Fedora 8 came out today and quite frankly, it sucks. I’m a Fedora user and I run Fedora on about 10 servers right now, including this one that hosts Dvorak Uncensored. But even though I’m a fan I think that it’s time to end the intellectual welfare that all the Linux reviewers give it and raise the bar to the same standards that commercial software is judged by. What is that standard you ask? It’s the standard of “does it work”. My conclusion – no – it doesn’t. Fedora 8 is broken.
I downloaded the 64 bit released version. My hardware is as follows:
1. Motherboard A8N-VM CSM
2. CPU: AMD 4400+ dual core processor
3. 4 gigs of ram
4. Maxtor 300gb SATA II drive
5. Monitor Samsung Syncmaster 912n 1280×1024
I did a generic install using all the defaults. The only thing I did unique was the root password. The install appeared to go fine. Did a reboot and it took 10 minutes to come up. It got stuck on loading Sendmail until something timed out. Eventually it came to in 800×600 resolution by default in spite of the fact that my screen is 1280×1024. The first thing I noticed was that the cursor was missing. Technically it was there – but you couldn’t see it. This by itself makes it fail the “just works” test.
Being an expert, I already know to try to disable the fancy GUI boot-up to get the cursor back but the average person doesn’t know that, nor should they. So after switching to text mode and editing the /boot/grub/grub.conf file and rebooting, I managed to get the system up with a cursor.
But since I had a 1280×1024 screen, I wanted to see it in the resolution that the screen supports. So I ran the display configuration and set the Monitor to Samsung 712n which was on their list. Now if this were a Windows computer, I wouldn’t have had to do that because Windows just knows what monitor you hook up.
After selecting the correct monitor, I returned to select the resolution and even though I had selected a 1280×1024 monitor I still couldn’t select anything bigger than 800×600. So I tried a reboot thinking maybe after it boots up with the new monitor setting, then it would give me the choices for the resolution. But after the reboot, it came up in some strange mode that was something like 1370×768, which is beyond the dimensions of the selected monitor.
I could have started trying to edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file but decided f*ck it. Why should I spend several more hours on Fedora 8 just trying to get it to work with a standard size screen? I have better things to do. Yes, if I wanted to, I could eventually get it to work but why should I?
So then I downloaded the “Live DVD” for the 64 bit version, the i386 version is called “Live CD” which is what they used to call it in Fedora 7 until I pointed out that the size of the image file they put out was too big to fit on a CD. I filed a bug report and the response was “Won’t Fix”. So I download the Fedora 8 version called “Live DVD” but when I went to burn it, the burner software said that the image can’t be burned onto a DVD because it was in CD format.
So – the bottom line is that when tested on a standard system using hardware that is about 2 years old, it just plain doesn’t work. On first boot there was no cursor. Once I fixed that, it failed to adjust to the resolution of my monitor. And the “Live DVD” image is formatted for a CD but to big to fit on a CD. I’m not going to report this as a bug because if I get another “won’t fix,” it’s really going to piss me off.
The bottom line is – it doesn’t work. Fedora 8 is as bad as Fedora 7. It’s broken and it sucks.
Like I said, unlike other Linux reviewers, I have a higher standard of what I consider a passing grade. To me an operating system should at least come up and work. If it doesn’t work, it’s a failure. I’m not going to give Linux welfare the way other reviewers do. If it’s broken then I flunk it. Fedora 8 flunks.
A lot of people put Vista down because it sucks. I’m not using it myself but Vista does at least work. Can you imagine what people would say if you installed Vista and you didn’t have a mouse cursor? Or if they put out a “Live DVD” in CD format? Or you were stuck in 800×600 mode with a 1280×1024 monitor? Do you think Vista would get the kind of positive reviews that Linux gets? I don’t think so.
I think it’s wrong to lower the bar for Linux. When we pretend that Linux works when it doesn’t it creates a false sense of success. People ask why folks choose Windows or Macs over Linux when Linux is free. That answer is simple. Windows works, Linux doesn’t. If you give something away for free and people still pick the expensive OS over your free OS then maybe it’s time to get a clue.