A newbie's guide to Fedora 12


Sometimes it's easy to forget that we all had to start somewhere with Linux. When you're not used to the way it works, or the kind of concepts involved, Linux can seem like a foreign language. If you're struggling with free software, or if you know someone who needs help making the switch to Linux, we hope this feature will help.

Fedora is a great choice of distribution to start with. It's easy to install and just as easy to use. It's one of the most well-respected distributions available, and has a very tight relationship with its parent and chief sponsor, Red Hat. With Fedora, you have access to one of the largest communities in the world of Linux, and one of the the biggest selections of software to play with. In this mini-feature, we're going to walk you through your first steps installing and using Fedora 12 so that everyone can get started and have fun in the Linux community.

(If this really is your first time using Linux, you might want to read our extensive Linux newbie FAQ before you start, then, when you're up and running, check out our guide to fixing Linux problems yourself. Finally, place a bookmark to our searchable archive of Linux solutions - you never know when it might come in handy...)

So, the first step is to download Fedora and burn it to a DVD. To do that, visit http://fedoraproject.org/get-fedora and choose the right version for you. If you aren't too sure which version is the right one for you, download this one. Now put your newly burned DVD in the drive. After inserting and booting the machine, the first screen you'll see is the Fedora boot menu. You need to choose the first option, "Install or upgrade an existing system". In some rare cases, you may find that your computer is unable to progress any further. Before asking your questions on online forum, try the second option in the boot menu. This will use a failsafe graphics card driver and this should enable most people to get problematic machines up and running.


After you've selected your language and keyboard you'll be asked whether you want to test the install media. There's no reason to go through this lengthy process, and you should select 'Skip' to jump to the install stage directly. But if you do experience problems with the installation, especially later when the packages are being installed onto your machine, then it's worth coming back to this option.

The next screen asks you to name the computer. This can be a little confusing for most people, as they're not going to have any idea what the hostname should be. On an office network it's the only way to tell one machine from another, so the system administrator would need to ensure that each hostname is unique. On a home network, this isn't quite so important, and you can call your computer anything. After this, you need to create a root password for your distribution. Unlike many modern distributions such as Ubuntu, Fedora still has an all-powerful administrator's account that's used for system administration. This is the password you'll need to access it.

Partition your drive

It's now time to choose how your hard drives are going to be used. If you're happy to lose all data on a single-drive system, just click on Next. If you have more than one drive, but you're still dedicating a whole device to Fedora, make sure it's selected in the drive list and click Next.

If you want keep partitions on the same drive you want to install Fedora on to, you'll need to click on the drop-down menu at the top of the window and choose between one of the following options:

  • Shrink current system This will attempt to repurpose any free space assigned to an active partition, leaving enough room for Fedora to install itself alongside. If you choose this option, make sure you've got a copy of all the data on the drive you want to resize.
  • Use free space Even if you already have partitions on the drive, this option will install a working Fedora installation into any free and unpartitioned space that's still available.
  • Create custom layout Selecting this option will take you to the manual partition editing tool without any predefined setup. From here you can edit the partition table, editing, creating and deleting partitions on the selected drive. When creating your partitions, make sure you have at least a root partition with a mount point of / and a partition formatted as 'swap'.
  • Click on Next and Write Changes To Disk to apply your choices to the drive. If you didn't make a backup of any data on the drive, it's now too late.
When Fedora detects an unformatted drive, it will offer to blank it for you. Be sure it definitely is unformatted already, though, or you may lose your data!

When Fedora detects an unformatted drive, it will offer to blank it for you. Be sure it definitely is unformatted already, though, or you may lose your data!

We're shortly going to introduce the bootloader. This is the menu you see when you first turn on your machine, and most of the time you can completely forget about it. If you've got more than one OS installed, you should be able to see them listed in the main area of this page. You can change the order in which they'll appear, and also change which boots by default if you don't make a manual selection at boot time.

We're almost there. Click on Next and Fedora will grab a package list of all the applications that are currently available. On the screen that follows you can install additional packages by selecting the Software Development and Web Server options at the top of the screen, and enable additional repositories in the lower panel. If you have a fast internet connection, we'd recommend enabling both the Fedora 12 and Fedora 12 Updates repositories. The first option in the list is the DVD in the drive, and if you disable this Fedora will grab packages from the internet rather than asking you to insert the disc into the drive.

