Fedora: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Kind of like how I did a similar post for Ubuntu I thought it might be a good idea to do one for Fedora. I like and use Ubuntu but some recent decisions by Canonical make me reconsider that loyalty. For now it’s intact though it doesn’t hurt to look at alternatives. Since I have been focusing on Fedora this year this post is relevant for others in the same situation as me.

The Good

  • Presto is the best thing in Fedora (to me at least)
  • Regular releases every six months
  • I’ll add systemd to this list because it’s not too different from using chkconfig and service and works the way it should
  • Cutting-edge technology without having to resort to rolling releases (I prefer distinct releases)
  • Unlike Canonical with Ubuntu, Red Hat doesn’t appear to have too much overt influence on the project’s direction
  • Large repository of packages, comparable to Debian and Ubuntu for packages I’m interested in
  • Better security with SELinux
  • They provide a feature list for the upcoming release as well as completion status
  • I love the Fedora logo
  • Although development is not complete, FirewallD looks like a great idea, and is already available in Fedora 17 to some extent

The Bad

  • Hardware support out of the box is not as good as Ubuntu, mostly because of Fedora’s continued adherence to FOSS ideals. Drivers for important devices, such as wireless, require third-party repositories.
  • Moving from “desktop” to “server” in Fedora has trade offs. Either upgrade at least every year (and get the huge repository of applications) or move to RHEL/CentOS (and sacrifice in respect to the smaller repository of applications plus older software).
  • One year support, although good to stay on the cutting-edge, makes it hard to upgrade that soon. Might not be an issue with me but I can’t really recommend it to my family and friends.
  • If you want to do a fresh install three months after last GA release you have to decide if the last GA is a better bet (end of support in about 10 months, forcing a re-install) or the latest alpha or beta release (end of support in about 16 months but software stability unknown). Compare this with Ubuntu where a fresh install three months after latest final release still gives you 15 months of support and you don’t have to sacrifice stability for support.
  • It has some weird package name choices. For example, Django is called Django.noarch and other Django-related packages are called something like python-django-…noarch or similar.
  • It doesn’t have Unity desktop environment, which I think is the best for my use case
  • Multimedia support is dependent on third-party repositories
  • Some cheaper VPS providers have older versions available and it’s difficult to get a Fedora server, especially with restrictive Anaconda requirements (although they were removed before release of Fedora 17)
  • I really want to learn and like SELinux but it’s too complicated for a beginner. That’s why I have included it in this list.
  • It doesn’t have a functionality like zypper ps by default. One has to install it su -c 'yum install yum-plugin-ps'. Thanks to Equivalent of openSuse “zypper ps” on other distros? for this tip.
  • Any community documentation (blogs, wiki, etc.) can quickly get outdated between releases and it’s a mighty effort for the community to keep its documentation updated.

The Ugly

  • Haven’t seen anything ugly in Fedora

One Response to Fedora: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

  1. My favorite point was “I love the Fedora logo”
    Nice points!

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