The number of minor annoyances in Fedora 11 turned into a major annoyance. Last Saturday I wiped Fedora 11 from my home machine and installed Xubntu, which is the Xfce-centric Ubuntu distribution. I did the same on my office machine on Wednesday.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with Xubuntu and Ubuntu in general. For the most part, everything just works. The Synaptic package manager made the installation of most things pretty painless. I’ve installed all of my “non-standard” apps without having to first find the right repository, then hope that there aren’t conflicts, and then fight with different versions of things because there were conflicts, etc. Everything that I use on a normal basis is in one of the repositories that Ubuntu has included. On Fedora I always had to fight with them. I didn’t realize just how many extra steps there were in Fedora until I didn’t have to do them.
The extra software that I normally install (either at home or at the office) include:
- Synergy – For letting me use a single mouse and keyboard on several computers and monitors. This makes moving back and forth from my Windows machine a matter of moving my mouse off to the left edge of my screen. Shared clipboard and all. Can’t live without it.
- Motion – For grabbing web-cam images and saving them when it only detects changes in the image. In Fedora this was a huge pain.
- Nvidia proprietary drivers. An optional part of the Ubuntu install, but incredibly easy. Just told it to search for hardware drivers from the menu, and there it was. No muss, no fuss.
- Logitech G15 keyboard daemon. Ubuntu got this out of the box.
- XCache and APC for PHP.
- Mplayer codecs
- MP3 support
I’m sure there were others, but those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. There is still room for improvement, of course, but the ease of use, the sane dependency checking in Synaptic/apt-get, and the huge repositories (mutliverse/universe) meant that I didn’t spend two days downloading, compiling, and keeping my fingers crossed just to get a system I could work on.
My time from install to productivity with Xubuntu was less than a few hours. Very impressive and well polished.