After many years I have finally decided to make the leap to to linux. I have been doing a good bit of reading, and I have narrowed my choices to either Fedora or Ubuntu. I'm a very quick learner when it comes to computers and I like to play games every now and then, most of all I like to learn about computers. What distro do you guys think that I should used. I hope I havent posted this in the wrong forum.
You're not the first one that asked this type of question, and the best answer would be that you should have a look at both of these distributions.
I personally would recommend you to use VirtualBox (or VMware) and have a look at both of them in a virtual machine. The default desktop environment for both of them is Gnome, however their KDE desktops are catching up quite fast. So what about giving Ubuntu with Gnome and the Fedora KDE-Spin a try? If your internet connection is not too slow, just grab both of them and start playing with them in a virtual machine:
If your internet connection is not too slow, just grab both of them and start playing with them in a virtual machine:
Or just burn the images and put them on a CD to boot.
If you want to learn things, I'd recommend Fedora. Ubuntu is great and it does lots out of the box and I'm happy about there being a Linux-distribution for beginners who are not familiar with how it works. What I really hate these step-by-step-tutorials that encourage you to just copy and paste the commands without knowing what you are doing. (At least that's my experience. I have to force Google with -ubuntu -howto to *not* display such things)
Technologically and philosphy-wise I prefer Fedora for being really free, without any proprietary stuff. Also the codec-installation from the Livna-repository is a great start to learn how about your packet management.
It's a matter of taste, though. Performance-wise, you won't notive any *real* differences. Also there's lots of precompiled packages for both distributions. Ubuntu may be a bit ahead, because they tend to get grab a lot of debian-packages.
From my experience Ubuntu would be a better option since Fedora is very bleeding edge. As niniendowarrior said, updating can be very painful on Fedora, and my personal experience of it isn't pleasant when it comes to updating. I don't hate Fedora, I think its a great workstation distribution but for your needs I don't think it would be the best option.
Ubuntu is just a better out of the box experience in my opinion. I would not recommend running the Ubuntu 8.04 Beta release though being new to Linux so just pick up 7.10 for now and upgrade when 8.04 final is released.
One last question Tsabo, what kind of video hardware do you have? nVidia, ATI, Intel or something else? Just curious.
Both Ubuntu and Fedora have 6-month release cycles... Though Ubuntu has "LTS" support for every third release I think; I am not sure.
Fedora tends to bring stuff in fast from upstream... really bleeding edge. Thus there may be a few rough corners; but on the flip side new stuff often sands down rough corners of older software.
Fedora also (from my opinion) seems to offer more flexibility on various configurations. Like while there is a "KDE-spin" of Fedora you don't need it to run KDE in Fedora... You can have both Gnome and KDE installed on the same system without conflict on Fedora. The "spin" just refers to a default configuration choice on the install media.
While Ubuntu make things easier by including easy access binary blobs for device drivers(fglrx,nvidia) often times they are older versions that are buggy. Moreover, it isn't *good* to throw your users at proprietary solutions if they don't know what that even means.
Overall I've noticed Ubuntu is classified as a "Desktop" distribution akin Windows XP. Whereas Fedora is more of a general-purpose distribution which is applicable to non-mission critical servers, workstations, and desktops.
In response to others claims that Fedora is "hard" to upgrade, I'd like to debunk that myth... Upgrading usually requires the install media for the next version rather than doing a "live-upgrade"; even though live-upgrades are known to work on Fedora you just have to read the relevant pages before you do it. There is a project for Fedora9 here called Preupgrade http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/PreUpgrade
to improve the upgrading process such that Live-upgrades are seamless. This would effect Fedora 8 to Fedora 9 and onward upgrades. (F9 hits the streets late April)
Ultimately Linux is Linux... With enough motivation you can do anything in one distro on the other. However because your aim is to learn more about computers, I'd probably gear you towards Fedora. It's cutting-edge release cycle will give you a good tour of new stuff that is going on in Linux development. Plus it is more than stable enough for any application you want to try it for (Workstation, Desktop, Server, etc..).
I use fedora because I have used redhat distros since RH7.
Use different distros, have more little distro specific things to learn
I agree with everyone about the flexibility of fedora and definitely agree with the bleeding edge comments.
I moved to fedora 8 2 weeks ago ( used "yum upgrade" BTW which acted very flaky and required "advanced" configuration hacking to get it to finish ) and had lots of video/xorg issues. I have fixed most of it but still get a hard lock when I play urbanterror. This could be directly related to all the new "features" in fc8?
Except for the yum issues, fedora is not really at fault above. I'm using an IGP ATI x1250 and the fglrx driver is in a crazy state right now. I'm looking forward to the future drivers though. I'm really interested in xorg radeonhd when it gets 3D support, its for this chipset. I still haven't tried plain xorg radeon, it might be the best for fc8?
All said, I say fedora, fc7 is rock solid now, and around the release of fc9 I bet fc8 will be rockin too.
-- kool* --
Not having much luck, does that mean hard lock ups? I agree its ATI, similar bugs are reported across distros. Sweet that they opened the code. I thought xorg radeon now has 3D support? Maybe you have to add a package to xorg radeon to get 3D? I'm foggy on what 3D really means. I need to read about XGL AIGLX all the other acronyms I see when I'm searching for fglrx information. radeonhd looked great, had the best resolutions (using a default xorg.conf) I've seen with this computer.
-- *warrior --
I heard dat! I guess an answer to the question would be :
fedora if you want the newest packages knowing that fedora is like a beta for stuff going into RHEL
ubuntu or another distro that is strictly stable desktop focused if you need a solid workstation out of the box
On fglrx and Fedora ---
I haven't had much luck with fglrx and fedora...But I imagine the blame is more on the development cycle of ATI with fglrx that new things take 2/3 releases to get working, so often by that time a given release of a 6-month distro is half over!
Once radeon or radeonhd get up to 3d-land then they will prove to be better drivers than fglrx, probably overall but especially in fast-moving distros like Fedora.
Yum is one of the very reasons people who are starting out should steer clear of Fedora. Yum upgrade can do very nasty things on your distribution and as a person who losses of money from every moment I have to waste trying to fix a distribution after upgrading it, I cannot really get myself to pick up Fedora.