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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Test Of Fedora 14 'Live' CD Release

Last night, I decided to stay up late and try out the Fedora 14 live "Laughlin" CD release. I burned a CD from the iso file and booted my dual core machine to it. This machine is 1.8 MHz with 1 GB of RAM. Boot time was 1 minute 45 seconds. About typical in my experience for a CD ROM "live" run - booting from a CDROM and running the system entirely in RAM causes a bunch of latency you don't get in a "normal" installation. I figure a hard drive install will cut the boot time by about 2/3.

At two minutes, the desktop appeared as in the picture above. Fedora auto-detected my broadband connection, and Internet connectivity was easy and fast to set up. On checking the drop-down menu boxes, several things became apparent:

1) NO office productivity suite. Not surprising, as even as far back as Fedora Core 10, there was no office suite. I wonder if this has anything to do with the recent acquisition of Sun Microsystems and Open Office by Oracle. What WAS surprising to me was AbiWord wasn't even included. F.C.-10 at least included AbiWord.
2) NO GIMP - the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Not a huge problem, but past releases of Fedora had it and Ubuntu had it as of 10.04.
3) Firefox 3.6.10 - the most recent release - was included.
4) NO gcc, nmap, wireshark, or much else. What you are getting in the 'live' CD distro is a bare-bones system that will allow you to get online to download all the stuff you need for a decent system. As I found with Ubuntu 10, Ubuntu doesn't give you what they used to on the 'live' CD either. Would be interesting to try out a current Knoppix distro.

Subjective Impressions:
Once fully booted up, performance seemed average compared to my current Fedora hard drive installation. Online browsing with Firefox worked well with no apparent glitches. A browser window can be seen in the picture here.

Older, slower PIII system test:
Next, I tried the CD in my 800 MHz PIII 'coppermine' machine with 1 GB of RAM. This system normally runs acceptably well with an old Ubuntu 8.10 installation, but would NOT win any speed awards.

The first attempt at booting hung at two minutes into the game. I rebooted the machine and after four minutes got the desktop. While the mouse cursor moved about the desktop OK, the response when selecting menu items was extremely sluggish - to the point of being unusable.

This may NOT have been a fair test. I suspect it is developing some hardware issues; it does occasionally hang when booting Ubuntu 8.10. This was NOT a problem back in early 2009 when I first configured that system with Ubuntu 8.10, but it is increasingly so now. Another item I noticed is there were several error messages seen early during both boot attempts.

I don't have another working PIII system to test with, but I suspect FC-14 would work OK on this platform given more RAM (2 GB or more) and reliably functioning hardware.

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