back to article Red Hat eye from the Ubuntu guy: Fedora – how you doin'?

Red Hat is the biggest – and one of the oldest – companies in the Linux world, but despite the difficulty of accurately measuring Linux usage figures, Ubuntu and its relatives seem to be the most popular Linux distributions. Red Hat isn’t sitting idle, though. Despite its focus on enterprise software, including virtualisation, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

    when you can use Debian? What added value does Ubuntu offer you?

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

      Why oh why would you use Linux when you can use Windows 10?

      1. Dazed and Confused

        Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

        > Why oh why would you use Linux when you can use Windows 10?

        OK, I'm typing this from my lovely new laptop which is running WIndows 10, I bought it with Windows 10 on it only a few months ago. Now Windows 10 want to upgrade, so it regularly tries, and everytime it tries it fails and it won't tell me why it fails till I click on the fix it button at which point it goes off for ages, download tons of whatever and then finally comes back and says I need to remove the disk encryption.

        Now do you see why I want to run Linux rather than Windows 10, because I want a system which actually works for more than a few days that's why.

        Why isn't there an icon choice for steam coming out of my ears?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

          Just sat here trying to shutdown my win 10 laptop as I need to leave to go to a meeting, unfornately it's decided to upgrade itself without warning and informs me not to power off.

          1. Number6

            Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

            unfornately it's decided to upgrade itself without warning and informs me not to power off.

            When that happens to me, I accidentally lean on the power button for too long and it stops the upgrade somewhat abruptly. Probably not recommended, but I've gotten away with it so far.

        2. Dazed and Confused

          Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

          OK, now not only is my latest laptop giving this s*&t with W10 needing me to remove the disk encryption before it will update, now my other W10 laptop has come up with the same crap. What planet do these people live on where they think this is acceptable.

      2. Fungus Bob

        Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

        "Why oh why would you use Linux when you can use Windows 10?"

        Why oh why would you use Windows 10 when you can use a footgun?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

      Please don't start a distro war in the comments to this article :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

      You'd use Ubuntu instead of Debian when you need a newer version of something. Personally, I don't and I've been more than happy with Debian since slink.

      I've never used RHEL or Fedora but have used CentOS (5 & 6), which is not a RH distro but an independently re-branded RHEL. However, I was disappointed with CentOS for not being able to upgrade in place (never been a problem for me, with Debian) and for the official CentOS repos not including all of the packages I needed for the Nagios & Cacti monitoring system I was working on. When I found and added an unofficial repo that was supposed to be compatible with the CentOS version I was using, to get the rest of the packages I needed, they were installed in different locations and hosed Nagios. CentOS had been mandated by my boss, who was a Windows person, but after I outlined the problems he okayed a switch to Debian, where it all just worked and where we could upgrade in place.

      1. Richard Plinston

        Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

        > CentOS (5 & 6), which is not a RH distro but an independently re-branded RHEL

        It is not independent, Red Hat funds and supports the CentOS Project and owns the trademarks. Also it is not just a re-branded RHEL, there are differences due to various requirements.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

          "It is not independent, Red Hat funds and supports the CentOS Project and owns the trademarks."

          Not at the time I was trying to use it - RH only took over CentOS in 2014, possibly because, after trying obfuscation in RHEL 7 as a deterrent to CentOS, they decided it was easier to take it over.

          1. Korev Silver badge

            Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

            RH only took over CentOS in 2014, possibly because, after trying obfuscation in RHEL 7 as a deterrent to CentOS, they decided it was easier to take it over.

            Wasn't that trying to fight off Oracle's Linux? I was under the impression that RH didn't object to CentOS before they took it over as people were basically training themselves at their own expense on a RHELish distro.

        2. Mike Pellatt

          Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

          In the days of CentOS 5 and 6, wot he was referring to, it WAS independent. It's only this year (definitely post-Centos 7) that Embrace has happened. I'm waiting and watching to see how/if the next 2 steps will work out :-)

          And, IIRC (I've pretty much moved off CentOS for mostly the reasons he enumerated) the only changes, back then, were rebranding, apart from very esoteric bits, binary compatibility being pretty much the only goal of CenOS. CentOSplus gave you extra goodies, though.

          Oh, I now see someone else just said that. As you were.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Oh Homer

      Re: Why oh why would you use Ubuntu

      Meh, the only OS worth using is Emacs.

      All I need now is a decent text editor.

      [Boom, boom!]

