For a couple of hours, I had a full version of Fedora 8 on my laptop. I have reviewed Fedora 8 in the past, but I had used the LiveCD. The LiveCD lacked many features and programs that came by default on the DVD.
The DVD started with the Anaconda installer, much like the one found in Fedora 7. After Fedora installed, I was in the new desktop. The theme was something where you either love it or hate it. It can be easily changed, but I left it as default, since I generally like it — I like it, I don’t love it. The installation took a while, after all, I was installing off a DVD.
As soon as I logged in and started into my new desktop, I went to install applications. I got a dialog box telling me the computer was accessing the software database, and I would need to wait for it to finish. Next, I found out exactly what was happening: 144 updates. 144 updates were made available, so I began to download the updates, which is also where my troubles began. The updates took just over 2 hrs. to download. It was painfully slow, and after it was finished, it wanted me to reboot, and gave me the dialog box so I could choose whether I wanted to reboot now, or later. I clicked on “Later” because I was in the middle of a LoCo meeting.
Wouldn’t you know it! The system rebooted automagically even though I clicked “Later.”
After rebooting and reconnecting to my meeting, I decided to install some software. I went to Applications => Add/Remove Applications. It looks the same as the one in Fedora 7. I had read in multiple places it had been improved, but it really does not look like it. First, I went to install IDLE, the Python Integrated DeveLopment Environment. It wasn’t there.
After using Fedora 8 I have come to the conclusion that it is just not made for average users. If I did not have previous experience with Linux, I would be in some kind of trouble, both with installing, with the semi-complicated settings, as well as installing software. Usability is one thing, but not having applications such as Java or IDLE came as a surprise. Installing software from a list of random packages is like using Synaptic to install all of my applications. The system itself is bloated and slow, taking several seconds to launch something as simple as Firefox.
This experience probably would have gone over somewhat better if I had not been in an IRC meeting at the time. But that could have happened to any user, who could have been working on a major document, or something else important. The fact that the computer was so slow was painful, as with every large application, when moved out from behind another window, it would have to wait on the system to bring back the application interface.
In conclusion, I am now running gOS, the same operating system that is installed on the Everex PC’s sold at Wal-Mart. After all of the troubles I have had, Fedora 8 gets a 5 on a 1-10 basis in my book. Not all bad, but it needs some work. In my opinion, I would not recommend Fedora to a home user, but maybe to an average Linux user.
It has been hard to rate Fedora 8, since I am not really sure what user group fedora is meant for. If Fedora was meant for Linux enthusiasts I probably would have been a bit softer on the system, since it involves more tweaking to get it to work. There is a difference, and for most operating systems there is a target audience. For example, Ubuntu is for home users, while Gentoo is made for Linux enthusiasts. The more time spent outside of any particular user base is not good for any operating system, because other systems already are in this space and are attracting new users daily.
Since Fedora 8 seems to be pitted against Ubuntu, I am guessing they are shooting for the home users space, so I gave it a rating on the ease-of-use a home user would find, just like I did for OpenSuSE and Mandriva.