I’ve been a fan of the Linux operating system from the moment I first tried it many years ago after being handed a disc containing a early build of Slackware.
I’ve used many different distros over the years and seen it grow from the console only thing I first started with to a clunky user interface and ultimately to where it is today with for the most part very slick user interfaces and good hardware support.
One distro I keep coming back to over time is Fedora. It started as Fedora Core and changed at some point to just be Fedora. These days it’s a more bleeding edge distro than a lot of the others which means it’s often one of the first to bring new versions of software to a new release, such as in the recently released version 34 where it opted to include the GNOME 30 desktop while at the same time Ubuntu Linux stuck with a slightly older version of the GNOME desktop.
This latest release also is running on the Wayland display server. This means, among other things that Nvidia graphics drivers don’t work. That’s not to say you won’t get a display, you will, just don’t expect 3D rendering performance to be anything special. The community are working as well as they can with Nvidia to get Nvidia to add proper support for Wayland but until they catch up it’s not going to be great.
For us much as I like the new release the Fedora team have put out, there are a few things about Fedora that drives me crazy… and at least one of those is something that other distros share at the moment.
Problem #1 — Nonsense installation UI
Fedora’s installation tool (anaconda) is pretty simple and straightforward. It gets the job done with minimal fuss and leaves user setup for first boot after install.
What are they thinking with the main button placement choices in the UI when you choose an option?
After you go in to setup the disc partitioning or choose the locale settings, you would logically think the Done button would be at the bottom right. For the most part we read left to right and top to bottom. It makes sense to have it at the bottom right of the content. Fedora for some reason has it up in the top left and every time, even though I know to expect it now, it still leaves me searching for the Done button to continue on.
It’s just not logical at all.
Problem #2 — Gnome software sucks!
This problem is shared by many distros that use a standard GNOME desktop environment.
Gnome software reminds me of something from the early apple systems where you started up the “app store” and it had this cheery little voice saying “Let’s go shopping”.
Honestly, not only does it remind me of this old school thing which is a bad enough issue in itself, it has other problems.
It hides packages for more advanced system things. You can’t use it to install a lamp stack for example, which forces people to resort to using a console for such things.
Before you argue that those who want to install a lamp stack should well and truly be familiar with using the console… that’s totally besides the point. Sometimes we want to use the GUI, even for that sort of thing… and that is just one example.
At the time of writing, it seems the only alternative that allows you to use a GUI to install packages is dnfdragora and (on my system at least) it doesn’t work in Fedora 34.
Problem #3 — Microsoft style updates
Fedora for all it’s “power user” and “bleeding edge” credentials does something that most other distros don’t which also drives me crazy.
Microsoft style updates.
Updates to Fedora that contain some system files such as a kernel update or similar will (if done through the GUI as a normal user would) force the system to restart into a special update mode where it downloads and installs the updates and then reboots again back into a normal desktop mode.
Not only is this very Microsoft like, but it’s inconvenient and slow. It’s often worse than Microsoft because usually Microsoft Windows will install what it can, reboot and install some more before landing the user back in userland. This reboots twice.
Sure. You can use a terminal and run the commands to update the system without it doing this, which I find myself doing more often than not.
I also do understand the reasoning behind doing so being to minimize possible user caused interruptions that could cause it to fail. Still, for a distro that seems geared towards power users, this sort of hand holding seems very out of place.
So, while I still have this love of the Fedora Linux and enjoy the more bleeding edge setup and that sort of thing, there are things that they do that annoy me a lot and continue to be a reason for me to hop over to another distro for a while and come back to Fedora later with their next release perhaps.
I run Fedora 34 on my laptop currently and it’s great. The updates to the GNOME desktop environment are excellent and overall it’s a nice system to work with. I just wish they would add some power back into their GUI package management tools… give the power user reputation some validity. Just because we so called “power users” can use the terminal to overcome the shortcomings of the GUI doesn’t mean we should have to.
All of the Linux distros could learn from that, but at least on the Debian based distros I can use synaptic.