Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fedora 18 Spherical Cow KDE Review: Pure KDE centric and works very well!

Fedora has always intrigued me to keep track of the latest happenings in the Linux world and especially what's brewing at the RHEL stable! Also, if I think of a comparable distro to Ubuntu, Fedora is the only legitimate choice! Just like Ubuntu, Fedora also inspires innumerable spins (like Kororaa, Fuduntu, of which I am a big fan now!). So, when the release note of Fedora came on 15th Jan, I was quick to download all the four versions (Gnome, KDE, XFCE and LXDE). My first review was on the Gnome spin and this is the second in the series on KDE spin.

From Fedora 18
My assessment is based on installation on Asus K54C laptop with 2.2 Ghz Core i3 processor and 2 GB RAM and experience of using it for the last 3 days. I downloaded the 32-bit ISO (844 MB in size) for this testing. Fedora 18 has KDE 4.9.5 with Linux kernel 3.6.10, which gets updated to 3.7.2 on first update. With kernel 3.7.4 released, I guess within a couple of days, even this will be upgraded as well. Dolphin 2.1 is the default file browser and it is one of the best file browsers available in the Linux world.



Fedora 18 KDE has decently attractive aesthetics and I must say, extremely professional looks. Attention to details is evident starting from the boot menu itself. Hardware recognition is excellent and everything worked as expected starting from resolution, sound card, touchpad (with a little manual intervention) to Wifi and LAN.

I installed via USB live boot. One interesting feature I saw is the live-boot or install options while USB live-boot. Seems like Fedora picked up a feather or two from Ubuntu! It is good option for the users and I am not complaining!


From Fedora 18
Applications
Fedora 18 KDE spin is loaded mostly with pure KDE applications, viz.
  • Office: Calligra Office 2.5.3, Kontact, Contact manager, Kaddressbook, Ktimetracker, Korganizer, Import wizard, Okular document viewer
  • Internet: Blogilo, Ktorrent, Kget, Krfb, Akregator, KDE IM, Konversation, Kmail, Knetattach, Knode, KRDC, Ksshaskpas, Ktnet, Konqueror
  • Graphics: Gwenview image viewer, Ksnapshot, Kamoso, KolourPaint, Ksnapshot, Kcolor chooser, Kruler
  • Sound & Video: Amarok, Dragon Player, K3b disk burning, Kmix
  • Accessories: Ark Archiving tool, Klipper, KGpg encryption tool, Kjots notes, Knotes, Kalarm, Kcalc, Kwrite, Nepomuk backup, Konsole, Kwallet management
Application-wise it is a complete set that a KDE distro can offer. Personally, I am not very fond of Calligra office and prefer LibreOffice more. However, once I started using Calligra Office more intensively while using Fedora 18 KDE, I actually started liking the right hand side panel with short cut menu icons. Especially Spreadsheet application is quite powerful though it may not be as close to MS Excel as LibreOffice 3.6 Calc is. Still it's a matter of using it on regular basis and getting familiar with the software.
 
From Fedora 18
From Fedora 18
Similarly, Konqueror is never my preferred browser and you can download Firefox 17 from the repo or Firefox 18 from FF website. Fedora 18, as mentioned, in my review on Gnome spin, doesn't provide Adobe flash or non-free multimedia codecs, as a policy. Html5 works, however, effortlessly. I could watch youtube videos where html5 option is available, right after installation. Flash plugin can be directly downloaded from Adobe website and installed as given below:


1. Adding Adobe RPM packages to Yum (as root):  
rpm -ivh http://linuxdownload.adobe.com/adobe-release/adobe-release-i386-1.0-1.noarch.rpm
rpm --import /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-adobe-linux

2. Update and then download Adobe flash

yum check-update
yum install flash-plugin nspluginwrapper alsa-plugins-pulseaudio libcurl

From Fedora 18
Multimedia codecs require addition of RPM Fusion repos to the package list. I entered the following command at the terminal to add RPM fusion packages:

su -c 'yum localinstall --nogpgcheck http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-18.noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-18.noarch.rpm'

Post submitting this command, a refresh of the Software Install showed me the non-free codecs as well as VLC. Imagine the plight before this, neither movie files (.avi & .mkv primarily) nor mp3s would play on Fedora, even though Dragon movie player and Amarok are present!


From Fedora 18
Overall, I am pretty satisfied with the application provided in Fedora 18 KDE and I give it a rating of 9/10 on applications.


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Fedora 18 KDE Score
App – Office 10.00
App – Internet 8.00
App – Graphics 10.00
App – Multimedia 8.00
Applications 9.00

Installation
One of the main attraction of the Fedora 18 is the modified Anaconda installer. At a high level, it seems pretty simple and comparable to the Ubuntu installer. Just answer a few questions about language, location, keyboard, set root password, create user and that's it! No silly questions on grub and where to install grub, etc. just like Ubuntu. However, the design is a bit questionable and the orange notices popping up below every now and then is a bit irritating. At times I am not sure if I am doing the right thing or the wrong thing!


From Fedora 18
From Fedora 18
From Fedora 18
From Fedora 18
From Fedora 18
From Fedora 18
From Fedora 18
From Fedora 18

The installer is a bit bland in look and design. It is possibly designed keeping in mind the tablets and touch interfaces. But, it makes life a little tough on conventional laptops and desktops.

Life becomes more complicated with the installer once I try to create my own partition scheme and install Fedora. The installer is not very intuitive or as good as gparted. Moving on, straight forward installation takes about 20 minutes of time and it doesn't download the updates or codecs while installation like Ubuntu. I guess that makes life a bit tougher for any new user.

