Linux

Can Fedora be the new Ubuntu?

Jack Wallen was pleasantly surprised with how far Fedora Linux has come with the release of 13. But can it usurp Ubuntu as the most user-friendly of the Linux distributions? Read on to find out.

I know it sounds crazy. Fedora is more a test-bed for the enterprise-grade RHEL. Fedora is cutting edge software that evokes images of users fixing more issues than enjoying user-friendly software. Fedora is for those who already know; Ubuntu is for those that do not. Right? Wrong. Those assumptions are wrong on numerous accounts...especially since the release of Fedora 13.

I haven't spent too much time covering Fedora Linux. In fact, if you search TechRepublic, you will find my last article around the year 2007. That may as well be 1957 in computer years. Why is that? Well, somewhere around Fedora 9 the distribution was just too broken to bother with. I realized I needed to concentrate my efforts on distributions that wouldn't send the users packing their bags back to Windows. So I left my Fedora hanging on the door and found the communal hugs of Ubuntu. It felt right. It was a good choice.

But now - things are starting to change. Over this last week, I dusted off that old Fedora (it now sported the number "13" on the side) and realized how much that old "hat" was starting to really fit well. Really well. So well, in fact, that Fedora could easily (with the right marketing and push) usurp Ubuntu as the most user-friendly Linux distribution.

Of course I am aware that with 10.04 Ubuntu has made some additions and changes to their distribution that have taken it to yet another level. But with the new release, Fedora has done something that, in many peoples' eyes, is much more important...they have released an amazingly rock-solid operating system. What happened to the good old days of installing Fedora and then having to spend time tweaking it to get it to work right? Now it's just install and go. And go it does. I have two machines, both of them Shuttles. One of them is spec'd out to be my main machine and the other spec'd to be my test machine (the main machine being the much more powerful machine is the point). On my main machine is Ubuntu 10.04 and on the test machine is Fedora 13. Which machine would you guess feels faster and more stable? If you guessed the Fedora machine, you deserve a prize (not really, there are no prizes being given away today).

But not only has Fedora finally become much more stable out of the box, it is growing ever-more user friendly. Yes, one can still see the primary focus is on the well-versed, but the newer users no longer need not apply. Even the bug reporting tool is now the Automated Bug Reporting Tool. Bug reporting made easy? Say it isn't so!

Of course there are some things Fedora needs to change before it could seriously usurp Ubuntu from its throne. They are:

  • OpenOffice was NOT installed by default. Why? I can not think of a single good reason not to include OpenOffice. And while you're at it - please re-include The GIMP!
  • Menus need tweaking. The default menu layout still holds on to the old-school Linux ideal that everyone who uses the OS is an administrator. I would suggest offering, during installation, two layouts: User and Administrator. For the User layout Fedora could follow the Ubuntu layout. For the Admin layout, Fedora could stick with what their current default.
  • Add/Remove Software needs to be more obvious. By default the user has to dig through System > Administration > Add Remove Software. This is not terribly "new user friendly". Put this entry at the bottom of the Applications menu where it makes sense.

It's been a long time since I have seen Fedora Linux as a viable candidate for the new user. With the release of 13, I am slowly changing my tune. Will it dethrone Ubuntu as the king of new Linux users? Probably not - at least not yet. But with some minor alterations, that very thing could happen.

If you are looking for a powerful, incredibly stable Linux distribution to try, and you haven't given Fedora a go for a while, I highly recommend you install Fedora 13 on a machine and see how far this "sand box distribution" has come. I would recommend a good dusting off of the Fedora for experienced users as well as new users.

Fedora Linux has found its way back into my heart. It will work alongside Ubuntu as my top two Linux distributions. We'll see just how they place (1 or 2) with the next iteration.

