Test driving Fuduntu
In my talk at Linux Fest Northwest — and I say this often to anyone who will listen — I mentioned that there is a “digital Darwinism” at play in the FOSS paradigm. That is, distros and FOSS programs rise and fall depending on the quality of the software and the community that gathers around them. Good distros and programs — the “fittest” — survive, and the others, well, not so much.
That’s OK: It may be harsh, but such is the way of the FOSS world.
In case you’re wondering why I’ve started off on a tangent instead of going off on one somewhere in mid-blog, I bring this up because I think Fuduntu is one of those distros that can be a strong contributor to FOSS, not to mention a quality distro coupled with a growing community. That said, it has a bright future.
In giving the latest version of Fuduntu a ride — Fuduntu 2012.2 — it is a refereshing change of pace. Originally based on Fedora but later forked (and the installer will look very familiar to Fedora users), the distro — as the name Fuduntu implies — ties the best of two FOSS giants — Fedora and Ubuntu — and appears to be aimed at newer users, as opposed to the more seasoned veteran.
To say that Fuduntu is aimed at new users is not a knock against it. The distro’s simplicity is its strong suit. Clearly it is tweakable to those who have some Linux experience. But for those who don’t, it’s a distro that will be an easy gateway into the wonderful world of Linux.
Sidestepping all the personal preference nonsense that you don’t really care about — what works for me may not work for you — the distro itself performed quickly and efficiently on both a laptop (a MicroPC TransPort 2000 — an ancient throwback, I know) and a Dell Optiplex GX260 desktop (on the desktop, though, I only ran the live DVD from a USB drive). The GNOME desktop — the GNOME 2.32 version (thank God) — is a welcome sight on this distro. Banshee and VLC media player handle the music and video side of things effortlessly. Chromium is the Web browser of choice on Fuduntu, and it gets good grades for speed and usability. Overall, everything works — and works well — right out of the box.
Though I give Fuduntu high marks across the board, I think the Fuduntu team might want to consider adding an on-board (that is to say, a non-cloud) word processing program. It would beat the current offering of only Google Docs. Again, not to get into my personal preferences since I’m glad to add programs after the default install, a IRC client other than Pidgin (cough, Xchat, cough) would be nice, too.
But on the whole, Fuduntu offers much to a wide range of users.
My mantra is this: “Use what works for you.” Fuduntu is a solid distro and you can give Fuduntu a try by downloading it here.
This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)