Linux examined: Fedora 9
For many of us, our first painful introduction to old-school Linux installs came from installing early versions of Red Hat. Like most early Linux installs, it was a highly technical, highly finicky process that was best left to the experts.
Well, times have changed. Today, many Linux users are getting blasé about the ease with which we can install Linux. We've been spoiled by distributions such as Ubuntu, which is actually easier to install than Windows. Unfortunately, Fedora 9, the community edition of Red Hat, was a bit too much of a blast from the past for me.
This new release keeps Fedora in step with the rest of the popular distributions, updating Gnome and KDE to recent releases, improving the network management capability, freshening the kernel and adding a USB booting capability.
However, when comparing Linux distributions today, the differentiating factors are fairly limited -- a 2.6.x kernel is a 2.6.x kernel, Gnome is Gnome, KDE is KDE and so on. So you have to look at a few specific factors. How easy is the install? How well does it recognize and accommodate different operating systems that share the disk? What's the package manager like? Does the distribution offer you the chance to use proprietary drivers for your hardware? How well does it work with Wi-Fi?