Fedora 18 “Spherical Cow”

f18release

I think everyone has a bit of a love/hate relationship with their technology.  We hate it when it doesn’t work, or we can’t figure something out, or something breaks or doesn’t make sense.  But we love the new upgrade, the fancy new desktop background, animated menus, or what have you.  Fedora 18 was just recently released so of course I had to jump on that and get all the new stuff here as quickly as possible.  Is it great?!?  Was it worth the wait?  Is it a waste of time?  Do I love it?  Do I hate it?  Yes!

fedup (or fedora upgrade)

Over the past week I’ve been migrating several of my machines from Fedora 17 to Fedora 18.  The old “preupgrade” tool that was available for upgrading your system to new releases no longer is available for upgrading to fedora 18. Instead a new utility called “fedup” is provided.

What do I think of the new “fedup” tool?  For me on my systems it has been a resounding #fail.  Both systems I tried to update got trashed.  In the first case I was able to run “fedup” and do the initial pre-load.  Upon rebooting I was able to do the “upgrade” boot and the installer ran all the way through to the end and it all looked really good.  But when I rebooted after completing the upgrade I found a mess.  My system couldn’t boot or booted partially into an error state of not being able to find what it needed.  I didn’t continue to debug or try to figure out what happened.  Personally I’d rather have a fresh clean system, than a trashed system that’s been just barely patched together enough to boot and run.  So I blew everything away and loaded from scratch off the DVD ISO.

On the second machine (a laptop this time.)  I ran fedup and prep’ed the system for upgrade, rebooted into the upgrade installer and proceeded with the upgrade.  But partway through the package installation process my entire machine rebooted with no warning.  This laptop isn’t prone to doing that sort of thing.  Blame it on the hardware?  Maybe, but …. ???  This also left me with a system that wouldn’t boot, so again I blew it all away and loaded Fedora 18 from scratch off the DVD.

In both cases, installing from scratch from the DVD worked flawlessly after seeing fedup fail.  On my other machines, the DVD install from scratch has worked well.  So fedup is a #fail, but otherwise I’m happy.  There’s something to be said about a clean system that hasn’t carried over all the cruft from previous revisions and years of use, so I’m not entirely unhappy that I was forced to install my systems from scratch.  (I have a sophisticated backup system “backuppc” and store my home directories on separate hard drives, so an install from scratch is not as big a deal as it might be if I had everything on a single drive with no backups.)

Freshly installing Fedora 18

In all cases (for me) installing from scratch has worked perfectly.  I’m disappointed that the upgrade didn’t work, but the fresh install procedure works quite well.  In my case what ultimately happens with a fresh install is that later I stumble on packages I forgot about or configurations or tools I had setup for some task on the old machine, and a few months later when I need to do something again, I discover that and need to scramble to get it going again from scratch on the new system.

Here are some installation hints, tips, and tweaks for Fedora 18 that I discovered along the way:

Tweaking for Personal Preferences

No one likes a straight up stock machine (except maybe iUsers) so right out of the starting gate we need to tweak and configure several things.  Here is my list of “must tweaks.”

Conclusion

So far I’ve been very pleased with the newest release of Fedora.  Fedora 18 is a worthy successor to Fedora 17 and the previous versions too.  If you are coming from some other platform, you may find aggravations or things that don’t work (or don’t work the same way.)  But if you are coming from a Fedora background, everything I do works at least as good or better in the new Fedora 18.  With a bit of tweaking for personal preference, it offers a very solid and very powerful system with recent versions of the kernel, gnome, gcc, libreoffice, gimp and other major software packages.  It is built around standard open source packages so if there are glitches or things I (or others) might not like, you will often find the exact same behavior in other modern Linux distributions that are built on the same packages.  The upgrade installer “fedup” is worthless as far as I’ve been able to see.  But installing from scratch works great.  I can’t say if Fedora is better or worse than other linux distributions (I know we all have our personal preferences) but I will say that I’m a solidly commited “linux guy” and Fedora 18 is really great and the best Fedora so far.

 

2013-01-26 12:05:01 -0600 - Written by curt