Switching to Fedora

Five years ago, I switched from macOS to Ubuntu, last week I hopped to Fedora.

After five years on Ubuntu, I have a good feel of the distro. Ubuntu works. Ubuntu is stable. Ubuntu lets me do my work. Thanks, Ubuntu team!

Still, there is this nagging feeling. What else is out there? Time to try something new: Fedora!

Why Fedora?

I don’t have a simple clear answer. There are, however, some arguments that pushed me over the fence:

  • Fedora uses stock GNOME while Ubuntu’s one is heavily modified. This is probably the main reason that drew me to Fedora: it looks cleaner.
  • It isn’t based on Debian, meaning I can learn new things like dnf and, well, that’s it for now, I think.
  • Fedora supposedly has more recent package repositories and a faster release cycle (every six months) meaning fresher software.
  • It’s supported by a company, like Ubuntu, which hopefully means great support.
  • Fedora uses BtrFS instead of Ext4 by default, meaning I can play with snapshots!

Small Annoyances

Some of Fedora’s decisions already annoy me, luckily, they can be changed easily.

  • Fedora using stock GNOME means the windows don’t have a minimize button. A weird default if you ask me. I quickly enabled the minimize button via GNOME Tweaks but later learned windows can be minimized with the super + h (think h-idden) shortcut.
  • Fedora’s package repositories don’t include non-free software. I understand the licensing choice but not being able to play videos in Firefox is a showstopper. Luckily, there are the RPM Fusion repositories to restore sanity.
  • Ubuntu has a larger userbase so logically most online documentation or support is Ubuntu oriented. This means you might have to search a bit to find the correct Fedora solution. Same when I switched from macOS to Ubuntu really. The biggest one I ran into so far was Signal: their installation instructions only mention Debian-based distros (there is a non-official flatpack package though).
  • GNOME no longer supports app indicators (those little icons in the top bar). I had to install the AppIndicator extension to get it back since it’s an effortless way to see if my VPN is up.
  • My (old) Samsung ML-2165W printer was recognized by Fedora but would not print. After installing splix and adding the printer again everything worked fine.
  • Lastly, Firefox came with a Fedora add-on pre-installed. As far as I can tell it only changes the user-agent string. Pretty useless it is? Removed I have.

How long until I try the next Linux flavor?