Help, Tips, and Tricks:
As I mentioned, to get the best use of Fedora most people will want to go to the RPMFusion page and follow the easy instructions to add two extra repositories.
You can register at the Fedora forums to get help with most issues. Also, GNOME’s website features a library section to help you learn the ins and outs of this not-yet-familiar desktop. GNOME also has a Gnome Tweak Tool you can install (apparently official, since it has a page at the GNOME developers’ website). You will find it by searching for “gnome-tweak-tool” in the add/remove software tool. There were about 12 extra themes available, of which I found 7 to be quite pretty. You can also use the tool to add the minimize and maximize buttons to the window titlebars. Unlike Autoplus, gnome-tweak-tool must be started from the command line (spelled exactly like that, including the dashes).
Here is one page of “tips and tricks” for Fedora 16, and I’m sure many more will be forthcoming soon. I myself use the Autoplus tool mentioned on that site; it seems useful and creates an icon for the applications list.
There are quite a few useful tips for the yum software installation command, but one of the best is using “yum groupinstall” to install a set of related packages with one simple command. In order to see the currently installed sets, as well as language packs and the sets you have not yet installed, use the “yum grouplist” command.
Fedora doesn’t have quite the extensive collection of games that the Debian-based distributions do, but it certainly has more than enough to satisfy most people. The repositories include most of the popular first-person shooters, puzzle games, strategy games, and platform games that I have discussed in previous articles on this blog.
DOSbox is available (although I still prefer DBGL), and so is Wine, but in some cases Wine didn’t seem to function as smoothly as it does for other systems. When I tried to run the Steam client, it would crash. This could be because I didn’t add some extra Wine files that I needed (not knowing exactly which ones I use).
KDE, Xfce, and LXDE
I mentioned at the beginning of this review that GNOME 3 is controversial. Many people who loved GNOME 2 are unwilling to try it in its current form. Fair enough. Fedora supplies 3 additional desktop environments (KDE, Xfce, and LXDE) as well as at least 8 window mangers. You can download the alternative versions (“Spins”) at their Get Fedora page, but you could also simply install a whole desktop’s set of packages using the “groupinstall” option with yum as I mentioned earlier (KDE is known as “KDE Software Compilation”). I actually tend to install at least GNOME and KDE on any Linux distribution that I use for more than a week.
Xfce and LXDE are quite easy to pick up and get accustomed to using (although adjusting the LXDE clock on the taskbar does involve an unfamiliar “code”).
Fedora features the latest versions of each desktop (currently KDE 4.7, Xfce 4.8, and LXDE 0.3.2.1)
I have only found one serious bug, which I’m not sure how to fix – Firefox will occasionally crash badly enough to force a logout. This has happened about 6 times over 4 days, and only with Firefox (only since I added codecs I think).
I did not install the ATI graphics drivers during testing. My understanding from some threads on the forums is that the catalyst driver may have problems with GNOME 3 that haven’t yet been resolved.
I didn’t test Virtualbox, and Fedora apparently prefers that people use KVM for their virtualization needs. I’m not at all familiar with KVM.
Before installing the 32-bit final release version, I used a test candidate that was 64-bit for 2 weeks and had no issues with it whatsoever. Fedora is definitely in my top 5 favorite Linux distributions at this point. It has been quite stable for me, and the disadvantages have not been sufficient as to crimp my accustomed daily uses. I have interests in music creation, graphics, programming, and of course games – and Fedora supplies nearly all the applications that I have wanted to install.
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