Ubuntu vs Fedora: Which One Should You Use and Why?

Discover the key differences between Ubuntu and Fedora. Make an informed decision for your Linux journey. Compare features, performance, and more.

Updated: 19 Jul, 24 by Lisa P 17 Min

List of content you will read in this article:

In the ever-evolving landscape of operating systems, choosing the right one can often feel like navigating a maze. Two prominent contenders in the realm of Linux-based operating systems, Fedora and Ubuntu, continually capture the attention of tech enthusiasts and business professionals alike. Each has its unique set of features, strengths, and weaknesses, making the decision-making process all the more perplexing.

In this comprehensive guide, we will embark on a journey to explore the intricacies of Fedora and Ubuntu, shedding light on their key differentiators, performance capabilities, and suitability for various use cases.

Ubuntu, often hailed as the "Linux for human beings," is an open-source, Debian-based operating system that has gained immense popularity for its user-friendliness and accessibility. Developed and maintained by Canonical Ltd., Ubuntu has consistently strived to bridge the gap between the complexities of Linux and the expectations of everyday users. Its name, derived from an African philosophy emphasizing community and interconnectedness, aptly reflects its commitment to inclusivity and collaboration.

Ubuntu boasts a straightforward installation process and a polished, intuitive desktop environment—most notably, the GNOME Shell in its recent iterations. The system is well-known for its vast software repositories, offering a wide range of applications that cater to diverse needs. Furthermore, Ubuntu is renowned for its Long-Term Support (LTS) versions, which provide stability and security updates over an extended period, making it an ideal choice for servers and enterprises.

Features of Ubuntu

  • User-Friendly Interface

One of Ubuntu's standout features is its user-friendly interface, which is designed to cater to both newcomers and experienced Linux users. The GNOME Shell, used as the default desktop environment in recent releases, provides an elegant and intuitive experience. The interface is highly customizable, allowing users to adapt it to their preferences easily.

  • Extensive Software Repository

Ubuntu's software ecosystem is extensive, featuring an impressive repository of applications and software packages. Users have access to thousands of free and open-source software, ensuring that there's something for everyone. The Software Center simplifies the installation and management of software, making it easy for users to find and install applications.

  • Long-Term Support (LTS) Versions

Ubuntu offers LTS versions, which are stable releases supported for five years, providing users with an extended period of security updates and maintenance. This makes Ubuntu an ideal choice for servers, enterprises, and users who prioritize stability and reliability.

  • Community Support

Ubuntu boasts a robust and active user community. Users can find assistance, solutions to problems, and tutorials readily available online. This sense of community contributes to the overall accessibility and appeal of Ubuntu.

  • Regular Updates

Ubuntu maintains a regular release schedule, with new versions arriving every six months. These updates introduce the latest features, security enhancements, and hardware support, ensuring that Ubuntu remains up-to-date with the evolving tech landscape.

  • Snap Packages

Snap packages provide a convenient way to install and manage software with easy dependency handling. They allow users to enjoy up-to-date applications without worrying about compatibility issues, enhancing the overall software experience.

  • Cloud Integration

Ubuntu's integration with cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure makes it a top choice for cloud computing and server deployments. This robust compatibility ensures seamless operation in cloud environments.

On the other side of the Linux spectrum lies Fedora, a Linux distribution that positions itself at the forefront of innovation and open-source development. Sponsored by Red Hat, Fedora serves as a testbed for bleeding-edge technologies and serves as a foundation for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

Fedora is known for its commitment to embracing the latest software, kernel updates, and features, making it an attractive option for enthusiasts and developers who crave the newest tools and functionalities. The project's focus on security and its SELinux integration ensures robust protection against threats. Fedora Workstation offers a sleek and modern GNOME-based desktop environment, making it a great choice for developers and creatives.

Features of Fedora

  • Bleeding-Edge Software

Fedora is synonymous with embracing the latest in open-source software. It acts as a testing ground for new technologies, ensuring users have access to the most recent software, kernel updates, and features.

  • Security Emphasis

Fedora places a strong emphasis on security, incorporating SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) to provide robust protection against potential threats. This focus on security makes it a preferred choice for security-conscious users and professionals.

  • Developer-Friendly

With its commitment to cutting-edge tools and technologies, Fedora is a favored choice among developers. It provides an ideal environment for software development, with readily available development tools and libraries.

  • Frequent Releases

Fedora follows a regular release cycle, with new versions approximately every six months. These frequent updates ensure users stay current with the latest software and features.

  • Modern Desktop Environment

Fedora Workstation features a modern and visually appealing GNOME-based desktop environment. Its sleek design and user-friendly interface make it suitable for developers and creative professionals.

  • Open Source Community Collaboration

Fedora thrives on community collaboration. Its development is open to contributions from individuals and organizations, fostering innovation and inclusivity.

