Why I moved from Fedora to Ubuntu

Fedora 31 -> Ubuntu 18.04

I have been using Fedora since it was called ‘RedHat Linux’ and then ‘Fedora Core 1’ … Back then I found all other distros, including Ubuntu, Suse, less stable and usable.

I mostly use of Ubuntu on work machines out of requirement. However, I recently got a new laptop and decided to try out Fedora 31. I was disappointed - the distro suffers from many of the same issues I used to deal with Fedora from nearly 10-15 years back:

Font rendering

I remember tweaking xorg conf, applying ‘infinality’ patches, playing around with ‘fedy’, just to get a decent font rendering on a Fedora system. Ubuntu is still way ahead in this regard where I feel the default font rendering setup is almost on par with MacOS.

Propritary packages

I use plenty of propritary software everyday: IntelliJ IDEs, Typora (for note taking), Insync (OneDrive/GDrive sync), closed source GPU, WIFI drivers. These are either available in their main Ubuntu repo, or as snaps or have an uptodate third-party repo. On Fedora, it is a chore to get all of these working.

GNOME Desktop

Fedora ships with vanilla GNOME which takes quite some tinkering to make it usable. There are many distros which take customization to extreme which I don’t like either. Somehow, Ubuntu’s version of GNOME feels good right out-of-the-box with sensible defaults. Another point is GNOME Software which fails frequently when installing third-party RPMs on Fedora whereas Ubuntu never had a single issue.

Package manager

Somehow dnf (Fedora package manager) wants to update repository metadata, which is around 10-20MB, almost every time I need to install a package. You can tell dnf to use cached metadata only with the -C option, but that has failed on me many times with weired dependency resolution errors. Compare with apt (Debian/Ubuntu package manager) which usually has no problem working from cache and seems much faster when installing packages. Among newer package formats, snap also feels easier to use than flatpak. Flatpak uses bad java style com.company.package style naming convention for both installing and launching apps which I do not like.

Performance

I found Ubuntu 19.10 GNOME snappier and cosumes less memory than on Fedora 31.


This is my prespective from Desktop side of things which I mostly care about. I hope Ubuntu continues to innovate on the Linux Desktop. It has come a long way.


See also