer after all.

    It’s no wonder that when folks think Linux, they think Ubuntu.

    I got Fedora 10 from PPC magazine DVD. Now junked.


    PS. If some Fedora 10 adherent wants to point me in the right direction, I’m keen to listen. I have a spare hard drive with Fedora 10 on it. I’ll arc it up ASAP if someone can tell me its usefulness.

  27. pdaddy
    5 May 2009 at 1:14 PM

    Lets face it, Fedora 10 on DVD is the best operating system you will ever use. I feel sorry for the guy that tried the CD version and was upset cause it was missing some things. DUH, now Im not knocking UBUNTU cause if you’re new to Linux, its pretty good. But seriously people, Fedora 10 can do it all. Everything works on my Lenovo Y530 with 4 gigs of ram…and I mean EVERYTHING. IT ROCKS!

  28. 5 May 2009 at 5:21 PM

    @ pdaddy: Maybe Fedora on a DVD. But what if Ubuntu could do all you want on a CD? Or if you really must get a DVD, SUSE? Have you tried either of them? SUSE is very professional – and more powerful than Fedora is right now.
    Nevertheless, I’m still waiting for Leonidas…

  29. 6 October 2009 at 2:30 PM

    My name is Cole Robinson, I’m a developer at Red Hat working on some of the userland virt stack (virt-manager, virt-install, libvirt) for Fedora, RHEL, and upstream.

    I’ll be posting in an effort to make things a bit more transparent in virt land, keeping people updated on developments that are coming down the pipe, and hopefully solicit feedback on some of the user facing bits. I’m on IRC as ‘crobinso’, so feel free to ping me if you have questions or problems with any of the above packages.

    Some info about me: I’m 23, live in Massachusetts, and spend most of my money on dance music (largely drum + bass these days, though I really don’t discriminate). So hello everyone!

  30. 8 October 2009 at 4:39 PM

    @ game: IRC server?

  31. 23 December 2009 at 9:40 PM

    Nice level of information here. There is so much data around about this subject that sometimes you cannot see the wood for the trees but you have pitched this at just the right level so that the lay person can understand – thank you!

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