Saturday, January 19, 2013


Fedora 18 was released this week, so I downloaded Fedora-18-i686-Live-Desktop.iso (which is the GNOME spin), burned it onto a disk, and got to work.

Installing Fedora (I have yet to do an upgrade from a previous version) is never really a piece of cake for me, and this time was no different. The new Anaconda installer didn't strike me as being especially intuitive. I tried to pay close attention to the installation guide at Fedora's documentation site, but I still ended up backing out of the installation a couple of times before I went ahead with it. Kinda bugged me that there was no longer any way to install grub2 to a partition -- you can either install grub2 to the MBR or not install it at all -- but in the end, I was still able to set up a chainload from Debian Wheezy to Fedora 18.

A few tweaks to the desktop, and I was in business:

The devs continue to try to improve GNOME Shell, which is at version 3.6.2 in Fedora 18; some changes are nice, some not-so-nice. For example, the "Logout" option in the User menu was replaced with a "Power Off" option. Just about everybody wanted a "Power Off" option, but the "Logout" option shouldn't have been removed. Ryan Lerch showed how to re-enable it at his blog: Install and run dconf-editor, navigate to the org > gnome > shell key, then check the option "always-show-log-out" to always show the logout option. I think restarting the session with Alt-F2 > type "r" > press Enter will put that change into effect.

I went to the GNOME Shell extensions site and installed the Quit Button extension; I installed Yumex, completely updated the system, then installed Geany, Google Chrome, Geeqie, Wallpapoz, gnome-tweak-tool, and (as I touched on above) dconf-editor.

I disabled the screen lock by going to System Settings > Brightness & Lock and changing "Lock" to "off."

To turn off some of the autostart apps, I opened a terminal and ran gnome-session-properties, which opens up Startup Applications. From the list that showed up, I unchecked the following: AT-SPI D-Bus Bus, Backup Monitor, Bluetooth Manager, Caribou, Evolution Alarm Notify, GNOME Login Sound, Orca screen reader, Spice vdagent, Tracker File System Miner, Tracker Store, User folders update. That significantly decreased the time it takes to log into GNOME Shell.

The Activities overview has been altered a bit -- for the better, in my opinion:

Nautilus is now called "Files," but the nautilus command still works from the command line. Some features have been removed; there's no more split-screen viewing, for example, but Files/Nautilus still has tabs. I don't feel like I'm having any trouble getting stuff done with this file manager, and I was able to configure it to my satisfaction.

I made a few more tweaks, but for the most part I stuck with the plain, simple GNOME Shell desktop:

I haven't gone through and tested out all the apps and everything -- I'll never make a good distro release reviewer, so I don't even try -- but Fedora 18 looks good so far. Hopefully I'll get a good 13 months or so out of this release, and next year around this time I'll be looking at a newer version of GNOME Shell in Fedora 20 (I like to alternate between KDE and GNOME with my Fedora installations).

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