I’ve always used Ubuntu LTS as my daily driver but am tempted by Fedora 36, Fedora seems to be taking over as the distro at the sweet spot of modern yet stable. Pipewire, full gnome 42, kernel 5.17, gcc 12, flatpak. Compare that to Ubuntu which seems a little behind on all counts despite both being released this month (5.15 LTS is understandable being LTS). Fedora 36 defaulting to newer versions and more modern solutions instead of potentially straddling versions over time seems cleaner, maybe it’s just my OCD.
Are there any gotchas to be aware of switching from Ubuntu to Fedora, any tips? Is this the wrong way to think about the comparison?
Not necessarily “wrong” but at the end of the day it’s all preference.
I’ve been running Fedora for 3 years now and F36 since a couple days ago. No major issues so far really.
Except for the F36 installer being borked in certain scenarios, but hey it’s beta and it’s already marked as a blocker for the release.
Anyway, as for
Well the package management is different (unless you use the GUI tools only, in which case it should be identical).
Fedora uses dnf as opposed to Debian’s apt. One thing you should definitely set up after installing is RPM Fusion. For legal reasons Fedora’s “native” repo only ships non-patent-affected open source software. Open Source software with potential patent issues (x264 and ffmpeg come to mind) are in RPM Fusion free, closed source software (Steam, Discord, …) is in RPM Fusion non-free.
There’s also an equivalent to Ubuntu PPAs, which is COPR. However, the same restrictions as the “native” Fedora repos apply. So it’s not quite the wild west as the AUR or even the PPAs where basically anything is allowed.
I’m using Fedora with Plasma desktop. It also pretty good if you don’t fancy Gnome. I used gnome for a good few years then noticed some full screen apps were starting instantly on Plasma and taking ~5 s to start on gnome. Don’t know what caused this so I just switched to plasma.
DNF is pretty fast at updating packages, way better than apt IMO. And having newer packages on a dsitro that rarely has stability issues is also pretty good.
The only real issue I had so far is when they broke docker for a time by moving to croups v2. Though there where workarounds available fairly quickly. I’d recommend before upgrading to new fedora releases to check what the heck they where doing and wether or not it will break anything for you. It’s not like the docker thing was a bug it was a conscious decision to upgrade croups despite knowing it would break docker at that time.
Having the newest packages is not always better. You don’t have to upgrade to the newest version on the day it releases.
Great shout, not being able to find ffmpeg would have definitely been confusing. That said if there’s only a few things I’d use from Fusion like ffmpeg then it might be avoidable (already compile ffmpeg on Ubuntu for better AV1 support and will have to maintain some niche non-repo binaries regardless of OS).
Any modern mainstream distro should do the job as long as the packages are well maintained and the distro doesn’t fall over in a slight breeze. Fedora looks to be the cleanest way to go as the versions are current with no major upgrades on the horizon, this post is really a sanity check on how important that is. In the past I’ve installed multiple toolchains, many versions of things like gcc etc simultaneously but this time I want a clean host and to do messy things in VM’s when necessary.
I’ll mostly use sway, probably doesn’t matter what it’s installed next to but it’s habit to go for gnome.
Well, ok, so you want stable newest packages? Try it out, keep a backup and a snapshot of your current system so you can redump immediately if you don’t like it, and try a few things.
If you are a developer I highly recommend Void Linux. It gives you much more low level control of your machine, I find, and a lot better choices of packages. Plus you can build on your system with a really easy built in toolchain if you don’t like something, even changing versions out or what have you.