I’m a little late this cycle to move my laptop to the Fedora pre-release. (Note the web site doesn’t yet feature the Fedora 16 Beta — that should change next Monday around 10:00 US Eastern time.) I had tried some Live USBs along the way and they were generally looking great, but before now I hadn’t had the spare time to do the installation and test to make sure my various workflow bits were all working normally. Today I finally took the plunge.
Unfortunately, there was one problem standing in my way — an Anaconda bug that pops up in certain pre-existing LVM configurations. Fortunately, the always beneficent Dave Lehman from the Anaconda team had kindly provided an update image for Anaconda that addresses the bug. He even reminds people in the bug how to use it live off the Web with an installation.
That was really helpful for me, because it should be noted I’m actually installing from the current development/16 tree, and not the Fedora 16 Beta RC4, which was declared gold yesterday. So the problem I ran into isn’t likely to happen to other people. The update fixing this problem is in the Beta, but because Dave published this image I could simply install from my local pre-F16 mirror. Which I proceeded to do.
The installation was completely unremarkable aside from this bug, with no extra surprises. I do know that the Anaconda team is working very hard with Máirín Duffy on a UI overhaul. That’s supposed to see the light of day in the next release, Fedora 17. For now we’ll have to content ourselves with the existing UI and things just working as always… ho hum!
After the installation completed, I rebooted. Weirdly the boot seemed a bit faster than it was before, particularly getting from GRUB to the point where I enter a passphrase for my encrypted filesystems. That could easily be some subjective bias, but hey, I was happy anyway. I went through firstboot, provided my user information, and after the SELinux labels and permissions were checked and restored and I finished firstboot, I got the new login screen.
The background picture with the little submarine is really sweet. Last release, Fedora 15 featured the standard GNOME 3 background in the default install, as a tip of the hat to a major milestone release for GNOME. This release, the Fedora Design team was back in action and did a nice job on a stylish background that’s interesting without overwhelming the desktop. And of course, it’s in several fetching shades of blue, my favorite color for many reasons.
But the login dialog itself, part of GNOME 3.2, is also really swank! With smooth animation and fading, it now feels so much more polished from the very beginning of the signon process. I know there are lots of other improvements and cool stuff in GNOME 3.2 and I can’t wait to explore them. I did run into some errors when I logged in, such as the “sad GNOME” even though the interface seemed to work fine. But it’s important to note when I installed, I didn’t include the latest updates of everything in the Beta, so it’s likely I’m seeing problems that are already resolved. I ran an update on the system shortly thereafter to get the latest packages from the updates-testing repository, and I also did a sudo touch /.autorelabel to make sure all the SELinux labels were restored properly on the system, and rebooted. As a result the problems I saw simply vanished.
For now, suffice it to say that I think people will be fairly impressed with the Fedora 16 Beta and can take the opportunity to report bugs as they find them. The most important part of having a free software release that’s done transparently is that it allows you to become part of the process. If you run into a bug, it really helps when you report it. It can be frustrating when something doesn’t work, but it’s important to remember a lot of people are working on this software as part of a gift culture. So help them out in return by politely reporting bugs and, if you have just a little more time to spare on top, work with them to test the solution to resolve it. Your gift will help countless others, just as developers’ gifts help you and me.
Enjoy your weekend!