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