Fedora Core 5, the next version of software based on RedHat Linux of long ago, was released in Mid-March to the masses. I am sure that others have looked at the alpha and beta releases -- I waited until the the official release before looking at the software. Initial reactions: I love it.

My hardware, for those to compare, is an AMD Athalon 1.2 GHz computer with 756 MB of RAM or so, ample hard drive space, and an ATI Rage Pro 128 video card. Actually, it is an ATI All-in-wonder TV card, with Rage 128 video horsepower, but the default system install doesn't recognize the TV input. For this review, I have not tackled the configuration of TV video.

I found the disks easy enough to grab via FTP off of a mirror, and burn. I like the DVD distribution -- just one disk to be responsible for, and I can click and go with the install, and not have to be around for the disk-swap. The FTP'd DVD worked well the first time, and the install process worked wonderfully.

As an advanced user, I never select the automatic disk partition scheme -- I always partition the disk out into 8 or 9 partitions, one for root (/), /var, /home, /opt, swap, /tmp, /usr, and /backup. Granted, /backup is not a standard, but I make it a distinct partition for backup purposes, and develop crontab scripts (batch files for our Windows friends) to make copies of the files onto /backup. I found the disk partition tool to work well; my install was flawless.

They also fixed a bug from FC 4: sometimes, when I would partition a drive, and make an error, such as re-sizing a partition, I would get through the package selection, and then error out and have to start the install sequence all over because the partition map did not write properly. FC 5 did not have this error. I tested specifically for it, and did not find it.

What I did find, however, was an oversimplification of the package selection screens. They dummied it down in FC5, making it more of a headache to select which packages and sub-packages you would like to install. I liked the old screens better-- I felt they had more granular control, and were faster to configure and move on.

After the install, the computer responded well. They have changed some of the icons a bit, and made the interface (gnome) more fun. I did not try KDE, but GNOME version 2.14 worked well for me, including mounting volumes from Windows Domains, something that was not easily accomplished under FC4 / Gnome 2.8

FC5 does not support MP3 encoding (ripping CD's) out of the box. Because of licensing issues with the MP3 format, that specification is not available out of the box. I had to install ripperX, a sourceforge program, in order to get my CD's to rip into MP3's properly. RipperX works well, but it does not seem to name the tracks like Sound Juicer did under FC4.

I had no problems compiling sourcecode, or running YUM. The FC5 also recognized my older laptop's hardware properly, something SuSE 9 and SuSE 10 cannot seem to grasp.

I did not perform the optional upgrade from FC4 to FC5... I prefer to manually upgrade my work machines by backing up the necessary partitions, and doing a fresh install. To me, it seems a great way to clean house, and remove old materials from the computer. It also forces me to keep my documentation up to date. I do have a laptop running FC4 yet, so I will try the upgrade feature, and write another article.

Fedora Core 5 linux worked well for me out of the box. While not as easy to install as Ubuntu's breezy-badger, FC5 offers a lot more power to the user than Ubuntu does, and that is important to advanced linux guys like me.

I hope you find this review useful.

Christian KC0ARF

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I've been out of the linux loop for so long, it almost makes me want to set that linux box of mine back up. But, alas, I have come to terms with the fact that OS X happily performs al of my *nix needs and another box and monitor in my room is a waste of space :) Still, though ... I never really had a good chance to explore Fedora at all. I decommissioned my Linux box right after RedHat 8.

Well, you could always dual-boot your Mac :D

No need between Fink and X11 for OS X.

Thanks, Christian. I appreciate your review. My web servers are still FC2. I only use Linux for serving, so I don't install any of the GUI tools. Each new release, though, gets me closer to attempting a complete switch over to Linux for all my OS needs. There are still just too many MS Windows features and compatibility issues that keep me a Windows user for my workstation/desktop needs.

It is amazing how easy the installs are these days compared to, for example, installing Redhat 10 years ago.

We use SUSE 9 and SUSE Enterprise at the office. It's a great product as well, but for the casual user, I think it's still hard to beat the Red Hat / Fedora Core flavors for out of the box simplicity and compatibility.


Good comments fellas. I agree about not wanting to dual-boot the Mac, unless it was an older one, such as my Powerbook G3 333 MHz computer. An OS X box that is sufficiently modern / fast that can run OS X is a cool useful thing.

In the case of my PB G3, however, where OS X is marginal, Linux feels nice and refreshingly fast on the computer. Fink is not a complete answer; for example, the current version of NESSUS is not available via the fink options. As the latest release (3.x) is not open source, you cannot compile it. Only available for Fedora / Redhat and Suse as .rpm packages.

It is possible to live without Windows. Been doing it for a few years now. With OpenOffice and other tools available, I found it easy to let go. Granted, with Linuxes like FC5 and SuSE not shipping with xine and xmms ready to go (because of licensing issues) there are a couple of post-install steps that the end user may not be ready to deal with.

The last "difficult" install that I remember for Redhat was 5.2, when .iso disks were not easily available, and we all installed from the internet. It was saying something to install your OS via dialup internet.


RH 5.2 was my first taste of Linux. I remember paying www.cheapbytes.com to snail mail me the CD for $5. RH 7.3 was my favorite version that ran awesome on my 700 mhz lappy. To this day, that lappy is put away in my closet still with RH 7.3 on it being dual booted with Windows 98 SE!

I have installed FC5 because the board of education in Israel has decided students who learn C and C++ should compile and run in Linux.
I like the GUI , simple enough to use .
however i downloaded an openoffice version who has hebrew support but i cant install it ..... it takes 122MB but no run-file , looks like and archive but i have no idea - new at this Linux business .

YoTaMiX: start a thread in the linux forum, might get much better support there..

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