Friday, July 29, 2011

Comparison of three Linux Operating Systems

A while back I wrote Comparison of Operating Systems, but it turned into more of a tutorial than anything. It only compared Windows and Ubuntu Linux, my current OS. So now I am going to compare Fedora 15, Opensuse 11.4, and Ubuntu 11.4. Let's start with Fedora.

Fedora is a free Linux OS sponsored by Red Hat, the creators of Red Hat enterprise Linux. The fifteenth release (the most recent at the time of writing) includes the Gnome 3 desktop environment in it's fullest form. It has some Gnome features that you can't get from the unstable repository currently available on Ubuntu. It starts off with just a close button, but that can be easily fixed using the Gnome tweak tool. As an Operating System it didn't seem to vary much than how Ubuntu acted when I had Gnome 3 on it. It did have one serious graphical issue. I was doing some 3D graphics at the time using Google Sketchup 8 through Wine and it wouldn't boot in fedora. I did some Googling and sifting through the forums and found that Fedora had some unofficial Nvidia drivers instead of the ones found through Administration>Additional Drivers in Ubuntu. After manually installing these drivers all hell broke loose on the Operating System. It simply wouldn't boot after installing the drivers. This is a known problem and it wasn't something that I had messed up installing them. If you do 3D art or anything else that requires good graphics (Heavy desktop effects, gaming, and 3D just to name a few) then Fedora isn't for any Nvidia user. Otherwise it was a very nice and friendly operating system.

The next Operating System is Arch linux. Looks pretty similar to an OS X and Windows mixtogether, right? Incredibly wrong. When, (and if you are able to) install Arch Linux you have no GUI whatsoever. You need to manually download and configure an X11 Window manager and a desktop environment to get a GUI. However, this makes Arch an extremely lightweight OS when you first download it. Arch is a platform on which you can build upon whatever software you wish. Arch Linux comes with a package manager called Pacman, which many people find to be a step up from apt and it is. Pacman can even give suggestions to what packages you may be looking for if you make a spelling mistake in your query.
Arch can be seen as a canvas where the artist can paint whatever they wish.

The last Operating System in our comparison today is Ubuntu 11.04. Ubuntu started off as a fork from Debian, the Universal Operating System. At first all it aimed to do was improve on Debian's slow update times, but it turned into something else. Now Ubuntu is the distribution of choice for newcomers to the Linux kernel. It is where users aspiring to move beyond it come to learn, and it is where people who want a highly customizable OS come to stay. Because of Debian's popularity, and now Ubuntu's, anything available to Linux is usually available to Ubuntu in the form of a .deb file, which requires 0 source building. I could start complaining about Unity again, but I have already done that and it isn't what this post is about. The installation is made easy with the Live CD, so there is virutally no command line to have to worry about during installation.

The decision...
Even though Ubuntu, Fedora, and Opensuse are great Operating Systems I have to make Arch the winner of this comparison. Arch just gives you the very basics and lets you decide what part of an Operating System you need. Do I use arch? No. Do I think it is a great idea of a Linux enthusiast to use Arch? Yes.

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