Fedora 7 Installation

I just downloaded and installed Fedora 7. The installation is going well so far. All my hardware was detected, there were no problems partitioning the hard drive or installing a boot-loader that breaks Windows XP, or any other issues of that nature. The only problems I had were networking-related.

My system normally consists of a server and a workstation, with the server sharing files through NFS and user accounts through NIS. Fedora 7 finally gets the workstation install 99% right for me during the install, with a couple issues.

First, I didn't see any option for configuring NFS mounts at install. That'd be a nice thing to have because then the installer can set up any required daemons, such as nfs-lock. I ran into a problem logging in to KDE with my normal user because nfs-lock wasn't running.

Second, and this is probably not a problem for most NIS users, there is no way to confgure the hosts file at install time. I don't have a domain and don't have a DNS server, so my NIS server's hostname has to be configured in /etc/hosts. This means that at install time, when attempting to contact the NIS server, the attempt is doomed to fail because there is no hosts entry for it. Annoying, but I can hardly blame Fedora for that.

The other problem I had during the install is that Fedora changed the order of my network devices between version 5 and 7. This means that when I configured eth0 I was actually configuring the unused network port on my motherboard, instead of the one I meant to configure. Not a big deal but it would have saved me some troubleshooting if the installer had told me that there was no cable plugged into that card; this is something that's possible but it just neglected to do.

Now things are working but I will need to spend a bit of time trying out the new, updated apps and restoring my settings. I never "upgrade" my installation of Linux because I don't want any downtime; instead I use a two-partition scheme, where the current OS is installed in one partition and the new OS in another. That way I can revert to my old installation if there isn't time to complete the new installation. It's also useful when I want to test out a new distribution.

All in all the Fedora installer has gotten pretty good. Linux has come a long way from the days when an install gave you a text console, if you were lucky. Now the install works pretty well, and for the non-NIS/NFS-home case it works flawlessly. Compared to Windows, I'd say the installers are about on par with each other.

Now if only nVidia would ship a proper open-source driver.... pfft... who am I kidding? Microsoft will open-source MS-Office first.

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