Fedora Core 5 is out! I just got an IBM T43 ThinkPad yesterday, perfect for checking out FC5.
The FC5 installer is significantly better than Fedora Core 4’s. Fewer questions I shouldn’t have to answer, and a better organized and easier to use package selection system. The new installer also just plain looks better. Fedora Core 5 was entirely installed in about half an hour.
Two things needed some tweaking in order to work on my IBM T43 ThinkPad – the screen and the wireless card. The good news is that both problems were easily solved.
The FC5 installer didn’t guess my display type correctly, giving me a maximum resolution of 800×600. This was solved by selecting a different display in the installer, “IBM 9514-B TFT Panel” with a resolution of 1400×1050.
FC5 didn’t recognize my wireless card, which has an Atheros a/b/g chip. This problem was solved by going to MadWifi, downloading 3 RPMs, installing them, and following the excellent instructions at MadWifi. My wireless was up and running in about 15 minutes.
I haven’t done much with FC5 other than set it up, explore the interface, and browse around some websites with Firefox (also, I’m writing this weblog entry on it). So far, I’ve noticed that Gnome has gotten faster (FC5 ships with Gnome 2.14), the interface shows some incremental simplification in a good way, and the software updating application (“Pup”) works great. This latter point is a big deal because prior to FC5 the GUI for getting software updates has been absolutely terrible (it rarely actually made it through a single round of updates). I used to have to use “yum” on the command line to get my updates, but there is no need to do that any more.
One thing FC5 sorely lacks is a nice GUI for dealing with wireless networks. Ubuntu has a really nice one, so I know it can be done on Linux. I had to do all my wireless network stuff on the command line using iwconfig and dhclient.
So far installing/using FC5 has been a good experience. Having a fully-functional Linux system in under an hour is awesome. I’ll write more thoughts about FC5 after I’ve used it for a while.
Note: While installing/using FC5 has been a good experience for me, it wouldn’t be for an inexperienced user. The display wasn’t autodetected, the installer still asks a few unnecessary and very technical questions (though fewer than the FC4 installer did), I had to install RPMs for my wireless card, and I had to set up my wireless networking on the command line. Tisk tisk…