A personal view of the Fedora versus Ubuntu issue

August 8, 2010

A commentator on the previous entry more or less suggested that I switch from Fedora to Ubuntu. As it happens, this isn't something that I'm likely to do.

In one sense there ought to be no real difference for me between the two. My personal Linux environment is so customized that I'm essentially indifferent to what the distribution does with its desktop environment (the usual point of contention for ordinary users); things like Gnome and KDE choices and which of the latest peculiar system for managing bits of the system are in use don't matter if you don't use them. And pretty much any distribution is going to include the basic elements that I use and care about. While I'm used to how to manage and navigate around Fedora, I could perfectly well learn Ubuntu/Debian packaging and management too (and I already know some of it, since we use Ubuntu on servers at work).

In another sense, no. I have too many bad experiences with Ubuntu (courtesy of work, again). Through my experiences with both Ubuntu and Fedora, I've wound up trusting Fedora a lot more in terms of packaging, bug reports, and the decisions that each distribution makes; I'm sure that Ubuntu is trying, but I am equally sure that they do slipshod work and make dubious decisions because I've experienced it myself. Ubuntu is quite good for some things (the out of the box desktop experience, primarily), but I am not really interested in those things and I have the strong impression that Ubuntu is not very interested in areas outside those things.

(Fedora makes mistakes too, but I feel that they do more solid and more thorough work in general. I can't imagine Fedora changing to a volatile /var/run but not fixing all their packages, for example.)

Additionally and more inflammatorily I feel strongly that Debian and thus Ubuntu has made some fundamental missteps in things like multi-architecture support and package installation, and Fedora has not. These issues are probably arcane to a lot of people, but they matter to me and thus strongly tilt me towards Fedora.

(Not RHEL/CentOS, for reasons covered here.)

Comments on this page:

From at 2010-08-08 10:35:57:

I've never quite gotten the Ubuntu craze in practice. In theory, sure, the longer-term support and so forth. But in practice it's, honest to goodness, locked up about 2/3 of the times I've tried to install it at all. It seems reasonable to me to avoid it on that basis, and yet Ubuntu supporters shake their heads sadly at me when I relate this. Ah well.


From at 2010-08-14 12:29:17:

Most of us have had bad experiences with one or another distribution and that colours the rest of our involvement with that project and its children. None of the distributions are perfect for all users and they have all committed unforgivable sins in the eyes of someone.

Convincing someone to leave their favourite is nearly impossible.

Written on 08 August 2010.
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Last modified: Sun Aug 8 01:20:26 2010
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