Another month, another chance to look at the distro stats on ProtonDB. I don’t typically cover them that often, but this time there’s definitely a new trend to focus on: Fedora usage is seriously on the way up.
June 2022 Update
First, let’s look at the latest updated graph:
- Fedora has moved from 3% distro share in this dataset to 10% in just a few months! More on that below.
- Arch and Manjaro still dominate the scene, with some variation but nothing really major compared to what we described before.
- Ubuntu is still around the same level, which is very low compared to where it started back in 2018.
- Pop!_OS still at a solid place but seems to be eroding a little month after month.
- The rest is more of less stable, with some slight month to month variation.
Fedora 36 has been out for a little more than a month now. And while I did not really check at the stats that carefully until a few days ago, man, have I heard about Fedora over and over again in our Matrix channel!
Here’s a few comments I picked up from a few discussions, all from different people:
I think Fedora so far is the most balanced distro between Stable and up to date packages. Its such a breath of fresh air to not have things break or to tinker
Thoroughly enjoy the experience of Fedora. I actually ran it on my laptop converted to headless home server before eventually switching to it as a desktop. My other laptop is running Pop!_OS 22.04 at the moment just to keep abreast of Gnome DE
Fedora is curated so they don’t push releases until they are tested. It’s not so much bleeding edge. It’s leading edge. There’s a difference.
There’s also some stuff I did not know about Fedora until I heard about it on the Matrix channel:
Also Fedora has a new thing called COPR which is like a hybrid of Ubuntu PPAs and the Arch AUR , so I think they are growing their flexibility
In my experience, pretty well everything that I need is in the RPM repos or in the COPR repositories. Nowadays if you install the Flathub repo you’re going to have everything you need between RPM, COPR and Flathub/Fedora Flatpak.
Checking out https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/ shows that it’s a kind of automated build system:
Copr is an easy-to-use automatic build system providing a package repository as its output.
You can see some recent packages at the time of writing. Note that it’s another repository for binaries, while the AUR is mostly used to build stuff from source code.
It’s probably not as exhaustive as the AUR on Arch, but that’s certainly a great step up compared to having a distribution with fixed/limited repositories.
What’s different in Fedora?
Well for one the dnf package manager is going to be different from apt or pacman if you come from other distros.
It also tends to be fairly proactive on newer technologies in the Linux user space:
- Wayland by default
- Flicker-free boot
- The latest GNOME version
- Btrfs file system by default
In a nutshell it’s probably fairly close to Arch in terms of what kind of packages you can get, version-wise, with more polish and probably more stability overall and less work to get things right.
Which version of Fedora?
There are different versions of Fedora you can play with, but as a gamer there’s probably two that really matter and stand out:
- Fedora Workstation, that works like a regular distribution. Probably the one closest to a soft change.
- Fedora Silverblue, an alternative to Workstation, based on an immutable operating system (like the Steam Deck), which makes it virtually unbreakable - and every application is supposed to operate within a container.
Silverblue is mainly if you are already interested in Guix/NixOS - if you are not at that stage yet, you’d probably want to go to Fedora Workstation as your first step.
Am I going to switch?
I’m still a happy Arch user - Arch powers most of my machines, but this is probably the first time in years I might consider something else. Not that Arch has a problem, but I have heard so much good stuff about Fedora from people that I respect that it piqued my interest. Next time I get a new machine I might just install Fedora first on it.