Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fusion Linux 14 - Distro Review

Fedora is one of those Linux distros I have always wanted to love. It is sponsored by one of the top FOSS supporting companies in the world, it has strong principals in free standards, and yet somehow every time I get around to installing a new Fedora release it is just enough of a hassle that I end up removing it from my computer and reinstalling some form of Ubuntu. This is why Fusion Linux sparked my interest. Fusion Linux aims to to for Fedora what distros such as Linux Mint, PinguyOS, and Zorin did for Ubuntu. It aims to alleviate much of the messy setup work that is required to get a fully functional desktop operating system out of Fedora. It does this by preinstalling useful applications and codecs, including Adobe Flash and Sun's Java. It does all this while remaining 100% backwards compatible with Fedora.

For this review I will be using the latest release of Fusion Linux, which is their beta release based on Fedora 14. This version comes in a hefty 1.6gigabyte download, a bit large compared to the 700megabyte CD sized distros such as Linux Mint, but not too much larger than Pinguy and Zorin. The first thing you will notice when booting up Fusion (and I did a double take when I first saw it) is that their icon is a hotdog with legs...
According to the Fusion Blog this logo is really more of a funny place holder and they are looking for a graphics designer to create a real icon for the final release of Fusion 14, personally I think it gives the disc some unique personality.

Upon booting the operating system you are presented with a gnome desktop that largely resembles Linux Mint:

This isn't a bad thing though, for those coming from a Windows environment this setup will feel familiar. In fact, the menu you see in the lower left hand corner is the Linux Mint menu! Right next to this menu there are launcher icons on DockXBar for Chromium and terminal.

Also present on the desktop is the wonderfully useful "autoten" script. The autoten script allows for easy installation of extra packages on Fedora, you can see that many of the applications from this script come preinstalled on the system:

The reason Fusion has such a large download size is evident when you take a look at it's default software selection. It is a sizable list:

Accessories
  • Calculator
  • gedit
  • Geany
  • Gnome Do
  • Gnote
  • Parcellite
  • Take Screenshot
  • Tracker Search Tool
Games
  • Abe
  • Alien Blaster
  • Blob Wars: Metal Blod Solid
  • Chromium BSU
  • FooBillard
  • Frozen Bubble
  • Glaxium
  • PySol Fan Club Edition
  • Teeworlds

Graphics
  • Blender
  • F-Spot
  • Fotowall
  • GIMP
  • Inkscape
  • PhotoPrint
  • Picasa
  • Scribus
  • Simple Scan

Internet
  • airsnort
  • aLinkCreator
  • aMuleGUI
  • Chromium Browser
  • Empathy
  • Firefox 4
  • Net Activity Viewer
  • Thunderbird
  • Transmission
  • wxCAS

Office
  • OO.org Writer
  • OO.org Calc
  • OO.org Impress
  • OO.org Draw
  • Project Management
  • PyRoom

Sound and Video
  • Audacious
  • Audacity
  • Audio CD Extractor
  • Brasero
  • Cheese
  • Gnome MPlayer
  • gtk-record My Desktop
  • K3B
  • Miro Internet TV
  • Movie Player
  • Pitivi Video Editor
  • Rhythmbox
  • VLC

System Tools
  • autoten
  • Fusion Icon
  • Gparted
  • LiveUSB Creator
  • System Monitor
  • Terminal
I only have a few comments about the selections Fusion Linux makes. First, is that there are two applications installed for several tasks including Brasero and K3B for burning CDs and Firefox and Chromium from webrowsing. While I am on the topic of Firefox, I would like to mention that Fusion ships with the beta 6 version of Firefox 4. This is a good thing, the beta is fairly solid and much better than firefox 3.x. I personally have been using it for several months now without issue. The installer for the live disc is the same one Fedora itself uses, so while it is not as friendly as Ubuntu's installer it is more than functional.

Also present is a wonderful selection of FOSS games that should keep most children (and some adults) entertained for a good long while. What is lacking from this application list you may notice is that there is no IRC client installed by default. The only issue I had with the software was that upon installation the system already had broken packages. Running yum update with the --skip-broken argument allowed the system to upgrade just fine though.

To finish on a good note I would like to mention I used my T101MT Asus tablet as my test computer and 100% of the hardware was functional with out any extra configuration! This is fantastic compared to the amount of work it takes to get the tablet to function under Ubuntu 10.04 (it has gotten better under Ubuntu 10.10, but it is still not 100% functional OOTB)

Overall Fusion Linux is a fantastic distro and for any beginner (or someone that doesn't want to deal with setting up Fedora) I would highly recommend Fusion Linux.

~Jeff Hoogland

16 comments:

  1. If every non-free stuff is bundled why autoten is installed?

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  2. Interestingly, I started working on a fedora spin for my personal use. It'll be up on SourceForge soon enough.

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  3. I saw fusion Linux a few weeks ago and basically had the same reaction as you. I was overjoyed to see a review of it.

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  4. To achieve the same without the bloat on a vanilla install
    http://easylifeproject.org/ or add
    the RPMfusion repositories from http://rpmfusion.org/Configuration
    run the easy command add the non free stuff. easy also adds the fusion repositories.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Thank you for your review of Fusion Linux.