  • Container and Cloud Technologies

Fedora is at the forefront of container and cloud technologies, making it an excellent choice for cloud-native applications and server deployments.

Aspect

Fedora

Ubuntu

1. Bleeding-Edge Software

Offers the latest software and technologies for enthusiasts and developers.

Provides a user-friendly interface suitable for beginners and experienced users.

2. Strong Security

Incorporates SELinux for robust security, making it a preferred choice for security-conscious users.

Offers Long-Term Support (LTS) versions, ensuring stability and extended support.

3. Developer-Friendly

Ideal for software development, with comprehensive development tools and libraries available.

Boasts an extensive software repository, offering a wide range of applications.

4. Frequent Updates

Follows a regular release cycle, keeping users up-to-date with the latest software and features.

Regularly updated, making it suitable for those who need access to new software.

5. Modern Desktop

Features a sleek GNOME-based desktop environment, appealing to developers and creatives.

Highly customizable desktop environments, catering to diverse user preferences.

6. Community Collaboration

Thrives on community contributions, fostering innovation and inclusivity.

Active and supportive user community, ensuring readily available assistance.

7. Container and Cloud

At the forefront of container and cloud technologies, making it suitable for server deployments.

Offers robust cloud integration, making it a preferred choice for cloud computing.

Aspect

Fedora

Ubuntu

1. Frequent Updates

Rapid updates may introduce occasional instability, making it less suitable for production servers.

May lack access to the latest software packages due to conservative release cycles.

2. Learning Curve

New users might find it challenging due to its fast-paced nature and frequent changes.

Some advanced configurations and settings might be intimidating for beginners.

3. Resource Intensive

Can be resource-intensive, potentially requiring more powerful hardware for optimal performance.

Older LTS versions may lack support for the latest hardware and software.

4. Limited LTS Options

Offers limited LTS options, making it less ideal for users who prioritize long-term stability.

While LTS versions are available, they may not provide the latest features and software.

5. Software Availability

Although it supports Snap packages, software availability may still lag behind Ubuntu's vast repository.

While the repository is extensive, some specialized software may not be readily available.

6. Enterprise Support

While closely related to RHEL, Fedora lacks the comprehensive support options of RHEL.

Ubuntu's commercial arm, Canonical, offers enterprise support options for businesses.

Release Cycle and Stability

Ubuntu: Ubuntu offers Long-Term Support (LTS) versions, providing extended stability and support for up to five years. This makes it a reliable choice for production servers and businesses that prioritize a stable environment.

Fedora: Fedora follows a more rapid release cycle, with new versions approximately every six months. While this ensures access to the latest software and features, it can introduce occasional instability, making it better suited for enthusiasts and developers.

Software Repository

Ubuntu: Ubuntu boasts an extensive software repository, with thousands of applications readily available. Its Software Center simplifies software installation and management, catering to a wide range of user needs.

Fedora: Fedora also offers a rich software ecosystem, but software availability may be slightly limited compared to Ubuntu. However, it embraces Snap packages for easy software management and access to newer applications.

Desktop Environments 

Ubuntu: Ubuntu typically uses GNOME as its default desktop environment, offering a polished and user-friendly interface. However, it allows for easy customization, enabling users to choose alternative desktop environments.

Fedora: Fedora Workstation features a GNOME-based desktop environment, known for its modern and sleek design. Like Ubuntu, Fedora supports various desktop environments, allowing users to tailor their experience.

Security Focus

Ubuntu: Ubuntu prioritizes stability and security, making it a popular choice for server deployments. Its Long-Term Support (LTS) versions receive regular security updates.

Fedora: Fedora places a strong emphasis on security, incorporating SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) to provide robust protection. It's favored by security-conscious users and professionals.

Target Audience

 Ubuntu: Ubuntu's user-friendly interface and LTS versions make it an excellent choice for beginners, everyday users, and businesses seeking a reliable and easy-to-maintain Linux distribution.

Fedora: Fedora's bleeding-edge software and developer-friendly environment cater more to enthusiasts, developers, and those who want to stay on the cutting edge of Linux technology.

Enterprise Support

Ubuntu: Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, offers enterprise support options, making it a viable choice for businesses requiring comprehensive support.

Fedora: While Fedora serves as the foundation for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), it lacks the comprehensive enterprise support options available for RHEL.

Installation

Ubuntu: Ubuntu provides a straightforward and user-friendly installation process, making it accessible to beginners. The installation wizard guides users through the setup, simplifying the overall process.

Fedora: Fedora's installation process is also user-friendly, with an intuitive installer. It offers options for customizing disk partitions and system configurations, making it suitable for both beginners and advanced users.

Gaming

Fedora: Fedora is not typically considered a primary choice for gaming due to its emphasis on bleeding-edge software, which may not always be compatible with gaming setups.

Ubuntu: Ubuntu has gained popularity among gamers, with support for Steam and a growing library of Linux-compatible games. Its user-friendly interface and software availability make it a preferred choice for gaming enthusiasts.

