Fedora 7 & PCLinuxOS 2007 - Quick Review

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Fedora 7 & PCLinuxOS 2007 - Quick Review

Postby clem on Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:40 am

As you may know...

Three of the best desktop operating systems were released recently. IMHO Cassandra was one of them, the two others being PCLinuxOS 2007 and Fedora 7.

I decided to have a quick look at the competition. I was a reviewer before I started making Linux Mint, so I changed hats and went back to my old habits :)

It's no secret: Fedora is, and always has been, the most beautiful desktop ever! Fedora 7 is no different. Their artwork is massively impressive. I was in shock when looking at it, and even though there's tons of reasons why I'd rather run Mint than Fedora, their artwork was so beautiful... I was looking for reasons to keep it installed on my laptop :)

I'm not going to write a full review of Fedora 7. I'll just focus on the things, from a Mint's developer perspective, I thought were cool and missing in Linux Mint.

1. Their artwork is 100 times better than any other. Even Cassandra looks dull compared to it. The technology they use for showing the artwork is more or less the same than the one we have (isolinux, usplash, gdm, png wallpapers) so the difference is not in the configuration of their system but in the quality of their artwork itself. I think the main thing is based on the quality of their default wallpaper. I'm posting this mostly for Carlos and Nicksavel and the mintArt guys, hoping we can learn from these:

- it's got a blue dominance (I know we want Green for Mint, but Blue is definitely easy on the eyes). Maybe we should consider an alliance of Blue and Green with Blue dominating touches of Greens.. just an idea.

- it's made of simple and cartoonish shapes. Look at these balloons, remember the DNA and the bubbles... easy to remember, simple to look at, not overcharged..

- a lot of depth to it. May it be the bubbles, the DNA or the balloons, it always comes with a very deep and "spacious" background, with a set of precise and crisp elements in the foreground (actually.. on the side of the wallpaper). This gives an impression of depth which adds to the feeling of having a lot of space. Very nice.

- a lot of contrast. Great colors, great contrasts. You can look at a laptop running fedora from 10 meters away... and it's got such contrast, you can't help noticing it.

2. First time configuration wizard. After you install, it would be cool to have an optional (as in you can cancel it) assistant pop up the first time you run Mint. This, among other things could:

- help you run envy/mintWifi if needed.
- ask you if you want to set up a root password (a lot of people seem to want that)
- ask you if you want mintDisk to take over your NTFS drives (so you don't have to remove lines in fstab manually)
- etc etc....

3. Anaconda. This is one really good installer. Mint is using Ubuntu's ubiquity at the moment, and to be honest.. when I look at Anaconda I see a lot of reasons to change. Maybe we could switch to that in the future.

4. Integrated SeLinux and Firewall. I'm not sure we want that by default, especially if we stay within a single 700MB ISO, but it's something we can consider. Fedora lacks good software selection in their liveCD but having SeLinux and a firewall integrated in the system is pretty cool.

5. English-Only. Any language can be installed post-install or even from the live-cd. The idea is to have isolinux in English only and only the english language packs present by default. This is what Fedora does. the immediate advantage is a gain of space, meaning we can improve the default selection of apps present by default.

6. Verbose mode in usplash. The fedora boot sequence can be expanded to show what's going on.. back and forth. We need to implement that as well.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

I haven't looked at PCLinuxOS as much yet... so there'll be more to come.

1. Their isolinux is animated :) I thought that was cool and it's probably not that hard to do so there's no reason why we shouldn't :)

2. Very nice KSplash. They used the whole screen, not afraid of being too big. We can definitely improve our KDE edition this way.

That's it so far...

Clem
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Postby kanishka on Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:59 am

Nice review :D

I'd like to comment a couple of points.

- it's got a blue dominance (I know we want Green for Mint, but Blue is definitely easy on the eyes).


Yeah, blue is a bit easier than green on the eyes, usually; but I have found that OLIVE green is as easy as blue. Maybe the Art Department :wink: could experiment with that

First time configuration wizard.


Absolutely YES!!! :D

Anaconda: not sure about it being so superior to the actual one. True, package selection is very useful... BUT: I still have to find an installer that can configure GRUB so flawlessly as Ubiquity! Anaconda included! And I think that this is quite important.