Bravo Fedora Linux. I tip my hat to you.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

90 comments
Alex
Alex

No, it can't. They are still a Lindows wannabee. Failure to install standard tools is symptomatic of an enormous problem. Someone asked in a previous Tech-Rep post which direction should Linux go. The answer is all directions!! But to be a major player you must not ignore the most common usages otherwise you lose market share, usability, and future happiness. Those uses are web development, writing, playing multimedia, and communication. Are they installing on all those pesky platforms that people complained about? like common Walmart WIFI brands or widescreen TV's, no! Have they installed the tools that most schools would need for classroom use for writing, web development, or program development? No. Have they built up single user friendly interface for editing code, printer settings, monitor control, keyboard diagnostics, cameras, laptops, etc., hmm. You get the picture. You want to start, start with a simple state of the art text editor with standard keystroke conventions, no more 1980's wordstar yank and block commands, there are a hundred projects on SourceForge that would be better editors than EMACs, VIM, or whatever. For example, you could adapt and use Python's IDLE editor, or cajole Textpad into making its system avail. it's already code integrated, cross platform, unicode capable, and uses std. keyboard commands.

apsantos2
apsantos2

yes it can! since 2007 i try to achieve this goal with openxange.org a Fedora + KDE distro. and after 500.000 downloads i really think that fedora could achieve it if they change some things un the GUI. apsantos

Ivailo_JK
Ivailo_JK

No, and it better not be! And even though, Fedora 13 has some MAJOR issues. Just to name two - Intel video performance under KDE4 with composting enabled and very, very buggy bluetooth stack. I had the idea of switching from openSuSE to Fedora. When I installed it, I immediately noticed that the KDE4 is so slow, that I whant to trow my laptop out the window, and also my bluetooth mouse had laggy behavior. It just freezes when left alone for more than 30 seconds. I managed to improve the Intel GMA945 performance by installing the messa-dri-experimental package, but had no luck with bluetooth mouse. Now I am back to openSuSE and everything just works. So, no, Fedora cannot be the next Ubuntu. And by the way, Ubuntu by my humble opinion is Epic FAIL. It works more like windows than like Linux. And it is a major security flaw by using sudo, because by giving admin rights to ordinary users with just one password (no root password at all as we all know) creates single point of failure. If someone manages to guess the user password, he has admin access to the system.

Kim SJ
Kim SJ

Of course that depends on your skill set, the time you're prepared to invest in learning new skills, what exactly you want to do...

kacaudle
kacaudle

Simple question,... What is required to upgrade from Fedora 12 to Fedora 13? So far, I think the answer is a clean install... I do not want to do that. Backup, re-install, restore process. What was involved with my upgrade from Ubuntu 9.?? the 10.04? Simply click the network upgrade button. That is what I call user friendly... Ken C.

jason.burns
jason.burns

If you had a user and administrator layout, I would like it if you could make a limited account and if a user were logged in under this account, the administrator menu and tools would be gone.

rorie
rorie

I am working more and more with CentOS and was looking for a home distro which shared the yum / rpm style package manager to keep the way I worked consistent. After a good stint on fedora 13, I now find myself back on Ubuntu mainly due to the NVidia driver. On Ubuntu support is better, and if you want to play games then the Fedora open source drivers aren't there yet. The driver that I found for F13 needed reconfiguring every time there was a system update, which is a quick and easy task. What I coundn't face was the ordeal of my girlfriend finding a crashed X server when she merely wanted to check her e-mail. It is this 'just works' usability that makes Ubuntu the 'killer-distro' of the moment. Fedora can't be the new Ubuntu because Fedora releases are always open-source, perhaps buggy, yet a state of the art disro best suited for power users and developers. Ubuntu is for human beings (which includes less competent computer users), has a nice button that lets you choose if you want to use the proprietary drivers, and so on. I had a good couple of weeks testing out Fedora to come to this conclusion so I feel the answer 'No, Fedora is not the new Ubuntu' is somewhat justified.

rpnadal08
rpnadal08

Depends on your taste! Here at our shop we have bench tested gOS, Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian and a sorted other flavors. But, our king of the hill is Puppy Linux. All our techs carry a thumb drive with Puppy installed.

