Fedora 16 And GNOME Shell: Tested And Reviewed

Fedora 16: Conclusion

Getting Back To Reality

Although Fedora 16 holds its own against Ubuntu with regard to performance, as a rule, Fedora is not an end-user-friendly Linux distro. Verne is no exception. Only enthusiasts firmly entrenched in the Linux world will try to convince you otherwise. With that said, I have never encountered an un-fixable issue with the Fedora distribution, and I use the KDE spin on a semi-regular basis.

If you're already into Linux, there is no reason to stay away from this distribution. Then again, if you're already into Linux, Fedora needs no introduction by us.

The 100% FOSS stance and the required tweaking that goes along with it, however, is the reason why Ubuntu “gets all the glory,” even though much of that distribution is made possible by the toil of Red Hat/Fedora advocates. We're sure that if Red Hat wanted to put money behind a consumer-oriented Linux desktop, it would see similar success as Ubuntu. After all, copying Canonical's marketing, documentation, community, and branding techniques must be easier than developing and supporting the market-leading enterprise server OS. In the same vein, Canonical has yet to turn a profit on Ubuntu. Meanwhile, Red Hat is making money hand over fist by driving the world's servers and enterprise-class clients. Needless to say, a Red Hat-sponsored, consumer-grade Fedora desktop is highly unlikely.

We also have to weigh the fact that Fedora is not even intended for the average Joe. From the Fedora page regarding its target audience:

“...someone who can be persuaded to participate or contribute to Fedora. Consumers who don't fit this minimum profile, though, might very well be pleased with what we provide. We tend to favor consumers who are interested in taking a step toward collaboration.”

It doesn't get much clearer than that. Attracting the average end-user is not the goal of the Fedora project. We're not saying Fedora is incapable of producing a slick desktop. It happens from time to time, due more to coincidence than design. Fedora 13, for example, was absolutely fantastic. It was just a few simple tweaks away from grandmother-ready.

But it's right there in the FAQ. So, we cannot criticize Fedora for not being as user-friendly as Ubuntu any more than we could blame our toaster for not making coffee, or our printer for not playing DVDs. It does what it does, and despite the extra effort required to get it tuned, there is nothing wrong with Fedora.

Wait. That isn't entirely true. There is one thing very wrong with Fedora (at least with Verne, and its predecessor, Lovelock).


The only thing really wrong with Fedora 16 is the choice of GNOME 3 as its default desktop environment. This distribution is for the people who make Linux, not for the Win/Mac converts. GNOME Shell is most obviously intended for the uninitiated masses, not the developers. Putting aside any gripes we may have with it, from it's very inception, GNOME 3 simply wasn't the right fit for Fedora.