With last weeks release of Fedora 12, we were eager to give this new version a try. We decided to do some testing on our new MSI CR-600 Laptop (specs here)

For this review we used the Fedora 12 64 Bit Live CD. Installation went without issue, the first thing we noticed that changes is the absense of Nodoka, Fedora’s theme they’ve been using in the last few releases.

For some reason, they’ve elected to use Clearlooks as the default now which is a bit of a shame as we personally enjoy the new themes Fedora has introduced since Bluecurve. I’m not sure what the logic was to going with a default but it took a little bit away from our initial excitement.

Below is a screenshot of the main desktop. The only significant changes we could find visually were the new desktop background and the following screenshot that shows the new icons for Nautilus.

As you can see below.. for some reason they’ve chosen to go with the default Clearlooks theme and have rid Fedora 12 of Nodoka (which we prefer personally). You can also see the new icons they have put in place for folders and the like.

In the screenshot below, you can see we’ve restored Nodoka from the add/remove packages (it’s still hidden there for those who liked it).

Default plugins for Firefox are shown below. Java and media works by default for most purposes, the missing plugin in this list is Flash which is proprietary and therefore needs to be installed separately.. but it’s not difficult to do so.

PackageKit (The software manager backend) for Fedora has seen some improvements and appears to be much quicker. Installing applications requires far more clicking and is quite fast and simple.

Fedora’s Automatic bug reporting tool appears to have some glitches however. It now notifies you of detected crashes via a system tray applet which, when clicked on allows you to submit a bug report. We attempted to use this but were told after filling out the form with all of our details that we didn’t have a bugzilla account and it failed.

It would make more sense to be prompted to create a bugzilla account first before having a user attempt to use something and have it fail. Hopefully they can clean this up in the next release. In the context menus for this applet, there are no places to fill in your bugzilla details either so we’re not sure how this applet is supposed to help anything to be honest. Perhaps someone who does know can inform us?

On the instant messaging front.. Pidgin has been replaced with Empathy (shown below) although Pidgin fans can still install it if they prefer.

Wireless networking works perfectly without a hitch and all of our hardware was detected and configured correctly. There is still no easy way to install Nvidia drivers for proprietary cards though and it would be nice if they could implement something similar to Ubuntu’s restricted driver manager.

Users will also be pleased to note that Bluetooth has been heavily enhanced with file sharing via Bluetooth now available within Nautilus:

There is a great third party product for Fedora called Easy Life that you can download that installs and configures a ton of settings by default for you (ubuntu users may compare it to the deceased automatix).

It does the following:

  • Sets “sudo” command up for your regular user;
  • Configures RPMFusion repository for extra and non-free software;
  • Installs Flash Player plugin;
  • Installs all kinds of multimedia Codecs (h264,divx,xvid,mp3 etc);
  • Installs additional fonts;
  • Installs Skype;
  • Installs Sun Java and Sun Java Plugin for Firefox;
  • Integrates Sun Java with system-switch-java;
  • Installs Google apps (Picasa, Desktop);
  • And many others…

It’s available for Fedora and is a handy tool to save some time setting up the desktop for the first time.

Fedora has always been one of the strongest distributions and this release is no different. It’s fast, secure and easy to use.

From: LinuxCritic