Chaz_C
Chaz_C

I'm back in the Fedora camp myself after a really bad experience with Ubuntu 9.10 while trying to run gnome-shell. The installer made some bad decisions about cpu scaling and Ubuntu tried to fry my cpu. About a week of testing identified the problem, but I lost my faith in Ubuntu. Meanwhile, Fedora 12 does not endanger my hardware and enabled me to install the experimental gnome-shell right from the repositories.

bond.masuda
bond.masuda

i have to say, you have a point. i had a friend who knew nothing about Linux nor Unix and tried Ubuntu (some older version, don't recall which now) and was really struggling for some reason. since he knew I use Linux a lot, he asked me why was Linux so hard to use? i'm not generally a Ubuntu fan, so I told him to try out Fedora 12 and gave him my disc for it. he came back a week later and told me he loved it and that it worked so much better. to be honest, i was very surprised. i thought he'd come back with a million questions about how to configure this, fix that, install this, etc... but he said it was so easy to use he figured it all out. not only that, all his USB devices worked right out of the box which he had problems with in Ubuntu (not sure why?). personally, i'm still using Fedora 10 as my desktop OS (and have been using Fedora 7-10 as desktop for a few years now). so, I'm not sure how F12 or F13 for that matter is better, but my Linux newb friend's reaction to F12 really got me curious now....

brownw03
brownw03

Ubuntu has LTS versions (long term support). Last I looked at Fedora, it had a 6 month life cycle. Has that changed? If not, then no way can it usurp Ubuntu for typical end users.

eldergabriel
eldergabriel

...in terms of "user-friendliness". Somewhere in your article, you hit the nail on the head by mentioning the rock-solid stability of fedora, especially with the most recent releases. I call it stable both in terms of 1) not crashing (or programs crashing in it) and 2) by not messing with the user by "improving" (i.e. fubar) the UI of the default desktop environment and common applications (unlike some proprietary software from a large company that comes to mind). Oh, but that's just "innovation", right? ;p Historically, I've primarily run fedora on my own boxes (crazy long uptimes) while setting up ubuntu machines for friends and clients (just add medibuntu). That may change tho, since a recent ubuntu "upgrade" to 10.04 on a friend's computer causes it to crash completely all too frequently when just trying to use it (it ran just fine with 9.10 - wtf?). That pisses me off (and my friend); not cool. Admittedly, it may not entirely be ubuntu's fault since this is on older hardware; but that's half the point of running linux, right? For new linux users, the distros that include by default the stuff you would typically want to install afterward anyway (various codecs and multimedia components) pre-loaded and pre-configured are generally a great option. PCLinuxOS is good in this regard, but I've found it to be too unstable over time. Mint is looking like a contender in this regard, tho. Sorry so long-winded.

ppuru
ppuru

Although not a big deal, Fedora lacks the "partition-resize during installation" feature as also an option to select the network source. Ubuntu and Mint9 (Suse too) offer that feature. Ubuntu has had its side of quirks with the release of its LTS version Lucid Lynx. I would love to see Fedora become the new Ubuntu ... but would RedHat offer a FedoraLTS?

mwclarke1
mwclarke1

I think for most new users will prefer Ubuntu for now although I too like the new Fedora 13. However, I like stable more so, not necessarily the lastest version. I am running CentOS for many of my servers, test servers and running supported RHEL on some of the companies production systems so Fedora on my workstations seemed like a natural fit. I disliked Ubuntu for my needs since I like Linux because I am in control, Ubuntu seemed to be getting to Microsoft mined hiding everything so Fedora was my choice. However for my needs I wanted something a little more stable compared to my enterprise systems that could also maintain being updated to the most newer versions of applications but not being on the cutting edge either. So after CentOS has at least the minimum versions of everything with the latest release I found works great for my desktop needs as well. I still run Fedora on a test box, was running Fedora 12 on my main desktops, Fedora 12 was crashing on my desktops previously until several on-line updates and have been trying to upgrade to Fedora 13 but having issues with the install being a little buggy with my not too old or new hardware, so not sure where Fedora 13 will stand with me yet until I can get installed on my test machine. I am running Fedora 12 on my laptop which seems to be stable. I run virtualbox to VM some windows based apps I still have and seems to run great on either Fedora 12 or CentOS (which I always had install issues with vmware workstation and player software.

wa7qzr
wa7qzr

Fedora will never be the end all to beat all for new users because IT IS a test bed for RHEL! What new user wants to completely reinstall a new release every 6-months? Because, as we all know, there's no such thing as an upgrade that spans releases. Fedora users enjoy tweaking things and reporting bugs. They get off watching new releases being installed and old ones vanishing into oblivion. When they get tired of that, if they really like the RedHat-style of distro, they'll install CentOS and be done with it. Ubuntu, et., al., users should be thankful for Fedora users, though. They are the ones who get all the kinks worked out of most of the packaged apps, so that other distro packagers can work their wizardry and add yet another cleverly-named distro to the ever growing list of distros found on distro watch.

