Switching from Ubuntu to Fedora

I have been using Ubuntu since 6.06 I think, and before that I mostly used Debian. Before that I used Slackware, and I have occasionally tried Red Hat Linux (version 6 or 7, not RHEL) long ago as well.

I have mostly used Xubuntu because it is light, clean, traditional desktop-minded, and somewhat similar to macOS, and my current Linux PC is a Hades Canyon that I installed Xubuntu 19.10 to. That Xubuntu has been updated a few times, lastly from 22.04 to 22.10, and while I like a Debian based system there are somethings that have bugged me:

  • HDMI Audio got noisy after upgrading to 22.10 (this used to be a problem earlier)
  • Audio IN (and Bluetooth Audio) has never worked well with Xubuntu.
  • Some I/O errors/warnings occasionally when booting, no real problems though
  • Background image in Xubuntu sometimes is replaced with a generic background, and a few days later it came back (not feeling 100% solid)
  • Firefox is SNAP, updated separately and manually (so I get a notification to close the browser, but that does not update it, so I have to do a manual update and then restart my browser)

Some of these problems are perhaps caused by a system having been updated for several versions over a few years so it was anyway time for a clean install.

The HDMI noise was something I could not tolerate so I tried a Live Ubuntu 22.10 USB, and that worked fine. But I have recently read some things that made me curious about Fedora so I tried a Fedora 37 Live USB as well, and that also gave me good audio out. Both come with a new version of Gnome (Fedora more standard than Ubuntu).

Gnome?

I have never really been a Gnome fan. Checking out the Live USBs I realise that Windows 11, Gnome and ChromeOS are surprisingly similar. And in a way they are all pretty similar to macOS.

Deep inside I would like to use the Awesome Window manager. But I am not really willing to pay the price of learning and of not having the convenience (of a modern desktop). I have not tried Awesome so I do not really know.

So I am willing to give Gnome a chance instead of lingering on Xfce and Xubuntu. Those people who design Gnome must hate high information density – I have a problem with that.

Advantage Fedora

Given I want to try Gnome I see some advantages with Fedora:

  • No Firefox-SNAP-situation
  • Standard Gnome
  • Wayland (?) – at least it makes me curious
  • Trying something new

A few days with Fedora

Installing Fedora 37 (BETA) was easy. I few thoughts after a few day:

  • My immediate impression is that Wayland (or Gnome) is faster than X11/Xfce. There is a snappier more immediate feeling to the UI.
  • Pressing the start-button on the keyboard, and the clicking a common application or searching for anything is not so bad (like Chrome OS and Windows 11).
  • Even though the information density is low there is little cognitive noise. When running the browser, the tabs are on top of the window and Gnome itself occupies minimal space, I like that.
  • Settings windows is dead simple, very much like ChromeOS but even more minimalistic. Appearance: I can change background image and light/dark theme. That is it. Change the font or font size of window headers? Nope.
  • Audio Input on the Hades Canyon NUC is still not working properly/easily. Perhaps a USB headset would work, I have none available to try.
  • On shutting down the computer it asks me if I want to install updates before it powers off – this feels like the right thing to do.
  • The new package manager seems nice, I used it to install node.js, and it seems solid.

On my Mac there is an application called Performance Monitor. In Gnome I have System Monitor. This is for a technical audience but System Monitor in Gnome feels underwhelming. This is where I would like higher information density, options to dock it the the menu (or something), and simply a better application. Honestly, Task Manager in Windows NT4 felt more professional.

On my Mac there is the “About this Mac” menu option. I like it much. I can immediately see details about my computer, both hardware and OS. It would make so much (more so than in macOS) sense to have this in Fedora: RAM chips, CPU model, Motherboard model, Installed hard drives, GPU model and VRAM, and so on. And what is my Gnome version? It may sound like a joke, but then you want to install and configure stable-diffusion and you need to know you GPU spec.

In the “Software” application I can see that there is a kernel update from 6.0.6.300 to 6.0.6.301. But it does not tell me I am on Fedora 37. And lsb_release is not available, as it is on Ubuntu.

I suppose it is possible to install more things and configure Gnome to make it a bit more tech-savy.

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