Boot menu and packages

Click Next and go and make a cup of tea while your distribution is installed and configured. After the installer has grabbed and configured all the packages it needs, it will eject the disc from your optical drive and reboot the machine, after which you'll need to create your user account for the machine. This is the account you're going to be using on a daily basis for normal operation. The username you enter will be used to log in, while your full name will be used for things like the the From address in emails. If you need more than one account for other people who are going to use the machine, you'll have to wait until you get to the desktop to add their information.

Finally, you just need to set the date and time for your system. You can do this either manually, using the calendar and the time selection widgets, or automatically across the internet by clicking on the Synchronise button. We'd recommend the latter if your machine is connected to the internet. Just click on Forward and Finish on the file page.

That's it! The Fedora login screen will now appear, and you can enter the username and password you just created to gain access to the Fedora desktop. You've now got Fedora up and running, and it's time to learn more about how to use it.

Step by step: install Fedora

Set your location

Set your location: Define your keymap and default language. This can always be changed later.

Boot menu

Add any other operating systems to your boot menu and use 'Edit' to set the default.

Package install

The final step installs the packages off the disc. You can always add more packages later.

Desktop overview

People who haven't used Linux before usually have a common misconception about its operating environment - that you need to use the command-line to achieve anything meaningful. This might have been true ten years ago, but the days when command line skills were a prerequisite for Linux usage are long gone. These days, you don't have to type a single command unless you actually want to. This is thanks to the rapid evolution of the Linux desktop, which has become the most powerful, configurable and usable way of interacting with your applications, files and the network. Linux is different to both OS X and Windows in that it offers a choice of desktop environment. This means that if you don't like the way system menus are handled, or the way windows are managed, you can install and try an alternative.

The two main desktops are called Gnome and KDE, and they try to cater for different types of user. Gnome, the default desktop for Fedora, takes a minimalist approach to configuration and visual complexity. The idea is that you spend less time messing around with settings and more time being productive. It's also the best choice if you're just getting started with the Linux desktop, as you're less likely to be overwhelmed by icons, menus and options. Try Gnome first and see how it fits your working and usage requirements. If you find yourself wanting more control over specific elements of the interface, such as how window borders are drawn, how icons are placed on the desktop you might want to try KDE, which you'll need to install manually.

KDE makes fewer assumptions than Gnome about what the user may or may not want to do, or what their level of expertise may be. You can change almost anything about its default appearance and how the desktop behaves. But this approach has the disadvantage of being less clear to new users, and less easy to use if you just want to get on and browse the internet or edit a few documents. It's also not as stable as Gnome in its current version, which might be an issue if you're installing Fedora in an office environment. But before you can decide whether KDE is worth a go, give Gnome a try first.

You can change almost anything about your desktop's appearance through the Appearances preferences panel.

You can change almost anything about your desktop's appearance through the Appearances preferences panel.

Gnome home

You should find Fedora's Gnome desktop very easy to use. Despite a few graphical quirks, it works just like any other desktop environment. You can manage files, launch applications, switch between windows and edit documents in much the same way as you're used to. Double-click on your home folder, for example, and a file manager window will appear showing you the contents of the directory. By default, this includes directories for music, pictures and videos, just like any other operating system, and most applications place content into these respective folders.

If you're used to Microsoft Windows, Fedora's default configuration may appear upside down. The panel on the top of the screen is a close match for the panel at the bottom of a Windows display, for example, and this is where you access the launch menu in the top-left, and where you log out from and shut down your machine by clicking on your username. It's also used to hold the quick launch icons for your favourite applications, as well as several panel applications such as the time and date, system resource monitors and the two additional desktop menus - Places and System.

Places, as with Windows and OS X, is a list of the destinations you're most likely to need. At the top of the list, you'll find links to the folders within your home directory, and beneath these are links to the Computer and any external drives you might have connected. Computer, like My Computer in Windows, is just a top-level view of the devices connected to your machine, including the hard drive and any optical drives. Beneath this are two entries for accessing servers on the network, and beneath these you can search for files on your system or open files you've recently accessed with other Gnome-compatible applications.

The System menu is where you change your desktop's configuration and that of the system as a whole. Personal settings and appearance profiles - such as the background image and fonts - can be changed in the Preferences menu, while more important options are hidden in Administration.

The Administration menu is used for adding new applications and changing the way your system behaves. You can add new users, for instance, by selecting Users And Groups from the Administration menu, and clicking Add User from the window that appears. Nearly every task you perform in the Administration menu will ask you for your root account's password. This is the standard level of security on Fedora, and it means that only privileged users are able to make potentially system-breaking changes and updates.

