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Linux distro review: Fedora Workstation 32

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Red Hat

Fedora is a pretty different beast than what I'm used to from my Ubuntu daily drivers. It's a lot closer to the Gnome upstream than Ubuntu is... and while some people might like that, I discovered that I really don't.

The use of the Wayland display server instead of the much older Xorg didn't make much difference on the i7-powered HP Dragonfly Elite G1 I tested it on. Windows dragged smoothly and videos were tear-free—but they had been on an Xorg-powered distribution, too. I don't think Wayland is a big draw for me personally—at least not yet. I'm more than content to let it cook for however much longer it needs to before it succeeds in supplanting Xorg.

For the most part—and to my surprise—Fedora felt more sluggish than I'm used to. Reboots were significantly slower and Firefox application launches laggier than Ubuntu on the same hardware, and I believe on, eg, Clear Linux or GhostBSD either. There were exceptions to this rule, though—Gnome's Software Center was much snappier on Fedora than I'm used to in Ubuntu.

I'm unlikely to switch to Fedora any time soon—but if I did, it would probably be for Matthew Miller's promise of routine, painless six-month upgrades. I normally keep to Ubuntu's every-two-year LTS (Long Term Support) releases, because I don't like broken stuff. Then again, I encountered more broken stuff just in the course of a daily package upgrade here than I expected.

Fedora is probably best-suited to people who like to tinker and get really, really antsy if they don't have the absolute latest version of every software package. Both its repositories and its kernel tend to get updated considerably faster than Ubuntu's. For example, even though Ubuntu 20.04 is less than a month old, Fedora 32 already has a newer kernel—5.6.12, to Ubuntu's 5.4.0.

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