Short review: Fedora 10 and Ubuntu 8.10

After I tried OpenSolaris 2008.11, I also tried Fedora 10 and Ubuntu 8.10, each for almost one day.

Creation of bootable USB stick: For both distributions, I created a bootable USB stick because it is faster to install from USB than from CD/DVD. The creation was easy in both cases. Fedora ships a shell script and Ubuntu a graphical program for this task. Both very equally easy to use.

Booting from USB: Both distributions booted perfectly from USB. But there was a big difference in boot speed: Fedora 10 booted in about the same time Ubuntu needed to find the USB stick.

Installation from USB to HDD: Installation of both systems went very well, without any problems. Fedora’s installer is far more powerful than Ubuntu’s, e.g. it allows to use LVM or encrypted partitions. To setup LVM and encrypted volumes with Ubuntu, you need to use the text installer on Ubuntu’s alternate disk (It’s debian-installer). Ubuntu’s graphical installer received a new partioning screen.

Boot: Fedora’s boot time seems to have improved a lot since the last release. Ubuntu’s boot time seems to be roughly the same as in 8.04. Both distributions provide a progress bar, whereas Ubuntu’s usplash looks better. But this may change once kernel-based modesetting works on Intel cards in Fedora, because Fedora’s splash program needs it for graphics. Else, it only displays ASCII progress bar.

Login: Fedora 10 shipped with GDM 2.24, which means that there are no themes yet. But this was no problem, as the non-themed design of GDM has improved a lot. I even like it more than any themed GDM I have seen. It reminds me a bit of OSX.

Desktop: Both distributions ship with GNOME 2.24. The default themes look good, whereas Fedora’s uses more GNOME-like icons, whereas Ubuntu uses Human, which is based on Tango. And that is important for me, since I normally do not change any aspect of my desktop, except for adding cpu frequency and tomboy applets to the panel.

Hardware support: Both distributions provide good hardware support. Ubuntu leads here, at the cost of having non-free drivers included on the disk.For users needing windows wireless LAN drivers, Ubuntu is the right choice, as it ships ndiswrapper and the graphical frontend (ndisgtk) on the installation medium. Fedora does not include ndiswrapper, because of what it is used for (installing non-free Windows drivers). Both distributions ship firmware, and consider firmware images as free enough, as they do not run on the CPU.

EXT4: Fedora 10 ships with patches for EXT4 backported from Kernel 2.6.28. It also supports the installation on ext4 partitions, but only using the DVD and if booted with the ext4 option. The Live discs do not support installation to ext4.

Package management: Both distributions ship with good package managment software. YUM really improved since the early times, where it downloaded an extra metadata file for every package. Nowadays, yum and apt seem to be on a nearly equal level, but aptitude lets Ubuntu win, because it can handle problems much better  (ie. it proposes ways to solve problems) than YUM.

Graphical package management: Ubuntu wins here. Fedora only ships PackageKit for package managment, which, in my opinion, is not able to really compete with Synaptic and gnome-app-install.

Conclusion: Both distributions are very solid. Ubuntu still has the better package managment, and a bigger selection of packages. This has only been possible due to Debian, which is the base of Ubuntu. I tried to write this blog post not as an Ubuntu member. I always liked Red Hat and Fedora, and one of my first Linux distributions was Red Hat 9.

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13 thoughts on “Short review: Fedora 10 and Ubuntu 8.10

  1. Just a brief comment: I was using Ubuntu’s installer already for 8.04 to set-up dm-crypto and LVM in it. But that’s probably too well hidden in the expert (text-based) installer.

  2. A couple things here:

    First, as you already fixed, the text-based installer can do anything and everything related to installing Ubuntu. LVM, RAID, dm-crypt, etc. The live CD does not support this. Also, the Anaconda installer is far more flexible and powerful than the Debian installer, unfortunately.

    Second, the GDM login on Fedora 9 and 10 shows all usernames, by default, in the /etc/passwd file. The more accounts you add to the system, the more will show up on the GDM login. This has been reported as a bug, and I was hoping to see it fixed in Fedora 10, but it doesn’t look like it made it.

  3. Oh, also forgot to mention, Fedora screwed up royally, by putting X11 on tty1 rather than tty7 where it’s been for the past 16 years.

  4. Good writeup. Some comments

    “Fedora ships a shell script and Ubuntu a graphical program for this task. Both very equally easy to use.”

    Got that wrong. liveusb-creator is a cross platform (both Windows and Linux) gui for Fedora since the last two releases and has been including the shell script from Fedora 7 onwards. You have a choice here.

    “ut this may change once kernel-based modesetting works on Intel cards in Fedora, because Fedora’s splash program needs it for graphics. Else, it only displays ASCII progress bar.”

    Mode setting works for ATI cards. You can use framebuffer mode using vga=0x318 or vga=ask as a grub boot option. Try it out. It is very cool

    “Both distributions ship firmware, and consider firmware images as free enough, as they do not run on the CPU.”

    Well, partially true. Fedora developers have been working to separate the firmware out from the upstream kernel and in Fedora 10, kernel-firmware is a separate package. This work is ongoing.

    “Fedora only ships PackageKit for package managment, which, in my opinion, is not able to really compete with Synaptic and gnome-app-install.”

    Well, Ubuntu is adopting it for the next revision and it is improving by leaps and bounds. You should file bug reports or request for enhancements if you find anything missing. Keep the feedback coming.

  5. Aaron, there is a workaround for the “GDM shows all users”, if you create the user with a uid less than 500, it wont be shown in the GDM list

  6. Rahul:
    > liveusb-creator is a cross platform (both Windows and Linux) gui
    Is it shipped on the disk? (I removed all my images in order to get more free space, so I can see).

    > Mode setting works for ATI cards.
    I know that mode setting works on ATI cards. But according to release notes, it does not work for Intel cards and is not really stable.

    > Well, Ubuntu is adopting it [PackageKit] for the next revision

    Well, but it’s not done yet.

  7. Thnaks ! very usefull

    im iranian bloger and i write about k/ubuntu on my blog .
    i will translate this post to farsi in my blog soon !😉

    Good Luck !

  8. Just so I’m clear. You want to be able to find the Fedora usb-creator gui tool where? As an icon on the desktop in the livecd next to the install to disk icon? Or did you mean somewhere else?

    -jef

  9. Also just a quick note, if you like the command line yum is a great package management tool similar to apt-get. Its fairly comparable only using RPM as well, yumex is a good graphical tool that lets you manage packages as well, similar to but a little different from synaptic. I find PackageKit annoying and slow, I mean really they need to re-think the way that program updates, is far to slow for even the most beginner of beginners…its just to slow and painful. Im partial to Fedora only because of RedHat and CentOS at work, and so Fedora has a special spot for me🙂 Although I do run Ubuntu on my little netbook.

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