Fedora 10 or Debian 5

I have been a Debian user for a few years now and I’ve used some of it derivitives like Mepis, Sidux, Ubuntu being the main three. I decided to give fedora 10 a try as the first flovour of Linux I tried was Red Hat 7.3 and that worked really well.

It’s been 4 weeks now or so, and to start with I was really impressed. Its big improvement over Fedora 9. It is quicker to boot, quicker to run and stable. It looks good too. I am running the x86_64 version and I am impressed with the range of software available and some strange stuff like BloGTK which is normally a 32 bit application. (Not that I actually use it now, waiting for version 2). So it is quite good but can I live with it?

The proplems I have with Fedora 10 are several. The log-in theme isn’t changable which is no great train smash, but virtually on every other distro you can, and this has been reported on in the forums.. The other problem I had was with java. Not all java apps would work on Fedora although they work fine on other distros. The only thing I can put this down to is the java the Fedora uses. I even downloaded from Sun and installed that, but it just wouldn’t work. I had a feeling it was probably something I was doing, or may be not doing. The network manager doesn’t appear to be improved, and is positively slow at reconnecting (if it does at all) espically after being idle for a while and the screen saver has been running.

The good points are that it is a big improvement over Fedora 9. It boots faster, seems relatively quick, and most things “work out of he box” including compiz and the wobbly windows (something my wife giggles about). The updating of the system seems more stable but that and installing extra applications does seem slow.

There is also something about Fedora which I can’t put my finger on that I’m just not sure about. It seems to give the sense of stablity and solidity but underneath there is a sense of fragility, but this fagility seems supported by a structure which takes away the inherent flexability that I have found in other distros. (I’ve seen a similar structure in Suse). May be this is there because this distro has commercial roots and done to stop or reduce the local user from messing with and breaking the system.

So, the answer I asked earlier, can I live with Fedora 10? The simple answer is No.

Now that Debian 5 is out, and I’ve updated my “testing” to Lenny I’ve found that it runs slickly and is stable. All my java apps work fine. One thing I do do is add the mepis and mepis-community repos to the list so I can run stable and updated apps like Openoffice.org v3, the gimp, inkscape, and a few others albeit not many. I have also been running virtual box of which I will write more at a later date. Debian 5 “Lenny” runs smoothly by which I mean that all applications seem to run at the same speed depending on what I am doing. It seems to manage the resources in a more even handed way. The network manager works fine and reconnects quickly when there’s been an interuption. I prefer to use wicd network manager, seems really stable and intuitive (a most important atribute).

I find debian easier to configure to my liking. This may be due to the fact that I’ve been using Debian longer and therefore have become familiar with all the quirks if Debian. Be that as it may, Debian does seem to have similarities with other distros within the file system and where certain files are kept. It seems to be a less muck-about-with distro. There are certain aspects of Debian that annoy me, like not including various drivers on the cd’s/DVD’s, but the’re in the repos, just means I have to hardwire to router to download. That and the fact that Debian takes so long to release. But I can live with both cos it not difficult to download, and the stablity of Debian seems second to none.

All in all, it does a good job without making a song and dance about it.