Fedora will automatically check for updates and notify you when it finds some that need to be installed - but you will need to enter the administrator's password!

Fedora will automatically check for updates and notify you when it finds some that need to be installed - but you will need to enter the administrator's password!

Installing software

The most commonly selected option from the Administration menu is Add/Remove Software. This is your portal to the world of free software, and you can augment your installation with thousands of other applications, tools and utilities. This is also where you install an alternative desktop environment, such as KDE, if you need to.

Most Linux distributions, including Fedora, use something called a package manager to get new applications from the internet. This is the app that's launched when you select Add/Remove Software from the Administration menu, and it grabs applications that have been specifically packaged for Fedora from either an official or third-party software repository. The advantage of this method is that you can be certain that official packages will work, and that they will be appropriately configured for your system. The disadvantage is that the very latest releases of software may not be in the repository.

To install an application, just click on the Add/Remove icon in the Administration menu to launch the package manager, and use the find field to search for the application you're interested in. You might want to install Stellarium, for instance, a fantastic desktop planetarium application for viewing a virtual representation of the night sky. Just type 'stellarium' into the find field, click on the Find button, and you'll see the package listed in the area on the right - it's the first on the list. The other two packages bundle the documentation and a utility that can be used to automatically align your telescope to the view provided by Stellarium.

You can install thousands of applications in this way, but things are slightly different if you want to install a complicated package, such as the KDE desktop or the Eclipse development environment. This is because there's no single package for either of these; instead, the whole installation is usually made up from dozens of separate packages. Fedora solves this problem by bundling some of the more important groups of packages together, and you can find these listed in the package manager under the Package Collections category listed on the left. To install the KDE desktop, for instance, skip through this list until you find KDE (K Desktop Environment). Select the package and click on Apply to install. You'll then be able to choose KDE from the drop-down menu in the login screen when you next log in.

Most of the time you need to use a package manager to install new apps, rather than downloading an executable.

Most of the time you need to use a package manager to install new apps, rather than downloading an executable.

Common tasks: Office work

Microsoft's Office suite of applications is universal. Almost everybody transfers documents across the internet formatted to load into Word or Excel, for example, and the lack of native versions of these applications on the Linux desktop is a common excuse for not using Linux in the first place. But you'll find that you can load and save 99.9% of documents in Microsoft-compatible formats on Linux without any problem, for free.

The magic responsible for this is a free suite of office applications called OpenOffice.org. It's a silly name for a powerful product that can genuinely compete with Microsoft's offering for all but the most complex of documents, and the suite can be found in under the Office submenu of the main Applications menu. The most useful application is Writer, the word processor, and you can load Microsoft Word files directly from the File > Open menu. When you've made your changes, just save the file to the same format. OpenOffice.org will warn you that some information may be lost, but unless you've done some heavy formatting or used a load of macros, there shouldn't be any problem with the file's recipient being able to read your version of the file.

When you're investing time creating and working on documents, you also need to make sure you back up and copy your files. The easiest way to do this is to burn them on to a disc. The Gnome desktop has a very simple front-end to disc burning, and this can be found by clicking on the CD/DVD Creator entry in the System Tools menu. This will open a special kind of file manager, and any files copied into this window can be burned on to a disc by clicking on Write To Disc. You can also generate an ISO image of your files, and you can burn this to a disc later or on a different machine.

Thanks to its MS Office compatibility, OpenOffice.org is one of the most important applications on Linux.

Thanks to its MS Office compatibility, OpenOffice.org is one of the most important applications on Linux.

Common tasks: Burn with Brasero

If you need greater control over disc creation, you're better off using an application called Brasero, which dwells in the Sound & Video menu. Brasero uses a wizard-based GUI that asks you which kind of disc you're going to create first and will . You can build audio, video and data discs, and Brasero will attempt to convert files automatically as you add them to your project. With an audio CD, for example, music will be converted into the raw audio necessary for playback on a normal CD player.

Common tasks: Photo management

For a number of years, the unbeatable photo application on Linux has been Gimp - an application that's often likened to earlier versions of Adobe's Photoshop. But it's not the best option for simple photo editing, and it can't manage a collection. The best tool for this is called F-Spot, and you can launch it from the drop-down list that appears when you connect a digital camera to your system. Alternatively, launch it manually from the Graphics menu.