      In other news, purely out of morbid curiosity, I just tried a 90 day evaluation copy of Win10, although for some bizarre reason Microsoft touts it as an evaluation of a browser that just so happens to come bundled with an OS.

      The Vole mindset is odd, putting it mildly, but at least they're not shy about their priorities. Oh Lordy, it's like the 90s all over again.

      It looks ... boxy, and plain, and strangely old fashioned.

      The OS, that is, including the browser, not the 90s. In comparison to Win10 the 90s were positively futuristic. Then again, I hear that Apple has patented rounded rectangles, so maybe Vole is stuck with 90s aesthetics for good reason.

      I don't like it, in fact about the best thing I can say about it is that it didn't crash (yet). Again, I mean Win10, not the 90s. The crash of the 90s was a whole nother matter, albeit this "Cloud" hysteria is uncannily reminiscent of the Dot Com Bubble.

      It's also a bit slow, but then I'd be shocked to discover anything by Microsoft that wasn't. It also didn't get infected with malware within the first 60 seconds of use, which is another first in my long and painful experience of Windows thus far, albeit an experience with huge gaps in it (nothing since XP, basically), although it more than compensates for this lack of malware with vast bucketloads of "desktop spam", all generated by Microsoft.

      Seriously, it's more like a digital billboard than an OS.

      If the debacle of Microsoft's spyware didn't put you off, or the fact that they used frankly illegal tactics to sneak Win10 onto meeelions of PCs (bricking most of them in the process), then surely the uncomfortable sensation of prostituting your PC to Microsoft's "Live" division will be the coup de grâce that ultimately kills whatever little enthusiasm you might have left for the platform, assuming you ever really had any to begin with.

      Well, it did for me, anyway. So there.

      As for Ubuntu, Fedora and basically anything that isn't Gentoo ... have another bucketload of "meh".

  2. Alfred

    Ubuntu and RH Enterprise

    Single data point though I am, I work for a software company that officially supports RH Enterprise Linux. Every so often, a customer asks if it will run on Ubuntu.

    We tell this customer that officially, Ubuntu is not supported. We then tell the customer that the entire Linux dev team is coding and building on Ubuntu or Mint, ranging from bleeding edge to the LTS version from 2014, and all the dev and testing right up until the final "official" test (which is expected to just pass) is done on Ubuntu and Mint machines. So it's probably more reliable on Ubuntu than the officially supported RH Linux.

    RH Linux has become effectively a standard we have to meet, but never actually use ourselves. it used to simply get in the way too much, or make things that should have been easy a bit more difficult than I'd like; this article suggests some pain points have been removed. Maybe time for another look.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Ubuntu and RH Enterprise

      > Sell on RHEL, write on Ubuntu.

      Yes that's my experience too, so not just a single data point.

    2. mattdm

      Re: Ubuntu and RH Enterprise

      Okay, I'll bite. What are the specific problems that you hit, and how can we make them better for you?

      1. Alfred

        Re: Ubuntu and RH Enterprise

        Sadly, I honestly don't recall. I know that at one point years ago I tried Ubuntu and found that it was easier for me in my particular set of use cases, but that was then. I went through SUSE as well. I wouldn't be surprised if RHEL was actually now just as good, or better, for those use cases, but as with all tools, I'll only switch back when the pain of the one I'm currently using outweighs the pain of switching.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ubuntu and RH Enterprise

          Probably all those US patent-encumbered packages (for example, mp4 codecs), which Red Hat, as a US company, dare not include with any of its distros at risk of being pulverized from all sides by strike suits filed in some West Texas courthouse.

          Yes, Ubuntu, because it is based outside the US, has never had to build a firewall between its "free" and "nonfree" software selections.

          But other than that? Well RHEL and CentOS, being super long term support releases, are always way behind in features (the current kernel running on RHEL/CentOS 7 is 3.10.0) and given RH's focus on the data center offerings for the desktop are similarly behind the curve. Note that 3rd party repositories, including Rackspace's IUS, do make it possible to deploy server software on RHEL/CentOS at least as new as what you'll find in the latest Ubuntu LTS (I routinely use IUS to upgrade the Apache, MySQL and PHP to the (nearly) latest versions, just like many hosting companies do.

