Linux.com has a review of Fedora 8 (Test 3) which is mostly a positive critique.
Fedora 8 renews tradition of innovations
After seven releases of its own and the previous Red Hat releases, Fedora has most aspects of putting a distribution together down to a routine.
Yes and no. While we are indeed having a much much better foundation than we were when we started out with Fedora, we haven't yet figured out all the aspects of the release. There was a time when people were wondering if Fedora as a community distribution would ever flourish. I think that question has changed into how successful will it be? Fedora 7 was a major milestone from the project perspective and I hope Fedora 8 can shine better by showing off benefits that are immediately apparent to the end user having the advantages of a better base to build from. It is not yet a routine however. John Poelstra talked about how successful the new feature process has been and what needs to change. When I suggested something similar to the Fedora Board earlier, it was immediately dismissed by saying we don't have the culture of planning that far ahead but I was convinced that we would tremendously benefit from a more organized development and it is clear to me that it is indeed the case but more participation from developers is required.
Nor are the trio of yum, Pirut, and Pup for software installation greatly changed, aside from a noticeable increase in speed.
Pirut has the ability to install packages from media and easy editing of software repositories and opyum complements it by providing offline installation capabilities but assuming just the speed increase is noticeable, I am happy with that.
The security tools centering around SELinux are similarly unchanged
Not quite. SELinux has some nice enhancements which Dan Walsh has been blogging out. I have installed xguest to check out the kiosk mode feature and will be looking into that soon.
Similarly, the new release maintains the Fedora tradition of introducing a new desktop. While Fedora 7's was a slightly over-the-top airbrushed theme, Fedora 8's Infinity theme heads in the opposite direction with a minimalist theme whose default wallpaper suggests a series of converging vapor trails.
True. Fedora 8 presents a community coordinated artwork and while it is not going to turn faces, it is subtle and nice. One hurdle down the steady path towards the community. Nodoka theme also is good contribution.
These standard elements are not flawless -- the installer, for instance, could include Xfce as a desktop alternative
Sure. We could but we have more software in the repository than would fit into a single DVD. So there are some choices not available in the official images. Others have done such all encompassing spins however and they are pretty useful to some users.
I wonder whether the proliferation of codec installers is worth the effort, and whether users might not be better off installing the LAME package from rpm.livna.org, Fedora's unofficial non-free repository, instead.
Aside from the fact that Livna and Freshrpms among others are converging at http://rpmfusion.org, we are still waiting on Red Hat Legal to see if linking to third party repositories is ok for us to do. I am supportive of such an effort though and the design of Codec Buddy would allow alternative sources.
This release makes it obvious that the Fedora community prides itself on innovation. If nothing else, the public documentation of each change on the project wiki should make the perspective clear. If, despite being marked on the wiki as complete, some of these innovations seem flawed or limited, that seems only inevitable -- with so many efforts at finding a new direction, some are bound to fail, or to be less successful than others, especially in their first release. Fedora deserves appreciation for trying. At the introductory stage, that matters more, perhaps, than complete success.
That nails it right on the head. Thanks to Bruce Byfield for some insightful comments but he has missed quite a lot of improvements in this release. Partly our responsibility to make this easier for reviewers to find and I am working on that. As always, help and feedback is most welcome.