Post installation about 300 MB of updates were downloaded. I used terminal for the same with command "sudo yum check-update && sudo yum upgrade".

Repository
Yum is the default package manager with KDE Apper as the default GUI for browsing and installing packages. As mentioned before, the stock Fedora repo isn't that rich in terms of non-free codecs or applications. I couldn't locate even Adobe flashplugin there! But, once I added RPM Fusion packages to it, things became a lot better. On Apper, actually I like the simplistic interface and found it quite easy to use. If you don't want to go into complexities of the GUI, life is quite simple via the terminal as well, simply type "sudo yum install appname" and your app will get installed in minutes.

Some of the apps like Adobe flashplugin or Skype 4.1 are not there even in the RPM Fusion repo and required to be installed downloading from the respective website. For Skype, I tried the Fedora 16 installer available on Skype website and it worked well resolving all dependencies on Fedora 18.


From Fedora 18
From Fedora 18
Performance
Post updating to Linux kernel 3.7.2, Fedora 18 KDE desktop consumed about 300 MB RAM and 1-10% CPU to load with system monitor running. I guess, it is pretty decent if I compare it to the latest 32-bit KDE 4.9 spins released in 2012-13. Fedora 18 resource consumption is almost equivalent to Kubuntu 18 and slightly higher than Linux Mint 18 KDE. Definitely among the top 5 KDE distro's released with KDE 4.9 (Chakra is not included here as it doesn't support 32-bit version anymore).



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KDE OS Desktop CPU RAM
Mint 14 KDE KDE 4.9.2 1-5% 255 MB
Kubuntu 12.10 KDE 4.9.2 1-10% 300 MB
Fedora 18 KDE KDE 4.9.5 1-10% 300 MB
Bridge KDE KDE 4.9.3 1-10% 330 MB
Sabayon 10 KDE KDE 4.9.2 1-10% 334 MB
Manjaro 0.8.3 KDE KDE 4.9.4 1-10% 335 MB
Slackel KDE 4.9.2 KDE 4.9.2 1-10% 355 MB

Overall
I like Fedora 18 KDE for KDE centric focus. KDE 4.9 is simple, powerful and intuitive to use. It is fast, slick and I found it quite stable. I have mixed feelings about the upgraded Anaconda installer - it's good in patches but I felt, it is primarily designed for tablets. I guess the big distros like Ubuntu & Fedora will go aggressive to tap the tablet PC market pretty soon. Desktop users will have to be contended with Fedora/Ubuntu spins like Linux Mint, Fuduntu, Kororaa, etc.

Do I recommend Fedora 18 KDE? I'll recommend it for advanced users who can take the pain for installing a new distro every year. For casual users who want to try out Fedora, I guess Kororaa can be a better option and Kororaa 18 may be just around the corner with Fedora 18 already released.

Fedora 18 KDE gets a rating of 9/10 from my side for being a solid stable and highly functional distro and in fact, I rate the KDE release better than Fedora 18 Gnome spin. The score split is given below:


-->
Fedora 18 KDE Score Weights
Installation time 10.00 5%
Installation Complexity 8.00 5%
Hardware detection 10.00 10%
Applications 9.00 20%
Aesthetics 9.00 30%
Performance & Stability 9.00 30%
Overall 9.00 100%


You can download the 32 and 64 bit editions from here.

6 comments:

  1. Hi i have this distro and i love it. can u please tell me how can i install google chrome in it i am new to fedora i have f18 KDE. this is what i see when i try installing it with .rpm package i downloaded it from google.com/chrome. thanx aditya..


    redhat-lsb-core-4.1-10.fc18.i686 requires /usr/bin/pax
    redhat-lsb-desktop-4.1-10.fc18.i686 requires libpng12.so.0
    redhat-lsb-desktop-4.1-10.fc18.i686 requires qt3(x86-32)
    redhat-lsb-languages-4.1-10.fc18.i686 requires perl(Pod::Plainer)
    redhat-lsb-core-4.1-10.fc18.i686 requires /usr/bin/patch
    redhat-lsb-languages-4.1-10.fc18.i686 requires perl(CGI)
    redhat-lsb-languages-4.1-10.fc18.i686 requires perl(XML::LibXML)
    redhat-lsb-languages-4.1-10.fc18.i686 requires perl(Class::ISA)
    google-chrome-stable-25.0.1364.172-187217.i386 requires wget

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Aditya:

      Have you tried installing Chromium? It is the Linux version of Chrome and works as good as Chrome from Google. I generally use Chromium as it is lighter and offers the same utilities.

      Thanks,
      Arindam

      Delete
  2. Thanx but am done and yes i have used chromium in ubuntu but i must say ubuntu experience was a mess for me.. am waiting for april 27 for stable version of 13.04.! and yeah www.http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in/ is my fav Blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for liking my blog :). I guess you haven't tried out the 12.04.2 LTS release for Ubuntu. Please give it a shot. Even I used to hate Unity like anything before giving a shot to 12.04.2. Unity is more stable now, is resource efficient and no background app crashes for me for quite sometime :).

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
    2. will surely do.. i have 12.10 in virtual box.

      Delete
  3. @Aditya According to what you've posted, it seems like your Fedora installation needs an app called "wget"
    Just go to your terminal and type
    su -l
    yum -y install wget

    Another way to do it is to use a post-installation tool like PostInstallerF or FedoraUtils.
    These will help you install Chrome and other popular apps.

    ReplyDelete