When F-Spot's running, you can import your current photo collection from either a camera or a folder. Photos are then listed across a timeline, with thumbnail previews in the main window. Double clicking on any of these images will open the Edit window, and you can quickly perform simple tasks from here, such as crop, redeye removal and contrast/brightness/exposure balance. Most of the time these adjustments are all that you need to get the best from your photos, and these changes are non-destructive. If you ever want to revert to the original photo, just select Original from the Version menu that appears in the Histogram section of Edit mode. You can also tag your photos for easy retrieval, and add comments and descriptions.

If you want to share your photos, use the File > Export menu option. You can choose between many of the most popular online services, including Flickr, Picasa and SmugMug, and F-Spot will handle the conversion and the upload automatically. You can also generate a complete website in a folder that can then be transferred to your online hosting account or even emailed to people, or create a CD where the photos will automatically be burned on to the disc.

Import your photos from a digital camera, then manage your collection and make simple edits through F-Spot.

Import your photos from a digital camera, then manage your collection and make simple edits through F-Spot.

Common tasks: Online communication

For the traditionalists, email is still a fundamental part of the operating system, and while many of us tend to use webmail for casual use, there's nothing quite like using a full-featured application. The Gnome desktop includes an excellent email client called Evolution, and this can be found in the Office menu. When it's first launched, you'll need to add the details for an email service. You should already have these details handy, but you can also access many online email services using their IMAP or POP servers.

With Google Mail, for example, if you enable IMAP in your online setttings, you can configure Evolution to access your Gmail by using IMAP. Just enter a receiving server address of imap.gmail.com, enable SSL encryption and password authentication, and use your Google Mail address for your username, and your online password. For sending email, use smtp.gmail.com as the server, using login authentication and the same account credentials as before. You will then be able to use Evolution as a drop-in replacement for Google Mail.

As for instant messaging, many of us use it to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. The typical IM application will show you who's online and let you type messages that are sent to your contact immediately. On Microsoft Windows, instant messaging usually means using Microsoft's own messenger software, complete with its invasive advertising and restrictive GUI. But you may also have come across Yahoo Instant Messenger and Google Talk, two more applications that do exactly the same thing. Normally you need to use a different client application for each network of contacts you want to keep in touch with, but on Linux the best instant messaging clients will access more than one network simultaneously.

With the latest release of Fedora, the instant messenger client of choice is called Empathy. This can be found by clicking through the Internet menu. But before you can waste your time chatting to people, you need to spend a few minutes setting up each network you want to communicate across. From the Account window, click on the Add button, and from the window that appears, choose the network you'd like to configure from the drop-down list. If you don't already have an account, you can create one, or enter the details if you're already using one. We had a few problems configuring Google Talk with the default values, and we found we had to open the advanced options for the account, enable Encryption Required and define the server as talk.google.com.

Finally there's Twitter, the micro-blogging craze. The best Gnome client we've found is called Twitux, and you'll need to install this through Add/Remove Software in the Administration menu. You can then launch the app from the Internet menu and it will ask you for your account name and password, after which it will load your latest list of tweets. If you open the preferences panel, you can enable on-screen notifications, which most of the time means you don't even need to open Twitux to see any new messages. They're briefly displayed on your desktop as each is received.

Microblogging services, such as Twitter, seem to be taking over from both email and instant messaging.

Microblogging services, such as Twitter, seem to be taking over from both email and instant messaging.

Common tasks: Playing music

While it's true that there isn't a native version of iTunes for Linux, there are a couple of perfect replacements. The default option is called RhythmBox, and this can be found in the Sound & Video menu. RhythmBox can be used to play your music, build a collection, subscribe to podcasts, listen to internet radio and online shopping. Just drag and drop files or locations into the Library list on the left of the main window.

You won't be able to listen to MP3 files, or synchronise these with music players, but you will be able to listen to music in open formats. You can also download music from within the application using either the Jamendo service or Magnatune, both of which can be found in the Stores section of the content list on the left. Music on Jamendo is licensed under the creative commons, and you can download and listen to it freely. If you like what you hear, then it's worth rewarding the artist by right-clicking on the music and making some sort of donation.

Magnatune is slightly different in that you can purchase and download whole albums, but you can still listen to its complete catalogue of music through RhythmBox, and the company has a very progressive and open attitude to downloadable music. Magnatune even encourages you to give copies of the music you buy to three friends, and there's no digital rights management (DRM) whatsoever in any of the downloads.

