Thursday, June 22, 2006

My quick review of Fedora Core 5

This is my initial take on FC5 shortly after doing a very messy upgrade from FC4. Once I've had more time with it I might do a more in depth one. Or not. Who knows?

Ok, this upgrade was not as smooth as it could have been. In fact it was down right scary. This was in no way due to FC5 or anything related to Fedora. See, my laptop's DVD/CD-RW combo drive decided it didn't want to play nice anymore a few months ago. The only way I had to upgrade the thing was to do a "yum upgrade". This isn't recommended but it's been known to work if you prepare for it. Well, all was going fine (i.e. the thing had been running for about 8 or 10 hours) when a T-storm decided to blip the power. It had d/l'ed just about all the rpm files and hadn't yet started the actual upgrade so I was a bit lucky. So, what to do now?

Running "yum upgrade" again just spit out pages of dependency problems. It was time to make like Jimmy Neutron and have a brain blast. Lo and behold, I had one. I went to the yum package directories for the repositories and ran the ugly and dangerous "rpm -Uvh --nodeps --force *.rpm" command. Oh the fun you can have with that specific combination of rpm options and switches. I used the "rpm -Fvh --nodeps --force *.rpm" variation for the other repositories, like dreis and livna. After doing this voodoo magic it was time to reboot and see what happened.

Well, I must have done something right in a past life 'cause the system came up and seemed to run quite nicely. So now I have a working FC5 system despite all my attempts to sabotage it. What's the bad boy look like?

It looks good. I made sure to update things again and also to make sure that the new toys like Beagle and F-spot were installed. As soon as I find the charger for my digital camera I'll try the latter out. But the really important things I need are email and web. Firefox is, as always, sweet and nice. But then there's Evolution. I have a very strong love/hate relationship with Evolution. In FC4's Evolution 2.2 it was 60% love and 40% hate. Now, with Evolution 2.6, it's closer to 35% love and 65% hate. Ever since version 1.x of this app I have found that each upgrade added a few nice things but always, without fail, had more thing bad/broken/stupid than good things. Now, the bad/broken/stupid things outweigh the good stuff. Whoever had the idea to make the trash and junk folders virtual was definitely on crack. And now, my INBOX is no longer recognized as a special folder but as one I had to resubscribe to. There are other little things that have changed which went from useful and easy to use to now being really crippled. I haven't looked at Outlook in ages but I have a bad feeling that if I did I'd see the exact same UI. Thus I have moved to Thunderbird. Now Thunderbird isn't perfect but it sure is a world better than Evolution, now.

Oh, if anyone can tell me how to get T-bird to sort the folders in normal, intelligent order (numbers then capital letters in alphabetical order then lower case letters alphabetical order) instead of the insane order (numbers then case insensitive alphabetical order) I promise to reward them with something special and unique (or maybe a cheap trinket thingy from the Dollar Store).

The last bit of work I need to do is to get Xfce installed so I have a decent desktop environment that's much more usable for me than GNOME or KDE. Hopefully Xfce 4.4 will be out soon. That will make things really nice.

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