Notes on fedora 18

As I noted in my earlier review, I did not particularly like Fedora 18.  But, now that it is installed, I have been using it from time to time.  So here are a few comments on what I have noticed.

Updates

I am surprised at the frequency of updates.  I suppose that I should not have been surprised, as Fedora has a reputation for this.  When I booted Fedora 18 on Tuesday, there were 85 new updates waiting.  Then, only three days later, there were an additional 28 updates.

One of the Tuesday updates was kernel 3.8.1.  Next week, opensuse 12.3 comes out, probably with a 3.7.10 kernel.  So Fedora is pushing the kernel envelope faster than opensuse.  On the other hand, Fedora 18 is still at KDE version 4.9.5, while opensuse 12.3 has been at version 4.10 since the first release candidate.  So Fedora isn’t pushing desktops as hard as they are pushing kernels.

I will add that they are being cautious with the kernel updates.  The previous kernel is left there, with a boot menu choice to select the older kernel.

SELinux

I disabled SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux).  It was too annoying.  I wanted to configure “sshd” to only allow public key authentication.  However, SELinux was blocking that.  I also wanted to use ecryptfs for a private directory.  That worked, but SELinux blocked the login from automatically mounting the ecryptfs file system, so it had to be done manually after login.  I am a lot happier with the system now that SELinux has been turned off.

UEFI

Both the Fedora DVD (64 bit) and the live KDE image booted fine in UEFI mode on my newest Dell system.  In both cases, I was  booting from a USB.  I wrote the iso image to the USB using the “dd_rescue” command, though a straight use of “dd” should also have worked.

The Fedora project site says that you cannot boot in UEFI mode with a USB made the way that I did.  Instead, they give elaborate instructions for preparing a USB for booting.  Perhaps it depends on the computer UEFI firmware, as to whether a UEFI boot will work the way that I did it.  Or perhaps the Fedora folk were mainly pointing out that a boot USB built the way that they usually recommend would not work for booting in UEFI mode.

A final note

This will probably be my last post on Fedora 18.  Next week I will be busy installing opensuse 12.3 on my systems.  It is due for public release on Wednesday March 13th.

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About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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