Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever


Fedora Core 4 is the worst software upgrade I have ever encountered. I installed it on both my laptop and desktop systems, and now I am in hell.

I guess I should have taken it as a sign that when I tried to open a bug report against the test release, it was closed as soon as the maintainer found out I was using ReiserFS. Yes, in 2005 the Red Hat team still won't support anything but ext3 filesystems.

You may remember from previous entries the work I put into making hepcat, a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop, do suspend-to-disk correctly. The Fedora Core 4 upgrade broke that. It would suspend fine, but coming out would trigger a shutdown.

I thought I'd try building a new kernel, in case there was some incompatibility with the utilities. I started losing confidence quickly. When a version 2.6.11 RPM builds a kernel that calls itself 2.6.12, it's time to get nervous.

I did get the kernel built, but it wouldn't boot. The problem is that the install is creating a bunged initrd that didn't load required device mapper modules. I suppose I could create the image by hand. But at this point, it seems easier to just wipe the laptop and install a Linux that works.

The wipe-and-reload solution is viable for the laptop. Not so for my main workstation. That's unfortunate, because chinacat is in just as bad a shape. Ever since the Fedora Core 4 upgrade, I cannot sync my calendar to my PDA phone. In fact, it's totally erased the calendar in my phone.

Even better, the syncs have started triggering kernel panics. Even if it was a "Stoopid Configuration Error" causing the calendar problems, system crashes are not acceptable in a production product.

Here is what a blue screen of death looks like on Fedora:

Jun 28 23:14:33 chinacat kernel: usb 3-2: Handspring Visor / Palm OS converter now attached to ttyUSB0
Jun 28 23:14:33 chinacat kernel: usb 3-2: Handspring Visor / Palm OS converter now attached to ttyUSB1
Jun 28 23:14:41 chinacat kernel: visor ttyUSB1: Device lied about number of ports, please use a lower one.
Jun 28 23:14:49 chinacat last message repeated 4 times
Jun 28 23:14:51 chinacat kernel: visor ttyUSB1: Device lied about number of ports, please use a lower one.
Jun 28 23:14:52 chinacat kernel: usb 3-2: USB disconnect, address 11
Jun 28 23:14:52 chinacat kernel: general protection fault: 0000 [1]
Jun 28 23:14:52 chinacat kernel: CPU 0
Jun 28 23:14:52 chinacat kernel: Modules linked in: visor usbserial cdc_acm radeon drm cryptoloop loop md5 ipv6 parport_pc lp parport autofs4 video button battery ac uhci_hcd ehci_hcd shpchp i2c_viapro i2c_core snd_via82xx gameport snd_ac97_codec snd_seq_dummy snd_seq_oss snd_seq_midi_event snd_seq snd_pcm_oss snd_mixer_oss snd_pcm snd_timer snd_page_alloc snd_mpu401_uart snd_rawmidi snd_seq_device snd soundcore 8139too mii floppy dm_snapshot dm_zero dm_mirror reiserfs dm_mod sata_via libata sd_mod scsi_mod
Jun 28 23:14:52 chinacat kernel: Pid: 4, comm: events/0 Tainted: G M 2.6.11-1.1369_FC4

Fedora Core 4 is a very, very disappointing release.


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re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever


You've gotta drop Red Hat, man. Once you go Ubuntu, you'll never go back :). And, a cursory glance through the ever-helpful Ubuntu Forums (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/) shows that the Dell Inspiron 600m will suspend to disk if you send apm=on acpi=off to the kernel on boot.

Seriously, man. I know Ubuntu's a fairly new kid on the block, but it's quite choice. We used to use Red Hat at work for our desktop machines and about 6 months ago we made a wholesale switch over to Ubuntu. Everything just works :).

re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever

Interesting you should mention that ... I'm downloading the Ubuntu DVD right now.

re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever

I just got a few packaged copies of Ubuntu in the mail to try out and share with friends if I like it. I'm hoping to have time to install it over the holiday weekend.

re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever

I've tried to install Fedora Core 4 both on my PC and notebook, notebook installation went on perfectly due to selection of ext3 fs. But, when I tried the same setup fom my desktop pc and using reiserfs anaconda just shattered (was it partition size? 28,8Gb reiser?). So eventually I installed ubuntu from a cd. It works like a charm for me, only thing I miss is OpenOffice2.0. And the fact that they removed Mplayer from their reppos. Oh, btw, what is the difference between DVD & CD edition of Ubuntu? More software? Anyways, humanity to you all ;)

re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever

I don't know if the CD version of Ubuntu requires more than the first disc. (I like the way Debian can install just a basic system from media, and then go to network for all the latest packages.)