    Because this is a review of beta and not of final release which is a few weeks away that is why you saw your share of bugs.

    Autoten is updated to latest version in current Release candidate.

    Brassero is there by mistake in Fusion Beta release, in final release it won't be there.

    Chromium is the default browser but Firefox4 is there as an option for Firefox die hard fans.

    Also yum issues have been fixed and yum is working in current release candidate.

    Also I would like to ask anybody interested in Fusion Linux to drop by the forums and join us and help make Fusion Linux even better.

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  7. Sweet.Now all I need is an LXDE spin of a Fusion Linux. **hint** Btw just properly mod the hotdog..thingy...into a more anime-ish logo and shade everything to Fedora colors we'll call it even.If anything that uber Fedora's "bleeding edge" seriousness need is some cool humor.

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  8. Well Java Script is not an application nor a codec. Actually, it's automatically rendered by any browser in its default form, also in Fedora.

    I believe you meant Java, which is a completely different thing.

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  9. You are indeed correct sir. Horrid typo on my part. Can't believe I missed that in proof reading, thank you for the correction.

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  10. Great Idea: as a big fan of Fedora, I have always regretted that the basic install did not include Nvidia, Broadcomm drivers too, even proprietary. I do understand that patents and copyright issues make this unpractical, at least legally.

    For the codecs, it would be nice to have, but I do agree that rpmfusion has most if not all of them, but which RPM to install has always be a bit of trial and error: lack of clear documentation.

    My personal opinion, is that rather to create a spin distro for Ubuntu, or Fedora, a distro-patch/enhancer (separate ISO) which by the way could also be a flash drive, able to patch to satisfaction the standard distro we like, would be in my view a better way.

    It would have the main advantage to keep full compatibility with the "root distro".
    A well done menu, would be highly useful, and deserves much work.

    Andre Gompel

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  11. Hi Jeff, i'm new to your blog and ended up reading most of the articles in your blog all day....I have tried Opengue before and liked it very much....i'm again interested in e17 and and installed "Trisquel linux" Lxde in VB and now installing e17.....hope it works..

    Have you ever used Trisquel (www.trisquel.info) ? It is a FOSS os based on Ubuntu....i have used it and found it is working better than Ubuntu...as it is a free software, it does not use any propritory software and it uses gnash for flash content...I have found that youtube is working fine and all ads are showing as it is intented to be ...in short everything works OOTB including youtube and flash without using any propitory sofwares.... I wonder why Ubuntu is not shipping these free alternatives (gnash) and want us to install the restricted extras for the complete desktop experience...

    I would like to know your opinion about this FOSS os suppoted by FSF which is able to provide the complete expirience by adhering to the FSF guidelines which Ubuntu is not able to provide by default to us... http://trisquel.info/

    a n0

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  12. Hi Jeff, i'm new to your blog and ended up reading most of the articles in your blog all day....I have tried Opengue before and liked it very much....i'm again interested in e17 and and installed "Trisquel linux" Lxde in VB and now installing e17.....hope it works..

    Have you ever used Trisquel (www.trisquel.info) ? It is a FOSS os based on Ubuntu....i have used it and found it is working better than Ubuntu...as it is a free software, it does not use any propritory software and it uses gnash for flash content...I have found that youtube is working fine and all ads are showing as it is intented to be ...in short everything works OOTB including youtube and flash without using any propitory sofwares.... I wonder why Ubuntu is not shipping these free alternatives (gnash) and want us to install the restricted extras for the complete desktop experience...

    I would like to know your opinion about this FOSS os suppoted by FSF which is able to provide the complete expirience by adhering to the FSF guidelines which Ubuntu is not able to provide by default to us... http://trisquel.info/

    ReplyDelete
  13. a windows to ubuntu convertNovember 11, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    Hi Jeff, i'm new to your blog and ended up reading most of the articles in your blog all day....I have tried Opengue before and liked it very much....i'm again interested in e17 and and installed "Trisquel linux" Lxde in VB and now installing e17.....hope it works..

    Have you ever used Trisquel (www.trisquel.info) ? It is a FOSS os based on Ubuntu....i have used it and found it is working better than Ubuntu...as it is a free software, it does not use any propritory software and it uses gnash for flash content...I have found that youtube is working fine and all ads are showing as it is intented to be ...in short everything works OOTB including youtube and flash without using any propitory sofwares.... I wonder why Ubuntu is not shipping these free alternatives (gnash) and want us to install the restricted extras for the complete desktop experience...

    I would like to know your opinion about this FOSS os suppoted by FSF which is able to provide the complete expirience by adhering to the FSF guidelines which Ubuntu is not able to provide by default to us... http://trisquel.info/

    a windows to ubuntu convert....

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  14. I wanted to try Fusion Linux but then I looked at the apps in the 14 rc version: F-Spot, Tomboy, Giver, Gnome-Do... So Fusion Linux is a Mono distribution and as such I can't use/try it. I don't want Mono on my linux box, sorry.

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  15. could you please tell me your take on trisquel gnu/linux(FOSS) which is able to play flash using gnash by defualt ...thus trisquel is having an advantage with respect to ubuntu as it is able to play flash even though it is strictly adhering to FOSS philosophy....

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  16. We released Fusion Linux 14 last week, so I would really appreciate if you took a look at final release. Thank you.

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