Fedora Linux is a version of Linux produced as a community project, sponsored by Red Hat, and using more recent software than Red Hat. Compare Fedora and Ubuntu for your first Linux.
Think of Fedora as similar to the testing version of Debian, somewhere Red Hat can watch new software mature before adding the software to Red Hat. Download Fedora from fedoraproject.org
I am writing for people who have experience installing Windows and would like to try Linux. I create a basic Linux desktop computer the way I would create a basic Windows desktop with a few disks in a RAID array. Most of the time I use two disks in a RAID 1 array. Occasionally I use three or four disks and RAID 5.
This page describes the basics of setting up a computer with Fedora and links to pages with detailed instructions. I tested Fedora with two computer, one new computer and another computer more than a year old. The new computer contains an AMD Athlon 64 processor and can work with both the i386 and the x86_64 version of Fedora.
The new computer has 3 disks, a DVD drive, a network connection, and far more memory, disk space, and processing power than needed for the final system. The old computer is adequate for the job and has two disks. I can use RAID 1 on two disks and RAID 5 on three disks.
Start by downloading Fedora-8-i386-DVD.iso, a DVD image, and burning the image to DVD. You can use the i386 version of Fedora on most AMD and Intel desktop computers.
I use rewritable disks so I can reuse the disk if I do not like the Linux distribution. The download of the DVD image takes about two hours on my broadband connection and my ISP provides most Linux distribution downloads free.
x86_64 is the Fedora term for a version of Linux compiled for the AMD Athlon 64 processor and the clone from Intel. Intel tried to replace their 32 bit Pentium with a completely different 64 bit processor. AMD simply added 64 bit processing to their regular Athlon processor. Intel later copied the AMD approach and added 64 bit processing to the Pentium. Fedora x86_64 works with both the Intel and AMD 64 bit versions of their regular processors.
Download Fedora 8 for x86_64 if you have a 64 bit compatible computer and more than 4 gigabyte of memory. 64 bit processing only works if your computer has more than 4 gigabyte of memory. I used Fedora-7.92-x86_64-DVD.iso, which is listed as Fedora 8 test 3. I could not see any difference between the installation steps for the x86_64 version and the regular i386 version.
Burn a Fedora DVD image onto a DVD then start your test computer from the DVD. You may have to change your computer BIOS to start from DVD instead of disk.
All my examples use computers with empty disks. If you want to install Linux along side Windows or to keep existing data, I recommend you first experiment with Linux an a spare computer, learn the basics, then find a good installation tutorial that describes the type of installation you want.
The first part of most Linux installations is a check of the media, the DVD. Perform the check the first time you use the DVD with a new image. Skip the check on the second and subsequent installation of that image from the same disk.
Fedora will warn you when you use 7.92 or any other test version of a new release.
What language would you like to use?
Select your language. All my examples use English.
Select the appropriate keyboard
Select your keyboard type.
Installation requires partitioning
You are about to format the disks. For the first test of a distribution, I use the defaults created by the distribution and note how much space they allocate for various disk partitions. I then create my own disk partition layout incorporating the defaults.
You have to set up the network. This is a good sign because Fedora recognises the network chip. If your distribution does not recognise the network chip then insert an old network card to get your computer working.
Select a city near you to set the right time zone.
Set up root user
Set a password for administrative actions.
Select optional software
You can select groups of applications and an option to present a finer range of selections. The default selection produces enough to start learning Linux.
Fedora will format the disks and file systems for a while then install software. You have time to plant more herbs in your garden while the machine formats a few large disks.
The best part of the Fedora installation is the questions up front. Fedora asks most questions near the start then lets you walk away for a long uninterrupted time and then asks the remaining questions at the end. Many of the competing distributions ask questions all the way through the installation process and you can never walk away to do something else.
Nice graphical mode
Near the end of the installation process, Fedora switches to a nice graphical installation mode. Hopefully the whole Fedora installation process will reach this standard.
When you first login to Linux after the installation process, Linux finds hundreds of updates to install. Install them all because some are security updates. Fedora 8 found 182 updates just a couple of months after release.
If you install Linux on dozens or thousands of computers then the online download is too slow. A better approach would be a Jigdo update the same as the Debian testing distribution. You could update your installation DVD each week. Most of the security updates would be on your DVD and the online update would take less than a minute instead of dragging out up to an hour.
Look though the
Fedora System Preferences for ways to make the system and desktop do what you want.
The finished product
Some little things are nice. Many Linux distributions set a screen refresh rate that is dangerously low. Fedora sets a refresh rate fast enough to not flicker. Of all the Linux distributions I tested in 2007, Fedora produced the desktop that required the least changes to make it workable. I would like to see Debian catch up with Fedora on the finer points of installing Linux.
Fedora can be used with RAID, offers better control than many other Linux distributions, and Fedora 8 is a better choice than Ubuntu for creating a desktop computer with anything other than the most basic configuration. I would like to see Fedora copy Debian and use Jigdo to provide updated DVDs.
Fedora 13 offers a range of small steps forward from previous versions plus a lot of maintenance updates. I tried to test Fedora on one of my new computers but Fedora could no recognise the disks. Ubuntu could. Fedora missed something serious in this release.
Fedora 19 LXDE Spin 32 bit installed on a netbook where Ubuntu 13.04 fails to detect the touchpad. (Fedora also failed.)
One of my new computers worked with Fedora but not Ubuntu. Another new computer worked with Ubuntu but not Fedora. You may no get the chance to choose between Ubuntu and Fedora when installing linux on a new computer. When both Fedora and Ubuntu work on your computer, your choice is difficult because almost everything is available from both distributions. Lets look at some of the differences in a standard download and installation.
Updated for Ubuntu 11.10 and Fedora 15
Fedora has a preferences menu similar to other distributions of Linux using the Gnome desktop environment. Here are the bits you should look at and consider changing.
Fedora is a distribution of Linux for people who use Red Hat Linux or the Red Hat based CentOS on their servers and want something more up to date for their desktop computer. Read about a simple desktop installation using two disks and RAID 1.