In a post I wrote on February 7, I said I moved from Fedora 14 to Linux Mint Debian. Well, less than two weeks later I moved back to Fedora 14. I’m familiar with the Fedora way of tweaking the system, and I just couldn’t figure out how to set up certain things in Linux Mint Debian. Fedora is not only cutting edge, it’s more user friendly than Debian based distros for technicians in my opinion.
I’ve been with Fedora since Fedora Core 3 and have witnessed significant improvements with every new version. However because Fedora 15 comes with Gnome 3 as the default desktop environment, I had some misgivings when I upgraded. I knew that Gnome 3 is a radical departure from Gnome 2, but I wanted to at least give it a shot.
Improvements over Fedora 14
- Since upgrading my AMD Phenom quad core CPU to a Phenom 2 six core CPU, Fedora 14 would often hang during boot at udev. I had to press the ESC key a couple times to continue the boot process. This doesn’t happen anymore in Fedora 15
- While playing music and running Skype at the same time in Fedora 14, a Skype login by one of my Skype friends would pause the music player. The next login by somebody else would start it again. Needless to say this was a bit irksome but now with Fedora 15 the problem seems to be fixed.
- So far I haven’t felt a need to install the third party proprietary Nvidia video driver for my Nvidia card. The default open source driver seems to be doing an acceptable job. It plays Youtube videos at full screen without obvious jerking of motion.
- LibreOffice seems better than OpenOffice in some ways. I used to get weird behavior from OpenOffice Calc of menus popping up though I was only filling in the cells with my data. This didn’t happen in LibreOffice. However, I could not read the Japanese fonts in a .docx file, a problem I didn’t have in OpenOffice.
- Startup and shutdown, especially shutdown, is significantly faster.
What I don’t like about the default Fedora 15
I think the developers of Gnome 3 made a major mistake in such a radical change from Gnome 2. All my cool Gnome 2 applets now gone forever! The coolest thing about Gnome 2 for me was that it was a mixture of the look and feel of both Windows and Macs. Gnome 3 is nothing like either. How can I therefore recommend Windows users to try it when I couldn’t even figure it out? Gnome 2 made it less painful for a Windows user to switch to Linux. The analogy of the Gnome 3 interface is that it makes it easier for users to access apps from smaller screens. Fine. Why not then have it only for hand-held devices? Why use such an interface now when PC screens as large as 24 inches have become easily affordable by most users? Hardly anybody these days has a screen size smaller than 15″, especially if they use a Desktop PC.
Alternatives to Gnome 3
I tried out KDE4 for a few days. It was certainly more intuitive and comfortable for me to use compared to Gnome 3. But KDE4 also seems slow at times.
I tried out XFCE which is similar to Gnome, but it seemed to lack certain features.
I also tried LXDE. It’s fast, has a Gnome 2 look (but still no Gnome 2 applets) and the default File Manager PCManFM seems to be better than Nautilus in some ways. It has configuration tweaks that Nautilus doesn’t have, and it sorts my Desktop Icons automatically every time I erase a file from my Desktop. Way to go LXDE developers! However it doesn’t seem to have a Favorites section for me to add frequently used software.
I’m back again to KDE4. Though its startup is slower than LXDE or XFCE, it seems to be the most configurable and easiest to use Desktop environment available now for Linux.