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Hats Off For Fedora 9

With the arrival of Fedora 9, I gave it three places of honor in my testing lab: a standalone PC, the dual-boot partition on my notebook, and a VirtualBox VM.  It's run like a champ on all three.  Fedora's actually become more appealing to me with each successive revision -- and the more I think about it, the most crucial of those reasons aren't about things as interchangeable or subjective as look-and-feel.

With the arrival of Fedora 9, I gave it three places of honor in my testing lab: a standalone PC, the dual-boot partition on my notebook, and a VirtualBox VM.  It's run like a champ on all three.  Fedora's actually become more appealing to me with each successive revision -- and the more I think about it, the most crucial of those reasons aren't about things as interchangeable or subjective as look-and-feel.

I'd actually given an earlier beta of Fedora 9 a spin, but it hadn't been terribly stable, and after some futzing with it I put it aside and promised to check it out once it was fully baked.  Once it dropped for real, I snagged the live CD edition of Fedora rather than the full DVD -- it's that much less to download, and my connection hasn't been the snappiest as of late.  (Maybe everyone else on my [IP] block is downloading it, too.)  Installation on all three machines was painless, and they've already received their first few sets of updates.  I haven't yet tried out the LiveUSB function, but it's too cool for me not to try before long.

What is it about Fedora that's so appealing to me personally?  As much as I've liked Ubuntu, for instance, there's just something about Fedora that seems more immediately welcoming and less ostentatious.  That's a subjective thing, but there are other things that are not as subjective.  It's not about which window manager to use, or even the code itself, since the vast majority of what's in any given Linux distribution is all the same code.  It's about the choices made by the folks who packaged the distribution: how closed-source drivers are handled, how the distro deals with the upstream, what they felt was worth keeping in a default installation, and what could be left up to the user to install.  The distro choices are becoming more about this kind of aesthetics, and Fedora feels like it has the best mix of these things for me.  (I still love DamnSmallLinux and Puppy Linux for what they are, too.)

These kinds of choices, I think, are going to be ever more important: how the design aesthetics of the distribution as a whole affect its behavior and determine its target audience.  Case in point: After the Debian openssl issue, I started getting that much more hesitant about using a Debian-derived distribution; what else might be going on in the source tree that isn't getting the kind of oversight it deserves?

If the reason you've picked your distro of choice is because of issues like this, I'd love to hear about it below, or in e-mail.

Editor's Choice
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Richard Pallardy, Freelance Writer
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Carlo Massimo, Contributing Writer
Salvatore Salamone, Managing Editor, Network Computing