Just_Me_Again
Just_Me_Again

Mandriva was and the still the 1st distro to be user friendly. Ubuntu linger on Debian's goodness. Fedora came later in time. PCLOS is a Mandriva spin off, so how come is easier if is a Copycat of Mandriva? Mandriva had the Control Center years before (10+ years) any distro decided to add some similar to that. One thing that Ubuntu has that no other distro has is a Millionaire Philanthropist to shed money to advertise it. That is a good sales pitch, no a best product !

Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi

Jack... Welcome to the Fedora Band Wagon! :-) I have been using Fedora since it was "Fedora Core" 6. I have been very impressed by the way the Fedora community has taken the "problem" ball and running with it. The stability with Fedora has come a very long way, and your are correct. It just "works". Being an admin in a mixed environment (Windows XP/7, Ubuntu and Fedora), I have had the please of watching Fedora grow as an acceptable player. I personally use Fedora on my IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad T60p, and since F10, everything just worked. Even my logitech web cam and my canon scanner works. Obviously, there are a few things that could be improved on. (Isn't that the case with every OS and NOS that is out there?) The biggest improvement I have noticed is the CUPS printer "auto install" and, since F12, the command downloader. For those that don't know what that is, the command downloader performs a very unique function... If you execute a command from the terminal window or TTY, and the command does not exist on your system, it will invoke PackageKit and attempt to locate and download it. Take for instance, iftop (a top like command that shows the network interface traffic). Make sure you have a connection to the internet and open a terminal window, type in iftop (assuming you didn't install it when you installed the OS) and you receive a "command not found" echo. At that time, the CLI invokes PackageKit and downloads the iftop RPM and it's dependents and installs it, then runs the command. This is a great way to keep up on the commands that I have found useful and have "forgotten" to install in the beginning. I think the biggest issue, and on the obverse side of that coin, a big benefit for, Fedora 13 is that it only includes the free open source packages in the default Fedora repositories for yum (YellowDog Updater, Modified). To get things like DVD playback, and MP3 playback, you must install rpmfusion repos which is a merger of the old Dribble, Freshrpms, and Livna repos. It also helps that both Adobe and Google offer yum repositories to ease installation of packages such as Acrobat Reader and the Google Desktop items. One big problem, that all x86_64 Linux distros face is flash compatibility. Adobe is only producing the i686 (32-bit) version of flash player. There was a 64-bit alpha version that was stable and released for testing, however, it was pulled a few months ago and Adobe has been very quiet about further versions. If one searches, one can usually find it via Google. As far as end user support, the Fedora Communities and other Fedora support sites are superb in answering questions and assisting with fixing issues. Again, welcome aboard! :-)

mla_ca520
mla_ca520

I have been a Windows guy for a long time and I like Win 7...Vista prompted me to start looking at Linux though along with all the virus problems my now semi-coputer literate kids cause. I have Ubuntu installed on both of their net-books and they both were able to use it immediately. They like it better than windows. My wife won't touch it on our main computer but I like it. I find it easy to configure so that windows users find it familiar. I'll look at Fedora now based on this article.

Nader Newman
Nader Newman

Fedora installation has come a long way. It will install on systems with software RAID which Ubuntu still can't manage to address. Also with YUM support on Fedora, the support of application, utilities and drivers is great.

peltierd
peltierd

Also to your list of three wishes: 4) pre-install Acrobat Reader, and 5) pre-install Flash plugin for Firefox. Together, these give me 98% of what I need a basic home system to do.

