By Kevin E. Glosser
Flying high with Fedora
The first thing you notice when attempting to
log in to Fedora 7 is
the new GDM theme.
It's similar to what Windows XP users see at login, just prettier. Any
user accounts you've created appear
in the box on this screen. The actual login names are hidden, instead
the name of the individual is listed for a more user friendly
experience. Once you log in, you'll notice new icons and the new
“flying high” theme.
Fedora desktop theme changes drastically each release. This is
probably the best one yet, but as you might guess, this will probably
be the first thing people replace when they customize their
is the first version of Fedora to make a conscious effort to reoganize
the GNOME menus. There is now a
more logical grouping of the user and administrator settings in the
"Systems" menu .
Examining the “Places” menu reveals another change
to Fedora 7,
the adoption of a new standard making common directories for all
users. Each user has a “Documents”,
“Videos”, and “Download” folder
that the appropriate GNOME
applications default to. Unlike Windows XP where such a feature
exists but isn't trivial for novices to navigate to, in GNOME it's
implemented well. Most computer users have been doing this on our own
while however, it's nice to see this standardized, saving time.
in to my initial
glimpse of GNOME 2.18.2, I was alerted of updates available via
is a graphical utility for updating installed software.
appears in the GNOME notifier area of the desktop when updates are
available. For whatever reason pup ceased notifying of
updates in my Fedora 5 and 6 install. I had to manually tell it to
check to see if updates were available. I was glad to see in 7 that
pup alerts were again automatic. Most people would consider
automatic notification of software updates to be pretty standard
these days. However, Fedora users are probably less concerned about
this than others. Usually the first action taken by a Fedora
to set up yum
(pup is the front end for it) to look at external
repositories. I decided not to this time. I was going to try to use
Fedora 7 with just the default repository settings. New in this
version of Fedora is a speed improvement to yum and the other
package management utilities. In the past this has been an issue.
Although there is a noticeable increase in performance, it still
isn't as fast as it needs to be. Checking for dependencies, rummaging
through the rpm database and performing whatever other tasks are
necessary on a software upgrade shouldn't take as long as they do.
New users can be confused by the delays that sometimes occur on
large upgrades of numerous packages. Although the updater alerts you
its checking for dependencies it sometimes acts like its given up and
no longer functioning.
in Fedora 7 are both the latest versions of GNOME and KDE (3.5.6).
Fedora is a GNOME biased distribution, however. GNOME has come a long
way since I first recall it being included in a RedHat release, pre
1.0 status. The latest version doesn't have any new features that I
would consider groundbreaking. It's just more polish on an already
beautiful desktop environment. Fedora sets it up with four virtual
desktops by default. The only new noticeable change to the look is
the inclusion of a user switch utility. This utility allows you at
the click of a button to switch from one user to another while
preserving all running applications. This works just like it does in
Windows. You are prompted for a password when switching. Upon
switching X itself is restarted. It's fast and available if you
Desktops and the default software lineup