Rhythmbox can used to be purchase songs and donate to artists who create music using open source licences.

Rhythmbox can used to be purchase songs and donate to artists who create music using open source licences.

First published in Linux Format

First published in Linux Format magazine

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Your comments

Yes CD are more or less too

Yes CD are more or less too slow anyway...my new Ubuntu system don't even have CD drive...just get some solid usb flash from Corsair and you're good to.

I'm not big fan of Fedora can't use that W95 style user folder...

Fedora Easy to Use!?

Haha Fedora easy to use... is this some kind of sarcastic article or what?! xD

Fedora is as user friendly as a PC running only on binary code instuction!

Fedora is pretty easy...

filip007: You just change that in nautilus preferences to look the same as ubuntu, or whichever distro that has nautilus open in same windows by default.

And yea, fedora is not only easy, it's also an awesome community. The people are always willing to help, and teach. My girlfriend (whom isn't very savvy) prefers fedora to windows 7!!

That should say something.


@Dylan: Failed troll is failed. I'd dispute your points, but you haven't made any.

If you don't like Fedora, why are you reading an article on it?


The only thing I didn't like about Fedora was SELinux. Although I appreciate the extra security, I found it too monotonous to setup. Apart from that I thought it was pretty nice.

@Matt_S No thanks, if system

No thanks, if system prefer it's own dumber setting not my problem, the only thing i changed in Ubuntu is Show icons in menus because some are just not there. I use suspend too on desk system it works just fine with 2s boot can't get any better than this...i use Intel G31 for display and even games run on this.

MP3 and other media

Don't forget to mention FusionRPM for all the codecs and things that can not be distributed on the Fedora CD.

The only two real flaws I

The only two real flaws I can find with the article are the recommendation of F-Spot without at least mentioning the Mono dependencies that come along for the ride, and the lack of post-installation setup.

A lot of new users are going to want to know about setting up the machine to play music and watch videos, so at the very least a link to Rpmfusion would be in order, and preferably a mini guide on how to get it going.

Newbie .. for sure!

I didn't see one reference to using the shell at all :(
I still find Fedora 8 smoother than Fedora 12

not very useful

I applaud you interest in fedora, but I must admit your 'guide' is not very useful at all.
It does little more that make an extremely superficial introduction to a very nuanced and esoteric distribution. Who would find such a document of any use? It is too brief for anyone who has struggled with fedora before, and rambles on, drawing questionable conclusions about the necessity of the shell, software and DE choices, without ever giving any practical suggestions about how to play a dvd, install codecs, plugins, or alternative repositories.
Choosing to believe that the modern day GNU/Linux distro is not dependent upon shell usage or competence is delusional. Accelerated 2D video, necessary for video playback, and for a normal desktop experience is not covered, let alone 3D, Xorg configuration, or general troubleshooting.
This document assumes someone will pop in a fedora DVD and everything will be autoconfigured with 100% stability and usability-- Sorry, but NOT going to happen in ~70% of cases.
Though it may be a nice fedora fan's blog-type glance, the practical worth of these paragraphs is zero.

Community Respin or Omega

For those absolutely new to Fedora why not recommend starting with community respin or Omega?

Jay - then do better

Seriously Jay. Go write something and come back and educate the masses. Thanks for adding to the conversation with self-righteous sounding criticisms but not enlightening us with a suggested alternative from someone dying to be taken seriously without proving that his information is worth giving a damn about.

Ubuntu is going downhill fast! :D

Ubuntu uses Yahoo, they make the wrong choices...

Make the right choice, choose Fedora! :D

Ubuntu users can kiss my Fedora butt! :D


I desperately want to switch to Fedora from Ubuntu due to philosophical reasons, but i find it less stable and still beyond my abilities. I hear it's getting more stable as of yet, but it's not quite there. I await patiently.

Fedora desktop vs ubuntu

Has Fedora reversed its policy about non-free software?

That is my only gripe about Fedora compared to Ubuntu.

I know how to install anything on Fedora. However, for a total newbie, it can be a turn off when you can't play a simple movie after Fedora install. On Ubuntu, you are offered the option to search and install the appropriate application automatically. Couple of clicks later, it's done.

If Fedora wants to win converts on the Desktop, it needs to quite being only for geeks.

Fedora server is a whole different animal. It's preferred over Ubuntu server.