RIP-1241
RIP-1241

It's a shame it doesn't get mentioned more.

mario_reni_roldan
mario_reni_roldan

Question: Can anyone FREELY and easily grow into a server system with Fedora? And for many new Netbooks, is it applicable or is there a specific version? Ubuntu is very good and stable, specially if there is no much tinkering done by the user (as most Windows ex-users tend to do). And growing into the enterprise use with Fedora means getting your hands inside the pockets...

rarsa
rarsa

Your first sentence sums it up. Fedora is bleeding edge. Ubuntu just leading edge (compared to Debian). If you use Fedora, you can expect things to break. I know, I used it for a couple of years. Yes, it strives to be stable, but by nature they will try things that are new to the users. I think that the mistake of Ubuntu is trying to catch up with the "bleeding" side. e.g. grub2 wasn't ready for end user prime time due to lack of admin tools. It is great for you and me that don't mind renaming the scripts. But not for my dad who just wants "that other OS" to be the default when turning on the computer.

dcolbert
dcolbert

We keep hearing about Android's fractured OS - and there is no doubt in my mind that the various different, customized, skinned, and otherwise modified versions of Android running about cause many of the problems that prevent Android from better competing with iOS. But, it is a legacy of the Linux roots of Android - and the constant re-assessment of which is the "best" Linux distro remains a significant barrier to Linux gaining a wider market share. Right now, the two most *viable* Linux distros for broader widespread adoption outside of the traditional pen-protector and propeller-hat crowd are Ubuntu and Mint - and while Ubuntu is clearly head and shoulders above Mint (and all other distros) for market mind-share, Mint probably has the most market-friendly philosophy toward distro releases. If you could get Ubuntu to move further away from the utopian Debian "free-software deployment" design and more toward the Mint, "give the consumers what they want without hassling over it" approach, Ubuntu would really be a fairly solid choice compared to the polished, commercial, mass-market OS choices. The thing that is really holding Linux back at this point, is the Linux community. There are simply too many choices - and too many different voices making too many different recommendations. Neophyte users are overwhelmed with the choices and opinions they are confronted with when considering experimenting or switching to Linux. The fact that Linux pundits constantly re-assess their position in Linux press outlets doesn't help the situation at all. Really, there is no problem with that, as long as we all realize that Linux remains an OS from the person who enjoys tweaking, experimenting, and constantly being in a "dev cycle" when it comes to their desktop OS. It isn't about productivity or stability or number of apps or ease of installation or any of those things for writers like Jack W., it is about playing with something new, experimenting, and keeping it fresh. The experience of constantly playing with a new platform and learning the ins and outs are what excites users like Jack. Me too, for that matter - and not just Linux. If there is a new, interesting OS platform on the market, I've *always* wanted to play around with it. AmigaOS, Atari TOS/GEM, DR-DOS, Win 3.11, GeOS, Mac Classic OS, all the way up to the current OS platforms. iOS and Android, I wanted to play with and learn about them both. I love seeing new ways of doing old things, I like experimenting with different philosophies and methods of achieving a goal, and a lot of times, I enjoy the challenges. I don't think I was ever as deeply involved in Linux as when I was struggling to get TrueType fonts, WiFi and XFree86 configured on Debian Potato. I learned (and have forgotten) more about Linux during that stage of Debian development than ever since. But, guys with this outlook aren't going to break Linux out into the mainstream. I suppose eventually, it is possible that one Linux will become so solid, stable, reliable, easy, and well implemented that it'll become the defacto standard for Linux - and once that happens, the others may simply die out, and that could be the push that Linux needs to become a mainstream contender. That may actually already be happening with Ubuntu. It is possible that no matter *what* happens with other platforms, Ubuntu just has enough momentum that it won't matter. For mainstream acceptence of Linux, that is probably the best thing that could possibly happen. I'm inclined to believe that Android will become the most commonly deployed, commercially viable, widely accepted distro of Linux, though. Although it is arguable that if that is the case, then *Linux* itself hasn't ever really achieved mainstream commercial success, and probably never will.

D T Schmitz
D T Schmitz

Fedora Core 1 was my first Linux Distro. It made me a convert coming from Windows XP Pro. Today, I use Ubuntu Server and Ubuntu Desktop 10.04 exclusively. It's going to be difficult for any other Distro to usurp Ubuntu's position. They keep adding refinements at a frenetic pace--I am looking forward to 10.10. Thanks Jack. --Dietrich

Rodo1
Rodo1

I'm a real Linux noob. I just put Ubuntu 10.04 along side my XP Pro a month ago, and I like it a lot. I can't envision anything being more user friendly. I still have to go back to XP for some things I do, but I am getting really enamored of Ubuntu.

wolsonjr
wolsonjr

Frankly, I gave up on Fedora with 11. I was running 10 along with XP, Ubuntu, and Debian on a Toshiba laptop and 11 would not install as fresh or upgrade. I haven't seen Mint 9 but I have Mint 8 running on the same laptop now with Debian Lenny and Ubuntu 10.04. I tried Mint 8 as a candidate for a friends laptop intro to Linux and was very impressed. I will vote for Mint 9 since I like 8 so well.

