Last week, there was an announcement for Fedora 22. So I decided to take a look. I’ll note that I have only tested the KDE-live version. I have not attempted an install.
The Fedora site
From the announcement on distrowatch, I visited the Fedora project home page. There, I found lots of marketing hype but very little useful information. The home page mentions a server version, a workstation version and a cloud version. But I did not find a clear description of what is in those version and what distinguishes them.
Or, in simpler terms, the Fedora website sucks.
In previous experimenting with Fedora, I have found that installing from the DVD installer gives a better running system than installing from live media. So I tried to find an install DVD.
After a little exploring on the Fedora web site, I managed to get to a page that seemed to have a DVD installer. Looking more closely, that turned out to be for Fedora 20. Oops!
So I went to their torrent download site. The only DVD installer that I could find there was for their server version. With the lack of information on the differences between server and workstation versions, I could only guess that the server version would not have what I wanted on a desktop computer.
I instead downloaded the 64-bit KDE live version. I used “ktorrent” for the download. This went reasonably well. “Ktorrent” downloaded two files. One of those was the KDE live iso. The other was a checksum file.
I have “ktorrent” configured for a max upload ratio of 2.0. That is, it will stop uploading after it has uploaded twice as much as I downloaded. It is now almost 6 days since I downloaded, and the upload ratio has only reached 0.8. At this point, I have stopped “ktorrent”. It looks as if relatively few folk are actually using this torrent.
My usual practice is to verify a download to the extent possible. The checksum file has a gpg signature. The idea is to verify the gpg signature of the checksum file, then use the checksum in that file to verify the download.
I’m not sure what it is that the Fedora folk don’t understand about gpg (or PGP). A torrent download is supposed to already do some checking. So the main point in my checking is to protect against the possibility that hackers have broken into the fedora site and replace the downloadable file with a trojan. And they could have also replaced the checksum file with a matching trojan version. The use of gpg signature is supposed to be a cross check against this possibility.
What makes gpg signatures useful for this, is the web of trust. But Fedora seems to create a new gpg signing key for every project. And this ensures that there is no web of trust available, and trust checking needs to start over for every version. This makes no sense.
In any case, I did my best. I fetched the signing key from a keyserver. Then I tried to verify it. I was able to check at least one signature on that key, though I don’t have a good chain of trust for that one signature.
In any case, the signature on the checksum file looked good, and the checksum in that file did match the downloaded iso.
After checking, I wrote that iso to a 4G USB flash drive, with
# dd_rescue Fedora-Live-KDE-x86_64-22-3.iso /dev/sdd
(note that “/dev/sdd” happens to be where I plugged in the USB).
Running Fedora 22
I booted from the flash USB. This went quite smoothly. I actually tried that on two different computers. One of them was a laptop that uses legacy MBR booting. The other was a Lenovo desktop (ThinkServer) that uses UEFI. I had secure-boot enabled on the UEFI box. I did not run into any problems with booting on either box.
I’ll note that both of those computers have Intel graphics. I have not tried booting on an older box with an older nvidia card. I expect that would go badly, due to inadequacies of the “nouveau” driver.
On either box, the system booted into a Plasma 5 session. The desktop itself is clean looking and the menus are reasonably usable.
I did run into network problems. On the desktop, the network tray icon showed as connected, but with a “!”. On checking, I could see that I had IPv6 addresses but no IPv4 address. On the laptop, I provided the WiFi key for our network. That showed as connected, but with a “!”. Again, I seemed to have IPv6 addresses but no IPv4 address.
I am not sure why this is happening. Other distros do not seem to have problems getting an IPv4 address with DHCP. The lack of an IPv4 address is crippling. My home router is basically an IPv4 router, with some IPv6 support on top. It provides DNS information via IPv4. So, with only an IPv6 address, I had no access to DNS and no way of resolving names on the network.
I did go into networksettings in the NetworkManager applet. I set it to “require IPv4” for this connection. That was a disaster. With that requirement, the network would disconnect and reconnect every couple of minutes but never get an IPv4 address.
Later, I decided to manually configure an IPv4 address on the desktop box. Again, this was done with the NetworkManager applet in the tray. I configured an address, a netmask and a gateway. I also configured a DNS server. The result was still no IPv4 address. So I then told it to disconnect, and then to reconnect. And, finally, I had working IPv4 address and working Internet.