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Fedora 14 review

Gareth Halfacree takes a look at the final release of Fedora 14, and sees if the Red Hat-based distro has what it takes to conquer the desktop market...

This article is due to appear in issue 94 of Linux User & Developer magazine.

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Pros: Powerful encryption, SELinux, and firewalling capabilities make this a great choice for the security conscious
Cons: Several areas, including software installation, are still a bit too user-unfriendly to make it an option for non-technical households

Looking at some other Linux magazines available out there, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Ubuntu was the only option for Linux on the desktop.  The Fedora Project looks to dispel that myth with its latest release, Fedora 14 – but can it deliver on its promise of a version of Linux for everyone?

There’s no denying that Fedora is a powerful Linux distribution: forming the basis of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, it’s responsible for one of the most popular enterprise-grade distributions around.  However, it has traditionally lagged behind other distributions in one important area: the desktop.

Fedora 14’s GNOME-based desktop is fresh and uncluttered

Fedora 14 looks to change all that: as we saw with our look at the beta release last month, the community behind the project has worked hard to produce a powerful and yet user-friendly distribution for desktop and laptop use, and it really shows.

The Live CD, the version most people will use to try out and install the operating system, works like a charm.  Quick to boot on our test system, the GNOME-based desktop – which is also available in a KDE spin – came equipped with everything an average desktop user needs, with one strange exception: there’s no office suite or word processor included by default.

It’s a minor gripe, but a confusing one: a word processor is one of the more common applications used on a desktop machine, and excluding it will leave some users in the dark.  Other packages, such as Firefox, are often slightly outdated versions – and while not shipping beta packages makes sense, it can mean users are left unable to take advantage of the latest features in their favourite packages.

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Fedora 14 beta review
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