When it comes to making my selection for the Linux OS that I review each Sunday, there are several ways that I decide what will make the download cut. I start with looking at www.distrowatch.com and the popularity list that they publish in the right column of the site…sometimes though I just decide to randomize life little bit and use their search feature. This week, I found the Korora Project – Code Named Bubbles in just that manner by looking for a Gnome Based OS that I had not tried before.
This Fedora Based OS downloaded quickly and while relatively small (1.34GB) I was looking forward to seeing what was included with the OS and how they made Gnome better and on their home page, Korora was born out of a desire to make Linux Easier for new users while still retaining the good things that more experienced users expect. A big chunk of why I do this week in and week out is to find exactly that.
To facilitate things, I set up the same Virtual Box setup that I use each week with 4GB of RAM and a 20GB HDD assigned to it. The install was lightning fast and the Live Image booted very quickly which was nice. Total time from decision to a desktop install was less than 15 minutes. The initial boot after setting up the primary user came it at a respectable 25 seconds. It has been some time since I worked with a Fedora Based OS and while I am not a fan of RPM based OSes (typically) the ease of setup and speed to a full function Desktop had me wondering…could this be the one that wins me over?
Having lived with the rebuilds of Gnome that have become the Cinnamon and Unity Desktops it has even been a while since I had jumped into the Gnome 3 interface and I must say…with all the haters out there…I am not seeing what makes it so hard to use? The inclusion of the “Activities” link in the top bar was easy to use and jumping into the Applications was really simple. The interface is intuitive and easy to use and looking at what is included out of the box with Korora, I was quite impressed:
- Internet – Firefox 13.01 (outdated but easily fixed), Ekiga Softphone, Deluge Torrents and Empathy and Gwibber, Evolution Email (but included with Office programs)
- Graphics – The Gimp, Inkscape and Shotwell
- Office – LibreOffice, Planner (project management) and Wammu Softphone
- Sound and Video – Audacity, Rythmbox, Sound Juicer and VLC
One thing that has always frustrated me about Fedora based distros is the ability to easily add new software to the mix and with Korora we find that YUM Extender is the default Package Manager. The interface was easy enough to use and when I clicked on the “Available Packages” option the background started compiling all the wonderful options that there was for me.
What was nice about the YUM Extender was the opportunity to start drilling down into Groups of Applications. I was able to quickly locate my usual suspects that I consider necessary for a functional desktop and with a few simple clicks I was off to the races. I could add extra functions to the OS by adding Servers, new Desktop Interfaces and do a full update of the core applications without having to jump from one interface or program to another.
I would like to see a Software Center that gives a bit more information than a one line description of the application but beggars can not be choosers. Overall, the interface and the selection of Core Applications was well thought out and would provide most users with everything that they would need to get started right out of the box with a fully functional OS.
The real question is, would I make the switch from Ubuntu to Korora? That I don’t know. While it feels like a pair of well worn jeans and the return to Gnome from Unity was not a big leap…I really don’t know if this would be a permanent replacement for me. I will say this though…I will be creating a USB Image of the OS and giving it a try on my Netbook so for that reason, I would say this is a solid option
Cheers and Happy Sunday!
Chris J Powell