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Old 11-02-2010, 02:43 PM
Kara Schiltz
Default Fedora 14 vs. Ubuntu Maverick: Distinct Differences


Fedora 14 vs. Ubuntu Maverick: Distinct Differences
By Bruce Byfield


Both Fedora and Ubuntu continue to be centered on GNOME. At the same
time, both offer alternative interfaces. But with Ubuntu's focus on
improving usability in the GNOME interface and, in the next release,
defaulting to its new GNOME-based Unity desktop, alternatives like the
KDE-based Kubuntu or Xfce-based Xubuntu seem to be receiving less
attention. Lesser-known graphical interfaces like LXDE and Sugar are
available in Ubuntu, but receive little promotion
in the release notes.

The same is true to an extent in Fedora. However, in the last few years,
Fedora has been giving KDE and Xfce more attention, acknowledging them
more strongly as alternatives. Fedora 14 continues this tradition by
promoting the MeeGo mobile interface in its release notes.

Suggesting that Ubuntu neglects alternatives would be going too far.
Still, it does seem accurate to say that the latest Ubuntu release
focuses on its version of GNOME, and treats other desktops
as secondary, particularly if they are not developed in a separate


By contrast, Fedora seems to retain more of the spirit of a traditional
distribution, shipping a distribution that does not venture far
technically from what upstream projects like GNOME offer. Nor does
Fedora show many signs
of preferring one interface over another, aside from the fact that it
defaults to GNOME.


The message in the release notes is that Fedora is for all sorts of
users, whereas Ubuntu seems focused on as straightforward an experience
for new users as possible. Nothing could more indicative of the
differences in the two distro's current concerns.

Which of these two approaches to distribution-building is preferable
remains a matter of choice. Ubuntu's popularity and the speed of its
changes suggest that there is something to be said for its commercial,
centralized approach. Yet, at the same time, Fedora's more generalist
approach seems more tolerant of the differences in how users work.

In the end, neither Ubuntu 10.10 or Fedora 14 are major releases.
However, if you look closely, you can see the seeds of differences that
might grow larger over the next few years.

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