I have not used Fedora for a few years, so I thought it was worth a try before the new Ubuntu came out. I downloaded Fedora-Workstation-Live-x86_64-25-1.3.iso (where are the torrents?), and installed it to my machine.
Installation was fairly straightforward, but not as intuitive as Ubuntu.
Minor grumbles are that the desktop failed to default to UK keyboard, even though I set it up during installation, and that it played havoc with my clock when I rebooted to Windows. There’s obviously been a mix-up between local and universal time that Fedora has messed with. I had undoubtedly overlooked a configuration option during installation.
But the situation deteriorated. There were a number of other problems which peeved me. I wrote them down, but threw the piece of paper away. So the rest of this article is a watered-down version of what I experienced.
Let’s install vim. Oh, turns out vim is incompatible with vim-minimal, or whatever, which is already installed. You do get vi, though. So let’s get rid of vi … except that it also removes “sudo”. Really? Yes, really. They seem to be mutually-dependent. If you have one, you have to have the other. Great; not. It turns out that you need to install vim-something-else (my memory fails me at this point), rather than vim. It seems like unnecessarily-confused packaging to me.
Carrying on …
I like the program “cdargs”, which is a command-line directory selector. It’s an old program, but it does its job well. The package is no longer available in Fedora, which is disappointing. Arch and Ubuntu support it, so why not Fedora?
OK, so I decide to download the sources and compile it myself. I also needed to install autoconf in order to create the configure script. When I ran autoreconf, though, it said something about Perl4 being an incompatible architecture. WTF, dude?
As far as I can tell, this is not a problem with my downloaded sources of cdargs, but with the Fedora distro itself. I can only presume that the powers that be had some weird incompatible config parameters set when they built the binaries. This is an unforgivable sin, as it means that you basically cannot build software on the system.
At this point, I came to the conclusion that Fedora was not for me.
The desktop looked pretty; so there’s that, I guess. I wouldn’t necessarily say functional, though. Windows decorations consumed too much real-estate for my liking. Plus there’s no minimise and restore buttons. The shortcomings of Gnome desktop have been expounded in great detail elsewhere, so I won’t bother continuing now.
Windowing systems had basically been perfected in the 90’s. The only innovations since the task panel has been areosnap. Pretty much anything else since then has been reinventing the wheel badly, but with nicer colours. We seem to gleefully discard the lessons of the past.
My Arch system rarely gives me problems, despite it being continually-updates, and supposedly “unstable”. I run LXDE, which has nice small xterms, so I can open lots of them. Fedora’s terminal seems to want to gobble up about a fifth of the screen. Needless to say, LXDE consumes a fraction of the memory of Gnome.
That’s me done with Fedora, then. Ubuntu is better. My favourite is Arch, but I admit it is not for everybody. Slackware is also worthy of respect, but its mileage is somewhat limited. Fedora, and Red Hat for that matter, seem very sloppy in their thinking.
Verdict: computer says “No”.