My 2 €/c
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Postby newW2 on Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:35 am

I liked the Fedora artwork as well even though I have some personal reasons to shy away from blue; if the theme is done well I can become curious and give it a look. Furthermore, a previous post of Clem's identified Fedora as a distro to look at / review, so I thought I'll do more than the live cd. I'll install it play around and learn / compare.

I have only one comment and it's wrt the way Fedora handled grub. When I attempted to install Fedora 7, I was as Clem said, thinking - this is pretty cool. I re-started and the Fedora splash came up (PCLOS did the same on another box); the point is that's one in your face way to say I am or will be your main distro. I'm not sure I like this (again from a noob point of view), because if things go wrong, and in my case it did, I was stuck with a pretty boot screen, that listed Mint as a selection, but would launch if selected.

I tried to edit the menulist file (had to with PCLOS) but no joy in that action. So after much playing around and since my Mint install was new as well I reloaded mint to see if it would work things out. No joy Mint was recognized but Fedora was not. Tried to start completely over and had the same trial, but no more time to play.

I suppose the point is that while a more experienced user would not have had any trouble at all, the installer (if switched) needs your normal careful consideration for the new user.

Ok I'm hiding (.newW2), so flame on ':wink:'

///edit///
Btw the flame on comment is meant in the most kidding way possible. I haven't experienced or seen that kind of thing going on in this forum. Great place to be actually.
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Postby clem on Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:52 am

I just realized Fedora7 comes with one of our own innovations... one of our very first feature: mintDesktop :)

Have a look in the home folder and you'll see a set of pre-created home folders.

In fairness we didn't invent that.. we got it from Mandriva, who got it from Windows.

Also, Fedora doesn't use the same technology as mintDesktop, it's using something less powerfull but more flexible in terms of localization and also more standard:

http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/xdg-user-dirs

This is something we're going to see appear in most desktop distributions IMHO. When it's stable enough and has all the features we want, we'll move this out of mintDesktop and use this instead.

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Postby Husse on Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:18 pm

Either PCLOS or Debian stopped at a TTY after first install, and that's definitely no good for a noob
Clem, did you have that experience?
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Postby clem on Fri Jun 15, 2007 2:40 pm

No, but my hardware is pretty standard.

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Postby clem on Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:30 pm

PCLinuxOS2007:

This is not a review. It's only the things that impressed me (so only positive things in other words) that I think are not as great in Linux Mint:

1. Great Control Center. In Mint we had mintConfig and now Gnome Control Center so we have the infrastructure for that but the content is far from perfect. The PCLinuxOS control center is full of handy configuration tools. We should look at them one by one and invest in developing equivalent tools for Mint. Then either we'll include these tools in the Gnome Control Center or we'll find a way to unify all that in a new spin of mintConfig.

2. Lightning fast. 3D effects are much faster on my computer under PCLinuxOS than under Cassandra. I need to dig that a bit to see if it's to do with Xorg, beryl, the kernel, or even KDE using less resources than Gnome with Mint (beagle, autobrowsing etc...). This is going to be hard... fortunately it only affects slow computers like mine :)

3. The PCLinuxOS Hardware Database: http://www.pclinuxoshwdb.com . This is a really cool subproject, we should start something like that.

4. Partnership with tuxmachines.org and on-disk.com. This is great for the distribution itself and it doesn't pollute the desktop. Simple links in the bookmarks, ads on respective websites. Great partnership.

5. Repositories. We've got the same offer if not more (google earth, opera, skype..etc.. all available from synaptic by default). The only difference is: we're using Ubuntu packages... they're using their own. That makes all the difference because they're more independent and they can control updates. We basically automatically accept any update from Ubuntu and we have no control about it... even on kernel/xorg updates which can potentially break the user's system. It's going to take a lot of time for us to emancipate ourselves the way pclinuxos did. It might even mean rebasing on top of Debian (which I'm going to have a close look at in that respect in the following days).

