I have been using KDE for a long while now, and I managed to stay away from Gnome 3, even if it wasn’t by choice, but mostly chance. Hoping it’s actually stable and working now, I took a Multi-Desktop Live DVD and booted the 64bit Gnome desktop.
On the first boot, the good old firstboot agent welcomes. It is pretty straightforward, and rather useful if you install Fedora for someone else but you want to let them configure user stuff.
The same Shell greets me. Looks OK, but there’s little room to customize it. Mainly the wallpaper, and well… the wallpaper. (Yes, I know, it can be done with 3rd party applications, but still.)
Both WiFi and Bluetooth works out of the box. This is something new for me! Before installing I have already downloaded proprietary drivers for networking, just as it was needed in every previous Fedora versions. Not this time, though, it works awesomely.
The annoying freedom
Fedora doesn’t ship proprietary software by default, so to enable MP3 playback, Flash, Java, and whatever, you have to use 3rd party repositories. Or fedora-utils. It’s a smart little application, that does all this for you. If you’ve ever used Fedora, you have probably ran into some app like that. It does a lot of things, from enabling DVD playback to adding fortune messages to the Terminal. The latter is not too useful, but sometimes makes you laugh. Pure gold.
Essential tweaks in fedora-utils
Working with Fedora
There’s little to say, everything works out of the box, or can be downloaded from repositories. Even special stuff, like TeXmaker along with a LaTeX distribution. The Live DVD doesn’t include some everyday stuff, like Libre Office. On the defense, the dual-layered DVD contains both 32bit and 64bit versions of the Live Desktops, using Gnome, KDE, Xfce and LXDE, so I guess Libre Office would be too much.
After running fedora-utils, everything works fine, even Flash works great on my rather old laptop.
Playing a music video on YouTube
What I liked is the online integration in Gnome. I haven’t had too much time to test Google Docs and Calendar integration, but Gtalk, Facebook chat and IRC automatically starting on login, and listening for incoming messages… it’s priceless. I loved it. If Docs and Calendar integration proves to be working, too, I’ll be very happy.
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