Fedora 15 vs Ubuntu 11.04 (Nappy Narwhal)

Yes, I know it’s Natty Narwhal.  I just prefer to call it Nappy Narwhal.  It makes me smile.  But enough about that… what I’m here to rant about is the latest EPIC RAP BATTLE between the two giants of the Linux world, the distributions with more rhymes than a father’s got psalms, Fedora vs Ubuntu!

Yeah, it’s a topic that has been discussed before.  To death.  But I think it’s time someone puts it in layman’s terms, because I read countless articles about it and frankly, I got a ton of “it’s all the same” crap.  And it’s not.  Not really.

I mean, deep down, I used to think “hey, they’re all the same at the core, it’s really just choosing a desktop environment”, which is incredibly, utterly wrong, because you can put any desktop environment (DE) you want on (almost) any distribution.  That’s kind of one of the neato things about Linux.  So if you’re traipsing through the interwebs and you run into (gasp!) a screenshot and a writeup of the super-secret Hobbit desktop environment, you’re not stuck with the desktop your distribution came with.  Sounds pretty simple and cool, right?  It is.  And apparently most people don’t know that.

But I digress.  I want to jot down a few notes between Fedora and Ubuntu.  Ready?  Here goes: Skip Fedora and use Ubuntu.  Done.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, you say.  Hold on, now, you say.  You’re totally crazy, you say.  Am I?  Yes.  But I’ve now had several experiences with both and am firmly convinced that if you’re into a smooth, unsullied Linux experience, Fedora is quite simply *not* the way forward.  It’s buggy, the system-update system doesn’t work right (ever), YUM is broken half the time, it’s a pain in the butt (and that’s putting it mildly) to properly install even the most basic stuff (like, for example, Google Chrome).  On the plus side, it’s fast, sure… but I don’t think it’s any faster than Ubuntu running the same DE.

“Oh, but Ubuntu has that crappy Unity interface,” you say, “and I hate Unity.  I really like Gnome 3.”  Roll on back a few paragraphs and experience the wonder of my words, where I tell you that not only is it possible to roll-your-own desktop environment… it’s a feature.  So you don’t like Unity, that’s fine.  You have no taste and can’t appreciate what I believe will become the de-facto Linux desktop experience.  Switch to Gnome 3.  Keep all the smoothness and support of Ubuntu.  It’s a win-win.

Just as an aside, I prefer Gnome 3 to Unity as well.  However, there’s no denying they’re very similar in approach and I can appreciate the ease of the Unity interface – it just needs polish, but it’s extremely mac-like and easy to get into.  Gnome 3 also needs polish, but I just like the way it ‘does’ things better… especially the workspaces thing, that’s just cool (a feature people have been bitching about since its inception.)  Anyway, try ’em both and see how *you* feel about it.