Performance

Fedora: Fedora's focus on cutting-edge software may demand more system resources, potentially requiring more powerful hardware for optimal performance.

Ubuntu: Ubuntu, especially its LTS versions, tends to be resource-efficient and can run smoothly on a wide range of hardware configurations.

For Development

Ubuntu: Ubuntu is a favored choice among developers due to its stable environment, extensive software repository, and support for a variety of development tools and libraries. Its LTS versions are particularly popular for development.

Fedora: Fedora's commitment to cutting-edge technologies makes it attractive to developers who want access to the latest tools and features. It provides an ideal environment for software development and experimentation.

Support and Userbase

Ubuntu: Ubuntu has a large and active user community, making it one of the most popular Linux distributions. It offers extensive support through forums like UbuntuForums and Ask Ubuntu. Canonical provides professional support services, beneficial for businesses and enterprise users.

Fedora: Fedora also has a community with support available through forums such as Ask Fedora. While its user base is smaller than Ubuntu's, it is highly engaged, especially among developers and enthusiasts. Familiarity with Fedora can benefit those working with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

Release Cycle

Ubuntu: Ubuntu follows a structured release cycle with Regular and Long-Term Support (LTS) releases. Regular releases every six months are supported for nine months, while LTS releases every two years receive five years of support, offering stability and reliability for long-term use.

Fedora: Fedora has a rapid release cycle, with new versions typically every six months and support for approximately thirteen months. This ensures access to the latest software and technologies but can introduce occasional instability, making it ideal for enthusiasts and developers.

Solid Base Distributions

Ubuntu: Ubuntu is based on Debian, known for its stability and extensive software repository. This solid foundation, combined with Canonical’s enhancements, makes Ubuntu a reliable choice for both desktop and server environments.

Fedora: Fedora serves as the upstream source for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), introducing new features and technologies that eventually make their way into RHEL. Supported by Red Hat, Fedora is a well-maintained distribution, providing users with a cutting-edge Linux experience.

Choose Ubuntu If:

  • You value stability and reliability, especially for production servers and critical systems.
  • A vast software repository with easy access to a wide range of applications is crucial for your needs.
  • You prefer a user-friendly interface, with the option to customize desktop environments.
  • Long-Term Support (LTS) versions align with your requirement for extended software support and maintenance.
  • You are looking for commercial support options, with Canonical offering enterprise-grade support.

Choose Fedora If:

  • You are an enthusiast or developer who craves the latest software and technologies.
  • Frequent updates and access to bleeding-edge features are essential for your work or interests.
  • You prioritize security and appreciate features like SELinux for enhanced protection.
  • You prefer a modern GNOME-based desktop environment with the option to explore alternative desktop environments.
  • You want a Linux distribution that excels in cloud-native and container technologies.
  • You are comfortable with community-based support and don't require comprehensive enterprise support options.

In the end, the "better" choice between Ubuntu and Fedora depends on your specific use case and what you value most in a Linux distribution.

In the ever-evolving realm of Linux distributions, the choice between Ubuntu and Fedora remains a compelling and, at times, challenging decision. Ubuntu's emphasis on stability, user-friendliness, and extensive software availability, especially through Snap packages, makes it an ideal choice for beginners, businesses, and those seeking a dependable computing environment.

On the other hand, Fedora's relentless pursuit of the latest software, security, and developer-friendly features caters to enthusiasts and innovators craving the cutting edge. While both distributions offer distinct advantages, there is no universal "better" choice; the decision ultimately hinges on individual preferences and specific use cases. Whether you prioritize stability or the latest technologies, it's evident that the vibrant open-source community continues to thrive, ensuring that Ubuntu and Fedora remain stalwarts in the world of Linux, empowering users to find the perfect fit for their unique computing needs.

Ubuntu is generally considered a better choice for gaming due to its growing library of Linux-compatible games, support for the Steam platform, and user-friendly interface. While Fedora offers cutting-edge software, it may not always be the optimal choice for gaming enthusiasts.

Yes, there can be differences in system performance between Ubuntu and Fedora. Ubuntu, especially its LTS versions, tends to be resource-efficient and runs smoothly on a wide range of hardware. In contrast, Fedora's focus on bleeding-edge software may demand more system resources, potentially requiring more powerful hardware for optimal performance.

Yes, both Ubuntu and Fedora offer commercial support options. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, provides enterprise-grade support for businesses using Ubuntu. Fedora, while lacking comprehensive enterprise support, serves as the upstream base for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which does offer robust commercial support options tailored to enterprise needs.

Lisa P

Lisa P

Hello, everyone, my name is Lisa. I'm a passionate electrical engineering student with a keen interest in technology. I'm fascinated by the intersection of engineering principles and technological advancements, and I'm eager to contribute to the field by applying my knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems.