Fedora is a Linux distribution that was introduced in 2003 as Red Hat launched Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and a community distro Fedora Core. It has grown from a hobbyist distro to a popular choice for developers and home users alike. Fedora is one of the first places to see new Gnome and other technologies used in Linux.
Fedora has been dubbed the new Ubuntu implying it is simple to use and extremely reliable. This is probably one of the most flattering compliments that can be given to a Linux distro. It would be like calling me a young Brad Pitt. Does the title hold up? Is Fedora the new king of Linux distros?
As with any Linux distribution, the pros and cons of Fedora may vary depending on individual preferences, requirements, and use cases. I’m viewing this as a typical home desktop user and in my professional role as a high school biology teacher. This is my quick take away after using Fedora 39 Workstation.
I’m primarily a laptop user (Dell Latitude 5520) so touchpad gestures on Wayland are important to me. I found Wayland to be a little spotty on Ubuntu 23.10 but nearly flawless on openSUSE Tumbleweed. My main gripe with Fedora is that windows would still randomly resize after suspending. Yeah, its strange. I would wake the laptop, login, and find the windows maximized behind the dock. Some of this may also be an issue with the Dash to Dock extension.
I also really like the Third Party Repository option. When opening the Gnome Software Center for the first time, users are asked if they would like to enable this option. It opens up patent encumbered codecs and proprietary software. Fedora is very supportive of free and open source software but for practical purposes, I appreciate that the easy support here. This is a big win for newer users.
Oddly though, the Google Chrome repo never seems to work for me. I’ll try to install Chrome using the baked in repo, but it never works. Installing a Google provided Chrome RPM adds the Chrome repo. Afterwards, Chrome updates work fine.
Another area of frustration was Flatseal. The application would open and crash if it opened at all. I tried the same Flatseal Flatpak on openSUSE Tumbleweed and it works fine. I like Flatpaks in theory, but this doesn’t help sell me on them. For the record, other Flatpaks have worked fine and I do appreciate the irony that the Flatpak permission program didn’t work.
Font rendering seems improved compared to Fedora 35ish. Somewhere in there a develop must have become tired of looking at those sad fonts and fixed something. Either way, its not quite Ubuntu font rendering greatness, but its finally at an acceptable level.
Lastly, my gripe with Gnome. I know that Gnome developers have some sort of full screen, mobile-esque, workspace oriented vision for their desktop environment. I respect creative vision, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I want minimize and maximize buttons. I want a proper dock/bar/dash/icon home thing. I want some middle ground between Gnome’s simplicity and KDE Plasma’s ridiculous customization and complexity.
Overall, I was pleased with Fedora 39 Workstation. If you are looking for a desktop friendly, developer focused, up to date Linux distribution, you can be at home on Fedora. For a more stable (as in unchanging) traditional experience, other distros such as Linux Mint may make more sense.
It’s important to note that the decision between Fedora and other Linux distributions relies on individual preferences for an operating system. My experiences may not be universal so you should still try distros on your own.