As an avid, some would say rabid, Linux user and all around open source advocate, I like to try out new distributions and see what is new. I just recently upgraded my Fedora and Ubuntu computers. I use Fedora 11 on my development box. I find Fedora has the edge when it comes to balancing the needs of an experienced Linux user who wants command line and GUI. Ubuntu has the advantage with the new user.
I just recently upgraded my laptop that I use for Linux training to Ubuntu 9.10. This old IBM A31 is a rugged workhorse and is perfect for traveling and presenting. I also use Yugma and Skype on it to teach remote classes. I’m doing my part to save the environment and drive less and hold on-line training.
For some reason people often give me old computer hardware. I guess it has something to do with my socks and sandals approach to life, but I’m not sure. I do my best to get this hardware into the hands of people that could really benefit from it. Any computer I give away I wipe clean and install Ubuntu as it has the best configuration for the beginner. Besides running really well on minimal hardware, their attention to detail for the new user puts them way ahead of anybody else.
Because I’m always looking at the latest Linux advancements, I’ve noticed an interesting trend. Fedora and Ubuntu are playing feature and refinement leapfrog. My qualitative findings are based on my experience of upgrading and installing each new iteration of Ubuntu and Fedora and using them. Fedora 10 was ahead of Ubuntu 8. Ubuntu 9.04 beat out Fedora 10. My recent upgrade to Fedora 11 exceeded the Ubuntu 9.04 version. Now Ubuntu 9.10 has a slight edge over Fedora 11. Looking at the release notes for Fedora 12 I think they will exceed Ubuntu.
This is a good thing The winner in the game of feature leapfrog is the end user. With each iteration, the spiral upward towards ease of use and user acceptance gets tighter and tighter. I predict that future feature sets for both open source and propietary operating systems will start to use Fedora and Ubuntu as the standard by which successful inteface design is measured.