Fedora Irresponsibly Lowers Memory Requirement To 512MB


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 16 System Requirements

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.

Source | Fedora Forums

About Dean Howell

Aside from being a huge Sega fan, Dean is an LPIC certified Linux professional with over a decade experience. In addition to spending his free time burning through the classics from Sega and evangelizing open source, he's also the editor-in-cheif of The Powerbase.
  • Fret uukel

    This article is completely biased and bogus.

    • http://profiles.google.com/deanhowell2 Dean Howell

      How so? Biased to what?

  • Nobody

    $> free -m
    total used free shared buffers cached
    Mem: 1996 607 1389 0 66 231
    -/+ buffers/cache: 310 1686
    Swap: 5871 0 5871

    So, with a desktop session running and FireFox I’m using 310MB. 512MB or 768MB may not be as unrealistic as you think.

    Thanks for the article, though.

  • gr0undzer0

    ?? I use Fedora 16 as a VM server with Xen hypervisor and desktop. It runs a Debian html server, samba, nfs, and still keeps up with all my desktop demands. How is this not suitable for a home server? I have had 0 crashes and not a single problem with the packages. I’m really not a fedora fanboy I just started using it 6 months ago.

  • http://writtenandread.net M. Juhl-Johansen Zölde-Fejér

    It would make more sense for the various versions to have varying requirements. I am using the Lxde version on some fairly old iron, and it is pretty smooth, whereas the KDE version runs like, well, crap.

  • http://freesoftware.zona-m.net/ mf

    “Fedora’s level of package support makes it unsuitable for even a home server.”

    Care to elaborate what the heck you mean with this sentence? Concrete examples? Thanks.

  • 2eurocents

    don’t be upset, dude.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EZVVRKXUSOZTE3DD6MZ7TKZGWU Connie

    It should be fairly easy to customise the installation to the specifications of the device and function required. Gnome 3 is not the only desktop…and not every install will need one any way. The issue I guess is that this “minum requirement” is just arecommended one, based on interpretation of “minimum reasonable user need”. A 4GB RAM would have a much better experience than someone with 512MB…but this is very much up to how the system is being used. Too many variables to derive a meaningful conclusion form these figures, which are just as arbitrary as my recommended weekly underwear requirements

    • http://profiles.google.com/deanhowell2 Dean Howell

      Anaconda imposes the limit. It’s not a recommendation.

  • Eduardo Rayas

    Sorry, but this is the most stupid article I’ve read in a long time.

    Fedora is a great distribution, but is not a distribution for the masses. Fedora is the rat of Red Hat experiments. The Fedora comunity says: “We don’t want users, We want collaborators”. This explain clear what is the philosophy of the distribution, they wants people to develop and improve Red Hat Entreprise, not tipycal user like Ubuntu user, they wants people with GNU/Linux knowledge.

    Fedora often undergoes changes, if you want to use it, you have to assume this.

    I’m really tired of the Fedora/Red Hat haters. I’m sure most are people who don’t know use anything else than Ubuntu/Linux Mint.

    And do not get me wrong, I support Ubuntu in its intention of really penetrate in market of desktop and compete with Windows and OSX, but speaking ill of others distributions We don’t do well to GNU/Linux.

    • http://profiles.google.com/deanhowell2 Dean Howell

      “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.”

      I don’t speak ill of Fedora at all, I just explain my opinion about this move.

  • Mrleightonbrown

    Likewise I run a home server on Fedora. Admittedly I don’t keep current with each new version – I allow 2 new releases before upgrading (ie. I’m going from 14 – 16 and skipping 15 ), my server hosts 2 virtual box environments and I’m about as satisfied as a confirmed KDE user can be on Fedora I think.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/tshimulu Luya Tshimbalanga

    Seen a captured image from AdamW’s post, I noticed you frequently visited Fedora Forum. Before you posted this blog, you should verify what was done to set memory requirement to 512 MB. An user recently successfully installed Fedora 17 with 256 MB as minimal requirement in addition of 1024 MB swap:


    So yes, Fedora 17 can run on old hardware with the right packages as demonstrated on XO-1 laptop from One Laptop Per Child with its 256 MB RAM.
    Speaking about identity crisis, I see Fedora as a jack of all trade that comes with different flavours (Spin released from Desktop to Robotics via Design suite) available via Live Media. For example. you can create a Fedora Music spin or Cinnanom spin if you wanted. Remember Fedora is a community project where meritocracy plays crucial roles.

    Some people saw it as a test-bed for Red Hat Enterprise which is not quite correct: Its development branch Rawhide is the real lab much like Debian Unstable. At the end, it is what you want do what defines Fedora.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/john.shepherd.77770 John Shepherd

    I have to disagree with the article. I run OpenSUSE 12.1 with KDE 4.7 on an HP laptop with a 1.8GHZ single core 32bit Sempron, 512 MB of memory, and a 70GB, 4200rpm (!) IDE hard drive… with kwin’s 3D effects turned on. :-) Unless Fedora uses significantly more memory, or KDE really isn’t the most resource-demanding desktop after all, a user should be able to run Fedora in 512MB. I’m fairly certain I tried out the latest KDE version in a 512MB VM.

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