What do you look for in your OS?

#1

I tried a bunch of distros many years ago, used Ubuntu for over a decade, and now have been using Fedora for over a year.

I was looking for:

  • a stable distribution that won’t often break
  • with a large community for support
  • large repository of software
  • popular/standardized so as to receive support by software developers and debuggers
  • abundance of resources and documentation
  • quick to receive latest kernel updates, while still being stable
  • MATE desktop environment

On a whim I also wanted to try a rpm based distro for the variety of experience.

Fedora fit my requirements and I’ve been generally happy with it. Of note, upgrades from F28->F29->F30 have been really painless for me.

What are your requirements, and why have you selected Fedora (if you have)?

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Where have the old posts gone?
#2

I’m not only on this forum, I’m on the Fedora mailing list, and there’s one thing that I like about Fedora that they do wrong (in my opinion) in Ubuntu. With Fedora, if you ask a question about an old version that’s past EOL, you’ll get a suggestion that upgrading to a supported version would probably be a good idea, but you’ll also get as much help as we can give. If you go to the Ubuntu forum and ask about a version that’s out of date, the only “help” you’ll get is a suggestion (more like an order, in many cases) that you upgrade to a newer version because “we can’t support that version any longer.” Never mind that they know exactly what’s needed, they’ll refuse to help because your copy of Ubuntu is past its pull date. Here, we understand that “no longer supported” means that there are no more updates, bug fixes or security patches, not that the community isn’t allowed to help.

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#3

Does that influence your choice of OS?

I’m on the fence on that issue. I like staying up to date, so it’s not a factor for me. Plus, to be fair, Ubuntu LTS support is officially much longer than Fedora support. Attitude in general is another matter of course, but they do have a reputation of being newbie-friendly, have a large forum community, plus there’s AskUbuntu. I would think the level and extent of support is one of the biggest highlights for Ubuntu.

#4

I don’t use Ubuntu, but my sister does, and I’m her tech support. She doesn’t often upgrade to a newer version, so if she needs advice from the forum, there’s a good chance that they’ll refuse to help because she’s using an older version of Ubuntu. And, as I come from a tech support background, I consider their attitude nothing more than a way of avoiding help. I think that I’d better stop here because I don’t want this to turn into a rant, especially as it’s not about Fedora.

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#5

Given that a number of distributions provide the software that is the focus of the OS, I’d like to add that the mission statement each distribution sets out to achieve should also be a factor when picking one.

You can pick an OS, or you can pick a community. Communities are satisfied if you pick their OS, but happier if you pick the community. After all, Linux (FOSS) is community based.

There’s more to Fedora than the OS:

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#6

I just lucked into finding :fedora:. I am a longtime Arch Linux user on my old, legacy desktop system. I am happy with my simple window manager (Openbox) and I manage the system using the command line. It suits my needs.

When I got a new notebook PC a couple of years ago, it was a Windows 10 UEFI system. I had no idea how to deal with UEFI. On a whim, I decided to install Fedora 25. To my great surprise, it installed on the notebook without a hitch. I later learned that this was because Fedora (and Red Hat) have elected to use Microsoft’s UEFI key, which I assume they pay for.

Anyway, I have been happy using Fedora with Gnome on my notebook PC. Upgrades to Fedora 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30 have all gone smoothly. I still use a lot of command line tools to manage the system, because old habits persist.

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#7

Why Fedora?

  • It’s as stable as you can get, considering it aproaches upstream packages;

  • Fedora have a great community and documentation. It’s easy to deal with the minor problems that ocasinally occur;

  • It gives you the base to deal with RHEL systems;

  • You can see passion on every release.

  • Fedora have a multitude of variantions which suits almost any needs (spins, labs, silverblue, server, etc.), so i feel comfortable to reccomend it to basically anyone.

  • It’s powerful and yet easy to a new Linux user.

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#8

To clarify, the question is intended to highlight the criteria used in selecting your distro/OS, whether that is linux or not. Of course, most people on this site will have selected Fedora, but it is the reasons behind the choice that are the points of interest. This is different from pointing out what is liked about the choice.

For instance, having the most recent kernels for supporting the latest hardware was a big part of why I selected Fedora, otherwise I would probably still be on Ubuntu. Personally, I have little loyalty to a specific OS or distro, though I’m very fond of the flexibility of linux. I care about what works well for my hardware and fits my usability criteria. Curious to know what others’ criteria are.

The “community” answer is puzzling to me–what precisely is its relevance to the OS? A large user base usually means good support, and that is an understandable requirement. But liking a “community” does not require running the same OS. To me these are two completely different, and nearly independent, selections. Evidently, some think otherwise.

Here is an example of someone explaining their pragmatic priorities:

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#9

Some excellent answers I see here. I’ll try to do my best not to ruin everything :smiley:

What I mostly look for in operating system is that it is Linux based as it is something I’m most familiar with and gives me better overview of everything. If there’s a need to troubleshoot something, I’m far better at it if Linux is under the hood, just due to the fact that I’m used to the tools distros usually ship.

Besides the above mentioned I like my OS to be simple and hassle free on day-to-day use. As anybody else, I respect my time and would rather spend 2 hours doing something meaningful then fixing some issue that randomly popped out without me calling for it. That being said, I also believe that when you resolve few of those issues and get in fight with them, it allows you to learn your OS a bit more.

