Ubuntu Linux has been around for ages. Fedora is a much newer distro. I’ve used both, and my first impression of Fedora is: if you’re going to start over from scratch, I’d start with Ubuntu and see how it goes. That’s not to say that Fedora isn’t a great distribution. My point is that Fedora is good. I’d encourage you to try Fedora and decide for yourself if you think it’s better than Ubuntu.
What is Ubuntu?
Ubuntu is based on Debian. It’s not clear if the distro was ever meant to be a true fork or not, but Canonical, the company that owns Ubuntu, has taken major liberties. The company seems to focus more on marketing than software development. They’ve also taken the lead role in ensuring that the distribution is supported on servers.
Canonical does add some things that make Ubuntu special, like Unity, the shell (now it is replaced with GNOME). However, many of the best features of the distro, are based on Debian. Ubuntu’s strengths are that it’s very good at providing user-friendly interface, and that it’s really easy to use.
What is Fedora?
Fedora is part of Red Hat’s product line, the first version of which was released in 2002. Fedora strives to be a good free software distro for people who want the best open source software, including Red Hat. It’s available for both x86 and ARM, and it’s supported on the desktop and server.
Fedora is was initially based on Red Hat Linux (RHL). But RHL was discontinued in 2003, and that year Red Hat released its first version of a new product called Fedora. Red Hat has continued to make Fedora available, and it’s now one of the most popular user-friendly GNU/Linux distributions.
Difference between Ubuntu and Fedora
The biggest difference between Ubuntu and Fedora is that Fedora is desktop-only. And Ubuntu is suitable for servers too. In fact, Ubuntu is one of the most popular operating systems for a server. Also, the company behind Ubuntu is Canonical and the company behind Fedora is Red Hat.
Pros of Ubuntu
- It’s very easy to install and use. The installation process very straightforward — even a non-techy user can do it.
- Ubuntu is popular and therefore has a large community.
- It’s good for Linux newcomers.
- Ubuntu is free (of charge). However, Ubuntu is not fully free as in freedom, because it has a lot of proprietary components and so-called blobs.
Cons of Ubuntu
- Not fully open-source. As I wrote above, Ubuntu has non-free software builtin (most of them are device drivers).
- It has a lot of (useless) software preinstalled, for example “Amazon store”. Those things just bloat the system. Debian, for instance, have no such adware, which is one of the reasons it is better.
- Ubuntu is held by the company, which wants to make money. This is the cause of preinstalled adware.
- It is slow, not only with GNOME but with other Ubuntu flavors, such as Xubuntu.
- Some people report that Ubuntu has bad things preinstalled (DRM and so on).
Pros of Fedora
- It is stable (not as stable as Ubuntu or Debian, though).
- Fedora is a very popular distribution for desktop use. Many people use Fedora Linux.
- Fedora is used by developers (including Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux). It is a very popular release, and it is popular among the technical community.
- Comes with great Anaconda system installer.
- Has SELinux security suite, which makes Fedora more secure than Ubuntu.
Cons of Fedora
- Not popular for server use. Although there is “Fedora Server”, it is something like a free edition of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
- Owned by commercial corporation too.
- Fedora is a part of Red Hat family and the main server Red Hat OS is RHEL. However, Red Hat Enterprise Linux costs a few hundreds of bucks, depending on the variation.
If you are choosing between Ubuntu and Fedora for a desktop computer, I recommend you to use Ubuntu, if you want a stable and easy-to-use system. And if you do not mind to learn something new and want a secure system, go ahead with Fedora.