Just google it!

Anything that you don't know, just google it with the keywords!

Why not Fedora... Don't

Why not Fedora...

Don't support .Deb
Can't use M$ fonts
Old school user folder
Can't run good on laptops
Don't have pretty tools like Ubuntu Tweak,Getdeb...



-not support 3D /hard installing graphics driver for beginners/
-not support multimedia codecs /divx,xvid,mp3 +others/
-.rpm colapse installation
-long time update system

+basic programs

Yeah a .rpm distro doesn't support .deb files

Wow, great observation. Why would I want to install a .deb file on Fedora? Besides, if you really want a newbie friendly distro I would not give my friends Ubuntu et al. Mandriva, did and still does smoke Ubuntu. Or even its offspring: PCLOS.

Nice guide, Fedora may not be the best disrto for noobs, but its not as hard as others. I can watch DVD's, play mp3's and watch any video I want to. It's not hard, you just need to use that thing on top of your shoulders sometimes and google if needed. d drivers are available, but yeah they can be a pain, but any noob can work through it.


You should also write that Fedora 12 doesn't work fine with ATI cards thanks to new x server. Of course there is experimental driver, which can help, but 3D acceleration isn't so good how it can be.

However good article ;-)

time to kill the troll

A wild troll named filip appears!

Filip yells, "Why not Fedora...

Don't support .Deb!"

It's not very effective...
Filip does 0 damage.

Nobody says, "You would you want to? Practically every software for Linux is packaged in RPM."

It's super effective!
Filip takes 10 damage.

Filip yells, "Can't use M$ fonts!"

It's not very effective.
Filip does 0 damage.

Nobody yells, "You may want to try EasyLife - it has a MS fonts downloader built in."

It's super effective!
Filip takes 100 points of damage.

Filip yells, "Old school user folder!"

But it does nothing...

Nobody asks, "What do you mean? The layout is identical to Ubuntu's defalt user folder."

It's super effective!
Filip takes 100 points of damage.

Filip yells, "Can't run good on laptops!"

But it does nothing...

Nobody says, "I'd ask you to cite your sources, but I know you don't have any. I run Fedora on my laptop just fine, and I get better battery life than in any other OS, including Windows."

It's super effective!
Filip takes 1000 points of damage.
Filip is confused!

Filip yells, "Don't have pretty tools like Ubuntu Tweak,Getdeb..."
This yelling made no sense! He hurt himself in his own confusion!

Nobody says, "EasyLife is very good, and RPMFusion is as well. There are plenty of good third party repositories for Fedora."

It's super effective!
Filip takes 100000 points of damage.
Filip fainted!
You gained 3000 EXP!

A wild radovansuchanek@atlas.sk appeared!

Rado yelled, "not support 3D /hard installing graphics driver for beginners!"

No one listened to him because he can't spell or type a sentence.

Nobody said, "I installed the drivers using EasyLife!"

It's super effective!
Rado took 100000 points of damage.

Rado yelled, "not support multimedia codecs /divx,xvid,mp3 +others"

No one listened because they all know that it isn't true.

nobody said, "I installed the codecs using EasyLife! Not that RPMFusion is hard, of course."

It's super effective!
Rado took 1000000 points of damage.

Rado yelled, "long time update system!"

No one listened to him because they stopped reading already.

Nobody yelled, "Fedora uses Delta patches, which means that you only have to download the changes in the RPM file, not the entire program. Downloading updates, therefore, should be about a tenth of the time that you would download patches in, say, Ubuntu. So, once again, you have no idea what you are talking about."

It's super effective!
Rado took 10000000000 points of damage.
Rado fainted!
you gained 44000 EXP points.

You leveled up!



"Has Fedora reversed its policy about non-free software?

"That is my only gripe about Fedora compared to Ubuntu.

"I know how to install anything on Fedora. However, for a total newbie, it can be a turn off when you can't play a simple movie after Fedora install. On Ubuntu, you are offered the option to search and install the appropriate application automatically. Couple of clicks later, it's done.

"If Fedora wants to win converts on the Desktop, it needs to quite being only for geeks."

Why can't Fedora be a desktop for geeks? Does every distro have to cater to Ubuntu's crowd? What does Fedora get for running into already established territory?

But I digress. Once again, I must point you toward EasyLife.

