Recently, I’ve changed Linux distributions to Fedora for my main netbook distribution. Coming from a pretty strict regimen of Debian/Ubuntu for a very long time (after moving from SuSE some years ago), I always had a fond love of Debian-based systems, so I was a bit wary about going back to RPM systems (especially after the terrible time I had dealing with YaST). I’m happy to announce that I really do like what Fedora 13 brings to the table. Installation was wonderful, even better than Ubuntu 10.04’s install, and even YUM isn’t too bad to work with. From the get-go, Fedora 13 let me have full-drive encryption, something that you only get with the text-based Ubuntu alternate installer. To satisfy my full-drive-encryption requirement, I had to fight with the alt-installer for Ubuntu for quite a bit before I worked out a complicated workflow to get all the partitioning set up just the way I like it. Needless to say, it was a total pain in the ass to get working just right with Ubuntu. Just the opposite experience with Fedora 13, it was painless and easy, using the “Standard” installer, Fedora’s install just gave me an encryption radio-button and all the necessary dialogs.
Using the system is just as much of a joy. You get a standard Gnome desktop, as usual, but with a bit more focus on enterprise options and business-like settings. With Ubuntu being the most widely-used Desktop distribution, the majority of development will done on that platform, which made some software utilities a bit different to install, but absolute worst case: You download the code and compile it yourself. Not too complicated at all. Fedora seems to run with a bit of a speed-boost as well. Ubuntu always felt like it was dragging its feet on my netbook, but I’ve had just the opposite reaction to Fedora 13: It really is quite speedy. Linux distributions are all a bit fuzzy in how different they really are from each other, but in my mind, that’s a positive point. I don’t have to re-learn everything, I can take what I’ve done with my customized Ubuntu boxes and apply the same theory and logic to Fedora. Having distributions built on one standardized kernel is what makes Linux great.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a bit of a change in your daily use, want a speed-boost, or are looking for really easy encryption options, give Fedora 13 a shot, you’ll be glad that you did.