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Desktop selection

The GNOME desktop which is installed by default in Fedora is included in its current version 2.20.1; the desktop now uses Nodoka as its standard theme. Xfce is not included on the standard installation medium; however, it can be downloaded and installed from the online repositories during or after installation. Initially, Fedora 8 was intended to include KDE 4, but Fedora developers dismissed this plan when it became apparent that the next larger KDE update would be delayed. Therefore, Fedora 8 includes KDE version 3.5.8 and provides some of the developer libraries required for KDE 4 programming.

Infinity theme in the boot loader of the Live CD
Zoom Infinity theme in the boot loader of the Live CD

Desktop, login screen, Grub boot loader and startup screen have been redesigned in the usual Fedora fashion; in version eight, this design is called Infinity. If you set the Infinity background in Gnome you might rub your eyes in slight bafflement after a few hours since the background suddenly changes hue. This is intentional: In the morning, the greyish blue background appears slightly foggy and blurred, at noon it becomes a clear blue and in the evening it becomes a warm orange which is supposed to resemble a sunset.

Some applications which are to be part of a future Gnome Online Desktop have been included in Fedora 8 for testing. Fedora integrates a preliminary version of the heavily updated 0.7 line of NetworkManager which is also used in other distributions. This version is said to be more reliable and offer better interaction with applications than the previous one; key management has also been improved. Fedora's printer administration program, which has also been integrated in Ubuntu, still configures many supported printers automatically during installation; with some printers, the printer framework can now even alert the user about low ink supplies or paper jams via pop-ups. OpenOffice is included in its current version 2.3. Firefox is still supplied in version; the Fedora Project delivers the recent version as an update.

The PulseAudio sound server is used in all the desktop environments and replaces the ESD daemon. PulseAudio includes a mixer which makes it easy to determine which output device is to receive the PulseAudio audio stream; there is a virtual audio device which serves for outputting audio onto any connected output device. While many applications get into conflict with each other when audio is output in parallel via one output device, PulseAudio enables the user to set the volume for each application individually - this way, MP3s can continue to play softly in the background when you turn the volume of a YouTube video up a bit.

PulseAudio mixes the audio output of different programs
PulseAudio mixes the audio output of different programs


Like its predecessor Fedora 7, the new Fedora version makes it relatively easy to assemble your own distributions or installable live media using a selection of the software provided. Apart from the normal installation, which is only available in DVD-ISO format, the Fedora Project offers another five compilations called Spins: Fedora KDE Spin (CD), Fedora Gnome Spin (CD), Fedora Games Spin (DVD), Fedora Developer Spin (DVD) and Fedora Electronics Lab (CD). Only a few steps are required to transfer these onto USB sticks.

As with the previous version it is likely that Fedora users will continue to offer additional Spins for download from the Internet. One member of the closely linked Fedora Unity Project has already announced that a set of installation CDs will be made available. A planned Everything Spin is said to include all the packages in the official Fedora repositories - for Fedora 8 for x86-32 architectures, this includes 11 GBytes consisting of 8440 RPMs which are compiled from 4835 source packages.

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