windows migrant: choosing linux distribution

Ian Malone ibmalone at
Wed Nov 2 18:36:04 UTC 2011

On 2 November 2011 16:19, Emilio Lopez <emiliollbb at> wrote:
> I think Fedora is a good distro to start. As Joe Wulf said, is a good
> idea to install it in VirtualBox first, so you can play with linux &
> windows at the same time, and make the transition easier.

I would say the opposite, Fedora's short release cycle isn't for
everyone (and I say this as someone who's used Fedora as their main OS
since FC1 came out) and Fedora upgrades are maybe slightly more
painful than Ubuntu ones. Ubuntu has an LTS (long term support)
version which may allow you to avoid upgrading for a while and
upgrades are more like large system updates (think service pack in
Windows). RPM vs deb, yes there are differences, but it's probably
going to be one of the last things you notice.

For a beginner coming from Windows I think the major hurdle for either
Ubuntu or Fedora (which are the two 'flagship' choices) is that their
default desktop is now very different to windows. I was introduced to
Unity (Ubuntu) last weekend and personally I think it's more awkward
than Gnome-shell (Fedora). So you may want to look at XFCE or KDE
spins of Fedora or Ubuntu. Live CDs and VirtualBox (haven't tried that
one) are a good way to dip into the water.

>From a security point of view, Fedora perhaps focuses on security a
bit more than Ubuntu does. This is a bit of a two edged sword if you
find SELinux is preventing you doing something it shouldn't, but
that's a much rarer occurence these days. It's also intentionally on
the cutting edge, this means you get cut sometimes which often means
time spent sorting out issues.

Lastly, media friendliness: Fedora, again by choice, includes only
software that can be described as free and open source, this excludes
several things such as mp3 playback from the core system. There are
easy solutions to this these days (just set up rpmfusion), but it does
represent an extra level of difficulty (on the other hand, it isn't
really difficult and might be a useful first exercise for somebody
wanting to learn how things work). Ubuntu tends to include everything
they think they can get away with.

Haven't mentioned SUSE as I haven't used it for years.


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