Growing Pains

12:06 PM

You know, I've been with Ubuntu for a long time, ever since Breezy, back when you still had to configure your own drivers, back when it was more "plug and pray" than plug and play.


Coming from Mandriva, I learned a lot about Linux back then when I switched to Ubuntu. I thought that once I started getting adept that was the last of my worries...


Boy, was I wrong.


Ubuntu over the years has grown to be easier and easier, so easy that I would probably put anyone on it now days. Unfortunately for me as Ubuntu has grown easier I have grown softer. And I never realized how much Ubuntu had moved away from the standard Linux installation because the changes were implemented so slowly. A new installer here, some new GUI configuration tools there. Gradually I was point and clicking more than I was using CLI.


The move to Fedora has been an eye opener. Once again I'm on a true bleeding edge distribution, something that Ubuntu has grown rather soft and reluctant in pursuing (and I think Unity is proof of this - Ubuntu preferred to create it's own desktop manager to risking the yet unfinished Gnome 3). Most of the configuration tools are gone and packages are installed as is with very little interference from Fedora in terms of configuration. I've been fortunate to find all my hardware worked out of the box unlike the Ubuntu days of old, but that's about the most help I've gotten.


You would think this would really be getting on my nerves. And I have to admit the first day or so it did really get on my nerves. I found myself once again cursing my computer like the old Mandrake/Mandriva days of old. But I still remembered what it used to be like so it wasn't long before I calmed down and just started RTFM.


I'm on my third day of using Fedora. My installation is configured to my liking. There's a few bugs I have to work out - like Chrome not displaying text - but I have found workarounds to them and I'm comfortable. I'm dreading the next installation but I know it will get easier over time as my memory of how to do things with the original Linux becomes fresher.


I really appreciate the Fedora forums, which tend to be a lot more straightforward and in depth than the Ubuntu forums were. Additionally there seems to be a wealth of information on Fedora in Google, and something I'm really enjoying is how there seems to be a Fedora package for everything (while Ubuntu's use is widespread, it's not exactly default Debian package friendly the way Fedora is default Red Hat package friendly).


So even though there's been some growing pains moving away from Ubuntu, ultimately I have been very happy with my choice to move to Fedora.



You Might Also Like


  1. I've never stopped using typed commands. I've used a dozen different distros and settled on Debian GNU/Linux. It has the same package management as Ubuntu but allows/encourages one to do what is best done with typed commands. The problem with the GUI for everything is that you always will want to do something different than what some programmer has decided to provide a GUI to do. I also like commands because I can administer a bunch of PCs and servers as easily as a single machine. There are ways of doing that with a GUI but no distro will set it up for you as you will need it. For example, I can type a single command that will do some task on every PC in the building. That is great for backups, checking status, or updating. I can define an icon on my desktop to issue certian commands like that but you would be lost if you did not know what commands were and how to address the different machines.

    Ubuntu is a decent distro but it has lost a lot of flexibility in trying to be the distro for everyone and not being the distro for many. Newbies don't know and don't care about a lot of things and Ubuntu may be for them, but newbies can survive with Debian GNU/Linux as well and they don't have to use the commands if they don't want to do it.

  2. You also must be a sucker for pain :-) Anyway - coming from the DOS and the 0.99.13 Slackware on 30 floppies age I even prefer to be assisted instead of having to do everything from scratch. That is the reason for being an openSUSE user already for a looong time...

  3. I like Ubuntu's Synaptic Package Manager, not because it's a GUI, but because of its search functions. With it, I don't have to memorize the exact name of every package I want. Saves time and frustration. :)

  4. @Shawn

    Synaptic is not Ubuntu's app. Synaptic's development was funded by Conectiva and has been around for a long time. Ubuntu's only home brewed package manager is the Ubuntu Software Center and it stinks. You will be forced to use Ubuntu Software Center in 11.10 cause they are ditching Synaptic. You can still install it yourself though, it just won't be installed by default. Oh and BTW, you can use Synaptic in Ubuntu/Debian or on an RPM based distro.

  5. "Ubuntu’s only home brewed package manager is the Ubuntu Software Center" It was originally developed by Linux Mint!

  6. Synaptic - or rather, the apt mechanism in general - is what convinced me to move from FreeBSD to Ubuntu Hoary. It knocks ports into a cocked hat. "Damn, they got this *right*."

    At present 11.04 is unstable rubbish (Nautilus and gnome-panel seem to fall over at least once a day) and I'm seriously contemplating going back to Debian. Good thing I'm a sysadmin for a living ...

  7. I agree. Ubuntu is a pretty decent distribution but I found the hand holding getting aggravating for someone that has been on Linux long enough to set things up on my own. I wanted Ubuntu to make some of the more mundane tasks easier but I didn't quite expect it to become as hand holding and restrictive as it has become. I've also noticed that more and more you just can't apply things in Ubuntu that are normally universal across distributions (or vice versa) because they have tinkered so much with the default software. Unity is a HUGE move away from standard Linux and I'm not entirely sure I want to get in on the lock down that seems to be looming ahead - where Ubuntu is so far unlike Linux that a Ubuntu user cannot survive on other distributions without hitting a huge learning curve that's the likes of moving from Windows. I already went through my learning curve days TYVM and I don't really want to revisit them. ;)

  8. Hehehe, maybe I am. ;) And originally I wanted things to be easier as well and appreciated the improvements that Ubuntu was bringing in automating a lot of otherwise mundane tasks. But that gets old after a while, especially for someone like me that likes to tinker with and customize their software. I'm glad to hear OpenSUSE is working for you. :)

  9. Synaptic is still a part of Ubuntu as of 11.10's second beta release.

  10. Supposedly 11.10 is going to be a lot more stable so it may not be time for you to move just yet. :)

  11. Ubuntu is nice for someone who just wants to use the standard out of the box installation. If you want to configure every aspect of the OS to your liking, it's actually much easier with a distro like Arch Linux. I love the approach of Arch, but it's too bleeding edge for me, the software updates are too frequent. So I use Debian on most of my machines. It's nice and stable and I can configure everything I want quite easily.

  12. Does anyone realize you can do a command line install of ubuntu and build it up the way you want? Please don't make it sound like you have no choice with ubuntu. It can be as hard or easy as you make it.

    @Jonquil: You keep mentioning 10.10. I think you mean 11.10

  13. You're right, that was a typo. It will be corrected shortly.

    I'm quite frankly not interested in installing from the command line. If I was I would choose a distribution like Gentoo, NOT Ubuntu. Ubuntu can't be everything to everyone, and I most certainly did not make it out like I had a lack of choice on anything... my complaint was that things were too easy from the get go and I had grown "soft" in regards to configuring a regular Linux distribution (because let's face it, if you install something in Ubuntu from the repositories it's already been configured for you about 75% of the time). Although since you mentioned it, Unity certainly is lacking in terms of customization, but I expect this to be fixed shortly as it is still a rather new DE.