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Fedore Core 2 Test 3 (1.92) Review

by Thomas Kruse on Apr 29 2004 (updated Apr 30, 2004)


I've been working since several years with Linux. During this time, i tried many distros, each of them with their special features. The problems where gone when i changed to RedHat 9 (shrike); even my Ati Radeon 9200se was able to act normal with Kernel 2.4.22 and XFree86 4.3.0 after recompiling the kernel. Why sould i change to a test release?
The answer - from my point of view - is simple: many changes has had been made in the past. Kernel is now stable at version 2.6.5, XFree86 was up to 4.4.0, Gnome,GTK, GCC - nearly the complete system could be upgraded. It will take more time then installing a new version...

The target

Fedore Core 2 Linux should be able to run stabe on a "low cost pc". I've choosen the following Hardware:
Processor  : Intel(R) Pentium(R) II 400 Mhz
Mainboard  : MSI 6151 - Ensoniq ES1371 Sound onboard
Ram        : 256 MB - PC 100
Graphic    : ATI Radeon 9200SE AGP
Monitor    : Medion 1998B
Keyboard   : PS/2 105 w/o dead keys
Mouse      : PS/2 Logitech MouseMan

IDE Configuration
Primary Master   : IBM DTTA 35110         - 10GB DMA 33
Primary Slave    : LTN382                 - Liton CD 40x
Secondary Master : Maxtor 84320D4         - 4GB DMA 33
Secondary Slave  : HL-DT-ST-DVD-GSA 4081B - LG DVD Burner 4081B

SCSI Configuration
Controller       : Adaptec 2940 PCI
Scanner          : HP Scanjet 4C
Zip Drive        : Iomega Zip 100
The shown hardware has had been a "distro killer" in the past. Only RH9 was able to handle it, so Fedora Core 2 Test 3 might be able to do so, too.

Installing Fedore Core 2 Test 3

I've choosen a clean install in graphical mode. The language set to german, auto-preparing the harddrives (partitioning), custom package selection. Final should be a workstation, able to access internet and has the software installed i want.
Since FC2 now uses X11 instead of XFree86, the ATI Radeon 9200SE should work without problems and additional manual driver installation.
Nothing special while installing the choosen packages. System installed from Disk 1-3 without any error. Time to reboot...

First boot - final installation

After reboot, FC2 want to configure graphic card and monitor. Suprise: It detects both correct and set screen size to 1024x768 / million of colors. Only the font inside this screen is very small. By confirmation, X resets and we have 85.2Hz, correct dimensions and readable fonts. A bip point for FC2; in the past, i've to install the Radeon 9200SE manual, and several distros crashed and/or where unable to handle it in a correct way.

Updating the system

The ISO images where dated 2004-04-21 and i've seen several new versions being available. So establish an internet connection via xDSL and start the tool "up2date". The version after ISO installation is 4.3.16-1. The actual is 4.3.17-1. Both version didn't show the package size. >From "up2date point of view", each package has 0KB, and the total size is: Number of selected packages to install + Extension KB (45 packages are equal to 45 KB). It's a test release, so it's not a problem, and up2date install the new packages in a correct way.

Screenshot #1 - up2date (in German)

Hardware test - everybody here?

As shown in system description, i use two harddisks. But the Maxtor drive was missing. There are two ways to access it: manual mount or editing /etc/fstab. And we need a mountpoint:
$ su
# mkdir /mnt/mydisk
# mount /dev/hdc1 /mnt/mydisk
# exit
$ exit
Once the mountpoint is created, we are able to add the "mount-procedure" to /etc/fstab.

TuxRacer now comes with sound. And it works. It might depend on slow system, the sound effects where too late.
I like Xmms. But default Xmms version didn't support MP3 files. No problem, Xmms could be updated with MP3 support by installing the package "xmms-mp3-1.2.8-3.p.i386.rpm".

Screenshot #2 - xmms

Scanner HP Scanjet4C was available. Using Kooda, the scanner works without errors.

Graphic card:
Running glxgears shows 600 FPS during startup and 102 FPS in maximized window. Games like "chromuim" and "TuxRacer" are playable with smooth scroll on highest details.

Screenshot #3 - chromium


Nobody has to be frightened. I think Fedora Core 2 Test 3 is a great step forward into the correct direction. With an easy and self explaining installation ,it is running stable in Gnome and KDE, the selected software is a good choice. There should be now problem for linux newcomers to handle the final release. Again, people had proofed what's possible if we work together.
If i had to rate Fedora Core 2 Test 3 up to ten, i'll take 9, because it's a test release and nobody is perfect ;)