Fedora 13

I’ve had a problem on Ubuntu for a while, or at least I thought it was Ubuntu-specific.  The problem is with suspend-to-ram (aka, what you get when you click suspend; the computer goes into a low-power state, and comes back relatively quickly).  A little while ago, I think after upgrading to Lucid, this stopped working.  That is, instead of suspending, it (this is my laptop, btw) would simply shut down.

I liked Ubuntu, and still do.  But I had wanted to give Fedora a spin for a while now, and figured maybe this problem was distribution-specific.  So I went ahead and installed Fedora 13.  It didn’t solve the problem, the machine still shuts down.  But I have to say it’s not bad.  I’ll probably throw Ubuntu back on here soon, but in the meantime I’ll give this a spin.

My first exposure to Linux was with RedHat 8 – I couldn’t get X working at first (didn’t even know how to troubleshoot it), so I just started playing with the shell.  I learned enough to move around, and even set up an FTP server, followed by a Samba, followed by a Web server…  This was back in high school, and it was really cool to be able to share documents around the house and over FTP.  Of course, I was mostly playing, and ended up breaking the system a few times.

Over the years I tried different distros, including Fedora when it first came out, Suse, and Gentoo – the last of which I stuck with for a while, because it encouraged tweaking.  But while I enjoyed all this there came a time when I wanted the system to (forgive me for contributing to the overuse of this phrase) “just work,” and so I turned to Ubuntu.  I can’t say I remained a fan of RedHat based distros, though I used them occasionally.

Well, Fedora 13 is nice.  I’m used to Ubuntu by this point, but I’m kind of getting into it.  Gnome is not customized as much as in Ubuntu, and I’m not sure I’m crazy about the theme that it defaults too.  But I can see how this would be more of an ‘enterprise’ distro; during login you can select different authentication sources, so in theory it should be easy to get it going with LDAP/Kerberos (something I haven’t done yet myself, but plan to someday).  Also, Fedora gives you the option of full-disk encryption, which is neat.  I encrypt everything except the /boot partition, and I have to say it does satisfy my inner paranoia.  However it does require you to enter a passphrase at boot, which is a little inconvenient but not that bad (especially if you have trade secrets or something you’re trying to protect).  One caveat though is that home directories are not encrypted individually by default (you can do this, but there isn’t an install option to), so with default permissions one use can look in another’s home dir.  But for a single-user laptop it’s probably not that much of an issue.

This was never meant to be a review, just a little blurb.  If you’ve got the hardware, time, and curiosity, and you’re looking for a new distro (or OS?), give Fedora 13 a whirl.  I’ll probably end up reinstalling Ubuntu tomorrow, but if fate calls I may end up using a Fedora for something else in the future.  As for the suspend problem, I’ll look into that more.  Maybe even try to patch it myself (something I’ve always wanted to do).