Besides, people always start talking about this mythical "Linux newbie" that can't Google anything and will get baffled if they start running a different OS and can't play MP3 files. I can hear the anecdotes now, "My grandma was booting off a ton of LiveCD's and she tried Fedora and she installed it on her hard drive next to Windows ME but it could play an MP3 file so she threw it away."

I don't know about you, but anyone who can't search around for an MP3 codec for Fedora probably doesn't have enough tech savvy to actually boot and install the thing. (And Fedora does offer to search for a codec - it just won't find anything unless RPM Fusion is configured) Same goes for Ubuntu, even if the functionality is built in.

Besides, better to ship with nothing illegal. Ubuntu can ship or offer most of what it wants because it's not based in the US, unlike Fedora (which is in bed with Red Hat). The legal ramifications are not some trivial switch to flip - Red Hat has dedicated legal teams for stuff like that. It's way more complicated and could spell disaster if a company just decided to ignore the issue as you seem to suggest.

One more, Sam

"I hear it's getting more stable as of yet, but it's not quite there."


But I won't, because then it might actually make it look like I'm smarter than I am. So never mind.

Feel free to back up your stability claims, my friend. I've been running Fedora 12 for three months without a crash, but if there's something wrong (like Ubuntu's buggy packages for glibc! Oops, I said I wouldn't!) then I'll jump ship like there's no tomorrow!

@Nobody Important HAHA funny

@Nobody Important HAHA funny guy

I'm more than happy on Ubuntu, ok Fedora is not that bad but i just wanna explore production tools like, inkspace,gimp,scribus,kompozer...that's all about what can you do with it it's free so why not use that, RPM are not widely spread and more project are in DEB than RPM that's my take on that.

zero wireless

fedora 12 was great, loved the speed, the bleeding edgyness - but it would only connect to my wireless network after an initial boot and subsequent reboot - painful so much for the new amazing boot speeds.....back on ubuntu again after the latest round of hopping, just keep going back to it! good newbie guide BTW


"You won't be able to listen to MP3 files, or synchronise these with music players, but you will be able to listen to music in open formats."

May I suggest that this article is revised to explain to people that although Fedora will not play MP3 and other non-free music formats 'out of the box', you CAN easily download the codecs that allow you to do this. Please outline for them how this is done.

If this guide is aimed at new users, the 'Why on earth won't my music play???' question must be pre-empted and answered here - especially for a distro like Fedora which (unlike, say, Mint or PCLinuxOS) ships with no non-free codecs. I can think of few other issues that cause so much confusion to people who are new to the Linux desktop.

... codecs...

Ubuntu also has no "out of the box" codecs, you install them afterwards.

But for some reason Ubuntu is much more popular. I guess Red Hat could invest more in Fedora, which imho is better than Ubuntu, just like Canonical do in their thing.

Except Red Hat don't care to, et voila, here we are.

Fedora should've been the top Linux desktop, and it could've been - Ubuntu is trying but not getting there. It simply isn't good enough.

I agree that the article could've been a little more informative about things that matter, especially regarding things like software installation. There's only so many screenshots of language and timezone prompts during OS installation that one can take :)

Fedora and non free codecs


Fedora has the ability to use packagekit (front end to yum) to search for missing codecs. If you want this option simply install the rpmfusion free and nonfree repos and then open up the program you wish to use such as rhythmboxand try to play something you couldnt play before.

If you want to play commercial dvd's you need to add the livna repo and then install libdvdcss2 or libdvdcss with packagekit or commandline yum install libdvdcss2 or libdvdcss

The mjmwired guide is

The mjmwired guide is certainly very good and methodical. It's a shame that FedoraFAQ is outdated currently, that used to be a saviour for me. Probably should mentioned Fedoraforum.org, large archive of problems and solutions and lots of knowledgeable people to help out.

I believe if you try and play an mp3 file now it will try and install the proper codecs, at least it asked me about MP4.

Talking about the official and third-party repositories such as RPM Fusion is a must really for anybody who wants to have some practical use.

Common things like MS Windows fonts (and the new ones like Calibri) is necessary.

It's a fine distribution, works well for me.

Nowadays Fedora is almost as

Nowadays Fedora is almost as easy as for example Ubuntu. However, for a person complete new to Linux I would recommend Ubuntu over Fedora, but just slight. Fedora is I thought always known for its stability. To me it is very steady and solid. Fedora Core 1 was one of my first distros and ever since I come back to Fedora. In my opinion Fedora 10 was the best but the current version is certainly very good.
The bottom line is that Fedora is improving with each new version and it got to follow Ubuntu in order to remain one of the favourite distributions.
The only reason I come back so now and then to Ubuntu is because I like the character of Mark Shuttleworth. Simply a great guy! And the reason I almost always use Fedora is because it is closely linked to Red Hat Enterprise Linux what means automatically that you are dealing with quality.