Now a subjective note: I didn't have a good first impression. I'm not a fan of their new artwork (maybe it has to do with the fact that I tested Fedora 7 at the same time). Having said I've been highly impressed with their control center and the more I used it, and the distro in general, the more I got impressed by it. There's no wonder why this is #2 on distrowatch. In actual fact it deserves to be #1. It works, it is definitely "radically simple" and it's got all the stuff people will want in a desktop system. Can we do better? Sure we can, but it's going to take time. Mint and PCLinuxOS will most likely improve with time being, in different ways, innovations after another, with pros and cons on both sides. As a desktop system, this is our main and best competitor.

I really feel like buying Tex a drink right now :)

Clem
Next on my list: Debian Testing (to have a better idea of what it could bring us as a base in replacement of Ubuntu), Mepis, Sabayon, Mandriva.
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Postby Caraibes on Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:35 am

Hi Clem, you might remember me as one of the guys who gave you some hard critics in the past. Well I am impressed by your constructive attitude and good works, and wanted to comment on that thread :

clem wrote:1. Great Control Center.

The best one out there, designed by Mandriva, but GPLed, so available for anyone...

clem wrote: KDE using less resources than Gnome.

Interesting subject... I'm a Gnome guy, but would be willing to switch to KDE if it was proven it uses significantly less resources...

clem wrote:It might even mean rebasing on top of Debian (which I'm going to have a close look at in that respect in the following days).

That would be IMHO the best move ever, and would propulse the Mint Project in his very own niche, giving a clear difference with Mepis (or even the treacherous Freespire :( ), for example...
-Would Mint be based on Debian Stable or Testing ?


clem wrote:Next on my list: Debian Testing (to have a better idea of what it could bring us as a base in replacement of Ubuntu)

Can't wait to read that review !!! ;)

All the best from the Tropics !
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Postby clem on Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:17 pm

It would be Testing.

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Postby facade47 on Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:48 pm

That would be amazing, to base it off Debian! :D , and even better if we could break away from the Ubuntu repositories!
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Postby nick on Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:11 pm

Hi
Would be great if based on Debian, just installed Etch KDE on spare box today, (did not realise they done a KDE edition) very fast, some ham radio programs which do not work in Ubuntu work fine in Etch.

AMD 64, 2GB Ram, Onboard Nvidia- Fedora 5-no mouse pointer, Fedora 6-no mouse pointer, Fedora 7-maybe a mouse pointer, but cannot tell as no screens after "Starting Anaconda" :)

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Postby exploder on Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:05 am

Thought I would put in my two cents since I have ran both Fedora and PCLinux. These are my opinions on the Fedora comparisons.

1. Fedora's artwork is very good except for the icons. The icons have a cartoonish, out of date look to them. The switching from text to graphics at start up becomes annoying after a while and does not give things a very clean modern look.

2. A first time configuration for resolution would be something to consider. Setting the default resolution seems to be a problem for people new to Linux and has been a sore spot in many reviews of Linux in general.

3. Anaconda is a very slow installer. Anaconda is the only installer Red Hat has used.

4. SeLinux and a firewall set up by default are great for a business system but most home user's set these features to disabled. SeLinux can cause quite a bit of damage if the configuration is messed with and is not newbe friendly.

5. English-Only with the ability to install any language sounds good if this is acceptable to the rest of the community.

6. Verbose mode is good for trouble shooting but the way Fedora does it with the switching back and forth gives the OS a DOS look that is un-appealing to new user's.

These are just my opinions, I ran Fedora for about 6 months. Fedora is very good when it comes to hardware detection and to an extent has nice artwork but Fedora's target user's are business user's.
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Postby zenobiaflex on Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:37 am

Clem-

I am new to Mint, having tried to work with Ubuntu and eventually installing PCLOS2007 on my desktop. The main thing that drew me to PCLOS as a newbie was that my wifi worked when I was using the liveCD. I had to install the XP driver but the option was right there during the liveCD boot process. I just about gave up on Mint because I couldn't get the wifi to work during the Live CD. I just installed Mint over PCLOS and it still didn't work. Finally, I used the terminal to install the driver with ndiswrapper (it was unclear using the gui that it was installing...once I used ndiswrapper, the gui showed the driver but said the hardware was a "no").

I rebooted and then it saw networks... ok...

