Ubuntu Alternatives: Kubuntu and Fedora

Don’t get me wrong, Ubuntu is a great operating system that shouldn’t really need an alternative. However, some people just don’t exactly like Ubuntu, or prefer to have some alternatives to their alternatives. This time we will be talking about two popular Ubuntu alternatives, Kubuntu and Fedora.

Kubuntu isn’t necessarily a complete alternative to Ubuntu. In fact, the main system is based on Ubuntu. So what’s different? If you’re Linux-savvy, you’ll recognize that the K in Kubuntu will represent KDE, which is the desktop environment of Kubuntu. Ubuntu uses GNOME, which has a different look. Kubuntu has two advantages over Ubuntu: It has a more appealing appearance and it is closer to the Windows desktop than GNOME is. Sadly thou, advantages come with disadvantages. A more appealing desktop requires a higher amount of resources, so it’s not meant for low-resource systems. If this is your case, you might want to try Xubuntu, which uses the very-low resource Xfce desktop environment. Also, if you’re acquainted with some GNOME applications, there is a good change that it won’t be installed in a KDE desktop. Instead it’ll have a KDE counterpart, which, in most cases, isn’t exactly the same.

With the pros and cons out of the way, it’s definitely something that you should at least try out if you have a spare blank CD lying around. At least for testing purposes it seems to be a very solid OS with a lot of nice features. Especially in the latest Kubuntu version (9.10 Karmic Koala), you’ll notice the magic that is presented to you with KDE 4.3. If your computer can handle the demands of KDE, you’ll be happy to experience the blend of blues, along with very smooth transitions of menus, just to say the least.

Now if you just can’t stand Ubuntu in general as the underlying system, but GNOME and KDE are fine, then there are options. Of all the possibilities, my personal choice would be Fedora. A RPM-based free desktop distribution from Red Hat, it packs enough power to do virtually anything. Fedora is available with GNOME or with KDE. There are a handful of differences between Ubuntu and Fedora, with some of the most obvious ones that you will notice during use is that Fedora installs applications using .rpm files, whereas Ubuntu (and Debian) use .deb files. Another difference is that Ubuntu uses apt for it’s package manager; Fedora uses yum. Something that you may not notice is that (last time I checked) Fedora uses slightly newer versions of applications than Ubuntu, but these differences appear to be very minor.

Overall, Linux distributions are all unique in their own way. Personally Ubuntu is my favorite, due to its ease of use and the fact that I learned Linux using Ubuntu. Whether your favorite is Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, Mandriva, or any other distribution, use whatever you feel comfortable with. And even if you only know Ubuntu and are extremely comfortable with it, it’s still well worth to look at what other Linux possibilities are available.

If you’ve been reading this, why don’t you tell us what distribution YOU use? Why do you like it?

    • robinzrants
    • February 12th, 2010

    Mepis is a superb KDE Debian-based alternative to Ubuntu. It has almost all of the familiar stuff of Ubuntu (apt-get, Synaptic, etc) and is a much nicer (and faster) implementation of KDE on a rock-stable Debian Lenny base.

    Xubuntu is my alternative Ubuntu. Not only because of the very full-featured but low demand Xfce desktop environment, but also because Xubuntu doesn’t ship with that buggy Beta PulseAudio software (nor with Mono, by the way, if that matters to you). The Karmic version has almost none of the bugs and show-stoppers of it’s older siblings (Ubuntu and Kubuntu). And it runs superbly on my 6-year-old Dell.

  1. That’s very nice to hear. There are so many Linux distributions that it’s easy to loose track of them. I’m 100% positive that I’ve never heard of Mepis before, but it sounds like something to look into.

    Also, that’s great that Xubuntu doesn’t come with PulseAudio. I’ve been having problems mainly with wireless and sound in Ubuntu, and I bet PulseAudio is the culprit for sound. Maybe it’s not included for performance reasons?

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