Fedora 12 — A ‘Must Upgrade’ and ‘Strongly Consider’ Distro

Let’s face it — when it comes to choosing one Linux distribution over another, it often boils down to personal preference. You’ll find arguments for one being more user friendly or another being drop-dead simple to install, but in the final analysis the real reason is probably one or more of the following:

  • Previous experience
  • Upgrading from older version
  • Familiarity with company
  • Hardware support
  • User following
  • Available applications

Unless you’ve had problems with a particular distribution, it’s a fairly safe bet you’ll upgrade to the latest and greatest version when it comes out. The more cautious might wait a short time to see if anyone else has problems with your particular hardware but eventually take the plunge. Newbie Linux users typically fall into one of two camps. Either they have grown tired of the issues with their Windows machine and want to try Linux to see if it will be any better, or they have purchased a new machine, typically a netbook, with Linux pre-installed.

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Fedora the Project

The Fedora project made its first release (Fedora Core 1) in 2003 as a completely open source alternative to the commercial Red Hat Linux distribution. From the initial release announcement:

Fedora Core 1 provides a complete Linux platform built exclusively from open source software. Available at no cost, the release serves the needs of community developers, testers, and other technology enthusiasts who wish to participate in and accelerate the technology development process.

In the beginning the Fedora project was targeted at the developer / enthusiast with an interest in the Red Hat platform. Over time this has morphed more into anyone with a desire to run a truly open source version of Red Hat Linux. If message boards and news groups are any indication, the distribution has a huge following. So where does Fedora fit in the landscape of Linux distributions? DistroWatch.com groups it in with openSUSE, Debian GNU/Linux and Mandriva Linux as “good middle-road distributions.” They lump Ubuntu, Linux Mint and PCLinuxOS into a group “considered the easiest for new users who want to get productive in Linux as soon as possible.”

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