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Moving from Fedora to Ubuntu - Technical Blog of Richard Hughes

Richard Hughes
Date: 2006-10-19 15:18
Subject: Moving from Fedora to Ubuntu
Security: Public
With a little regret, I'm writing this blog entry. These are my opinions only.

Ever since I've been a Linux user (and now developer) I've stuck with Redhat and Fedora.
Back in 2002 I was happily using Redhat 8.0, then 9, then FC1, FC2, FC3, FC4, FC5 as each were released.

I don't tend to install "distro-of-the-month" as Fedora always did what I needed.
Recently, Fedora has been annoying me (yes, I know some have solutions).
  • YUM, pirut and yum-updatesd seem to want to fight with each other all the time. This stuff should just work but the interaction seems very immature.
  • It's a pain in the arse to use proprietary drivers (some hardware you don't get to choose).
  • Sometimes I need to access NTFS stuff on my windows partition.
  • Fedora Extras is growing all the time, but it is still no match to the packagers of debian.
  • A single broken rpm/yum transaction hoses my entire system.
  • Mirror balancing never worked, and often the yum update would just fail or worse, hang.
  • I was compiling kernel.org kernels by hand to get all my hardware working.
  • Upgrading from stable version to stable version / rawhide using yum sometimes breaks horribly.
So I gave Ubuntu Edgy 2 weeks on my new laptop, vowing to return to Fedora if I found I couldn't do certain things.

Things that have been great:
  • Hardware that just works, or that works correctly after installing firmware.
  • apt-get, it's faster that yum and seems to just work, Plus no meta-data downloading just to install one quick package.
  • NTFS volumes that work out of the box.
  • No arguing over what belongs in extras and core.
  • One CD installer, that doubles as a live CD. This is amazing.
  • The concept of soft-deps, i.e. where a package can "suggest" another but not depend on it. Very sane IMO.
  • Ability to install modified DSDT easily without hacking the kernel.
  • More random oddball packages (that I need for Uni) than in extras.
  • Less licence hassle. Yup, enable the multiverse and restricted repo, and done.
  • Synaptic. It's so much more mature than pirut. And it's easy and quick to use.
  • Community response. I've got better response from Ubuntu dev's in launchpad than I did in Redhat bugzilla.
  • Sane menus. I want to see Firefox and Evolution in my menus rather than "Web browser" and "Email"
  • Boot speed. Not sure what the Ubuntu guys have done, but it's 4 seconds quicker to get me to the login window.
Things that have been less great:
  • Less patches tend to go upstream from Ubuntu than Fedora in my opinion.
  • Compiling a .deb seems very complicated to me compared to a .rpm.
  • No compiz support out of the box.
  • The horror of xorg.conf is back. Fedora seemed to detect stuff automatically which is more sane.
  • No root user. Not sure this is a good thing or a bad thing. sudo seems to do what I want.
  • The grub screen is hideous compared to the Fedora boot artwork. (bug filed)
  • The Ubuntu shutdown is slower by one second.
So, after a couple of weeks, I can't imagine going back to Fedora, which is a little bit worrying.
Don't get this wrong, I love Fedora and think Redhat as a company are great, but I think Ubuntu is more the distro for me at the moment.
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Hubert Figuiere
User: hub_
Date: 2006-10-21 02:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
putting aside the copyight violation. the users have MORE power to act against the manufacturer than the developer. Too bad AMD will lose a lot in the mean time...
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2006-11-11 05:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You know I thought I would give FC6 another whirl. I decided to check out 'Fedora People' because the user and developer community is an important part of the open source software for me. I'm not much of a distro-surfer but I wanted to investigate the improvements in FC6 first hand. I guess this just was bad timing.

Your ascerbic post about proprietary drivers was one of the first things I saw on the front page. Eventually I ended up here surfing the links.

I read your post and the replies to your proprietary blob problem. There are 2 things I would like you to consider:

1. A developer creates software for users. Unix has historically been about collaboration and freedom. Having a developer dictate how software is used isn't free. There is no freedom from proprietary codecs, drivers, and other binary blobs if one is having that dictated to them. It's not about convenience to the developer, but solving the puzzles and overcoming the obstacles. Step back and take a wider view of the situation.

2. This leads to point two. This divisive attitude of Distro X vs. Distro Y is a really bad thing. The last thing the FOSS movement needs is a repeat of bad history and infighting.

I know I won't be missed as a Fedora user, but I'm just going back to a friendlier solution-oriented environment.

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