The DistRogue

Thursday, December 07, 2006

First look: Ulteo 1.0 alpha 1; Review: Fedora Core 6

I've put off my review of Fedora Core 6 too long, and you know it. So, I've decided to say what I know and bail. Ulteo, as everyone knows by now, had its first alpha released yesterday, and since a picture is worth a thousands words...

...a screenshot should be worth ten thousand. (Click to blow it up.)
Ulteo uses KDE with a Windows Aero-ish look (Aero is what Micro$$$oft calls the UI in the next version of Windows), sorta like PCLinuxOS. However, the system tray has more of a Freespire-Windows look to it.
The techical details:
  • It's based on Kubuntu Linux, which means it uses Debian's DEB package management system. Major plus.
  • It's based on Kubuntu Linux 6.06 "Dapper Drake", which means the packages are way outta date- but at least they're stable. Plus-ish, for the market Duvall's targeting.
  • It looks brain-dead easy to use. HUGE plus.
  • For more, DistroWatch's description of it has been updated heavily.
I'll blog about it later, once I get it installed. Complete with a tutorial on how to set up a hybrid hard-disk/flash drive system- assuming you've got at least a gig of free space in your flash drive.

And Fedora? Engfeh. It was a major pain. However, maybe it was just my system. Here's the deal: FC6 comes with built-in ATI and NVidia drivers, but they're the open-source ones, not the binaries- which run faster. It also comes with AIGLX/Beryl 3D desktop effects, and they're brain-dead easy to use. The problem is installing a binary driver.
The install was long, but easy. Not really easy, but simple enough. If you select too many packages for installation, Fedora will ask you to swap disks during the install, like openSUSE (by the way, openSUSE 10.2 just came out today). After a reboot (by the way, Fedora's bootloader is completely incompatible with any other type of Linux), I tried turning on the desktop effects, by going to System > Preferences > Desktop Effects, and clicking the big, shiny button that said "Enable desktop effects". Problem was, it didn't work. GLXGears ran the usual 200 FPS, so I installed the binary NVidia drivers. That went awry, so I asked the Fedora Forums for help. They were friendly, and in a few days, I had the driver installed- but still not working. Oog.
But here are the scores for Fedora Core 6 anyways:
Friendliness: 4/5- It makes turning on Compiz a piece of cake. The install isn't live (live CDs come separately), but it's 100% GUI. Better than Windows.
Performance: 3/5- I couldn't really easure gaming performance without a decent 3D driver, but it's kind of bloated, what with all the services running.
Features: 4/5- There are enough. Let's just put it that way.
Packaging: 4/5- Not disappointing. It uses a tool called Pirut, sort of like Synaptic for Yum (YellowDog Updater, Modified) instead of Apt.
Overall: 3.75/5- Solid. I had some problems, but that might just be me.
Like I said, Ulteo is next. I'm downloading the CD image NOW.
From Xubuntu 6.06,
The DistRogue.



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