Getting ready for 7

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, that is. Took Fedora 17 out for a drive the other day. If RHEL 7 sports the modifications to Gnome 3 that I’m seeing in F17 it might work as a default graphical environment on a server, to the extent that anyone installs those any more. Today I tried the newly released Fedora 18. Oh boy.

Most of my work on servers in in remote ssh console sessions. In fact, the only reason I need a graphical environment at all there is so I can collaborate with others using vnc.

But unlike many of my peers, I also run a server operating system on my primary desktops at work and home: because that’s how I keep my skills sharp.

Gnome 3 scares me, but what makes me even more nervous is the way that the Gnome developers seem to have turned a deaf ear to, well, actual users. Their users.

So it was a relief to find that the Gnome 3 environment on Fedora 17 and 18 are a bit easier to work with that in previous versions.

In fact, apart from the fact that F18 couldn’t seem to handle two headphone ports (front and back) at the same time, it seems to me that either 17 or 18 would make an acceptable workstation system.

Having said that, I’m not yet ready to back off my long standing practice of passing on Fedora and waiting for the next full release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or rather one of its downstream clones. Currently I’m running Scientific Linux 6.3 and quite happy with it. But SL6 is now getting a little long in the tooth and it would be good to have newer versions of many of the desktop tools I use every day.

Word is that RHEL 7 will be based on Fedora 17, along with some new features from Fedora 18. This follows the pattern established with RHEL 6, where Fedora 12 was used as the base with some new features from Fedora 13. That probably means that RHEL 7 will come with Firefox 17ESR as its shipping browser (much like RHEL 6 has FF10ESR).

More info on Red Hat’s plans over the next year can be found in the following two videos from the Roadmap sessions at 2012’s Red Hat Summit: