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Fedora 22 Review Supplement: Installation
After dealing with the terrible Antergos installer and the completely manual installation of Arch lately, the installation of Fedora 22 was the most trouble free installation experience I've had in a while, maybe partly because this is the fourth time I've used Fedora's Anaconda installer, twice to install the Fedora based Korora, and once to install Sabayon, which uses a forked version of Anaconda. I installed Fedora 22 using the netinstall iso because a live iso version was not available with my preferred desktop for initial use -- Cinnamon. I installed my preferred desktop for daily use -- Plasma 5 -- later from within Cinnamon.
An unexpected benefit of the netinstall ISO -- the live ISOs may have this feature but I've never used Fedora live ISOs -- is that it allows certain groups of software to be installed along with the OS. This feature does not allow the selection of software to the individual package level, but in broad categories such as devleopment, unlike all versions of openSUSE's installers which do allow a very specific software selection. In any case this feature is something that most distributions don't have.
The only thing that I didn't like about the installation was how slow it was even after the download of packages to be installed was completed. I would also have liked more specific and detailed software selections, as is availabele in the openSUSE installer, which is the most powerful installer I have used, rivaling the completely user configured installation process of Arch, but in a GUI.
The installation steps with screenshots and topics relevant to installation for hardware similar to mine, a Lenovo V570 with Phoenix Technologies EFI v 2.0, an Intel Core-i5 2450M processor, integrated Intel Graphics HD3000, and an Intel Centrino® Wireless-N + WiMAX 6150 wireless network interface, are presented in this supplement to the Fedora 22 Workstation Review.
Some Linux distribution reviewers and podcasters don't like Fedoara's Anaconda installer citing ease of use issues. One of these issues if that it uses a "hub-and-spoke" structure, where the installer's main screen is the hub and buttons on the main screen representing various installation tasks are the "spokes", which include target disk selection (and partitioning), network configuration, and language, as opposed to a linear structure. I didn't have an issue with this structure and I don't think anyone who has installed a distribution a few times will have any issues as the of an installation are known after a certain number of installations and as the installer gives guidance and visual indicators of components that have not been completed on the main ("hub") screen. Other issues include a bad paritioner. Again I don't think there is anything wrong with the partitioner, especially since the installer gives guidance near where selections are made. I think that the problem that some reviewers have is that it is different from the most common installer, some version of the very basic Ubiquity installer by Ubuntu. I myself think the openSUSE installer is the best both for ease of use, flexibility, and the detailed configuration of the final installed system that is possible from within the installer.
Anaconda's main screen -- the "hub" -- after all settings are configured is shown below.
Installation tips may not be really necessary as the Fedora 22 installation was trouble-free, but here are a few anyway.
- Make a backup of the contents of the EFI partition just in case, unless you don't mind reinstalling the GRUB of other distributions and Microsoft's boot manager, if something happens to this partition.
- I think it is always a good idea to prepare the partitions for a new installation outside of the installer.
- Be sure not to select the Reformat checkbox when setting the mount point of the EFI partition.
The GRUB (efi) bootloader installs properly in the firmware and the EFI System partition. Although many distributions place a copy of the grub.cfg file in the same directory as the grubx64.efifile in the distributions directory in the EFI partition mounted at /boot/efi, Fedora is nonstandard as this config file, at /boot/efi/EFI/fedora/grub/grub.cfg is the one actually written by the the grub-mkconfig program, thus the one actually used to display the GRUB menu during boot. All other distributions I have used place their GRUB config file at /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
The first screen after starting the installer in is where the language, keyboard layout are set.
On the next screen, select the disk for installation, whether to encrypt the installation partitions, and whether to use automatic or manual partitioning. If the partitions have been prepared beforehand, selecting the manual partitioning only requires selecting partitions and assigning mount points.
The manual partitioning screen lists the existing partitions on the selected disk in the left panel, even indicating the existing OS on these partitions. If the partitions were not prepared in advance outside of the installer, click the "+" symbol at the bottom of the panel to create new partitions.
If partitions were prepared in advance, selecting the desired partition in the list will display available settings in the panel on the right side of the screen. In the screenshot below, you can see that I chose to install Fedora by overwriting the existing Korora installation. In the Korora section, all of the partitions entered in Korora's /etc/fstab are listed, grouped by whether the partitions are system partitions, the root partition and the EFI partition, or data partitions. The "DATA" group shows partitions other than that of the /home entered in /etc/fstab.
Set hostname and configure network.
Select software to be installed by category.
Hub/main screen before beginning installation.
Fedora installation is not as simple as, for example, Ubuntu, but it is not completely horrible as some characterize it. The most difficult aspect of it was not the fact that progression through installation configuration specification is not linear, but selecting mount points from the available existing partitions, which the Anaconda installer tries to group by OS installation, instead of displaying a straightforward list.
On the positive side the Net installer ISO, which I used, saves bandwidth with a small initial download and allows the user to select software groups to install.