by June 30, 2004 0 comments



Finally, the long-awaited Fedora Core Release 2 has arrived. Just as the previous version (Fedora Core Release 1) was surrounded by criticism because of RedHats?s separation of RedHat and Fedora distros, Core Release 2 is also a target for critics and reviewers. But, this time the reasons are not commercial, but technical.  

Just a day after Core 2 was released, many reviews sprung up on the Net with most of them complaining that the new release can?t dual boot with Windows, and that the new SELinux security feature causes Gnome to crash. But, we differ.

For a text-based installation of Core 2, you will need a PC with a minimum of 200 MHz Pentium class or equivalent CPU and 64 MB of RAM, while for a graphical installation, you will need a minimum of a 400 MHz CPU with 192 MB of RAM (Core 2 recommends 256 MB). It is the hard-disk requirement that really varies?from 620 MB for the Minimal install to 6.9 GB for the Everything install. Given this much space, you have an option of selecting from the huge list of 1615 packages available on the four CDs of Core 2.  

Direct
Hit!
Applies
to:
Linux enthusiasts
USP:
Security enhancements  
Links:
http://fedora.redhat.com, www.nsa.gov/selinux/

The most useful feature of Core 2 is SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux), which is a framework of mandatory access controls that use enforcements and role-based access controls. It is implemented as an LSM (Linux Security Module). While SELinux is an enhancement in kernel 2.6, it requires the libselinux library, the checkpolicy userland utility for compiling policies, and policycoreutils for loading the policies. Since SELinux is the first public release of the framework, it?s disabled by default. To enable it, just type ?selinux? at the prompt of the installation boot screen.  

Since this is the first time that SELinux is being implemented in Fedora/RedHat, it has some bugs. One known issue is that  
when you install it, the root user is unable to log in into Gnome. To resolve this, you have to run the following command as root from any console.

#setfile /etc/security/selinux/file_contexts /root

SELinux is supported by NSA (National Security Agency) and you can get more details about it from
www.nsa.gov/selinux/.  

Enhancements
As always, this time, too, applications have been added and deleted from Fedora?s package list. The renowned application server Apache Tomcat, is now
a part of Fedora, and so is another software, K3B for CD writing.  

Gnome 2.6 desktop (which is much faster than Gnome 2.4) in Fedora Core Release 2

In Core 2 you will not find any ?redhat-config-? commands. All those commands are renamed as ?system-config-?. So, now you call redhat-config-network as system-config- network. This has been done to keep the RedHat and Fedora distros separate.  

Coming to graphics, Core 2 has the latest versions of Gnome and KDE, namely 2.6 and 3.2 respectively. Both are now faster and more feature-rich. For more on the desktops, you can read Gnome 2.6 (page 116, PCQuest, May 2004, ) and KDE 3.2 (page 38, PCQuest, March 2004, ). Another point to note is that XFree86.org?s X11 implementation has now been replaced with X.org?s XFree86.7.0. What this means is that, now some of the common files have been renamed. So, if you have mis-configured in your X Window, then don?t find the /etc/X11/XF86Config. Instead, modify the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf. For more details about the changes in X.org, visit the site
http://x.org.

Lastly, a personal favorite of Core 2 is that it has something in it for Bengalis. The Anaconda translation now has a Bengali option, which happens to be the first Indian language to be included in the installer; meaning you can follow the installation and read the Anaconda help in Bengali as well.

Anindya Roy

No dual-boot installation problem




Fedora Core Release 2’s installer, Anaconda 10.0, is being considered buggy, with people complaining that it doesn’t install in a dual-boot environment with Windows. But, we didn’t find any such problem while testing it in our lab. We tested it in two ways. In one instance we started the Fedora Core 2 installation on a machine with Win XP and PCQLinux 2004. We selected the ‘Remove All Linux Partitions’ option from the Automatic Partition screen. In the other case, we used a machine with Win XP installed with 8 GB of un-partitioned space, and we selected the ‘Keep all existing partitions and use the free space’ option. In both cases, we used a P4 3.0 GHz machine with 256 MB RAM and 20 GB HDD. In both the cases the installer managed to dual boot with Win XP. One thing we did notice was that after installation the label for the Windows partition said ‘Others’ instead of ‘DOS’ as it did in the previous versions of
RedHat/Fedora.

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