A couple of things that can be improved on Fedora Linux!

Posted: August 6, 2010 in fedora

The following are a couple of things that in my view could be improved in Fedora Linux distribution. I can’t offer a correct perspective on the required manpower or investment to be done to accomplish this, but considering the great willing of the community and some of the projects that were abandoned from the past, not ignoring the commitment of a dedicated few, I believe this could be accomplished for the future.

  • Anaconda > Anaconda provides a featured experience when installing Fedora Linux, either for new users or experienced users. This is indeed a great piece of software, very well designed and with pretty neat functionality and works flawlessly! My own advice for anyone installing Linux for the first time is always the same: “Read the screen information one or two times if needed”. In most cases this is easily accomplished and users actually end up with making the “right” choices and end up the install without problems. From my perspective there can be a few things that can be improved here.
    • Graphical Design > On Fedora 13 Anaconda looks too pale, almost giving Anaconda a ill look. I believe that a bit more of color on Anaconda could actually benefit users experience.
    • Marketing > During the process of installation much of the Anaconda installer screen space can be actually used to deploy further information. I would consider Marketing information a good plus. Maybe something like “14 Good Reasons to use Fedora”? Or eventually if we know our aimed audience, maybe a bit of cherished information regarding their expectations and how we are answering them. While installing packages for example, there could be a slideshow promoting Fedora Teams commitment and involvement on the release. I leave this just as an idea as people for sure can pick it up and develop to suite the needs of Fedora.
    • Greeting / Goodbye > Maybe a bit more of warmth and work on this sentences. This are always pleasant to read.

    • One Page Release Notes > As I saw, One Page Release Notes do provide outstanding content, in a very objective way. They also become translated into nearly all available languages. Maybe using some contents of it to fancy up a bit Anaconda! As we can see from the image above, Anaconda is stripped a bit of everything, except two GTK Buttons. A bit more of content wouldn’t harm and would for sure make users experience a bit more fun!
  • Marketing Collateral / Templates > In an outstanding initiative from the Design Team some very good Templates for production are being produced. Could we get this templates introduced in the Default Desktop Installation ? I mean, every user got in his home a ‘Templates’ folder that offers good integration with GNOME and OpenOffice.org. Maybe supplying those Community Templates from Fedora would be a good idea. This is being already explored by others, and from my scope, this couldn’t harm (except maybe for yet another package that needs to be packaged). Not ignoring that this can be a good way of promoting Community Developed work on the Fedora distro itself. No! Some can’t actually code but they can still earn their tiny place on the Fedora Linux distro! Or maybe not.
  • Default Configuration > There are maybe a couple of things we can do to improve default configuration. I really wouldn’t like to enter much on this topic because Fedora ships with the default upstream content from the Projects represented (ex: GNOME), but I mean, there’s already a small touch from Fedora on it (ex: the Fedora branding packages). Could we extend this to fancy some useful information ? Some examples (keep in mind this are just examples of things we might want to look for, I understand that they might not suit everyone, but that’s what they are possible examples):
    • Laptops > Enable mouse clicks with touchpad > This could be interesting. We probably don’t have data to analyse to see if our users use this function or not. Should we run such polls or gather that information through any means available? For me this is an interesting option.
    • Screensaver > Is there a reason for having screensaver enabled by default ? I mean not all of us use screensaver, and modern LCD’s aren’t no longer subject of some of the itches of old CRT monitors. I understand screensavers are nowadays mainly a “esthetic thing” but having them enabled by default (ex: Floating Fedora Bubbles) wouldn’t harm no one and will in most cases save a couple of seconds to users to configure them. The packages are already installed by default, so enablind it wouldn’t harm.
  • Menu’s (GNOME and KDE) > One of the most annoying “features” is to open GNOME menu with KDE installed and have lots of entries with the same name one for KDE and another for GNOME. On application level this sometimes is useful, while in some more obscure features this is pretty annoying (ex: System Monitor), which display the same name (depending on the icon theme, the same icon) and are actually two ‘twin’ apps. This gets pretty much confusing when we’re handling “Terminals”. Maybe punching in a small KDE menu item in GNOME where you rebuild KDE menus inside instead of having all those troublesome entries all together. I mean coexistence is nice, but that is already a good way for not having KDE installed alongside with GNOME, even if we want to test it. This brings other problems as if you install both and then go ‘yum erase @kde-desktop’, this will vaporize also some GNOME software packages (including GDM) rendering more trouble when you restart the system, as you need to switch back into root console, have an idea on what packages might be missing and yum’ing for them again so you can replace the software from GNOME that was uninstalled with @kde-desktop (I find this silly). This could be something for people to look at.
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Comments
  1. Jef Spaleta says:

    the lack of color in Anaconda was a deliberate design choice. As you get nearer the completion of the install the screen get more colorful. Its a deliberate effort to use color to indicate progress towards a goal. I would encourage you to read up on the fedora design mailinglist discussions leading up to F13 release.

    -jef

  2. Jef Spaleta says:

    “Lock Screen” is on by default for marginal personal/sensitive information security benefit. It’s not on because its a “screensaver” its there to hide sensitive information from casual onlookers if you walk away from your desk for a significant length of time to do something like get coffee or get chewed out by your boss…or chew your boss out.

    -jef

  3. Michael says:

    I think that the last problem could be alleviated very easily: simply give all applications their proper name in the menu system, e.g.: Konsole and GNOME Terminal. We don’t need to dumb stuff down for Fedora’s user base, of all distros.

  4. Jef van Schendel says:

    I agree with, uhm, the other Jef (sorry for being the second Jef around here, Jef ;) ).

    I love how the colors get more lively, getting closer to finishing the install. The background image for Anaconda also gave me a kind of “stone age” feeling, which felt fitting since it’s the very beginning of Fedora. But that may just be me being crazy. :D

    Either way, I think it’s gorgeous!

    On the screensavers… I don’t quite get what you mean. Are they enabled or not, and what would you like them to do? Personally I would go for disabling them, because they’re just not needed. Better to dim/blank/turn off the screen after a while. :)

  5. HaetHat says:

    “I mean not all of us use screensaver, and modern LCD’s aren’t no longer subject of some of the itches of old CRT monitors.”

    Yes, they are. Have you heard about image persistence? It’s kinda rare, but possible, if the user lets the monitor with the same image for a long period of time. Every monitor nowadays support DPMS/power saving features, which ist a better option to avoid image retention, so the screensavers remains only for aesthetic purposes. Funny thing is, the most interesting screensavers (the OpenGL ones) does _not_ come installed by default…

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