Over the last few weeks a lot has been going on in Linux-land! New releases of Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Edubuntu (did I miss any?), as well as the Release Candidtate of Linux Mint 14 last week with the MATE and Cinnamon desktop environments. Also there were a whole bunch more new releases of distros like Pear OS 6, Zorin Core 6.1, Luninux Beta 2, and the first Beta version of Elementary OS 2, Luna, among numerous others. It’s enough to make any Linux-lover’s head spin!
Of course because I can’t leave well enough alone, I’ve been trying out some of these new versions of familiar old distros and newer ones as well; ever in search of that next elusive ‘Perfect Operating System’. And because it’s just plain fun, seeing how distros change and try out new features and desktop environments and different ways of doing things. The Open Source world is continually improving, experimenting and transforming itself, and that’s exciting!
So in the past five weeks I’ve installed the new Xubuntu 12.10 on the kitchen laptop, and it looks and works beautifully. Not a lot of changes since the 12.04 version, but the panel is more configurable now, the weather applet has seen some enhancements, and numerous other little changes. But it just feels nice. I love Xfce! I’ve also extensively tried out the RC of Mint 14 (Nadia) with Cinnamon. I also gave the MATE edition a spin, but keep leaning toward the future and the Gnome 3-based Cinnamon. The Cinnamon DE continues to develop and mature, and the ease of use and stability of Linux Mint makes it one of my top three favorite distros.
All this leads me to my topic for today; another distro that I’ve heard about for a while and tried out from a Live CD – Fuduntu. New version 2012.4 just came out, and with it a lot of changes from the previous release. (See HERE for more details). Fuduntu is based on Fedora, but has an aesthetic look and feel (and non-free software pre-installed) like Ubuntu, hence the funny name (though personally I think Feduntu would have been a better choice)! It uses Gnome 2 instead of the Unity interface, which many old-school Linux users will find more familiar and user-friendly.
Fuduntu until recently was fully compatible with the Fedora software repositories, but now it has become it’s own distro with it’s own repositories, as well as being a rolling release. On the Fuduntu website I read that you can also enable Fedora repositories, but doing so may cause conflicts with Fuduntu, so I have left the default settings. In the past I was never that impressed with Fuduntu; but after reading about the new Fuduntu I decided to download and try out the Live DVD of 2012.4. And wow, was I pleasantly surprised!
The first thing I noticed was that some nice Compiz effects were active by default. I had wobbly windows again! Dialogue boxes, windows and opened applications faded in and out like ghosts; and all using the included open source drivers without having to install the Nvidia driver for my system. How cool! The desktop has a crisp, clean look, with a pre-installed AWN dock at the bottom and a configurable Gnome 2 panel on top. It comes with a nice assortment of themes and desktop backgrounds. And everything was quite perky, even running from the DVD.
In fact the more I played around with Fuduntu, the more I enjoyed this simple yet stylish OS. I had a little trepidation since Fedora/Fuduntu uses RPM packages for software installation instead of Debian/dpkg, as I’m used to in Ubuntu-based distros. (More on Linux Package Management HERE and HERE). So doing things in the Command Line (Terminal) are a little different, too. But as I did more research, I thought this might not be such a big problem. Learning new things is fun, right!?
I checked around the Fuduntu forums, which are pretty well-populated and friendly. And I tried out the Software Management program in Fuduntu, which has about 95% of all the applications I might ever need. SO, I finally decided to install Fuduntu on the kid’s desktop computer and really see what this was all about!
To make a long story short - The installation was a breeze (very quick, as a matter of fact) and after five days of using Fuduntu I really love it. I’ve had zero problems; found an RPM to install my beloved Radiotray, which was one app I use a lot that was not in the Fuduntu repositories; and I can’t find anything not to like about this distro. It runs very quick on this Pentium 4 machine. Everything, as they say, just works out of the box!
To finish – here is a handy site to search for elusive RPM packages
…And a very nice review of Fuduntu HERE.