Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fedora Core 6 - not for me !... SuSE -- The Linux community will miss you.

After my first blog on my experience with Kubuntu Edgy, I am going to write about my rants with Fedora Core 6.

After the release of Red hat's Fedora Core 6 on Oct 24th, a lot of linux gurus and dedicated Red Hat fans have downloaded it and commended it as very update and bleeding edge distro. Nov 2nd 2006 is a black day for Linux/Open source/Free software loyalists (I am one of 'em) as Novell signed contract with big bully of the software industry. Reading various blogs and news clips made me think of replacing my Open SuSE 10.1 which was running on my Desktop. Fedora was the answer. It is from the leader and pioneer in Linux distributions and many reviews said its new release "Zod" is worth trying.

I downloaded the DVD iso from a mirror near me and rebooted my system with the DVD on. Fedora core 6 booted with a professional looking installer. The DNA theme it has adopted recently can be prominently seen in the installer too. The anaconda installer was slow and sometimes unresponsive as usual. The best part of Red Hat/Fedora installers is that they look very sleek and professional, much better even when compared to WindowsXP installer. I opted for a desktop installed and in about 15 minutes, I was in my newly installed Fedora core. I can't stop praising the look and feel of the system, especially the login screen. Once logged in, I could see the simple and elegant Fedora desktop. Everything looked great. But, wait... here comes the worst part. I can't connect to the internet from my home broadband connection.

I would'nt blame Fedora for everything. I have a ADSL connection from Netviagator the biggest ISP in Hong Kong for domestic as well as business customers. Its a pity that such big company cannot support users of Linux. Its pathetic that they even don't have the technical work force to offer some kind of support to Linux customers even if they as for them repeatedly. SuSE's internet connection wizards to setup the ADSL connection worked for me without any effort. But for Fedora, it seemed almost impossible. I googled a lot and tried various methods, like using Roaring Penguin-PPPoE . Then tried using webmin to configure my broadband modem to save my account name and password, but it the company has set its own passwords to administer the Router which I don't know. I tried several methods from various forums but none seemed to work. Fedora doesn't have easy system tuning wizards builtin. I would expect a distro to install at least the necessary tools for a home ADSL connection on a Desktop installation. I don't even find "adsl-setup" a package I found on a forum installed by default. After several frustrating hours, I had to shutdown Fedora and start hating Fedora.

Actually, I have not been a fan of Red Hat since when I first started experimenting with it. I started with Red Hat 6.0 and everytime I install it I was only amazed by the neat layout of the Desktop. My biggest dislikes for Red Hat was, 1)I had to mount my other windows partitions manually and 2)installing rpm packages with rpm was like working in hell. Most of the times, Red Hat would even recognise my sound card. At that time Mandrake provided a very good alternative with its good community and userfriendly configuration tools. Now that I am with Ubuntu, I am happy because it works most of the time and finding a solution and implementing is not impossible.

Fedora/Red Hat disappointed me as it always used to do. Open SuSE offered a very good solution to me. SuSE's installer and configuration wizards were the best in Linux distros. Yes, they are important for users like me who are not well versed in Linux and yet want to use Linux. SuSE used to be very advanced and professional looking but from recent turn of events, I see no future for SuSE. A wonderful German distro doomed in the hands of Novell.