Fedora 17 now officially sets it’s memory requirement for installation to 512MB. Before Fedora 17, the requirements and been a similarly unrealistic 768MB. A standard desktop installation with Gnome 3 in tow will not be able to perform realistically for any user. Of course Fedora is good for a great many configurations, including different desktop environments and server configurations, but allowing the average user to complete an installation in the standard desktop configuration at such a low bar, seems like a strange move.
Fedora won’t be properly serving new users by undercutting other distributions on memory requirements while giving new users a false sense of hope with their older hardware.
If anything, this should act as a catalyst for Anaconda –the Fedora installer– to warn users about memory requirements and then give those users a choice about whether or not to install the operating system. Anaconda should also make strides to become case-sensitive based on different configurations. For instance, installing a LAMP server may only require 384MB of RAM. Anaconda should accommodate these users by making the installer react appropriately. In fact, this operation should be mostly transparent.
Either way, from our tests here at The Powerbase, Fedora 17 is shaping up to be a great release for users seeking a vanilla Gnome 3 experience. Of course, this release does nothing to alleviate the identity crisis that Fedora has suffered from since it’s very first release. It’s always been the test bed for Red Hat’s commercial product but has tried to slant itself towards the desktop market. Without ever having an LTS release, or a serious community of real desktop users, Fedora proves itself to be most suitable for those who wish to pursue a career in Red Hat system administration, or those who wish to graduate to CentOS. Fedora’s level of package support makes it unsuitable for even a home server.