Hello folks. Today I’ll highlight some of the features and differences between the two popular Linux distros; Ubuntu 18.04 and Fedora 28. Each has its own package management; Ubuntu uses DEB while Fedora uses RPM, but both of them feature the same Desktop Environment (GNOME) and aims to provide quality desktop experience for the Linux users.
Ubuntu 18.04 is the latest Ubuntu LTS release and comes equipped with GNOME desktop. So is Fedora 28 that also features GNOME desktop, but both of them provide a unique desktop experience when it comes down to their software management and of course their User Interfaces too.
Did you know that Ubuntu which is based on Debian, provides the latest software earlier than the latter one? An example is the popular web browser Firefox Quantum found on Ubuntu while Debian follows behind on the ESR (Extended Support Release) version of the same web browser.
The same applies to Fedora which provides cutting-edge software to the end-users and also acts as the testing platform for the next stable RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) release.
Fedora provides vanilla GNOME desktop experience while Ubuntu 18.04 have tweaked certain aspects of the desktop to enable long-time Unity users a smooth transition to GNOME Desktop Environment.
Canonical decided to save development time by ditching Unity and switching to GNOME desktop (starting from Ubuntu 17.10) so they can focus more on IoT.
So on Fedora, we have a clean icon-less desktop, a hidden panel on the overview and its look featuring GNOME default theme: Adwaita.
Whereas Ubuntu features its classic desktop style with icons, a panel on the left mimicking its traditional dock, and customized window looks (also traditional) with Ubuntu Ambiance theme set as its default look and feel.
However, learning to use one of them and then switching to another won’t cost you time. Instead, they are designed with simplicity and user-friendliness in mind so any newbie can feel right at home with either of the two Linux distros.
But it’s not just the looks or UI that determines the user’s decision to choose a Linux distro. Other factors come into the role too, and below are more sub-topics describing all about software management between the two Linux OS.
Ubuntu uses dpkg; Debian Package Management, for distributing software to end-users while Fedora uses Red Hat Package Management called rpm. Both are very popular package management among the Linux community and their command-line tools are easy to use too.
But each Linux distro quite varies when it comes to the software that’s being distributed. Canonical releases new Ubuntu versions every six months; usually in the month of April and then in October. So for each release, the developers maintain a development schedule, after a new Ubuntu release, it enters into “freeze” state where its development on testing new software is halted.
Whereas, Fedora also following the same six months release cycle, pretty much mimics a rolling release Linux distro (though it is not one of those). Almost all software packages are updated regularly so users get the opportunity to try out the latest software, unlike Ubuntu. However, this invites “instability” on the user’s side as software bugs are more commonly faced but not critical enough to render the system unusable.
I’ve mentioned above about Ubuntu “freeze” state. Well, I’ll be exaggerating more about this state since it has some significant importance on the way Ubuntu software is updated… So, once a new version of Ubuntu is released, its development (testing new software) is halted.
The development for the next upcoming Ubuntu release begins where it’ll go through the phases of “daily builds” then “beta release” and finally shipping the new Ubuntu release to the end users.
In this “freeze” state Ubuntu maintainers no longer add the latest software (unless it fixes serious security issues) to its package repository. So Ubuntu users get more “bug fixes” updates than “feature” updates, which is great since the system would remain stable without disrupting user’s productivity.
Fedora aims to provide cutting-edge software to the end-users so users get more “feature” updates than on Ubuntu. Also, measures are taken by the developers to maintain its system stability. For instance, on computer startup the user will be given at most three working kernels (latest one on the top) choices so if one fails to start the user can revert to the other two previous working kernels.
Snaps and flatpak
Both are new and cool sexy tools for distributing software across multiple Linux distributions. Ubuntu provides snaps out of the box while flatpak goes to Fedora. The most popular among the two is snaps where more popular and proprietary applications are finding their way on snap store. Flatpak too is gaining traction with more apps added onto its platform.
Unfortunately, both of them are still new and there are some “window theme-breaking” rants dispersed around the Internet. But still, switching between the two tools isn’t nerve-wrecking as they are easy to use.
Below are some of the common apps available on Ubuntu and Fedora, they are compared between the two platforms:
The program launches faster on Fedora than on Ubuntu. The reason is on Fedora, calculator program is natively installed while on Ubuntu the snap version of the same program is installed.
This might sound nerdy but I find it necessary and intuitive to observe my computer performance and kill offending processes if any. The program’s launch time is the same as above ie., faster on Fedora (natively installed) and slower on Ubuntu (snap version).
I’ve mentioned above that Ubuntu provides a tweaked version of the GNOME Desktop Environment (for long-time Unity users migration ease). Unfortunately, Ubuntu developers have either forgotten or ignored to update the Help program since it’s somewhat confusing to look at the documentation (getting started videos) and finding out the demonstration videos and the actual environment varies a tad-bit slightly.
Ubuntu and Fedora are two popular Linux distros. Each has its own eye-candy features, so choosing between the two would be quite a challenge for newbies. I recommend trying both of them out so you can later find out which tools provided by the two Linux distro better suits you.
I hope you had a good read and let me know what I missed out/your opinions in the comment section below.