Operating System for all your needs. The community was very happy with it until they decided to switch from Gnome to Unity and add the Amazon results right from the dash. At the beginning Unity didn't bother me because Gnome 3 was not that advanced by then. However the Amazon results felt like an embedded spyware. At that point Ubuntu didn't feel like the community driven and open source project we used to love. Then my faith in Ubuntu was dimming because they announced many projects that ended up in nothing. Examples of those projects are:
- Ubuntu One
- Ubuntu for Android
- Ubuntu TV
Ubuntu could had easily increased their market share in the Desktop area by placing all their resources into that sector but they felt adventurous and they wanted to explore other areas. Companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple can take some risk because they all have an strong budget, hence they can afford losing some of it. However that is not the reality for Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu.
The development of Unity 7 stopped about 3 years ago in favour of Ubuntu Touch and we have not seen anything exciting yet from the desktop. The latest release of Ubuntu (16.04) came with slight changes to Unity that makes it look more descent. But descent is not enough compared to the experience you could have with Gnome, Cinnamon, Pantheon, Budgie and KDE. Canonical promised us that we were going to have a single experience for the desktop and mobile devices soon. However it is still far from becoming a reality. Ubuntu Touch is still an app-less mobile OS and it is not even close to the ecosystem you get with Android and iOS.
Furthermore, I felt I could not wait any longer hoping that someday Ubuntu was going to catch up and give us the great desktop experience they guaranteed we were going to have through Unity 8. Therefore I decided to move to a different distro. And just like me, many people found in Fedora a new home. What I like the most about Fedora is the Gnome Desktop. I am aware that there is an Ubuntu Gnome, however Canonical does not really care about other *buntu flavours. Only Fedora comes with an out of the box Gnome Desktop Experience. I perceive that Ubuntu will soon lose its porting capabilities. Ubuntu+Mir+Unity 8 work as a single piece of software, hence splitting the Ubuntu portion from the rest would become extremely difficult.
Fedora Project must work closely with the Gnome Project to provide the best desktop experience. The release cycles on both projects are indeed synchronized. Even though both are independent projects Red Hat is their primary sponsor and there are many Red Hat employees working on both projects.
Red Hat is also the leader of open source development including the Linux Kernel.
Ever since Canonical Ltd. has partially abandoned the desktop, Fedora has become the bleeding edge of Linux. And it is also shaping the future of Linux by collaborating on the following projects and features.
- Wayland (Display Server)
- Xdg-apps (App Container Similar to Snap Packages)
- DNF (CLI Package Manager)
I also like the fact that Fedora is continuously working closely with upstream projects rather than forking and repackaging them. On top of that, Fedora+Gnome works nicely with my Google Account. I was able to easily integrate the Gnome Desktop with many Google Online Services. Fedora also provides a nice support for Chrome and Chrome Apps. Having that in mind I feel that Fedora compliments my ecosystem of devices along with my Android phone instead of becoming a single Operating System for everything.
I would also like to add the fact that Gnome works very well on touchscreen devices and could become a potential contender to Unity 8. Besides, you will never have the same amount of customization on Unity than what you could get through Gnome.
On the other hand I must admit that Ubuntu still has plenty of advantages I will further enlist below.
- Marketing. The Ubuntu brand has been promoted very well.
- Partnership with hardware vendors. Ubuntu already come preinstalled on many machines.
- Partnership with software vendors. There are more applications available for Ubuntu than any other Linux distro.
- Out of the box drivers and software repositories including support for non-free apps.
- PPAs. Developers could easily create independent repos. However we have Copr on Fedora now.
- Virtual Cloud Servers. Ubuntu Server offers tools that help you deploy web apps and there is plenty of documentation on the internet for anything you want to do.
- Long Term Support. Up to five years of free updates is more than enough for anyone.
The next release of Ubuntu (16.10) is supposed to bring Unity 8 to the Desktop and a full stack of snappy applications working under Mir/xMir.
So the question in here is: Will Ubuntu 16.10 have what it takes to make their desktop users happy and stick with it? Or will fail miserably and become mainly an OS for the cloud.
Meanwhile Fedora is everything Ubuntu should had been on the desktop side and it becomes better on each release. In case you don't want to waste time installing drivers, codecs and repositories you could install Korora which is an even more out of the box experience based on Fedora.
Written by Eric Nicholls for Linux notes from DarkDuck