Sunday, May 5, 2013

Why I left Ubuntu and went to Fedora

This post may come as a surprise to those of you who remember my gushing praises of Ubuntu from a few short years ago. I really love Ubuntu and I think it's a fantastic operating system. It's easy to use, it's fast, and it's developed by an aggressive company that I believe will actually be around in 10 years. I don't think Ubuntu will be going anywhere soon.

That said, last week, I switched my main machine from Ubuntu 13.04 to Fedora 18.  I didn't do it because I hate Ubuntu. I did it because I, like many others, feel more and more abandoned by the Ubuntu project. I don't feel like they really listen to users anymore and I think the project has become so large that, unless you're a heavyweight in the community, it's become very hard to actually make a contribution to the distro.

Fedora is different.

While Fedora is now 10 years old and backed by a major company (Redhat), it still has that scrappy, new project, feel about it. It's welcoming, surprisingly less corporate, and I feel like the project actually listens to people when they try to contribute. Both developers and users have a say in the direction of Fedora and that's pretty refreshing. Oh, and Fedora is rock solid and pretty. I love the GNOME3 desktop, even though I've opted to continue to use XFCE for the most part.

Another thing that really surprised me is how much Fedora just worked. In Ubuntu, I had some trouble getting an ordinary stick mike plugged into the computer to work, my webcam simply didn't work, and I would occasionally have system freezes when I tried to record sound using Audacity. In Fedora, all of that just worked with no problem. I was shocked but in a very pleasant way.

Now, don't get me wrong, I know Fedora gets a lot of hate. I was on that bandwagon too and expected horrible things to happen to my machine the minute I installed it. But you know what? It's been fantastic. I find really enjoying using my machine again and I'm remembering why I fell in love with Redhat-like systems over a decade ago.  The FUD surrounding Fedora is, I can say without a doubt, highly undeserved.

Have I completely abandoned Ubuntu? No. Ubuntu will always have a special place in my heart and I will continue to watch it and contribute the it whenever I can. I believe the success of one distro means the success of all distros so I'm not even close to giving up on Ubuntu. But, at least for the foreseeable future, Fedora will be my system of choice.

I think I've made a pretty damn good choice too.

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