          Fedora (which I've been running as my primary desktop since Core 6, with a brief interregnum of around 5 years when I ran CentOS/RHEL because I was managing a RHEL server farm), on the other hand, is as up to date as the corresponding release of Ubuntu, and probably more so given its 6-month release cycle (not counting betas and rawhide). I've found it to be at least as stable as non-LTS releases of Ubuntu, at times more so. The big problem Fedora has right now is that for a short time Ubuntu had everyone, including the proprietary software vendors, that Ubuntu was "the" desktop Linux, and so they only released Ubuntu packages. That's changing now, even Microsoft provides rpms when they create packages (although I really wish they'd get with the program and also provide yum repositories -- won't get into the yum vs dnf thing here, the kids are watching). Given that 6-month cycle, Fedora's devs are pretty aggressive when it comes to updates and so it sometimes feels like a rolling release. Even more so now that it's possible to reliably upgrade in place (no more nuking and paving for me).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ubuntu and RH Enterprise

            > the current kernel running on RHEL/CentOS 7 is 3.10.0

            this is the oldest piece of code in the kernel, not the newest, Red Hat does backport a lot of stuff in the packages it ships and kernel is no exception

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speed freak

    I've always found Fedora to be a noticeably faster than any version of Ubuntu and its derivatives I've tested over the years. That includes Mint with supposedly minimalist desktop environments.

    My ageing ex-XP netbook remains usable to this day running Fedora so it might be worth a look if you're in need of a distro for elderly hardware.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fedora's pretty good for me

    I've tried Linux at various times over the last 10 years, I always wanting it to work for me but alas it could not do what I needed it to, applications not Linux or the distro. Finally with W10 looming I decided to try again and choose Fedora this time. After many an evening cursing Fedora for the lack of proprietary wireless drivers, and when I found a solution,then the constant breaking of said fixed drivers by updates (partner asks "what are you doing at 4am on the computer?, do you have another girlfriend? Is she in a different time zone?") I found the solutions I needed to get it to work for me, applications and all. However, Fedora in it's current state will never be a Ubuntu competitor and I infer from the people working on Fedora they want to compete. Ubuntu is focused on being a Windows replacement and I hope they succeed in that. Fedora is hamstrung by being a test bed and as hard as the developers work to make it a competitor to Ubuntu, Fedora will not appeal to the average punter as a hands free system.

    So come on in, the water is fine, but if you don't know what you are doing or are not willing to learn you won't like it.

    I like fedora and still use it but BBW! Sounds like big beautiful wemon! Buyer be ware!


    1. Reg T.

      Re: Fedora's pretty good for me

      Nothing like big, beautiful wemon! Inflatable?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fedora's pretty good for me

        She has thunder legs!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fedora's pretty good for me

      Your mileage will vary with Fedora. FC1, FC2, FC3, and FC4 didn't work for me at all. But right now two Acer machines, a Samsung netbook, a Toshiba laptop and a recent HP laptop are all running Fedora 24 without any problems. The WiFi drivers for the HP laptop were a bit fiddly.

      Now compared with Windows 8, and the 3.5GB "patch" to get to Windows 8.1, Fedora is a walk in the park.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  6. Cem Ayin

    Fedora has its ups and downs...

    ...mainly depending on the release cycle of RHEL.

    Don't forget that Fedora is, above everything else, a beta testbed for Redhat's cash cow, RHEL. In my experience, those Fedora releases that are candidates for the basis of a new release of RHEL tend to get significantly better (read: more stable and useable, less buggy) as the fork for the next version of RHEL approches. OTOH, releases that start a new development cycle are usually awful: full of quick, poorly tested hacks let loose on users who are basically expected to debug the stuff in lieu of the developers. (Remember the first version of the current installer? I don't remember when exactly it was introduced, but it could not do such basic stuff as install into a preexisting Linux partition. And it had a bug that made it set /dev/sda1 as the swap device, no matter what you specified in the user interface. Mightily fun it was. Not.)

    Note that the above observations outline a /tendency/ only (though one I've been observing for almost a decade now). Also, various features for a new RHEL release might actually be culled from different releases of Fedora, which can make the observed pattern more fuzzy.

    1. arctic_haze

      Re: Fedora has its ups and downs...

      This is why I upgrade to a new Fedora version only after 6 months (roughly when the previous one stops being updated). All the major problems of the versions are history by that date.

    2. mattdm

      Re: Fedora has its ups and downs...

