View Poll Results: Fedora or Ubuntu Desktop?

Voters
10. You may not vote on this poll
  • Fedora Desktop

    2 20.00%
  • Ubuntu Desktop

    8 80.00%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Ubuntu or Fedora as a desktop for Zimbra users

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    134
    Rep Power
    6

    Default Ubuntu or Fedora as a desktop for Zimbra users

    or for any users for that matter. This thread is spinning off of the Zimbra buyout thread.

    We are in the decision making process for what we hope will ultimately be tens of thousands of Linux virtual desktops. We had originally planned for these to be Ubuntu desktops but are rapidly leaning toward Fedora instead and we'd like to get some educated comparisons from the community. PLEASE DO NOT turn this thread into a flame war. We are grateful to both companies and their contributions to the Linux world.

    Our reasons are both technical and philosophical but also more highly anecdotal than I'd like. On the technical side:

    We prefer Ubuntu's release cycle for production use - Fedora is a little too aggressive. However, we had planned to use the Ubuntu LTS releases. After experimenting for a couple of years, we see that Long Term Support for Ubuntu does not mean backported improvements, e.g., I believe the current OpenOffice version is 2.4 (we manually installed 3.x so I'm not 100% sure), FireFox is 3.0.x, etc. I know backports can be enabled but we've seen some stability problems when doing so. Thus we'll need to either use a non-LTS version and upgrade every 12 months (giving roughly 3 months after release for bug fixes and testing before deployment) or live with a 6 month upgrade cycle for Fedora.

    The instability highlights another reason we are leaning toward Fedora. Our impression over the last couple of years is that Ubuntu is sometimes sloppy - lot's of hidden errors from misconfigured scripts if one digs through the logs, not as robust error detection or accommodation of unusual configurations in the scripting as we find in Fedora. It was crowned by our recent attempt to perform an automatic version upgrade which rendered the test bed completely unusable.

    To be fair, every once in a while, we've seen Fedora put out a bad release over the last many years but, in general, the attention to detail and quality seems higher - more enterprise ready.

    We also have a growing philosophical preference but it is, again, more from perception than measurement. This is the part I really don't want to turn into a flame war.

    We have been so impressed that RedHat has really not just talked the open source talk but walked the open source walk. I remember there was considerable concern about RedHat's intentions when Fedora was launched but their actions have proved them out. I am amazed at how they have spent millions acquiring very sophisticated products and then released them to the open source community with virtually no strings attached - Directory Server, Certificate Server, their Single Sign On product.

    The direct community support from the development team is amazing. I can't describe how helpful the IRC and mail lists have been at very, very deep technical levels for some of these more advanced products. We had a somewhat complex Directory Server setup and an excruciating battle with dm-multipath - not every day products and highly complex. The support and interaction was absolutely first class.

    I'm not sure that I see the same kind of giving back to the community on Ubuntu's part. Perhaps it is just bad perception. On the other hand, not all contributions are technical. Ubuntu has contributed sorely needed marketing and mind share for Linux and open source. Witness some OEM bundling of Ubuntu. That is important but they do seem to be more consumers than contributors when it comes to the technical side.

    Are these accurate perceptions? What are your perceptions and experiences? Thanks all - John
    www.spiritualoutreach.com
    Making Christianity intelligible to secular society

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    8,017
    Rep Power
    25

    Default

    I have been a long time Linux user and started of originally with RedHat. I then moved to Gentoo to provide a lean desktop experience. Then came along Ubuntu so due to work commitments I dropped Gentoo and switched. On the whole I have found it to be very good, and certainly Karmic has been working just great. As I run CentOS on all my servers I do feel it may be appropriate to give Fedora a try, and for another reason aswell. Ubuntu seem to be driving out hundreds (may be a bit over the top) of fixes at the moment; and the latest Nvidia one has really upset my laptop ISO is downloading as I type.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    55
    Rep Power
    8

    Default

    The new Ubuntu LTS will be out in 3 months, so that version will be slightly more up to date.

    There are also backports for OpenOffice, Firefox, etc.

    Karmic has had a few problems on some computers, but I think most of them have been hashed out by now (except uxbod's recent video card one).

    I tend to vote for ubuntu for some of the easier to figure out things for new users (software center, etc), but since you will likely be locking down the workstations, installing new programs shouldn't make a huge difference.

    Both are generally gnome based, which is about to go through a transitition. KDE is in the middle of a painful transition, and is still not quite ready for prime time yet in my view (and my laptop runs kde, my desktop gnome, so I am up to date on the things that haven't been ported yet). However, from what I hear gnome 3 won't be as much a major ground up reworking as KDE 4 was.

