Monday, December 12, 2005

How Fedora Fails

My support for the Fedora project has seemed to wane within the last few years due to the poor usability factor for the casual desktop user. It has just become painfully obvious of late that the intent of the Fedora project is to directly fuel the Red Hat enterprise server edition. While I realize that this was the original intent and that they have never denied this, the casual user considering a crossover can and will be turned away by the Red Hat offering in the Fedora project very easily. My feeling is that many will be turned away because Fedora is living up to the Linux moniker that has turned so many away before because it’s not very user friendly.

My Linux experience began several years ago with the Red Hat 9 Linux Bible. I knew very little about Linux but knew the name Red Hat as the alternative operating system and jumped at the chance to get my feet wet in open source. I quickly jumped over to the Fedora project when it was available strictly due to the free updates and the improved hardware support was just an added bonus. Since then, I’ve been using Fedora from the original Core all the way to the current Core 4 version. Until a year ago or so, I may have heard the name SuSE in passing but my Linux world was confined to that of Fedora until I stumbled upon a site called DistroWatch (

Since coming across that site, I’ve tried my hand at well over twenty different Linux variants coming to the conclusion that Fedora leaves much to be desired when considering making the jump over to Linux. Even the latest Core 4 has seemed to just stumble out of the gate as far as usability. I’ve had quite a few problems using the updater and that was the main function that attracted me to Fedora. I think I’d have an easier time digging a tunnel with a spoon than modify and or adding repositories to better support Yum. Now that the sources are even farther removed from the distro, it just seems to make it that much easier to fall into that famous dependency hell that we’ve been so accustomed to with RPM distros. On top of that, the developers didn’t even offer much in the way of a new look to accompany the new version.

Most of these things can be remedied with thorough detailed research across the internet but that is what has seemed to lend to my bad taste when compared to a SuSE or Ubuntu distro today. Overall, the Fedora Project has been a very positive influence in the Linux community in general but the competition has easily surpassed the leader when it comes to usability. I’ve had experience installing Fedora, SuSE, and Ubuntu on the same machine and Fedora comes up lagging. If I want to run a server though, Fedora is my choice and that is where the server model of Fedora just seems to stick out more than anything to me. If I want good wireless support, ease of multimedia function, and general package integration ease, I’m not choosing Fedora. It would seem to me that that once leader of the pack could get better support for the end user I thought they might try to appeal to investing in their product.


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