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In Love with FC5

Although I finally managed to tackle my laptop wifi problem on Fedora Core 5, I really haven’t done much work on the Thinkpad T43 laptop until last week. But since then I have really been falling in love. I never realized how much I had fallen in love until I came across someone running a version of Red Hat from 2003. It’s like night and day. Observations:

  • FC5’s default is Gnome. I like it because of its simplicity (and more importantly, because I like the Network Manager, which only seems to show up in the Gnome toolbar). But it has problems. The File Manager always opens up a new window when you click on it and lacks a two panel view you typically see in File Explorers. KDE’s Konqueror is an unusually good file manager, especially if you turn on the option “Show Navigation Panel” under the Window Menu. (see my screenshot) The vertical tabs on the left side tremendously enhance the user experience, letting you change views from Root to Home to History to System. With Konqueror I am always bookmarking paths to local documentation, so that helps a lot.
  • Yumex kind of sucks when you have a dependency problem. (Sometimes to run a simple utility you end up having to downloads tons of other seemingly unrelated RPMs), but generally it works smoothly.
  • KDE is a bit too topheavy for me, although you can access a lot of the stuff through command line and the Konqueror file browser. That’s right; you can experience the coolness of KDE within gnome just by typing konqueror on the command line.
  • I haven’t quite figured out how to create menu applets for applications even though it’s rather easy to create them on the toolbar. Too bad they don’t come with hundreds of unique generic icons. I end up using icons from little used programs to appear on the top toolbar for quick launching.
  • Clipboard problems (which I always used to experience previously) now seem to have disappeared in this linux.
  • I no longer have stuck windows or Xwindow problems.
  • With Thinkpad I’ve had issues related to start after suspending (usually after I close the laptop). But I’ve learned not to immediately start hitting buttons but to wait for the display to flash on before doing anything.
  • I haven’t implemented my backup solution yet (that’s the project for this week), but I don’t expect to have many problems.
  • FC5 hasn’t really had any problems with mounting USB drives or DVD. I’ve experienced some small problems with video files, but mostly it’s a matter of knowing which codec is supported for which application.
  • In Gnome I’ve noticed that some applications have gigantic dialogue boxes which go outside the main display. Really annoying. Maybe I should increase my screen resolution? (I’m at 1024 x 768).
  • Although I haven’t downloaded any mp3s yet (they will be on my storage network drive when I connect that). However, I’ve noticed that the fancy mp3 players aren’t adept at playing m3u files off the net–something really strange.
  • I didn’t install the ATI drivers, although I might consider doing so later.
  • Although I’m happy with my laptop experience, I can’t begin to describe the hell I had to go through to get wifi to work. Eventually I just needed to reinstall the whole thing. Thank god I installed /home on a separate partition. FC5 let me reinstall without even touching /home.
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