Probably it's me but............

Intended to install along side Ubuntu. Think I must have found the bit about booting confusing and managed to get the system so it only booted in Fedora. (Thanks to your excellent article about grub 2 I was able to remedy the situation!)

Installed a codec or two to get some things working than the updates arrived. As soon as I tried to install these I found myself in dependency hell - the update app unable to resolve the situation. Eventually found a solution to this involving some command line voodoo & it all seems to run OK now.

From my experiences I'm not sure if this would be a good newbie distro but then maybe I was unlucky (or an idiot).

Have I seen anything there which makes me want to move from Ubuntu? No - but then we're all different & it's good to have the choice.

Horses for courses - Distros for Bistros. (Yeah I know it doesn't make sense but at least it nearly rhymes.)

Me too!

Me too! Nearly 400mb of updates and the update manager got itself caught in some sort of circularity problem: package group A needed package group B for installation, but package group B, in turn, needed package group A - which of course needed B, which needed A . . .

But, yum, from the command line did the job just fine. Definitely not for newbies.

Fedora is a good distro

Reading through the comments, and WOW... Fedora is a good linux distro! In my house, I have installed Fedora on my son's computer and he loves it! I'm running OpenSuse on my laptop and installed Mandriva on my wifes laptop! And the reason I have done this is to test and play with each distro! Plus... some distro's work better with certain hardware than others. But all in all... I like each one of them! I'm currently and MS Windows developer (job) during the day and learning the linux developing at night! The only thing I can offer here is... use each one of them... Fedora is a good product! Good article and thank you for taking the time to write it!

Skipping media check for burned discs is a bad idea

"There's no reason to go through this lengthy process, and you should select 'Skip' to jump to the install stage directly. But if you do experience problems with the installation, especially later when the packages are being installed onto your machine, then it's worth coming back to this option."

I recommend that this be done one time, usually at the burn time (having the burn program verify after burn), if a disk has been burned from a downloaded ISO image. There's no need to do each time; I only advocate doing it one time for each, usually at the time of download for the ISO image and then for the burn skipping it afterwards.

Here's my reasons:

- Skipping it is not recommended by the OEMs-any problems with the install and they WILL have you run an md5sum command against the install media before moving forward with the support call. I know I do when I get called and there's an install error, especially one saying it can't find a file.

- The amount of calls that Red Hat, Novell, Canonical, etc. as well as forum postings that have at their root an error on the burned disk are substantial enough to warrant doing it at least once.

- Bad burns do happen. When do you want to find out, when you are burning or when you are 80% done with the file copy process and the install hangs?

- Lengthy process? On my desktop and laptop it takes about 2 or 3 minutes or less to verify the disk-after that, guess what? any problems after that can’t be blamed on possible bad media.

Fedora expectations

Don't expect too much from this distribution. It's short life cycle and bleeding edge nature can disappoint. Each release brings some new ideas and problems, which can take much updating to bring to functionality and stability (usually). My opinion is that it is not a "beginners" distribution. I have used Fedora since fedora 2 and each release rarely comes to fruition before the next version. I run 3 successive releases in tandem, the middle one of which I tend to use for day to day operations. Debian based distributions provide a more stable and extensive environment. But when Fedora works well it is unparalleled as a development system.

Fedora help

basic guide no screenshots distro not for newbies

oh and....

learn the basics of vi when you install fedora if you really need to install compiz.

I never get tired of trying new distros and am by no means anti opensuse, mint, or slackware or whatever; I just got used to fedora first.


i got a kernel crash in fedora after fresh installation

supreme newbie

I am a very new off the show room floor newbie. And still alot of what was said is still a bit foreign for me. Though I'm running fedora 12. It may have been a slightly wrong choice for starter distro. I still find it rather easy and simple to set up for mp3s and video and even wifi. It almost seemed to set itself up to things. But I wish I could find a tutorial for the day one of use newbie. I didnt install fedora 12 to a standard harddrive nor a cd or dvd but through usb CF card reader. I would be grateful for the advice.


I appreciate the effort.17 works good for me.

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