What's nice about the DVD version is that it can be used either for installation or as a live CD. So I was able to boot the systems and give them a try before proceeding with an install.

re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever

FEDORA4: I downloaded and installed the product today. ... The result was disappointing. Here are a few things (more in an article later)

Install without disturbing XP was not that simple... The documentation was not accurate enough... A lot of internet searching was required to get the right doc out of tons of garbage on the net. Then some manual work was required to get it running. Without my old experience with SuSE and RedHat 7.1, I would not have made it!
Installation had a lot of fancy stuff, like choosing the install language from Chinese and Vietnamese to about 30 Indo-European tongues. Even the English technical buzzwords didn't make sense... How are these languages going to be better?
Internet. The product comes with Konqueror browser (not Netscape anymore) Newspapers in non-Roman scripts did not work. In Explorer, today they all worked with dynamic fonts. I thought Internet was an important part of one's everyday PC use? How does one install fonts on Linux?
I tried to play MP3 . Failed!!! Then downloaded RealPlayer from the net. It came as a binary file to be executed to install the thing. But execution of the bin failed. Then tried an ordinary CD track. This worked. Then a VCD/DVD, failed again. Are these not common stuff nowadays? One can make these working with Windows 95/98 easily even today!
Started Eclipse (Java Dev). The whole thing hanged!!! Had to poweroff the PC.
Started the Office product (Sun).. Was very slow... (Not surprising. A couple of years back, Sun bought a Java tool called Forte and that hanged my PC those days. This product had a reincarnation in another name later.) To write a document in 4 fonts I could as well run a Professional Write from my diskette!
Recall that old RedHat 7.1 was recommending at least 16M RAM (32 recommended) and 900 M harddisk. Well, today my PC had 256 M RAM and 40 G Harddisk. Fedora base was about 3 Giga. Still something one could do with an old 386, is still slow...
At last I wanted to shutdown the pC. Well, shutdown prompt is nowhere to be seen under GNOME. I tried everywhere... icons, menus etc. Finally found on the net that they (Fedora release 4) missed SHUTDOWN !!! There is a patch available.
It was a total disappointment that the system failed/slow/difficult to use in the most common operations of today. It is high time that a base set of features is very very STABLE by now... but that is too much to expect....from such a dynamic product...
Almost 15 years ago, I happen to use a Unix-like operating system COHERENT installed from just 4 diskettes. Though only command level, this was superb. COHERENT went out of business, after the free Linux conquered the market.

re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever

I use Fedora, Gentoo, BSD and Debian on all my machines. By the far, the most versatile and exciting machine to work on is my Fedora Core 4 box. As a long time user of all the RedHat and Fedora distros, I feel there is nothing that I can't do on my box. From Cedega for gaming, Crossover Office for Windows apps, VMware for hardcore emulation, MythTV for entertainment, Eclipse for programming... the list just seems to grow daily. Fedora is what it is, understand that there is power in a package based distribution built on the leading edge of today's fattened Linux kernel.

re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever

Well.....I have tried a lot of distros....and fedora for me is just the best. It detected all my hardware...ubuntu didnt. And fedora has a great look and yum is just as cool as apt......and who wants a distro that is called ubuntu anyway?

re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever

I also have been using a lot of distros. Including Slackware back in the early 90s. I moved to RH with v5.2. I still have two servers running on RH 7.3. They just keep working and doing what I want them to do on very old hardware. FC2 installed wonderfully and just worked. However, just recently I installed FC4 to an old laptop. Install went fine, couldn't find the IBM Thinkpad mouse, but I have got around that before. FC4 just won't boot up on this laptop (which has run RH7.3 before) so it's off to try Ubuntu.

re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever

Hey man,
Installed Ubuntu Breezy yesterday and removed Fedora Core 4. Ubuntu's awesome man. I never got up2date working on my FC4 but Synaptic rocks. I'm not going back to FC anymore.

re: Fedora Core 4: Worst Upgrade Ever

Having used Linux since around '94 (Slackware 1.0), I've had the (dis)pleasure of dealing with quite a few distros. I've yet to meet a distro that "just worked" despite the claims of its followers. Despite your experience, I'm using FC4 without a hitch on my main desktop. I tried Ubuntu on a server but the installer crashed repeatedly until I gave up and installed Gentoo (which is hardly a gem either, in case anyone tells you otherwise, but has a couple advantages I consider worth the pain under certain circumstances). No one distro is the absolute answer (unfortunately), nor are many distros a complete load of crap. They all have some great features in some regards and suck badly in others, depending on your hardware and your requirements. Anyone who tells me "this distro completely sucks" or "I'm using x and IT JUST WORKS" is either a complete NB in my mind or tend to have very limited requirements and fail to consider that other people's requirements might make their favorite distro look like a load too ;) As such, I continue to use a handful of distros that I find suitable for whatever requirements I might have for that particular computer. I certainly wish this weren't necessary, but unfortunately it seems to be the case at the moment.