I liked many things about PCLOS but I really like the organization of Ubuntu and even more so with Mint...

All things aside, for a newbie, not being able to get wifi going turns one off to installing... it is too big a risk for the newbie mind to take!

So my take away from all of this (having been a newbie to linux...using PCLOS for about 3 weeks now untill this Mint install) is that using the PCLOS liveCD setup to get the wifi going from the start will attract many people... I would have started with Ubuntu rather than PCLOS if the wifi had worked... only after I had the confidence to repartition hard drives (from installing PCLOS) did I have the confidence for mint!!

thanks for the great work!
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Postby exploder on Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:38 am

My opinions on PCLinux and Debian testing.

1. PCLinux has a very good control center. Creating a similar control center for LinuxMint would be very beneficial.

2. I must agree that PCLinux has a very good configuration for 3D effects, Beryl runs well on older hardware. I tested with an ATI Radion 7200 and Beryl ran very smooth.

3. A hardware database is a very good idea.

4. I have not explored this idea. Partnership with tuxmachines.org and on-disk.com, so I can't really give good feed back on it.

5. I think the Ubuntu repositories for the mot part are good. Kernel updates are something of an issue though. I know this first hand, I have the Intel chipset that was affected by Ubuntu's last kernel update. There is no easy answer here. The only example I know of is that MEPIS suffers from this as well and Warren compiles the MEPIS kernel himself.

I would also buy texstar a drink he is amazing.

I feel the Ubuntu base is still the best way to go. Many distributions that started out being bases on Debian have switched to Ubuntu because of it's stability and Ubuntu's improvements.
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Postby Boo on Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:10 am

Have you thought of having a look at Sidux as a base?
it is based of debian sid (testing), is one CD, KDE (could change to gnome), is a live disto and has a gui installer.

I am going to DL it and give it a test.
I will even apply the mint repos.

:D
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Postby kanishka on Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:42 pm

From a very interesting interview to Fedora Project leader ( http://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/237700/f18ea8cb3b2c9745/ ) comes a very nice idea:

A web app that allows people to create a custom Fedora spin or a Fedora appliance will be a tremendous achievement for the Fedora Project, and will be the capstone to all of the work that has already been done with Koji, Pungi, LiveCD tools, and Revisor. Do I think this will be ready near Fedora 8? Not necessarily something that is fully production ready, but since we intend to develop it in public, hopefully at least some sort of alpha/beta that is usable.


After mintInstall, could it be mintFlavour's time? :wink:
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Postby BlahBlah_X on Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:36 pm

Boo wrote:Have you thought of having a look at Sidux as a base?
it is based of debian sid (testing), is one CD, KDE (could change to gnome), is a live disto and has a gui installer.

I am going to DL it and give it a test.
I will even apply the mint repos.

:D


I have tried Sidux and I prefer Ubuntu much more. To me, the sidux metapackage installer is useless and the system installer is confusing.


I have thought about some bases for Celena and here the are:

-Debian Sid
-Debian Lenny
-Parsix
-Knoppix
-KANOTIX
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Postby wam on Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:41 pm

How about a Mint distro based off of Fedora? :oops:
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Postby Totally Infected on Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:02 pm

1- I too have always liked Fedora's artwork, but also thought the icons they use are totally mismatched and conservative compared with their brilliant art.

2- I totally understand the issues with being reliant upon and stuck with Ubuntu's updates and scheduling. However, as an inexperienced user, I do value highly the ability to go to one place like http://ubuntuguide.org/ every time I need to do something and get an idiot-proof walk through. The degree of organized do-it-yourself support under Ubuntu has value.

3- Rather then setting the installation to default solely to English, is it possible to, at the beginning of installation, select desired language support modules to be installed (ala OS X in a way I guess)?
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Postby tinny on Tue Jun 19, 2007 8:12 am

3. Anaconda is a very slow installer. Anaconda is the only installer Red Hat has used.


I just wiped CentOS 5 off my hard drive after three hours of testing because Anaconda is pathetically slow.

PCLOS 2007 is an awesome distro. KDE's "Icestorm" desktop background suits it well. Playing flash files downloaded from YouTube had serious audio-video sync problems with default player KMPlayer; only played right with VLC.
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