Why I switched from Pop! OS to Fedora

I love Linux.

I got my start so many years ago I’m not even sure when it was. I was in High School, I believe, when my half-brother helped me install Red Hat from a disk I got in a learning Linux book.

After that, I began experimenting with all sorts of OSes. On the Linux side, I enjoyed Slackware immensely, but I also played with Free & NetBSD and QNX. I even compiled my own version of Minix.

I swore by Thinkpads in college, running Slackware as my daily driver for my coding classes (except for my Visual Basic class). I wrote all my C++ and x86 ASM code on that. I did network security experiments on Slackware.

Later, I started messing with Debian, loading it up on an old desktop I turned into a house server.

After a while, my career was occupying so much of my time that I got tired of dealing with setting up and configuring a Linux install: I wanted to simplify my experience, so I started running Ubuntu for my dev machine.

Even further down the road, I decided.. Let’s give Pop! OS a shot. I was already running a System76 laptop that I love, so I loaded it up, and for the most part was happy.

Lately, though, I was getting frustrated with the opinionated nature of Ubuntu and Pop! OS for things like the DE and whatnot.

So, I’ve come full circle: I started with Red Hat, and now I’m running Fedora 35 Workstation. As I write this I’ve got my home directory backups restoring. I’ve got just about everything loaded up, and it is honestly just as easy as Ubuntu or Pop! OS to run.

What is better, however, is that I get a recent version of Gnome out of the box without any customizations, and I’m much happier because of it.

Sure, I could’ve set up Ubuntu or Pop! OS to run the latest, but it’d require extra steps for maintenance, and with Pop! OS getting ready to do their own thing on the WM/DE world, I thought it was time I made the switch since Fedora 35 came out and was getting good positive reactions from my fellow developers.

The install was simple, aside from no indication that I had to reboot to finish from the live install.

I was up and running with a fully functional, customized-to-my-liking desktop quickly with only a few hiccups on System76 drivers and the like (power management hasn’t been fully tested yet, but that’s not a huge deal currently).

I like running a distro that’s as clean and un-opinionated as possible; going with a “parent” distro rather than a derivative that also has recent packages in the package system is fantastic (Debian was horrible for this). Ubuntu is based on Debian, and Pop! OS is based on Ubuntu, leaving yet another layer of customization and inheritance.

Sure, I could go with Arch or any number of other distros, but I also wanted to reduce time needed to get running and maintain functionality while having solid stability. I still don’t have all day to screw around with Linux, although I sometimes get the itch to do some customization.

Fedora 35 is fantastic for me as a developer. It’s big enough to have lots of community resources, but it also doesn’t have excess junk or all the drama that Ubuntu and other distros have (FYI, right now I have no opinion on Flatpak, and was moreso annoyed at snaps on Ubuntu than having any sort of hardcore feelings). Thus far the only times I’ve had to run make is for the System76 drivers; everything else I need is good to go with DNF/Gnome Software Installer.

The slimness of Gnome pleases me immensely, and the fact that it’s literally “just Gnome” and no extra bullcrap means I can easily customize it without having to deal with any quirks (Pop! OS shell/launcher was annoying).

Fedora’s maintenance cycle works well for me, too. Ubuntu was fine, of course, and not too dissimilar, but given Fedora’s backing (IBM) I feel a little more comfortable with it.

So, I’ll be tipping my red hat to you all who are considering the same switch.