Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Linux Battle: Ubuntu vs. Fedora

The userbase of Linux operating systems is growing rapidly. More and more people are venturing away from Microsoft Windows and finding their way to open source operating systems. Just as more people are using them, more and more Linux distributions are available. According to DistroWatch, there are more than 400 Linux distributions available and active, with many versions for each, which in turn gives you thousands of options. With large PC manufacturers starting to offer Linux based operating systems as an option for a new computer, which operating system will come out on top and dominate this industry? Among the open source operating system crowd, there are 2 main contenders: Ubuntu and Fedora.


First things first, the installation of Ubuntu was very simple and straightforward. No tricky, unfamiliar feats you must overcome. For the first time Linux user, Ubuntu is by far the easiest to start learning and also includes the most basic options which keep things simple. As you learn the operating system and desire additional features and options, they can be added separately which is great for those who are just new to the Linux scene. Most Ubuntu users are probably a little more computer literate than the average user but with a single disc install, anyone could set this operating system up. The set up process detects your hardware very well and things run smoothly. One of the driving forces to a Linux operating system is the unstable and hacker friendly Microsoft Windows. The biggest downside of Ubuntu is that there is no firewall on the system. There are solutions to work around this but this is one feature that should’ve been included. Another disappointment was the limited multimedia resources. You will probably have to look outside Ubuntu to find what you need in the multimedia department.


This open source operating system has a strong history and has been a strong contender for awhile. Fedora has been the most consistent with stability issues which have plagued other open source operating systems. The recently added network tools are a great addition to this product and actually include eight tools into one easy to use interface. Your multimedia options are expanded somewhat but Fedora doesn’t provide any support for non open source programs that are really common among other users. The included Helix Player is fairly simple and provides a satisfactory replacement for the average multimedia user. Fedora also lacks some of the bells and whistles and human friendliness of other open source operating systems. The security options exceed those of Ubuntu, which is a strong point for Fedora.

Up to this point, Ubuntu appears to be taking the lead in the open source operating system world with a strong backing from Dell Computers. Both operating systems are fully functional and have surprisingly strong features. If you are new to Linux operating systems, Ubuntu is probably the way to go but Fedora users have no reason to jump ship quite yet.

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