I just downloaded and ran the LiveCD of Beefy Miracle, Fedora’s most recent release.
- Japanese input methods and fonts come preinstalled.
- Accessibility features available.
- Generally polished interface
- Feels mature finally.
- Stuck with fallback mode on unsupported video cards
- Touch screen design for use on non-touch devices is stupid.
- Lack of configuration options, right clicking on the wallpaper and panels does nothing. There’s no way to change the default window manager theme which is over-sized and made for fingers not cursors.
It loaded relatively quick for a LiveCD and ran impressively smoothly. My test machine is an IBM Thinkpad t42 with 2GB of memory a 1.7ghz Pentium M processor, and an ATI RV200 [Mobility Radeon 7500] graphics card.
I got a white progress meter that turned into a beautifully centered Fedora logo while it was loading (presumably into memory). I’m guessing this is the Plymouth splash screen.
After that it booted me into Fallback mode which was and still is my main complaint about Gnome, Fedora’s primary desktop environment. Supposedly the new Gnome Shell in Beefy Miracle doesn’t require hardware acceleration, but nevertheless I didn’t get the full Gnome Shell experience.
That said, the fallback mode was impressive compared to previous iterations. There were a lot of accessibility options, which I tested. The screen reader didn’t automatically read past the highest level titles in a window, that may be by design, I’m not blind so I’m not exactly sure how to use a screen reader.
The high contrast, low contrast, and high contrast inverted color schemes worked pretty well, though I had an issue where the panels did not change color uniformly, that seemed like a minor bug.
Default language support is impressive compared to every other distribution I’ve tried up to this point and appears to be on par with Mac OS X which is a good thing in this department. I found Ibus and Anthy for Japanese support pre-installed along with some Japanese fonts.
The main thing I notice is that Gnome3 is obviously designed for touch interfaces and yet is not being deployed on any. So what’s the point? They’ve definitely improved the fallback mode experience, but I feel like the title bars and multi-panel layout are overly large and a waste of screen real estate.