Linux is one of the most popular and influential operating systems in the world. After significant improvements over the years, Linux is now easy enough to use to replace Windows on personal computers. However, the Linux operating system is vastly different from Windows and macOS, with several distributions available to choose from.

Ubuntu and Fedora are two of the most popular Linux distributions, and today we're going to see them hold up against each other in 2021. Read on to see what makes the two distributions stand out, and our Linux expert pick for 2021.

An overview of Fedora and Ubuntu

If you're a Linux user, you're no stranger to Ubuntu. Canonical Ltd. developed Ubuntu as an open source Linux operating system based on Debian. Ubuntu is available for desktops, servers and core – a unique distribution for IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

Ubuntu gets a new version every six months, and each LTS (Long Term Support) version is released every two years. In addition to the regular versions, Canonical provides support and security updates for all Ubuntu versions up to their EOL (end-of-life) date.

Related: What Is The Difference Between Linux Distributions When They Are All Linux?

Fedora is an open source community-supported distribution created by the Fedora Project and sponsored primarily by Red Hat, an IBM subsidiary. The Fedora Linux distribution is currently available in five different editions. The Workplace and server Editions are the most common editions. The focus of the CoreOS Edition is on cloud computing, while the silver blue The edition focuses on IoT and container-based workflows.

Installation process

Installing Linux used to be a hectic task, but installing the Linux operating system on a virtual machine or as a dual boot is easier than ever. Both Ubuntu and Fedora are easy to install in terms of installation, but a few factors make them stand out.

Fedora uses an anaconda installer that is similar to other Red Hat operating systems. Anaconda is a very powerful and flexible installer with a user-friendly interface. You can easily opt for a relatively simple installation with no adjustments.

Alternatively, if you want to customize your installation, you can customize almost any configuration. You can also install previously agreed software packages that make your Linux system ready for use from the start.

In comparison, Ubuntu has a much simpler interface that streamlines the once hectic installation process. If you choose to install Ubuntu as a dual-boot operating system, it will automatically detect the existing operating system and configure the installation process accordingly.

Another essential feature of the installation process on Ubuntu is the installation of third-party codes and updates. However, the highlight for us is the simplicity of the Ubuntu installation interface. Even a Linux novice can install their new operating system with just a few clicks.

All in all, installing Fedora and Ubuntu is relatively straightforward. However, we prefer the Ubuntu installation process because of the streamlined and simplified user interface.

Package management

The package manager keeps track of the software installed on your system and makes it easy for you to install, update, and remove the software. The Ubuntu and Fedora package managers, while very efficient, are very different from each other. Packages in Ubuntu are in the DEB Format while Fedora packages are in one RPM Packet format.

Like its ancestor Debian, Ubuntu uses the Advanced Package Tool (APT). As one of the largest and most powerful Linux package managers, APT is a major reason Ubuntu is a widely used Linux distribution. This package manager allows you to access Ubuntu's extensive software repositories and install them with a single command line statement.

Fedora uses the DNF package manager, a significant improvement over the previous Yellowdog Update Manager, or just plain delicious. DNF is widely viewed as the next generation package manager for RPM Linux distributions. To install packages using the DNF package manager on Fedora, you must enter the command dnf.

Desktop environment

A sleek and seamless user interface is a must for any modern operating system. Fedora and Ubuntu use the GNOME desktop environment by default. The standard desktop environment on Ubuntu and Fedora is very well designed and easy to use for non-programmers.

If you don't like the standard appearance, you can easily customize the desktop environment from a variety of options. The variations of the desktop environment are called "Flavors" on Ubuntu, and the popular flavors are Xubuntu and Kubuntu. Fedora refers to the various desktop environments as "spins". We strongly recommend trying the KDE Plasma desktop environment.

Related: Comparing 8 Different Flavors of Ubuntu

There's not much that makes Fedora and Ubuntu different in terms of desktop UI, as both use the GNOME desktop and offer plenty of alternative desktop environments.

Release cycles

Release cycles are an integral part of the Fedora or Ubuntu argument. Both operating systems receive a new version every six months.

Canonical is very timely with the releases and their upgrades are mostly aimed at desktop users. They support long term releases for up to five years and release them every two years. LTS versions are intended for servers and workstations and typically receive bug fixes and security updates rather than traditional upgrades.

Fedora, on the other hand, is notorious for updates being released later than advertised. Your publications usually contain the latest software which can be unstable at times. Support for Fedora updates is only thirteen months after their release. Their releases are usually larger. So if you don't have a fast internet connection, updating it can be quite a hassle.

When it comes to release cycles, Ubuntu leads the way because of its consistent and dependent releases. Ubuntu also offers release support for a longer period of time than Fedora.

Which is better: Fedora or Ubuntu?

Both Fedora and Ubuntu are high quality Linux distributions and have their advantages and disadvantages. However, we believe that if you want something sturdy for your workstation, Ubuntu will be a better choice in 2021.

Ubuntu has a stronger support community, consistent releases that offer quality upgrades, and an extensive software repository that is sufficient for almost any developer requirement. While Ubuntu is not the most accessible Linux distribution, it is still a quality distribution with the most popular brand awareness.

Fedora should be the obvious choice for Red Hat systems developers, but the whole ecosystem is better suited for servers and workstations.

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About the author

M. Fahad Khawaja
(14 articles published)

Fahad is a writer at MakeUseOf and is currently studying computer science. As an enthusiastic tech writer, he makes sure that he stays up to date with the latest technology. He's particularly interested in Windows and enjoys playing soccer and coding impossible tasks.

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By M. Fahad Khawaja

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