Kim SJ
Kim SJ

Sometimes it's worth putting in the effort to learn to use something efficiently. Auto-cad would be my prime example of a program that becomes a thousand times better once you learn all the right ways of doing things.

josh
josh

Brownw03 - the "LTS" version of Fedora is RHEL. If you don't want to pay for RHEL, you use CentOS. So for example, Fedora Core 12, is now RHEL6 which is in Beta. When RHEL6 comes out, some time after that CentOS 6 will come out and that will be mostly like FC12, but be supported for ~7 years.

itadmin
itadmin

I've been on Debian 5, Lenny since it came out, the AMD64 version. It's rock solid, the install was a breeze and it was no big deal to install the non-free things I wanted. It seems Debian still has a reputation of being hard to do. From my own experience I can assure you it's not true. Mepis is based on Debian sources, not Ubuntu sources, and it is equally rock solid. It, too installs very easily and gives you some non-free stuff out of the box. It uses KDE, although I've changed it to Gnome on a Mepis machine I work with. For many years I've used Gentoo, which was also as solid as can be, but the install is beyond a Linux newbie and the updates a drag.

eldergabriel
eldergabriel

"They (fedora) are the ones who get all the kinks worked out of most of the packaged apps, so that other distro packagers can work their wizardry and add yet another cleverly-named distro to the ever growing list of distros found on distro watch." Too true on more than one level. The fedora users and developers do bear the brunt and make the other distros more stable. This is not to be interpreted in the pejorative; I actually find fedora to be the most stable, even if it does try and succeed at being bleeding edge. Too many distros, I agree. It's spreading resources too thinly. We need one uber-linux to "rule them all"; one that is basically good enough for newbies in its vanilla form, yet easily tweakable for the hardcore geeks like myself. Googlinux? j/k ;p

tneto
tneto

Instead of Acrobat Reader (fat pig) use the FOSS version of eVince. Adobe's Acrobat Reader typically tanks for me on either Windows or Linux. Years ago Acrobat Reader was light and useful. In the last three or four years it has become a fat pig.

RIP-1241
RIP-1241

That's what you are looking for.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

XPDF is probably installed by default if not one of the other PDF readers. (Has Adobe released a PDF Reader for non-Windows/non-osX?) With 64bit hardware and distributions becoming the norm. You can also thank Adobe for dropping 64bit development of Flash Player. Unfortunately, there isn't currently a solid alternative to Flash Player either.

Jaqui
Jaqui

the STUPIDITY of requiring a webserver to be installed just because you want to install an app to edit website scripts makes Novell's product absolutely useless for REAL work.

uli.fuerst
uli.fuerst

I may be biassed as I have used Opensuse for years now as my preferred option. I have recently installed a few computers with Ubuntu10.04. I admit that Ubuntu starts faster but I still find Opensuse more userfriendly.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Every year, some different company has "the best" car of the season. They continue to compete to take that title from each other. Cononical taking that title from Mandriva and PCLinuxOS is the result of free market competition. Fedora becoming a polished desktop distribution instead of simply an RHEL R/D testbed is the result of competition. This kind of "fractured" market is essential to ongoing development and improvement. Android is a different case though. It's not truly open; Google has lots of closed binary secrets stuffed in it. Hardware vendors are not keeping up; they design there hardware in a way that does not easily accept firmware updates so your limited to when/if they decide to deliver a new branded firmware. In this case, it is not fragmentation between separate products (distributions) from separate companies; it's fragmentation of a single distribution under the guise of continuing to be a single distribution. Between that and Google's focus on it as a ad traffic driver instead of stand-alone platform, it remains uninteresting to me.

Spiny Norman
Spiny Norman

I've been using Mepis for years now, not only because it is the only major distro that recognizes the wireless card in my old Dell D600, but also because it is clean, quick, and reliable. No complaints.

lastchip
lastchip

I use Debian as my main production machine (writing this for example) and have a Debian server that never misses a beat. If you want stability, I doubt you'll beat the stable version of Debian.

Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi

Install the Adobe repo: su -c 'rpm -ivh http://linuxdownload.adobe.com/adobe-release/adobe-release-i386-1.0-1.noarch.rpm' su -c 'rpm --import /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-adobe-linux' su -c 'yum install AdobeReader_enu' There are two guides I use to assist me with installing exactly what I want: Personal Fedora 13 Installation Guide by Mauriat Miranda at http://www.mjmwired.net/resources/mjm-fedora-f13.html and The Unofficial Guide to Fedora at http://www.fedoraguide.info/index.php?title=Fedora13 Good luck!

Slayer_
Slayer_

I thought it opens up just like pictures, in a Dolphin window. I don't think I have tried recently, but I thought that's what it did 2 years ago.

dcolbert
dcolbert

The spectacular failure of GM illustrates a couple of things... Too many different choices in one family of products is *bad*. GM had too many darned platforms, marquees, and little differences. I'd argue they still do. Sure, they've shed the H20, but they've still got the Escalade, the Tahoe and the Denali. They're fracturing their *own* market and creating most costs and inefficiencies for themselves. If they paired it down to JUST the Tahoe and the Escalade *or* the Denali, that would be a great first step - but Chevy, GMC and Cadillac all putting out basically the same truck - who are they competing with, Ford... or themselves??? The analogy isn't perfect, but it is pretty good, for what is going on in the Linux community. At a certain point, too many different groups working on basically the same thing stretches resources too thin. In much the same way that a consolidation of resources and talent at GM could help - the Linux community might benefit from having more Linux talent focusing on a unified, consolidated distro goal. We've been arguing this for a couple of years now, and I still see that every time someone suggests a particular Linux distro that addresses one of my complaints, it introduces OTHER complaints that my current distro doesn't have. My ideal Linux distro would combine some things from Ubuntu with some things from Mint with some things from Fedora with some things from... instead, there are a lot of good ideas spread sparringly across multiple different distros... and the thing is that for most people, Ubuntu remains the best middle ground on features, accessibility, and critical mass. Competition is conflict. Arguably, Linux is as busy competiting with itself as with other vendor OS platforms. My argument would be that Linux can't compete effectively with commercial platforms until it stops competing with itself.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm going to make sure I have that .deb package backed up now that Adobe has officially told 64bit to bag off. Even as Beta, it's run fine for my system though I guess I'll be hosed the next time all the Flash sites go to the next version. I did also spot an acrobat-files.deb through my Debian box so maybe that provides native acrobat reader 64bit for some of the folks out there. I've not yet found a PDF I couldn't easily read with multple readers though so I'll just add it to my notes as "known to exist". I'd love to hear better Flash suggestions also but that is one area where no one has yet been able to match Adobe's own products. Nothing like an Internet over-saturated and held hostage to a single file format.

Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi

In my experience, there is no PDF that I haven't been able to open using another PDF viewer, however, if you deal with scientific papers or things like that that require the Adobe Security Certificate, which is embedded in the PDF, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. That being said, I haven't run into that... Yet. Now as for a 64-bit Reader from Adobe, there ain't no such beast... Adobe seems content to develope for the Windoze platform and keeps the status quo for the Linux platform. The short of it is, No, Adobe does not have a 64-bit Linux version of Acrobat Reader. As for Java, I use the 64-bit Sun Java jre-6u20-linux-x64-rpm.bin. Flash, I haven't poked around with other "solutions". I downloaded the Adobe Alpha version of 64-bit and it is "fairly" stable. That is, it only crashes occasionally. If you have a "better flash suggestion", I'd love to try it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Is there a feature in Acrobat Reader that is required and not provided by another PDF reader? Adobe's patch times in contrast to other PDF readers would cause me to consider alternatives. I have Java and and Flashplugin-nonfree available in Debian's package list (thankfully since Flashplugin-nonfree is 64bit) but no Adobe PDF Reader. I'd not had reason to look before.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

In KDE3's Konqueror, XPDF is used as the plugin. Dolphin uses a different file viewer as it's plugin for displaying such things. You could also run XPDF or the other viewers outside of your Dolphin window. I normally open XPDF outside of Konqueror since I'm doing more with my file window than just looking at one document.

