May 29, 2009

Fedora 11 fail because of Anaconda :(

I have tested Fedora 11 alpha, beta and now preview releases on few of my laptops and I'm really impressed by how Fedora 11 works once it is installed.
The problems I've encountered are those within the installation part - it seems like anaconda installer has become much worse than it was in Fedora 10 and in previous versions.
I watched how OpenSuse and Ubuntu teams have really polished their installers and hoped that Fedora 10 or 11 would have some more polish in GUI because if you just look at OpenSuse or Ubuntu screenshots you will see how outdated Fedora's anaconda installer looks in comparison to them. I agree that in Fedora 10 there was no feature that lacked (except installer failed on Asus eee 701 laptops) but I really hoped that GUI would get a fresh look also, it really needs one general overhaul, especially in partitioning part of the installer. The inner working of anaconda previous to Fedora 11 was in top shape so that is why I was so surprised how bad anaconda is performing in Fedora 11 Preview release!
The only way to install Fedora 11 is to leave the default settings while in partitioning part of the installer. If you try ANY option with existing partitions on the hard drive, it will just crash the installer! I didn't find any way how to create custom partitions in anaconda installer, delete partition or delete the whole disk without installer crashing on me. Are you looking how to create custom LVM partitions? Forget it. Encryption? No way. If you have hard drive with no partitions the chances are 50:50 for your installer not to crash, and again, you can't erase the hard drive without installer crashing :(

I'm really disappointed in the current state of anaconda for Fedora 11. There are only few weeks for Fedora 11 to ship and there is no way to install Fedora 11 if you aren't satisfied with default partition layout :(
Later I've found out that the reason for bad anaconda performance is probably because of this feature. I also looked for currently open anaconda bugs and didn't see bugs that I was seening so I also posted bug report regarding these issues.
How do you like Fedora anaconda installer? What do you think about it's general look and feel? What do you think about anaconda graphical user interface, especially when compared to other installers? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.
Sorry for not replying to your questions and suggestions, but I was out of town on Croatian Linux conference. I hope to get to these issues soon and report back here.
It looks like this is the reason why Fedora 11 is slipping :( I was the canary in the mine and I hope this message got to the right people. You can look at Bill Nottinghams e-mail to anaconda-devel page for more details.
Red Hat please give more resources to Anaconda team.