Fedora 16 on Macbook Impressions

Fedora 16 on Macbook Impressions

Fedora 15 was a mixed bag of impressions for me, but overrall, it was a nice update… or should I say, a nice revamp?

Fedora 15 took a giant leap backwards by depriving the entire OS of many features that its predecessors had, in favor of a more user friendly graphics environment, and a new UI and shell basis for more features to be implemented in future releases. Right until then, I was using Ubuntu for my Linux needs, because it was simple to set up, reliable, and had a very large user base, so help was easier to get.

I faced a lot of problems when trying to use Fedora 15 with my MacBook Pro, and I wrote an installation guide for it. Bottom line is that all features worked fine, but only after some fine tuning, and installation of additional packages. I also had a problem with some updates now and then. When a kernel update happened, I had to wait for a new kmod-wl package to be available, otherwise, I would be unable to load Gnome, and I would be forced to use the command line to reboot back to the old kernel just so that I could login to Gnome.

All bad things aside, I must say that I really liked Fedora, but I would like something more to make me switch from Ubuntu to Fedora. I believe that this “something more” came with Fedora 16.

First of all, I should say that I had really big problems installing Feodra 16. Due to known bugs with this release, GRUB fails to install the boot loader to the pre-defined location, corrupting the fedora installation. Attempts to correct this made me reinstall OS X on my laptop all over again, and attempt to reinstall Fedora with the -nomodeset option enabled while booting which miraculously solved the boot loader problem, which should be installed in /dev/sda instead of the pre-defined location.

Anyway, I am now writing these lines from Fedora 16. What’s better than 15:

  • Graphics. My graphics card works way faster. It’s an nVidia 9400 inside a Macbook Pro Core 2 Duo 2Ghz.
  • Things that previewsly did not work now just work out of the box, like my laptop’s trackpad, and flash.
  • Wireless is faster.
  • Font rendering is somewhat better.

What’s still not fixed in Fedora 16:

  • Font smoothing. While better than Fedora 15, it’s still the worst font rendering between Windows, Ubuntu, OS X and Fedora. Luckily there are some open source solutions (like infinality) that improve font rendering a lot.
  • Bluetooth for Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. Hideous bluetooth support for these devices. Most of the time I couldn’t get them to synchronize. That also plagues Ubuntu, btw.
  • Ubuntu has way better package manager.
  • Ubuntu has a way better installation procedure, providing support for installing Ubuntu along with OS X and Linux. The installer will auto-detect if another system exists on your machine, and will act accordingly. With Fedora, you must have done some work beforehand, shrinking the HD and leaving some free space for Fedora to work on.

In terms of working environment, Ubuntu is ages behind Fedora, mostly because Unity is a mess, especially when a simple user tries to fiddle with the compiz settings. The side bar clutters the window, and it is not as good looking as Fedora is. However, this is a matter of opinion. What is not a matter of opinion is the stability of the environment. Fedora just works, and the 16nth revision works way better than Ubuntu in terms of stability and ease of use.

So, I must say, Fedora is great, and the 16nth revision is the greatest Fedora yet. Once the font rendering issues and the installation procedure gets resolved, I will make the full switch and never look back.