With all the debate going on regarding the benefits of using Ubuntu vs Linux Mint, it's easy to forget that there are other great distributions for newer users. In this article, I'll be comparing two distros based on Fedora and OpenSUSE. The two distros I'll be comparing today are known as GeckoLinux (I selected the OpenSUSE Leap 42.1 version built from Suse Studio) and Korora (based on Fedora 24).
As I booted into Korora's Liveboot environment, I found myself greeted with a Welcome screen. The Welcome screen also has the install button, which I thought was really handy.
For VirtualBox users: the default aspect ratio was 4:3 with very low resolution.
After browsing around the menu structure a bit, I decided I was ready to install. During this process, Korora asks you to create a root password and a username. Not a deal breaker for those familiar with Linux, but perplexing for newcomers. The default drive layout is a logical LVM Ext4 partitioning scheme.
Another interesting thing to note is that by default, the checkbox for "make this user an administrator" is left unchecked. Realizing this will present challenges, I left it unchecked – more on this later. From there, the remainder of installation process is blazing fast with no errors to report.
Just as it was with the Live Boot, Korora installed presented me with a Welcome box upon its first boot. Immediately following that, I was then handed over to a new "Welcome wizard" to pick out my language, keyboard, etc. This seemed odd, since I thought I did this already in the initial install. Then a privacy preference is presented, followed by my online accounts setup (if I wanted to do such a thing).
Finally, I am presented with yet another dialog for "Getting started." For newbies, the list of help with common tasks is fantastic. This may be centric to the GNOME desktop, since many of the tasks presented to me are GNOME specific.
Quick side note: Since VirtualBox was used for this distro, I decided to install Guest Additions from my virtual machine's "Devices" menu. The installation of Guest Additions went perfectly, although GeckoLinux had them setup by default.
When I was ready to run updates on Korora, I opened up GNOME's search function and did a query for "updates." From here, I was presented with two different tools to get the job done. The first was GNOME Update Manager and the second was YUM Extender. Due to my familiarity with DNF updating from the terminal, I chose to use YUM Extender for Korora.
After running YUM Extender, the updates listed were not separated by recommended and security. Instead, they were presented in a single list. After reading through the available updates, I was able to select everything in the list with a single mouse click with the plus sign above the check boxes. Sadly, things immediately went downhill with YUM Extender when I was presented with vague, unhelpful errors.
Now some of you newer Linux users might be wondering what the problem is? Remember earlier when I decided to keep the default "make this user administrator" unchecked during install? Knowing this inhibited the user's sudo abilities, I went with it. I wanted to see if something post-install would "pickup" on the fact that I lacked sudo powers. Yet this didn't happen.
For a casual user targeted distro, this is unacceptable, as casual users will never pickup on this. Even after enabling administrator privileges, I was not able to successfully use YUM Extender for Korora. I could have dug into various causes and so on, but my time is valuable. Instead of tossing in the towel with the updates, I simply did a dnf update from the terminal.
With all of my Korora updates applied, I found my installation came with Linux kernel 4.6.4, VLC 3.0.0 and GNOME 3.20.2. Korora provides its users with a very current release of the GNOME desktop. And if you need the latest kernel, 4.6.4 is pretty close to the latest and greatest.
Needless to say, Korora is bleeding edge by most people's standards.
Since I installed GNOME as my desktop of choice with Korora, I decided to use GNOME Software to install some random applications. I tested out a number of application installs such as GNOME Music. Each of them installed flawlessly despite previous headaches with YUM Extender.
After each application was installed, I launched each application successfully. Keep in mind, these are applications from the default Korora repositories. As I dug deeper into available software titles, I was even thrilled to discover Steam was provided in the Korora repositories...even though it's not shown in GNOME Software. Once again, DNF with the terminal to the rescue.
GeckoLinux creates what I think is best described as a "faux Liveboot environment." As I booted into the Live Boot environment, I discovered the default username and password is "linux." Once logged in, I found the GeckoLinux installer as an icon on the desktop.
For VirtualBox users: I'm pleased to report that 16:9 aspect ratio appears to be the default for GeckoLinux.
Continued on next page: GeckoLinux