    The thing I would look into is the ability of each to remotely manage the computers and images. I have not done this on either system, but by reputation Fedora may have the lead on this.

    In the end, I don't think one is an obvious choice, nor will you "go wrong" with either one.

    One final thing to consider - if you're servers happen to be rhel or cent, then your tech staff may be more used to the fedora tools and settings, so that may be a selling point.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    134
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Thanks to all who have replied. Please keep the responses coming.

    We have unexpectedly opened up a third option - Debian. This was suggested to me by the X2Go team (an excellent remote desktop project if you are unfamiliar with it - x2go - server based computing: index) but I had dismissed Debian as being hopelessly out of date for a user desktop (but wonderfully stable for servers).

    However, the Debian hint was given again when we looked at the Mepis project. They had moved from Debian to Ubuntu and then back to Debian. Some of the reasons were the same ones we noted - LTS meant something different to Ubuntu than I was hoping for. I do know there are backports but I have seen backports break Ubuntu systems very badly in the past. Mepis also pointed out that Ubuntu is built from Debian unstable (Sid), which I did not realize and that there is consequently very little continuity from release to release.

    We have thus taken a fresh look at Debian and are impressed so far. We looked at two approaches - Debian stable (Lenny) + backports and Debian testing (Squeeze) which, I am told, is more stable than most stable releases! So far, it looks like stable + backports largely because of the KDE issue.

    I am a long time KDE user. Every time I try Gnome in an attempt to be neutral and completely open minded, I always go back to KDE. Not this time. KDE4 looks like it has enormous potential but basic functionality is either missing or hopelessly buried. I'm sure that will ultimately resolve and it will be a fabulous desktop but, until then, KDE 3.5.10 on Debian stable seems to be the way to go for us.

    Of course, this means yet another learning curve. The point about skills transference from CentOS to Fedora is an important one. But the hyper-rapid pace of Fedora I think will make it unsuitable for broad production. I would certainly like to hear more comments on this issue. Thanks again - John
    www.spiritualoutreach.com
    Making Christianity intelligible to secular society

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    55
    Rep Power
    8

    Default

    The concern for you may be upgrade path in the long run. Going with 3.5 is not going to be good, as bug fixes are going to be less and less likely to happen, and then the move to KDE 4 or Gnome will seem to be a huge step for people used to the old way of doing things (and most typical users can get stuck in a rut with this....). You sound like you are wary of bleeding edge, and that is good. However, you also wanted up to date packages, and anything in the KDE3 is not going to be current, nor will some of the newer features be available (Amarok 1 will not connect to newer ipods IIRC).

    Finally, based on your sig, you may also want to consider Ubuntu CE, and its dansguardian implementation, if you are putting this into a church or other similar facility.

    What is the game plan for these virtual desktops? Are you going for completely cloud, or local images? What is the IT support gameplan, and the method of updating users?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    134
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    Thank you - all valid points. Minimizing user impact and scalability are major issues for us. If all goes as expected, we are looking at thousands to tens of thousands of desktops all remotely delivered.

    We are in the midst of evaluating our maintenance options. We are planning for KDE to be the preferred desktop and are looking at KIOSK. However, we will be offering Gnome and will have more than KDE to maintain. We will thus be looking at more general purpose maintenance tools. Most of the users are transitioning from Windows and thus KDE seems to give a more seamless path but I'm not willing to put KDE4 out there yet.

    Strangely, this almost reinforces our sense that Debian's pace may be very well aligned with ours. Critical applications such as OpenOffice seem to be latest and greatest. Others which have not yet caught up with KDE4 still work (e.g., twinkle). I'm sure it will be quite a balancing act and thus the reason for us also testing Squeeze. Since these are entirely virtual desktops, I'm not very concerned about hardware support but a seamless user experience is critical to reduce spurious help desk calls for this scale of deployment. Thanks again - John
    www.spiritualoutreach.com
    Making Christianity intelligible to secular society

Similar Threads

  1. which version i have to download for ubuntu desktop 7.1
    By interind14 in forum Zimbra Connector for Outlook
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-06-2008, 07:38 AM
  2. Zimbra Desktop for the Mac
    By otisthegbs in forum General Questions
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-22-2008, 12:50 PM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-20-2007, 01:16 AM
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-15-2006, 09:31 AM
  5. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-19-2006, 02:18 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •