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Fedora Core 2 Brims With New Features - page 2

What's New?

  • May 17, 2004
  • By Kurt Wall

You'll need disk space. The minimum disk space requirements are:

  • Server: 870 MB
  • Personal Desktop: 1.9 GB
  • Workstation: 2.4 GB
  • Bare Bones: 520 MB
  • Everything: 5.3 GB

I chose the Personal Desktop installation.

While I have your attention, permit me to sing the praises of CD-ROM media validation. The first two installation discs that I burned were just the usable side of coasters. Disc 1 had a subtle error that gave the Python-based installer severe indigestion; disc 2 burped with a read error about 90% of the way through the installation. The media check options that have become de rigeur in most installers are great features. Anaconda's is available by typing "linux mediacheck" at the Boot: prompt or by selecting the media check option early in the installation process.

The media check option enabled me to diagnose the problem as a bad CD-ROM rather than a corrupted download, so burning new CD-ROMs allowed me to continue the installation without suffering through another four hour download.

The hardware test bed for this review was unremarkable by today's standards:

  • AMD 1200 CPU with a Via Apollo Pro KT133 chipset
  • 512 MB unregistered, unbuffered, non-ECC PC133 RAM
  • Lite-On 82c168 (Tulip) 10/100 Ethernet adapter
  • NVIDIA GeForce MX 200 framebuffer with 32MB video RAM
  • Asus 52x CD-ROM drive
  • Lite-On CD-RW CD-RW drive
  • Two Western Digital ATA 100 hard disks (20 and 120 GB)

The installer is like most Linux installers. The main tasks, in order, are:

  1. Media test (optional)
  2. Hardware probe
  3. Language selection for the installer
  4. Select an installation profile
  5. Disk partitioning
  6. Boot loader configuration
  7. Network configuration
  8. Firewall configuration
  9. Additional language support
  10. Time zone configuration
  11. Set the root password
  12. Package selection customization (optional)
  13. Package installation
  14. Reboot

Some Anaconda's features qualify for special mention. When partitioning the disk and selecting filesystem types, the options are limited to ext2 and ext3. I prefer XFS to ext3, and, now that XFS is in the kernel, it should be reasonably straightforward to add XFS support to Anaconda. Another limitation that makes me grumble is only offering GRUB, the Grand Unified Bootloader. I prefer LILO, albeit for no other reason than that I've always used it. However, "I've always done it that way" is no reason to resist change and I grudgingly concede that GRUB seems more flexible and easier to use than LILO, so I'll quit complaining about it.

The firewall configuration is much simpler, an effort for which the folks on the Fedora project deserve a virtual beer. The old "High," "Medium," or "No" firewall configuration is gone. It is either on or off, although you can add additional ports through which to allow traffic if you enable the firewall. You can use the firewall configuration tool (renamed system-config-firewall) after the post-installation reboot to fine-tune your firewall. Real system administrators would do it from the command line, of course. ;-)

Yet another small change I noticed was in the time zone configuration screen. Gone is the tab that contained a check box to set the local clock to UTC. The UTC check box now resides at the bottom of the time zone selection screen (see Figure 1). It is, admittedly, a minor change, but it seems more sensible to put all of the configuration details on one screen.

The installation itself took about 30 minutes from start to finish and proceeded smoothly and uneventfully.

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