      I'm a little biased here — but I also think I have a pretty good perspective since I have some visibility into both sides. I won't argue about whether there's a correlation here, but I definitely think it's not as causative as you suggest. The primary driver of change in Fedora is _all the stuff coming in from all the upstreams_ — it's not Red Hat developers in particular dumping things in. It's true that Red Hat funds a lot of upstream developers and upstream development as well, but that's generally done independently of either Fedora or RHEL cycles. RHEL stabilization generally happens as part of the RHEL beta process, which is completely distinct from Fedora, and it's not like (for good or ill) that is directly forced on Fedora by the RHEL schedule.

      The new installer was a bit of a debacle (in communication and otherwise), but I think it's more of an oddity than a typical example. I promise we're trying very hard to not do something like that again.

  7. Herby

    Works for me!

    Been using a Fedora desktop since the Fedora Core 8 days. It has been very nice to me. The only problems are that the update process seems to keep changing names (with similar functionality), but overall it works well for me.

    At my previous place of employment, I started with a nice Fedora DVD, and installed it on a W7 machine. It worked very nicely. The nVidia drivers were a bit weird, but I was able to resolve that pretty easily. Having a nice Linux desktop machine was very useful, as it was quite easy to pop up a window and ssh into the object machine to do development. The biggest problem was that the source control (ClearCase as I remember) did weird things with line endings between W7 and Linux.

    As for desktops, I prefer KDE which does all I really want.

    Oh, updates? Only when I want to, not while in some mode that others decide what to do.

  8. keithpeter Silver badge

    KDE Plasma

    I've decided that, with some minor changes to default settings, I can live with KDE Plasma 5 quite well. I have Fedora/24 KDE on one Thinkpad and Slackware 14.2 with Alien Bob's Plasma 5 packages on the other older Thinkpad. All good, multimedia on Fedora is basically a couple of clicks (RPMFusion repo plus some packages to install). More involved than Ubuntu Restricted Extras I grant but nothing outrageous. Multimedia on Slackare is slackbuilds. Don't know how Pat gets away with it. Just happens.

    OpenSuse 42.1 however a different story. Could not manage multimedia using the one click installers or the zypper route. Total package incompatibility. Got mp3 playback working by enabling the non-free repo and installing Fludendo. I liked OpenSuse a lot so any Susers out there feel free to post.

    Moral: such are the riches of libre/free/open source.

    Reflection: Red Hat makes profit on a large turnover. Ubuntu still depends on Shuttleworth's largesse. Brand me a Captialist but I think the former model is more stable long term.

  9. Number6

    I used to use Fedora, but then got fed up of having to upgrade a bunch of machines at regular intervals, back in the day when an in-place upgrade wasn't advised. Then I discovered Mint and switched to that instead of installing the latest Fedora. Now I stick to the LTS versions, currently a mix of Mint 13 and 17. It took a bit of getting used to the slightly different way of configuring stuff, the files aren't in the same directories, but it was useful because now I can cope with either. I'm not a fan of Mate and Cinnamon, it's either KDE or LXDE/XFCE depending on the grunt rating of the machine in question.

    1. mattdm

      We've put a lot of work into making upgrades painless — I updated my main system to the beta the other day, and the whole process took under half an hour. And, keep in mind that we support upgrades directly from two releases back, so you only have to take that half hour once a year or so (with an approximately 7-month window in which to schedule it at your convenience.)

  10. Chris Fox

    Better fit-and-finish vs vendor hijacking

    "It's getting better as a distro, too, benefitting from the improving fit-and-finish of Linux and its manifold supporting components: desktops, applications and their less-obvious underpinnings."

    Hm, improved "fit-and-finish"? That's one way of describing the beast that is SystemD, and the dysfunctional way in which Redhat has in effect "captured" key components, such as glib, gtk etc., so that what are supposed to be general purpose, standardised libraries are permitted to have odd, inconsistent, out-of-spec behaviour if it helps or is required by Gnome and SystemD, while happily breaking things for others, and failing to fix reported bugs if they arise outside Redhat's stack. It all seems so depressingly familiar...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well I started out in the Linux world on Fedora (Red Hat basically).

    What killed it for me way back then was the implementation of SELinux. It was fucking annoying. Still I stuck it out for years. Although I had the odd fling with Gentoo.

    I then eventually tried Ubuntu (7.04 I think) and it was just better at the time. It seemed a lot easier to use, hardware support (for the kit I had) seemed better.

    Then after 10.04 Ubuntu appeared to be shitting the bed a bit...Ive been on Arch ever since.

    I recently moved from pure Arch to Antergos (simply because its easier to install that way and you still get a more or less pure Arch setup).

    Never looked back.

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