I accidentally deleted my first draft of this post, so here is version 1.1 (since I think I remember most of it).
My adventure started with me still using Windows 7 because my new (new!) desktop still isn’t working, and I have yet to take it in and get it looked at. (Mostly because I keep hoping it’s just going to magically turn on. I’m not sure how, I’m not even keeping it plugged in.) Unfortunately, since I’m just borrowing this laptop for the time being, I’m not allowed to install Linux on it. (A scandal, I know. Who wouldn’t want to use Linux?)
So, my only option was to get an external USB storage device, and run Linux off of that using a live session and all that jazz. If you don’t yet know what that is, look it up, because it will make your life much better. (I used Fedora’s Live USB creator.)
I actually tried this a few weeks back, but I couldn’t get Linux Mint to actually save my session when I was using my external hard drive (since I didn’t have a USB stick lying around and I thought the extra space would be nice), and sadly Fedora’s fancy ready made program wouldn’t even recognize it. So when I realized I had wasted a full couple of hours, I put the project aside.
Well, the other day, I found one of the USB sticks I knew we had lying around somewhere, and I decided to finally start running Linux on this laptop without actually having Linux on the laptop. (Spoilers: it’s working quite well. I think it’s really nice that I can use the laptop’s hard drive as basically an extra storage device, and my sessions are being saved perfectly.)
So, now on to the good stuff: my thoughts on Fedora. (Disclaimer: they might not actually be that good.)
When it started loading, I was actually pretty excited. The loading icon is really cute, and it seemed like Fedora might be the pretty operating system I so desire. (As an amateur Linux user, I’m not too worried about the workings behind every operating system. I just like the ones that look cool and polished.)
Then I realized it was using Gnome 3. (My previous post on Gnome 3.) Obviously, I was devastated. Even looking at the set up made me sad. (It still makes me a little sad now, but it’s gotten better. I’ll explain why later.)
Of course, you may be asking, why not just use something else? Like KDE or that other one which I’d never even heard of until I saw it was used with Fedora. Well, frankly, I hate KDE too. My old school computers used to use it, and it always seemed to me like a bad knock-off of Windows. (Harsh, I know.)
Anyway, I figured that after slapping a few themes on it, Gnome 3 would start to look bearable. And that maybe with it running on Fedora instead of Ubuntu, it wouldn’t be as slow.
So, after changing a few personal settings around, I tried to install Chrome. Which, considering my luck, of course didn’t work. Having Chrome working, however, is kind of a deal breaker for me, since it has all my bookmarks and my passwords and everything. Thankfully, I realized I was being silly before I did anything drastic, and just installed Chromium. Which apparently is buggy in Fedora, and I didn’t actually download any of the patches, so we’ll have to see how that goes. So far it’s only crashed twice. (Give it time, it’s only been a couple hours.)
Once I had the programs set up to my liking, which included uninstalling a bunch of the silly programs that always come installed in Linux, I finally got working on making Gnome 3 cheery. I honestly have no idea why I find it so depressing, but every time I looked at the top of the screen and saw that status bar, I just felt sad. Maybe it was the font? Perhaps it was the fact that I couldn’t find any settings to make it transparent, like I always did with Unity. Or it may have been the fact that the dash is called “Activities,” which I’m not sure I’ll ever understand.
Anyway. I found a theme with a transparent status bar, and even though the font is barely better, it does make it a little cheerier. (In case you’re wondering, I’m using the Dark Shine theme. It’s actually quite nice.)
So, what are my thoughts on the operating system itself? Well, actually, at times I forgot I wasn’t using Ubuntu. The only thing that was really different was the syntax when installing programs in the terminal (one of the two command line tasks I did). The other task, opening nautilus as a root user, was exactly the same as in Ubuntu. (Although to be fair it’s a pretty basic command.)
Frankly, if you sat me down at this computer, and I had no knowledge about it, I would probably assume this is Ubuntu with Gnome 3 installed. Most of the folders are the same, most of the settings are the same, and most of the programs are the same, although the repository is different.
To be fair though, I was very glad for the similarity. Learning a new operating system is a daunting task, one I wasn’t looking forward to. Now it seems like as long as I don’t try to do anything hard core, I wont have to worry about that.
This next bit is going to sound absolutely crazy, but I find myself missing Unity. Perhaps with time I will come to love Gnome 3 (I already don’t hate it as much as I used to, and I hated Unity at first too). For now, I’m perfectly fine with using Fedora, and I find myself liking it. Only time will tell, however, whether I install Fedora on my desktop (once it’s fixed) or stick with Ubuntu. Actually, I’m probably going to install Ubuntu, since I’ve been itching to try out 12.04, but Fedora is definitely growing on me.
I will probably be keeping this USB stick with me for a while.