dcolbert
dcolbert

the analogy isn't perfect. To fine tune it, we would have to envision a world where a dozen different companies all made a vehicle, maybe a few vehicles, all based on a core GM chassis/frame. In this case, imagine GM went bankrupt and their basic frame and powertrain for the Chevy Tahoe slipped into the public domain. In turn, Jag, Mercedes, Fiat, Opel, Audi, Ford, Saab and a half dozen other companies all picked up the basic Chevy Tahoe design and added a little trim and their marquee and called it their own. Each one offers a compelling, interesting feature that none of the others offer, and are missing features that you can get somewhere else. How would the consumers "win" in this environment? Better that Chevy should design their own unique Tahoe, and Ford competes with their own design, Land Cruiser with another, Toyota with another. That is how the auto industry DOES work today, and that works "decent". But the scenario I describe is a nightmare for the consumer (end user) and it is the model that Linux is built on today.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I just read rumors that Mandriva is looking at cutting back to a "community" and a "commercial" version rather than the sprawling SKU list they have been growing into. That seems to be a good balance within a single company based on Red Hat and Novell using the community/commercial approach. Within a single company with limited but dictated resources, fragmentation sucks.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With the GM example, I'd agree because it is a single company trying to provide too many different SKU numbers. Microsoft and the seven or so Vista/Win7 SKU instead of a "basic", "workstation", "server". Mandriva with Poweruser, Free, One Gnome, One KDE, and a few netbook mixes. They are very much like GM trying to deliver an ineffective number of different products at once. When we look at the automobile market as a whole we don't complain because there are more than five companies producing there own selection of products. GM, Ford, Honda, Chrystler; these are all recognized as separate entities within the market. Then we turn to software platforms and decry the exact same list of competing companies for delivering there own products. "Well, they all run on the same commodity engine so why are all these companies not just merging together into a single Omdi-Car International and delivering a single SKU list?" There is also the issue that retail market competition is not the end goal of some distributions. Red Hat, Novell, Mandriva.. these are the often repeated retail names because the actively compete against Sun/Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Crey and other businesses who's goal is retail profit which happens to be generated through software sales. For other distributions, it's simply about putting out there own software. Debian isn't trying to sell anyone a pretty box with a price tag; it simply wants to produce dependable software with a strong bias towards freely available source (non-free repositories for us more liberal thinkers). Canonical is somewhere in-between in delivering mostly freely available source based software but they also want to sell support contracts. The Backtrack distribution is certainly not trying to be then next greatest thing flying off retail shelves in pretty wrapping. It does a fantastic job of achieving it's end goals though and has become the benchmark standard for security auditor's distributions. All distributions being merged would be the true communist state that uninformed try to claim "Linux" is rather than the free market for competition that Linux/BSD/Other based platforms actually are. It's also not simply a fractured or unfractured product category. With a general discussion outsdie tech circles, this wouldn't be within scope but.. Consider that distributions, being different collections of commodity parts, actually do benefit from consolidated development while producing for different target customers. Cononical find a bug in Firefox and reports that back to Mozilla. All distributions benefit from the availability of the patched update. The distribution can choose to include it as is (one's that have Firefox) or confirm if effected and included it into there own unbranded build (Debian's Iceweasle). Again the cars come back; the market is horridly fractured because different companies provide different products that happen to be based on an engine and four wheels; they're all buying there bolts from Brofasco though so they all benefit from improvements in Brofasco's metallurgy and milling processes (though, in this case, third parties don't get to join in and help). "Linux is as busy competiting with itself as with other vendor OS platforms" But, it's not "Linux" competing. That's like saying Brofasco's bolt number A14 competes with fully assembled cars. The product is the distribution. Windows is a distribution of a few versions from a single company. osX is a distribution of a few versions from a single company. Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu is a distribution with a few versions from a single company. It's the freedom to fork and try new implementations and solutions that has caused the explosive development of FOSS and Linux based platforms. A single "Linux" the way it's protrayed as a single product is GNU/Linux from a single project lead with a single set of design goals; no closed drivers, no binary firmware, no closed software allowed to stack on top of it and, based on GNU/Hurd, not much progress. That right there is why competition has been and still is essential to development of platforms based on FOSS and/or the Linux kernel.