Things like package manager, package format and DE are usually not that important to me, although, I have to say, I like the polish of the Gnome in newer versions. When I get sick of it I just log out and log in back to my trusty Awesome WM :smiley:

Documentation is quite important but it is not end of the world if wiki is not all up-to-date, I can figure things out on my own and look up information I need on other distros pages, abstract the required information and apply it on Fedora as well.

Upgrades are something that I very much like on Fedora. I’m not 100% sure, but I think that I installed Fedora 20 on the my father’s in law computer, and he still rocks it today (still on Fedora 28, need to update very soon , but I imagine that will be flawless as it was previously).

To summarize, what I mostly look in OS for a daily driver is:

  • Works fine on my hardware
  • Has Linux
  • Has normal filesystem structures
  • Comes with familiar tools (GNU utils and such) or have them readily available in official repositories
  • Easy to install third party components (flatpak, snap, rpmfusion)

Perhaps I forgot something that’s even more important than above listed, but hey, If I remember anything I’ll update the post :slight_smile:

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#10

There is no OS without the community. Tomorrow, the community may decide that our resources are spent better on some other technology instead of the Fedora OS as you know it now.

It’s my turn to be puzzled. Would you please document how you think Fedora is created, and maintained?

They’re not, though. The OS is completely dependent on the community. The community can exist without the OS, but the OS cannot exist without the community.

That’s a good take on his needs. It is worth noting that “Free as in free time; the freedom less mentioned by free software evangelists.” is also a resource the individuals that he calls “software evangelists” are limited by.

All the issues that he lists, are not issues because Free/Open source developers don’t want to fix them. They are limited by resources too. That is why an “Open Source chip that … without killing the CPU” doesn’t exist, even if you, me, anyone has “5000$”

Let’s say we all join him and say “I don’t have the time, I need to get work done”----where does the time/effort required to make Fedora (and most other distributions) come from? So, I do understand that lots of users are annoyed by what sometimes is constant evangelism, but without it, we risk not maintaining the required numbers in the community to do the work.

I’ve not met a lot of evangelists that are hard line enough to say “if you don’t use free software, you don’t value your freedom, your free speech”. In most cases, it is more of a “you should consider moving to free software, here is why”. I generally just link people to this page and let them decide: https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/user-liberation-watch-and-share-our-new-video/

On a personal note, this is why the ideology is important to me—it makes me want to take time out from my full time job, my family, my other personal engagements to contribute to Fedora. Not because the OS needs updates, but because I want to help the community towards its goal. If it was only about getting work done (and believe me, I have as much work to get done as the next person), I’d just be using a professionally supported system—Mac or Windows which are both excellent software stacks in their own way.

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#11

I have used all of the major Linux distros and a number of minor ones over the years. What I look for in a Linux distribution is:

  • latest software but stable
  • broad range of software available
  • fairly well known so that I don’t have to compile too much from source
  • hardware support (usually not a problem on my Desktop)
  • a 4.x to 5.x kernel (preferably towards the 5.x end)
  • can be used by pragmatists and open source only proponents without jumping through too many hoops
  • a good range of desktop environments for desktop hopping (the next step from distro hopping imo)
  • doesn’t get in the way of getting things done from day to day regardless of task
  • being not too distant from RHEL helps for work related research and development

At the end of the day I can make most distros work for most of these items with varying degrees of success, but Fedora for me is the most polished (and usually most bugfree) option in this ballpark, and it doesn’t get in the way of getting things done.

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#12

Interesting. To me pacman with its illogical and hard to remember flags was a big reason I didn’t stay long with Manjaro, otherwise it seemed interesting. apt and dnf are so much easier to deal with.

:+1:

The dev community is a minuscule subset of the user community. The confusion here is in mixing two different definitions of “community”.

Logically, the choice of an OS is limited to those that already exist. How or where they came from is evidently hardly a concern for the vast majority of users.

This familiarity was a motivation for me too. It’s great that your requirements are met by many distros. That flexibility can be really convenient.

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#13

What are these two definitions you are referring to? When I use “community”, I use it as “anyone who interacts in any way with the many tasks that go into each Fedora release”—this includes developers in the tradition sense of people that write code, but also in the broad sense. So people that work on: design, artwork, translation, infrastructure (build system and otherwise), program and schedule management, policy and decision making, web sites, blogging, ambassadors that spread the word and hold release parties, documentation, support and troubleshooting… (See here for a detailed but incomplete task list and release schedule: https://fedorapeople.org/groups/schedule/f-30/).

If that is the case, then I think (hope?) you see the problem. It “hardly being a concern” means we don’t understand how or why these Free/Open source community supported OSes exist. They clearly do not appear out of thin air.

#14

You’ve described the dev community. The vast majority of users don’t fall into that description. Users typically have very different priorities, which that Louis Rossmann video hopefully illustrates. And that’s coming from a linux user.

The question of this thread is in the present tense, not past or future. It does not preclude “problems”, nor suggest what should be considered, but rather asks what do people consider. Btw, it’s also not restricted to FOSS OSes.