Fedora Core 3 ships with KDE 3.3 and GNOME 2.8, the latest versions of each desktop environment. Click here to read Labs reviews of KDE 3.3 and GNOME 2.8.Both the KDE and GNOME projects add noticeable usability features with every release, so this is one area where weve particularly appreciated Fedoras fast release pace.We were pleased to note that the version of OpenOffice.org that ships with Fedora Core 3 comes preconfigured to work with Evolution 2.0, which is the distributions default mail client. In previous versions, users had to hunt down this setting and configure it themselves for OpenOffice.org to work as expected. Fedora Core 3 ships for the first time with the Mozilla projects Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird mail client, as well as RealNetworks Inc.s Helix Player media client. In addition, Fedora Core 3 includes a nice desktop-sharing feature that works with VNC (virtual network computing) to provide the same functionality as the remote desktop feature in Windows. However, wed like to see encryption support added to this feature. What changed little in Fedora Core 3to our disappointmentwas the state of the distributions software update and installation tools. Fedora ships with Red Hats now-long-in-the-tooth up2date update facility, and also with yum, a software client that does more than up2date but that lacks a graphical interface. At this point, our preferred Fedora software update and installation duo is apt and synaptic, both of which are available separately for Fedora but that hail from the Debian project. Synaptic provides a nice graphical interface that makes it much easier to manage software on Fedora. Wed like to see Fedora adopt apt and synaptic or develop a functional equivalent to go along with yum. Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at email@example.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.