The latest version of Fedora, nicknamed "Schrodinger's Cat," features a number of improvements aimed at IT users. But its strict adherence to the open source philosophy means that it continues to be problematic for typical end users.
We tested Fedora 19 on three machines: an old Acer laptop, with around 1GB of RAM and a 2.13-GHz Intel Celeron processor; a desktop with 5.6GB of RAM and an AMD Athlon II x2 processor running at 2.80 GHz; and a System76 laptop with 7.7GB of RAM, 64 bit, an Intel core i5-320m CPU at 2.60 GHz x 4 processor.
The installation was reasonably smooth, though the user interface leaves much to be desired. We were used to Fedora installation idiosyncrasies, but someone new to the distribution might have difficulties getting through it.
Fedora 19 uses the Anaconda installer, which we encountered in Fedora 18. It was horrible then, and little has improved since. For example, setting up partitions is unnecessarily difficult, a problem we saw in the previous release.
After the install we saw problems with wireless support and media drivers, due to Fedora's policy of only including fully open source software with the release. The installation files took up 951MB, and fit on a single DVD.
There's a utility called FedUp that automates the upgrade process from Fedora 18 to Fedora 19, but we didn't have Fedora 18 running on any of our machines our preferred Linux distribution is Ubuntu so we installed Fedora 19 from scratch.
In our testing, we did not encounter any of the other 25 other known issues the Fedora Project lists for this release, most of which are very minor.
The Fedora project is backed by Red Hat, a Linux vendor with a strong history of serving enterprise customers deploying Linux-based servers and applications. So it's no surprise that this edition continues to build on back-end management functionality.
Fedora 19 also includes Red Hat's OpenShift Origin, an infrastructure for platform-as-a-service cloud projects, which was originally slated to be released with Fedora 18.
This release also upgrades support for programming language PHP to version 5.5, adds the newly released Ruby 2.0.0 and includes the preview version of the upcoming OpenJDK8.
MySQL has been replaced with one of its forks, MariaDB. After Oracle bought Sun in 2009, MariaDB was spun off by the original MySQL database developers to ensure that the project would continue, since MySQL is a popular and free alternative to Oracle's own proprietary offerings.
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