It appears I misunderstood my buddy. This Fedora Core is in fact using up2date as the system package management tool. I could have sworn he said it was something else. Oh well. It seemed to work pretty well and whatever registration it has is completely under the covers. I didn’t do anything in particular, just clicked the buttons and let it rip.
I think the out of the box Gnome desktop and all the stuff that came with it is fantastic. I did a very thorough custom install, rather than picking “Desktop” or “Workstation” or “Server” options, so I know I have the stuff I want. Now I’ll install Eclipse 3.0 and see how that goes. All in all, though, I’m very happy with this. I think we are ever closer to the day where no one has to use Windows that doesn’t want to simply because of Microsoft lockin.
Update: I see my confusion runs deep. After digging, I was confused by the way up2date automatically popped up. However, I’m free to use other package managers such as apt or the front-end to it – Synaptic. I was pleasantly surprised that Synaptic worked fine at knowing what packages were already there and seems to coexist fine with up2date. This is much better than a few years ago, when up2date and the Ximian package manager got into a pissing match and left me with packages that couldn’t be installed and others that couldn’t be uninstalled.