Thursday, May 15 2008

Dear Fedora 9 developers,

Please tell me that the new GUI package manager is an early alpha, and that the dreadful performance, almost-invisible feedback, downright misleading “install security updates?” dialog box, and reduced functionality is a temporary aberration.

With that minor gripe out of the way, I just need to build the EEE wireless and ACPI packages on a VMware session, grab the updated RPMs that fix Japanese text entry, and then reinstall with a slightly-less-insane package selection, but out of the box, F9 has decent sound, video, and wired ethernet support for the EEE. I found it fairly easy to switch to a full Sun Java install, which got our Juniper VPN software working.

As a side note, while playing around with the new install, I finally confirmed that the furigana and vertical-text-layout features in OpenOffice interoperate with MS Word correctly; the UI is completely different, but it sucks in both, so that’s not necessarily a criticism. Given what an ugly hack furigana is in Word to begin with, I’d say one of the OO developers earned his lunch money on that one.

[this is mostly a theoretical issue for me, since a Word license costs me less than lunch at McDonalds, but it’s nice to know that people for whom Word costs a few burgers can get by for free]

[Update: to clarify a bit on one of the above points, when I turned on my EEE this morning, F9 popped up a dialog informing me that three important security updates were available. Unfortunately, clicking the “Update computer now” button silently installs eight updates, and I can’t even get a list of them without closing the dialog, clicking on the star-bang icon at the top of the screen, selecting “show updates”, and then selecting “review”. In addition to the security updates, it also updates libvorbis, the UpnP SDK, PPP, some Japanese bitmap fonts, and the OS release notes. Bad design.]

[Update: the pop-up window doesn’t have a scrollbar, either, so when I booted up a small-screen machine that had 21 security updates, I couldn’t even see the buttons.]