Monday, July 23, 2007

Why Choose Fedora? (Fedora vs. Ubuntu)

During my free time of browsing distrowatch...and due date for a newly compiled Ubuntu version, I make it appoint, during these past years, that I should have an OS test spin of these what's new and have been stuff with Ubuntu latest distro. They have free shipping and delivery mode of spreading their own, wish we could have that on unlimited version with F7 DVDs.

What do I do with it?

Trying to alteast keep up with my know-how with Ubuntu and the OS test spin likenings.

Fedora Cores are old?


I was one of them, for the past years, I also wasted a lot, I really mean a lot of boxes burning CDs and DVDs for doing fresh-install repititions of these various tinker distros. To name a few OS that I tried with my gone-with-the-wind dual processor laptop were Fox Desktops, Mandrakes, Slackwares, PCLinuxOS, SuSes, FreeBSD, ArkLinux, not to forget Bayanihans, CentOS, Mempis, Berry, ALinux, AsianLinux, TaoLinux, Xandros (that is all). And in the end, I am happy with my default fallback bleeding-edge razor-sharp OS now called Fedora (without the Core word).

Now, I am sure I am not the only one around the blogsphere. And I must admit, I agree with his standpoint same like my experience with them.

Here, take time reading these comparison thoughts and conclusions based from hyphothetical real-life experience with ubuntu and fedora users too, like I was before and I still am.

Why Choose Fedora? (Fedora vs. Ubuntu)

After reading continually about Ubuntu, and having heard about what a great Linux distribution it is for over a year, I finally broke down two days before Fedora 7 was released to the public and installed Feisty Fawn 7.04 on my /backup partition to give it a spin. For two days I used it exclusively, and tried to hold off any judgments one way or another while testing it. After all, it seems like all I hear about is people jumping ship off of whatever Linux distribution they had used for years in favor of Ubuntu (Stanton Finley and Eric S. Raymond come to mind from the RedHat/Fedora camp, among others, including just about everyone from the Slashdot/Digg crowd); and if Ubuntu truly is a superior Linux distribution, then I at least needed to give it a try to evaluate its performance. And so I did. I installed the DNS and LAMP server, followed by the Ubuntu desktop, knowing that I could always install KDE applications if I needed to via apt-get.

Unfortunately, I was not impressed.

People incessantly claim that Fedora is less user friendly than Ubuntu is, but Ubuntu has become so watered down as a Linux distribution that I can only classify it as having been completely n00bified. Maybe I'm out of touch with the budding Linux enthusiast, who is in desperate need of a hand-holding Linux distribution, but everywhere I turned, I found road blocks preventing me from getting work done quickly. A perfect example of this is the simple task of connecting to my DSL internet connection when at home. Under Fedora, this takes about two minutes to setup (if that): System -> Administration -> Network. Type in the root password, click on New -> xDSL connection, follow the directions, and you are off and running. Under Ubuntu, creating a DSL connection via the Network Panel is not even possible! A Google search on the Windows machine turned up the following:

"Configuring DSL can be a hassle..."
"...How good it would be, if there exists a wizard that will guide you thru all the above steps."

My thoughts exactly! Ok, ok, it is not that big of deal once you know what to do: connect to eth0, run pppoeconf, and use pon dsl-provider/poff to turn the connection on and off. But how is a new Linux user going to figure that one out on his/her own? 95% of the people trying out Linux for the first time are not going to be sitting behind some fat bandwidth pipe using a 100Mbs/1Gbs Ethernet connection. They will be using wireless, or just as likely, have a DSL connection...

At any rate, Feisty Fawn does not seem to be that stable of an operating system. I found that I had to reboot multiple times just to allow it to log me into Gnome properly. Often times, it would just freeze or lock up halfway through the login process. Eventually I figured out that the problem was tied to my not having shut off the DSL connection before logging out, but why should that be a problem? Additional issues included the screen resolution not being set properly (1440 x 900), or allowing me to change it without delving into /etc/X11/xorg.conf, and having to deal with tons of native applications that were not included in the base server/desktop installs. The first mistake that I made along these lines was an attempt to change my shell via /etc/password to /bin/tcsh. Oops! No tcsh. Oops! I can no longer login to a terminal. Oops! I can't log into root either because I choose to only allow sudo when I installed Ubuntu and had not made a point of setting up a root password yet. Guess it is time to mount the partition in Fedora and fix it, or reinstall... And so it went.

Sure apt-get is great, and synaptic (the GUI) is nice, but what real advantages does it have over yum and yumex? It's faster? In my opinion, even that's debatable, simply because there are so many tools that are missing in the basic Ubuntu install that it would have taken me forever to set them all up over an internet connection with apt-get anyway. Sure, Ubuntu gives you a LAMP server (Linux OS, Apache, MySQL, PHP), but what Linux distribution doesn't?

What Fedora does give you natively that Ubuntu does not is the following:

• The option to create your own Fedora spin!
• The option to install all Server Applications, Gnome, and KDE at once
• Simple DSL Setup
• SELinux
• Samba
• Compatibility Libraries
• Development Packages
• Compilation Tools
• Programming Tools & Editors
• +1000 other Native Applications

Again, can most of these programs be installed with apt-get and be configured under Ubuntu? Sure, but instead of it taking about 3 days to figure out if I finally have downloaded and installed everything, I can instead burn a single Fedora DVD and install it all once in about an hour. And be completely configured within three to four.

But what about RPM and Dependency Hell?
Ah yes, it always seems to come down to RPM and dependencies. Whenever I hear that argument, I can tell instantly that the person making it has either never used a RedHat/Fedora RPM system before and are quoting a common misconception, or that they used RedHat (and not Fedora) a long time ago before yum came along (Fedora Core 1). Even circular dependencies can be dealt with elegantly using rpm, and if you are missing a library or dependency now, yum whatprovides [missing].[library] is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Frankly, the RPM/Dependency Hell argument is a tired old argument that has not been true for about 5 years. But hey, don't let that get in the way of a good FUD campaign...

But what about Fedora being a Beta test for RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)?
For four years now I have used Fedora: from Fedora Core 1 all the way up through Fedora 7. Before that, I used RedHat from the 7.0 days on up to 9.0. Aside from the typical hiccups that are always present any Linux distribution, I find Fedora to be no worse than other Linux distributions that I have used. I use it 98% of the time while at the University (the other 2% is with Windows), and have had a Fedora Linux server sitting in my office for three and a half years. Fedora has never felt like a Beta test version to me.
It has always felt solid, and has always performed admirably. And I like the rapid development and inclusion of new software into the distribution — I have been able to watch Fedora mature over the past few years significantly.

But what about...?
Simply stated, most of the arguments that I have heard with respect to Fedora are dealt nicely on the Fedora Myths page. I suggest that you head over there and read it if you are still skeptical.

The point here is not to try and drag Ubuntu through the mud. But having now used it, I believe I can definitively say that that particular Linux distribution is really aimed toward the Linux n00b (no offense intended), or the Linux desktop enthusiast. For server applications, it just doesn't cut it. Fedora provides a much deeper and comprehensive set of tools right out of the box, and I find that after I've finished installing it, I'm off and running. I've seen other people allude to this fact as well — Ubuntu is fine for the average desktop user, but if you are in need of a powerful Linux server, then Fedora is the way to go. And with that, let's get down to business...

California State Univ.
ECE Dept.
Assistant Professor Gregory R. Kriehn
URL Reference : here


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