5 things we love about Fedora 18 / 5 things we hate

Fedora 18

After being delayed for months due to reported problems with the new installer, Fedora 18 has arrived. On the plus side, Fedora 18 delivers new management functionality for IT administrators and offers improved Active Directory support. However, a complicated installation process and some issues with the user interface make it a less attractive option than desktop competitors like Ubuntu and Mint. (Read the story version.)

Fedora 18
1. Improved Samba setup

Since it is sponsored by enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat, it's no surprise that Fedora comes with some business-friendly features, including an improved Samba setup, which allows users to connect with Microsoft’s Active Directory.

Fedora 18
2. Built-in virtualization

Fedora 18 also comes with SecureContainers, which allows applications or services to run in isolated, self-contained environments. This feature, which was first introduced in Fedora 17, is useful when the operating system is on a machine that say, runs multiple web servers simultaneously. In effect, this provides a form of built-in virtualization.

Fedora 18
3. Improved storage management

Fedora 18 features improved storage management, with a collection of tools and libraries for managing storage area networks and network attached storage.

Fedora 18
4. Expanded cloud functionality.

The new release also expands cloud-related functionality. For example, the Eucalyptus tool allows the creation of private clouds that are compatible with Amazon Web Services. It also includes the latest “Folsom” version of the OpenStack cloud platform.

Fedora 18
5. Choice of desktops

With Fedora 18, users can choose from the popular Gnome desktop environment, which comes by default and is the simplest to use. Then there's the KDE Plasma Desktop environment, which offers not only a different look and feel but also more configuration options. Other options include XFCE, LXDE, Cinnamon, MATE, and Enlightenment.

Fedora 18
Hates 1: No ownCloud

Fedora 18 was released without ownCloud, an open source solution for sharing and syncing files online and with mobile devices. An open source version of DropBox, ownCloud allows a company to control its document sharing, rather than putting its documents in the hands of a third-party vendor. Originally slated for release with Fedora 18, it now seems to be pushed back to Fedora 19, currently scheduled for release in May.

Fedora 18
Hates 2: Not as lightweight at Mint or Ubuntu

Fedora is a relatively lightweight platform compared to Microsoft Windows, but it is more resource intensive than the popular Mint and Ubuntu distributions of Linux. For example, Fedora took up 453MB of RAM on our Intel desktop, compared to 426MB for Ubuntu 12.10.

Fedora 18
Hates 3: Install not intuitive

Ubuntu and Mint give users a choice of erasing the entire hard drive, or installing the new OS alongside the existing one with a simple slider mechanism to determine how much space to allocate. A third option, a custom install, offers a list of available drives and the free space on each, so the user can decide exactly where the operating system will go. With Fedora 18, there were no simple alternatives, and we needed to reclaim space by manually resizing individual partitions. In addition, there was no upgrade option, even though our computer was already running Fedora 17.

Fedora 18
Hates 4: Software snafus

After getting Fedora installed and running, downloading software was a headache because Fedora uses a different repository for software than Ubuntu and Mint. The result is less software to choose from.

Fedora 18
Hates 5: Konqueror browser

The default web browser for Fedora 18 isn't Firefox or Chrome or anything else I'd heard of before, but Konqueror, which has so little market share it doesn't show up in any market share reports. By comparison, the default Gnome desktop environment comes with Firefox.