In my previous entry I mentioned Fedora and how it encourages the use of free software. It seems that I have underestimated the magnitude of its first impression charm and it got me hooked already. I finally feel committed to a specific distribution and I am more than eager to contribute by solving people’s problems (this I particularly enjoy) and reporting bugs. I wanted to share my opinion on a number of Fedora’s features that I found encouraging:
- Supported by Red Hat. While for many Linux enthusiasts this may mean a strong enterprise/industry focus and less care for open-source and free software, this is not true. Fedora is funded by Red Hat and serves as a testing ground for features to be later incorporated into Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), however it has a soul of its own. One that’s driven largely by a community of dedicated users and developers, who primarily care about popularizing Linux and free software. From a different perspective, one has to understand and appreciate the huge contribution of Red Hat to Linux development when it (Linux) was still in its infancy (1990s).
- Great out-of-the-box experience. Recently, I concentrated on Linux distributions that are easy to install and offer a useful selection of software to work with early on. I’m a bit tired of setting up new boxes from scratch (sorry, Arch :() and fixing setup problems that shouldn’t even exist anymore (oh, Debian and openSUSE…), hence my choice of xUbuntu, Fedora and the likes. Among the ones I tested, Fedora seemed to sport the most sane features. Reasonable software selection (especially the LXDE spin!), pleasing, yet not over-beautified desktop implementations with calm themes rich in blue, etc. Installing additional software also seemed straightforward and fast. Yum and dnf offer a much more descriptive output than Debian/Ubuntu’s apt (seriously, what was wrong with aptitude again…?) and speed-wise are on par with Arch’s pacman. Furthermore, aside from Arch Linux, Fedora was the only distribution where Skype worked instantly after installation (openSUSE, how about sorting those dependencies out yourself, hmm?).
- Strong and vibrant community. All Linux distributions have their communities, but usually they are somehow restricted to forums and/or IRC channels. Arch Linux had the aspect of Arch User Repositories (AUR) as an additional means of software-related interaction between users and package maintainers. However, Arch adheres strongly to KISS principles and the community is rather small. Fedora has basically everything. There are forums, IRC channels, a magazine announcing new development decisions or features, gatherings (Flocks), reports, etc. One can really feel that most, if not all, aspects of community are covered. It’s extremely easy and encouraging to contribute.
- The vanguard of software development. Fedora is the first to get the most fresh and exciting Linux features. Most packages are close to their respective upstream versions and there is a lot of contribution between Fedora and upstream project groups (mainly kernel.org) going on. The software is cutting edge, but it doesn’t bleed the user. Moreover, interesting new features are documented by Fedora Magazine in an encouraging manner. It’s hard not to get excited!
Currently, I am in a state of deep euphoria and I would like Fedora to be on all of my computers (and the computers of my colleagues, for that matter!). It’s also nice to see people wearing a blue classy hat around you. Emphasizes the ‘unity’ in ‘community’. Seems now that my migrations have seized, I can fully concentrate on my new goal – programming in Python. More on that in my following entries.