5 things we love/hate about Fedora 19

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The latest version of Fedora, nicknamed “Schrodinger's Cat,” features a number of improvements aimed at IT users. But its strict adherence to the open source philosophy means that it continues to be somewhat problematic for typical end users. (Read the story version.)

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Support for 3D printing

Probably the sexiest new feature in Fedora 19 is the 3D printing support. Fedora 19 comes with tools for generating and sending code to 3D printers and software for creating 3D models – including OpenSCAD, Skeinforge, SFACT, Printrun, and RepetierHost.

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Developer Tools

New tools for developers include the Developer's Assistant suite of code templates and samples, and the node.js runtime and rpm package manager, which help with the development of scalable Javascript network applications. This release also upgrades support for PHP to version 5.5, adds Ruby 2.0.0 and includes the preview version of OpenJDK8.

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MariaDB

MySQL has been replaced with one of its forks, MariaDB. After Oracle bought Sun in 2009, MariaDB was spun off by the original MySQL database developers to ensure that the project would continue, since MySQL is a popular – and free – alternative to Oracle's own proprietary offerings.

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Federated VoIP

Fedora 19 now also includes support for Federated VoIP, which makes it easier to deploy federated voice networks based on the SIP and XMPP standards.

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Cloud support

Fedora 19 also includes Red Hat's OpenShift Origin, an infrastructure for platform-as-a-service cloud projects.

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Anaconda

Fedora 19 uses the Anaconda installer, which we encountered in Fedora 18. It was horrible then, and little has improved since. For example, setting up partitions is unnecessarily difficult, a problem we saw in the previous release.

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Wireless support

For us, the biggest and most immediate problem was with wireless networking, which we also saw with Fedora 18. We never were able to get wireless to work on the Acer laptop.

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Missing media

There is no out-of-the-box support for playing music and videos. It took us about an hour to find and install the required media packages. We had no such problems with the Ubuntu and Mint distributions of Linux.

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Gnome Desktop

Fedora also comes with the less-than-user-friendly Gnome desktop environment, which not only makes the desktop look different from Windows and Apple, but also different from the more popular Linux distributions like Ubuntu. For example, windows are missing the `minimize and maximize’ buttons. To fix it, users have to download the Gnome Tweak Tool. This tool not only lets you get the `minimize and maximize’ buttons back but make other changes to the desktop, such as disabling dynamic workspaces.

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No pre-installed cloud backup

Fedora doesn't seem to have a pre-installed cloud backup system, like Ubuntu does with Ubuntu One. We expected it to come with ownCloud support, which is a cloud storage platform like DropBox, except self-hosted. OwnCloud does work with Fedora, but has to be downloaded from the software repository, instead of being smoothly integrated into the Gnome desktop.