Tonight I installed Fedora Core 6.  Here are my first impressions.  First the installer was very easy to use, but it wasn’t a livecd which I’ve come to take for granted.  Typically I would read through the distro’s documentation and things while the install is taking place.  The install went off without a hitch.  It booted nicely, asked a few questions… and I was looking at Gnome in no time.  I intentionally took all of the defaults during the install with the exception of removing “Office and Productivity” or whatever it was called.  I want to install everything myself, because the package manager is the main thing I need to learn and understand.

The first thing I tried to do was connect to my wifi access point using my Atheros chipset.  No love.  A quick bit of searching and I was already scared and tempted to bail.  In order to install Madwifi-ng there seemed to be three options:

  1. Download and install an rpm from some site (failed due to version mismatch of some library)
  2. Download the madwifi-ng sources and compile after applying a particular patch
  3. Use svn to fetch the live sources, and compile those manually

I decided to choose door number 3.  I fetched the sources using svn, and installed what seemed to be the needed packages (sharutils, kernel-devel).  The odd part, was that kernel-devel fetched 2.6.20 headers, when I’m running 2.6.18.  That obviously caused a bit of a problem.  As the Fedora nazi would say:  “No wifi for you!”, it’s pretty sad that madwifi-ng isn’t in whatever repositories being used by yum.  This puts me in the same spot where even if I can get yum to install the right kernel headers, and I do get madwifi-ng working…. the next time yum does a kernel update - wifi will break.

Next I decided to use “pup” to upgrade all of my packages to their current version.  Since this was a fresh install the result was two hundred and some updates.  I found it interesting that it took around 4 minutes to calculate the dependencies.  I must admit that so far in my little Fedora quest… yum/rpm aren’t holding a candle to portage or apt.  Another thing I noticed (not that it’s Fedora’s fault) is that the mirrors seem painfully slow.  Even trying to find a mirror to fetch the iso(s) was a pain.  Honestly when I started the upgrade process I forgot to plug in my laptop.  Fedora is a binary based distro.  It never occurred to me it could take that long and my battery died long before it had finished.  I guess I’m spoiled by the awesome mirrors of FreeBSD, Gentoo, and even Ubuntu.