Not quite a month since release. I wanted to give myself a few weeks to play with it before reviewing it so I could try it out on multiple machines with everyday usage.
To generally sum up Fedora 11 – Wow! This has been one of the most stable releases of Fedora yet, and it comes with plenty of new features worth upgrading/migrating.
I have three different physical machines (two laptops, one desktop) and one VirtualBox image running Fedora 11. Between these four, I have used 32 and 64-bit versions on ATi, nVidia, and Intel graphics cards.
Two of my machines were upgraded from Fedora 10 using preupgrade. Both of these had several packages in RPMFusion and are also using adobe’s repository. Preupgrade worked and worked well. Preupgrade now leaves the 3rd part repos enabled so all of my RPMFusion packages were upgraded during this process. The only snags I ran into were that my 100MB /boot was not big enough to hold stage2, so this was downloaded by a random mirror on reboot, which is not really a big deal. The preupgrade process only brings packages up to Fedora 11 release, not the updates, so I had several Fedora 10 lingering packages. After doing a system update, all was well. The other limitation was that preupgrade does not migrate to ext4, which is one of the new features of Fedora 11.
The anaconda installer works great. Fedora 11 can now use btrfs and ext4, which both offer significant performance improvements. The partitioner has had it’s language simplified as well. As in the past, the partitioner is capable of handling a very basic setup to very complex with adding software RAIDs and LVM and can also resize your other partitions for you to make space.
This has been the biggest issue with Fedora in past releases, and I have had all sorts of fun things happen with my Audigy 2 ZS card getting things to work well. With Fedora 11, I finally see pulseaudio working flawlessly on all of my audio cards, with one exception which I’ll explain later.
More big improvements by way of more video card support. One of my laptops has a Radeon 7500, and Fedora 11 now supports kernel modesetting and this old-school card runs compiz-fusion like a dream now. Part of my upgrade process was removing hacks I did used to get stuff to work in Fedora 10 with this card. The nVidia desktop that uses nVidia’s proprietary driver upgraded without a hitch and hasn’t caused any problems in my system so far.
My new laptop with an ATI RadeonHD 4650 is another story. While in Fedora 10, X would not start with this card, X now starts with the Vesa driver, but has severe problems, such as the screen going to garbage when you switch to vtty and back and not being able to pick a decent resolution. ATI has yet to release a driver compatible with the kernel that ships in Fedora 11, but that will likely change in about a month. The open source ati drivers do not currently support the Radeon HD 3xxx or 4xxx series cards yet, but that is also expected to change very soon. For now, I have downgraded this laptop to Fedora 10 until ATI or the open source community picks up support for my video card.
Desktop Experience and Performance
Plymouth (shiny boot up) is working on most video cards out of box now. The 20 second startup really does seem accurate, even on my slower, old laptop. Plymouth also shows at shutdown now. Another cool new feature of Fedora 11 is the ability to log in with a fingerprint reader. however, due to an existing bug at release day my fingerprint reader was not recognized – appears to affect HPs and ThinkPads. The bug report suggests a fix for this is coming to Fedora 11 soon. I have KDE and Gnome both installed, but mostly use Gnome. KDE looks very sexy and very well done. The Gnome desktop seems to be very stable and quick. They have also done an amazing job on artwork this time. PackageKit continues to mature and become more useful as a user-friendly GUI package manager.
Unfortunately gaming through wine and Crossover games has problems. Pulseaudio now works great in Fedora but my Audigy in World of Warcraft is a nasty mess. The left and right channels are so out of sync it just sounds like chainsaw ripping into a giant ice cream cone. World of Warcraft also fails to start with DirectX and in OpenGL mode Ctrl keys no longer work. Other wine apps also seem to be crashing quite a bit more often in Fedora 11 and the same.
Fedora 11 has been a pretty solid release from release day. With exception to the few cases mentioned above, Fedora 11 is a pretty fun and exciting user experience. Onward to Fedora 12!