Monday, May 23, 2011

Yes, There’s More Than One Way to Spin Fedora

You could almost say that Fedora is a victim of its own popularity. Because Fedora is so efficient and easy to use (even among Linux distributions), developers of all persuasions have taken a good thing and recrafted it into something they prefer even more. These variations of Fedora are known as spins, and they follow the same release cycle as the main version (though they might be offset by a few days here and there). Most of the differences between the flavors of Fedora are purely cosmetic: sometimes it’s a different desktop environment, sometimes it’s a different set of installed applications.

It is important to note that these spins are not completely different versions of Fedora; they are just Fedora pre-packaged in different ways. You can, if you wish, download and install all of the software needed to created identical versions of these spins. But having the spins already set up will save you a great deal of time and effort.

Fedora Desktop
The Fedora Desktop is the primary version among the Fedora ‘‘family’’ of spins, the one from which all the others are based. One of Fedora’s main characteristics is that it uses, by default, the GNOME desktop environment. GNOME, along with its predecessor KDE, is one of the most popular desktop environments around for Linux and other UNIX-based operating systems. It’s often regarded as an easier-to-use environment, with fewer controls for users to worry about. Free software purists prefer it for the totally free nature of the code that is used to build GNOME.

Fedora KDE
Fedora KDE is the most popular ‘‘alternate’’ Fedora spin, and as you might have guessed from the name, it features the KDE. The KDE environment came before GNOME, but quite a few people in the Linux community don’t like it because initially it was built with the help of nonfree code. (The Debian Project, for instance, initially would not ship any release with KDE.) The GNOME Project was started as a result of this concern. Today, the code in KDE is more open, and those objections have been rendered moot. Fedora KDE makes exclusive use of KDE and its attendant applications.

Fedora LXDE Spin
LXDE stands for ‘‘Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment,’’ and it is designed to be very fast and light on its electronic feet. While not as popular as GNOME and KDE, the LXDE interface features multi-language support, standard keyboard shortcuts, and tabbed file browsing. LXDE is a good environment for low-power devices such as netbooks, mobile Internet devices, or older machines.

Fedora Xfce Spin
This Fedora spin uses the Xfce environment, a simple and fast environment based on the old UNIX CDE environment. Xfce takes a bit of getting used to, because the graphic interface tools are a bit less intuitive than the more robust GNOME and KDE environments. But using Xfce gives this Fedora spin the added advantage of not being as resource-hungry as other Linux distributions and makes it ideal for running on slower, older PCs.

Fedora Games Spin
Like to get your game on? The Fedora Games spin offers a great collection of games available for Fedora. Not every Fedora game is included with this spin, but the designers have tried to put together a good representation of the different styles of games that you can get for the Fedora distribution.

Fedora Edu Spin
Unlike the other Fedora spins, Fedora Edu is not different because of its look or feel. Rather Fedora Edu’s differences lie in the content and tools it provides to users. Fedora Edu is sometimes referred to as the ‘‘kids’ Fedora,’’ and indeed, the addition of educational and development software certainly matches that description. But the overall goal of the project is to provide an easy-to-use distribution for all ages of students. According to the project’s home page, ‘‘The purpose of this spin is to create a ready-to-go development environment for contributing to educational projects inside, but also outside of the Fedora ecosystem....’’ Edu runs a GNOME desktop, with the differences mostly in the set of educational applications that ships with the distribution. These include various language, science, and development learning tools.

Fedora BrOffice Spin
One of the interesting results of working on the international stage of the Internet is how names can be used for different things in different nations. For instance, the office suite found in Fedora,, gets the ‘‘.org’’ in its official name from the fact that OpenOffice is actually a trademarked company name in the Netherlands, as well as a trademark owned by Orange UK, the British telecommunications company. Rather than raise a ruckus, the project’s organizers decided to simply tack on the ‘‘.org’’ to the name. But even that didn’t work, as is a trademark held in Brazil. So, users in Brazil use BrOffice. BrOffice, as you may have surmised,
is the centerpiece of the Fedora BrOffice spin. But the spin’s creators didn’t stop there. This spin is loaded with language packs and applications that are well suited for Central and South American users, whether they converse in Spanish or Portuguese.

Fedora FEL Spin
Very likely the most specialized Fedora spin is the Fedora Electronic Laboratory (FEL) spin. FEL was put together solely to provide a solid platform for the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) community. These are the people who put together things like microchips, processors, and robots. You know, easy stuff. According to the project’s Web site, FEL ‘‘provides a complete electronic laboratory setup with reliable open source design tools in order to help you keep in pace with the current technological race. It reduces the risk assessment of open source hardware development and enables electronic designers to create their work quickly and efficiently.’’

Source of Information : Cengage-Introducing Fedora 2010

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