May 10, 2010, 4:23 PM —
The differences between Linux distributions these days are often so minute, there seems little reason to even review them anymore.
After all, one distro running GNOME 2.30 or KDE 4.4 is going to look very much like any other distro running the same interfaces. The interfaces will be nearly identical -- all that remains different are underlying administration tools and a few variant choices on the apps that are included.
That was the conundrum recently faced when turning to review the latest beta of Fedora 13: it looked so much like other GNOME 2.30-interfaced distros I have seen lately, the initial thought was "what's the diff?"
Such an attitude is, for the most part, not fair to the developers of the Fedora Project, who have put together a darn fine distribution that reads as rock-solid and very user-friendly.
I have been using Fedora 13 since the initial alpha release, and have been very impressed with the stability of this platform to date. And I don't have to make allowances for this being a pre-release product: I can honestly say that I have never seen a more stable alpha-to-beta series of releases in a Linux distro. I have seen just two -- count 'em -- two bugs, both minor, and both gone now, so I won't even detail them. That seems a very small point, but to me that points to a level of craftsmanship that shows up in other aspects of this distribution.
Fedora 13, code-named "Goddard," is set to be released on May 18, a one-week push back from its original May 11 target. The week's delay showed up early in the dev cycle, to confirm some bug fixes. It looks like the added week paid off.
Looking at the Fedora desktop in Figure 1, you can see right away that this is not going to win any slick design contests. The design is almost pure-vanilla GNOME 2.30, with the predominate Fedora blue permeating throughout. Compared to the slick design work from the new Ubuntu release, this could be seen as a disadvantage, but given the fact that GNOME is fairly customizable, it's short work to jazz up the interface the way you want.