Sunday, April 17, 2011

Top Five Fedora Derivatives

April in Linux land means most people are going Ubuntu crazy as Canonical's first bi-annual release of the year comes to term. I would like to take a moment to remind everyone to stop and smell the distros. Even in April there is much more to Linux than just Debian's child (and grand-children).

One of the other "big names" in the Linux world is Red Hat's community driven Fedora. Beyond Fedora itself, there are also a small number of derivatives out there based off of this Yum+RPM powered distribution. The following is a round up of some of the better ones.

Fusion Linux - Everything and the Kitchen Sink
Fusion Linux is to Fedora as Ultimate Edition is to Ubuntu. It takes the base desktop and crams it full of applicationy-goodness! It offers a good selection of open source applications by default that just about anyone would be able to sit down in front of the distro and accomplish most all of their computing tasks without having to install any additional applications. Beyond this it also pre-packages flash, java, and all those closed source codecs you need to play any sort of media file. If you are looking for a "beginner" or "quick setup" Fedora derivative, there is no doubting that Fusion is the way to go.

Fuduntu - Elegance and Flash
Even if this distro's name is a bit of a joke, it's goals and usefulness most certainly are not! If Fusion Linux is the Ultimate Edition of the Fedora derivatives, then there is no doubting that Fuduntu is easily comparable to Linux Mint. Fuduntu takes the standard Fedora base and adds minor adjustments that make the whole system feel just a bit more elegant. Beyond the new icon set and nautilus elementary, Fuduntu also distributes Adobe's Flash player and MP3 codecs by default. Fuduntu is largely targeted at laptops and netbooks - meaning it keeps power management in mind as well with the Jupiter Applet.

Xange - Blue Fedora at it's Best
Odds are you may know there are many different desktops to choose from in the land of Linux. Unlike Fusion and Fuduntu, Xange opts to use the KDE desktop instead of Gnome. Xange advertises itself as an "easy to use" Fedora derivative that is designed to be beginner friendly. It has some a-typical default applications such as aMSN and Skype included by default.

CentOS - Enterprise Stability, FOSS Cost
You won't find flashy desktop effects, multimedia codecs, or anything of that sort here by default - Just a rock solid Linux distribution. CentOS really shows Red Hat's dedication to the open source ecosystem. CentOS aims to be 100% binary compatible with RHEL and is just as stable. It is geared towards those that need a rock solid system, but do not need (or cannot afford) enterprise certification and support.

Yellow Dog - Enlightenment for your PS3
Of course I can't get through a Linux distro round up without mentioning my favorite desktop - Enlightenment. Yellow Dog is a Linux distribution designed for the PowerPC and PS3 architectures that features the E17 desktop. It is designed for home, business, and cluster computing users. It is one of the world's only Linux distros optimized for the cell processor.

Have another favorite Fedora derivative I didn't mention here? Drop a comment below letting me know what it is and I will be sure to check it out.

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. You could have also included Kororaa, although it is still technically in beta-stage. Also, I understand that you included Yellow Dog Linux because it uses Enlightenment, but as far as I know, the last release was almost 2 years ago.
    a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

  2. I also love the E17 as it used beautifully on Bodhi. When reading through the site I got a ray of hope, if this could be employed on mobiles it'll be just great! It's already possible on the older NITs.

  3. Slight correction - CentOS AIMS to be 100% binary compatible with RHEL. Big difference.

    In actuality CentOS has never been 100% binary compatible with RHEL and likely never will be, but it is about as close as you can get.

  4. Thanks for the correction - updated the post accordingly.

  5. Jeff,

    I'm going to have to disagree with your pidgeon-holing CentOS here as a Fedora Core derivative. It is not and has never been that. It is a fork directly off the RedHat line. See here -->

    Read CentOS' own take on this here -->

    Ah... I feel better now. ;)

    Thanks for the great stuff here. Keep up the great work. :)


  6. I agree with Eric. Mentioning CentOS as Fedora derivative is the same as mentioning SalineOS as Ubuntu derivative. Yes, they have something in common: their grand-parents (RHEL), but not more than that.

  7. "Not associated with" != not based on.

    I'm fairly certain CentOS borrows a bit from Fedora.

  8. Very nice summary list! I've only been working with GNU/Linux since late 2008, and most of that has been with Debian and its derivatives, like Ubuntu. I've sampled other non-Debian distros but never found one I liked as well as what I had. It's good to get an idea of what else is out there.

  9. Hmm.. So far the things that keep holding me back is because of the ATi driver failures. For some reasons mine always refusing other distro other than Ubuntu.

  10. There is also Scientific Linux (SL), which like CentOS, is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code.

    It is maintained by professionals that have this as their daily job, which means they check every package again for its reliability and stability.

    It also means that all new Red Hat Enterprise Linux updates get released for Scientific Linux as soon as possible.

    For these reasons, I consider it more stable, and up to date, than CentOS. That is, better than CentOS.