Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fedora 16 impressions

I installed Fedora 16 this week, onto my "test" USB flash drive. My first impressions: I really like what I see.

As promised, the login screen has received an overhaul to more closely match the Gnome desktop theme. Looks great.

Once you get into the desktop, things look about the same as Fedora 15. A few differences: you aren't available for chat by default (a welcome change for me.) And as always, a new default wallpaper specific to this version of Fedora:

In general, there aren't a lot of big changes from the previous Fedora. But we knew that. Applications are moved up to the latest releases (at the time Fedora 16 was assembled.) Firefox 7, Gnome 3.2, and so on.

Per my previous post, I was really excited to experiment with the integration with social contacts, and the support for online accounts. So once I was on the new version of Fedora, I played with that right away.

If you click on your name, in the upper-right corner, you now have access to online accounts:

It took only a few clicks to add my Google account:

As you can see, there's support for email, calendar, contacts, chat, and documents.

This means that you can now use Google as your default chat client. Clicking on my name again, I could go online with chat - with Gnome using Google Talk. In Evolution (Gnome's default email and calendar program) I could send and receive messages via my Gmail account, and update my Google Calendar. All through the native Evolution program. I haven't tried the "documents" integration yet.

This would be great if I actually used Evolution. But I don't. I prefer to stay in Google's web client for everything. So this desktop interaction, while cool, probably won't do much for me.

But if you're a desktop user who prefers Evolution to do your email and such, this will be a huge win. You can now do everything with one click. If you use Thunderbird for your Gmail, you may consider switching to Evolution, for this feature alone.

For those who wonder "what updates are already pushed out", there aren't that many updates for Fedora 16, which I suppose is a good indicator of its stability at release. My update was 55MB, and took only a few minutes while I did other things.


  1. Tried it. Was disappointed that my AAO with broadcom wireless didn't work out of the box.

    Unless I am mistaken, setting up wireless for Fedora is a command line process.

    Tell me I am wrong -- mine is a D260 with 1GB RAM.

  2. AAO means Acer Aspire One, correct? I don't have this laptop, but doing some googling, looks like you'll need to install the broadcom-wl and  wl-kmod packages. Or try b43-openfwwf, the free driver. You can install this at the command line (yum) or from the add/remove GUI. Either way, I'll assume you're on a wired connection to do that.

    At least, that's what I found using Google. YMMV.

    The problem is that Broadcom doesn't want to play in the open source space, so they keep their driver closed. Which alas, means Fedora isn't able to support most Broadcom wireless cards out of the box. Why Broadcom does it this way, I have no idea. It's not like wifi is a new technology, and you'd think making it EASIER to use your device everywhere would be preferable. Heck, look at the other big players in wifi, they have open source drivers, and Linux supports them fine.


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