Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Fedora 12 or Ubuntu 9.10

So, the inevitable question came when I had to re-install Linux on my PC. The PC isn’t new, but I got a new hard disk, and my old Fedora 7 was too old that the current latest Fedora 12 wouldn’t detect as a installation it would upgrade from. I don’t mind a fresh installation of Linux. It seems like a good idea to start afresh rather than let years of upgrades accumulate cruft. So, what will it be: Fedora or Ubuntu?

I’ve been a long time user of Red Hat, then subsequently Fedora (Core) when Red Hat decided to fork out the distribution. It’s no different at work because I got to choose which Linux distribution. More recently, we started to move to CentOS, which still has Red Hat in its roots (it’s the open source version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux). I’ve had my share of problems with Red Hat/Fedora, and I have my complaints. So, how about something new? That something that came to my mind was Ubuntu. It has received good reviews, and a friend has shared his happy experience with it.

So the big research began. It’s a difficult choice. My short conclusion is that Ubuntu is for average computer users, possibly new to Linux, is easy to setup, easy to use, and fits well for typical end-user needs. Fedora is a venerable long-tested Linux distribution, full of power stuffs, will appeal to power users. Hmm. I want both. Problem.

Ok, so in the end, my not so scientific basis of selection reasoned that:

  1. The Ubuntu 9.10 distribution fits in one CDROM. Fedora 12 requires 3.3GB of a DVD. Surely Fedora must pack a lot more things in the installation media. I don’t want to install a brand new Linux on my system and then find myself having to download the Internet to get all the packages I need/want.
  2. I’m familiar with Fedora. Maybe all the end-user niceties of Ubuntu aren’t terribly important to me after all.

Thus, Fedora won, and I went on to install Fedora 12.

It’s sad, but my Fedora installation still met with various problems. The first-boot failed to boot. The Software Update program crashed while trying to update the system with 520 new packages. I’ve already ranted about it.

A nice little thing that I noticed was that during installation, there was no longer a “time remaining” indicator. I say it’s “nice” because in the past when there was such a timer, it greatly misled everyone about truly how much time was remaining. What happens is that when the install starts, it might say 30 minutes remaining, then as the install progresses, it might change to 50 minutes remaining, then maybe 120 minutes remaining, etc. Hey, it is like a “time elapsed” counter rather than a “time remaining” counter. Sometimes I wonder if the label was a bug.

So if anyone came here wondering, Fedora or Ubuntu… I thought to share my experience, but still I don’t think this post helps a lot anyway.

While researching about Ubuntu, I was a little annoyed at having to choose between Ubuntu and Ubuntu Server. Hey, what if I want features of both? But never mind that, I did learn find something interesting with Ubuntu Server – the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. It’s a cloud computing thing that is “compatible” with Amazon Web Services. Sounds cool. I’m now thinking about trying it out.

2 thoughts on “Fedora 12 or Ubuntu 9.10

  1. Hi Zit Seng,

    Start of Rant:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences thoughts and considerations on Ubuntu and Fedora. I’ve tried them both recently, and I myself will be exploring them both for different reasons too. Admittedly, I’m probably more of a end user that does a bit more tinkering (not a coder). I started with Ubuntu (ok – I haven’t been tracking versions, but I think started with 8.10 then upgraded to 9.10). I got a mac book pro, partitioned it using rEFIt, and installed it there. In terms of plug and play, I think it is fairly decent. I did have some issues with my wireless NIC, as Broadcom at the time was notorious for not providing Linux drivers. But thankfully that got settled eventually ( I just waited, and some software upgrade resolved that for me, thank you to all those nice device driver writers out there – you are very much valued).

    I recently thought of understanding Fedora, so I looked up Fedora 12. I did this because most of the servers that run linux in my office use Red-hat Enterprise. So I thought I’d familiarize myself with the environment. so I started up by creating my own virtual machine instance on my Ubuntu platform. I agree that it isn’t as user friendly as Ubuntu. I tried a few times, and got stuck with some installations that apparently installed the os, but left me at command prompt. Being foreign to the linux prompt and it’s commands, I yearned for the GUI, so eventually I found an installation that would put me directly on to the gnome desktop. so I was a happy camper after that. I’ve never really memorized the commands, because I would just look up instructions on the web, download them and follow them step by step.

    I also installed yellow dog 6.2 on my PS3 some time back too (if nothing else, just to have an additional pc if I needed one – ha ha ha), which I heard recently that Sony intends to wipe out with firmware upgrade 3.21 – bummer.

    so basically I’m just tinkering around to understand linux a bit better. I figure that Ubuntu is a great flavour to recycle old windows desktops. I’ve done that a few times for my church. I tell people it’s a great way to have a simple machine to do all the internet and office productivity basics (and it’s free), but most people I know are still afraid to learn a new interface.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    End of rant 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

View Comment Policy