Thursday, 18 October 2012
Posted by Gary Newell |  at 23:44 14 comments
The tag line for Fuduntu reads "Fuduntu - Punny Name, Serious Distro". My initial thought was that it would be another Ubuntu clone but after reading the about page on the Fuduntu website (http://www.fuduntu.org/) I found out that Fuduntu is primarily based on Fedora but has the look and feel of Ubuntu. (Well Ubuntu before Unity).
I downloaded the ISO from the Fuduntu download page (http://www.fuduntu.org/get.php), used Unetbootin to burn it to a USB drive and proceeded to install Fuduntu to the hard drive on my Samsung R20 laptop.
Fuduntu has its own installer but it is fairly similar to the one used by Ubuntu. It is fairly easy to work out what you need to do to install the system.
Choose whether you want to use the whole disk for Fuduntu, then select where you live and the username and password you want to use to log in. All fairly standard stuff for modern distributions really.
Rather than rehash instructions that have been written a number of times before here is a link showing you how to install Fuduntu. (http://www.fuduntu.org/wiki/index.php/Installing_Fuduntu)
Fuduntu is a throwback to the pre-Gnome 3 and Unity desktops. Fuduntu comes with the Gnome 2 desktop with a taskbar at the top and a dock at the bottom.
The most notable part of the desktop is the majestic image of a tiger. It is hard to believe that you won't like the picture of the tiger but if you don't it is easy to change it by right clicking on the desktop and clicking "change desktop background".
There are 18 backgrounds available by default and most of them have bright vibrant colours.
The taskbar at the top of the screen is fairly standard.
Firstly there are three menus "Applications","Places" and "System". When I look at these menus and look at how Unity and Gnome 3 have changed the desktop landscape I wonder whether we have really progressed.
I find it hard to believe that any system is easier than finding your applications under the applications menu, your files and folders under places and anything system related such as setting up users and installing applications under system.
The main thing missing of course is the ability to search for an application.
On the right hand side of the toolbar are icons for showing notifications, a lightning bolt which provides information on cpu usage, temperature and screen settings, a volume control, a wireless icon, a battery monitor and the clock.
The dock at the bottom of the screen has icons for the most commonly used applications including Chromium (Web Browsing), Thunderbird (Email), VLC (Media Player), Pidgin (Messenging), LibreOffice Writer (Word Processing), File Browser (File Manager) and Garbage (Rubbish Bin).
Connecting to the internet was very easy. I clicked the wireless icon on the toolbar and both my home broadband connection and three mobile broadband connections were available.
I entered the key for the three mobile broadband and I was connected in seconds.
The default browser installed on Fuduntu is Chromium which for me is a good choice because I prefer Chromium over Firefox.
The next big test was whether I could play flash videos and listen to music.
The first test was to go to You Tube and attempt to watch a video.
The video I chose was the song in Cat's dream in Red Dwarf and as you can see from the image above it worked straight away without having to install any extra software.
Normally to test playing MP3s I use either Rhythmbox or Banshee but neither is installed within Fuduntu so instead I used the VLC player to play an MP3 file and it played without any issues which again means there was no messing around trying to install the correct codecs.
I think that Fuduntu has a very good balance of applications installed by default. Rather than go for a scattergun approach and install two of everything the Fuduntu team have basically made a decision for each type of application meaning that the system is completely useable straight away but not overly bloated with software that needs to be removed.
Applications of note are as follows:
Under accessories there is an archive manager, calculator, the gEdit text editor and Shutter which is a very good screen capturing utility.
Under graphics there is GIMP (Image manipulation), Shotwell photo manager and LibreOffice Draw.
Under the internet section there is Chromium (web browser), Pidgin (Instant Messenger), Remmina (remote desktop client), Thunderbird (Email client) and Dropbox (Online file storage).
Under Office Tools there is LibreOffice Writer (Word processing), Calc (Spreadsheet) and Draw (Drawing).
Under Sound and Video there is Brasero (Disc burner), Cheese (Webcam viewer), VLC (Media Player)
Under System there is GParted (Partition manager), a cd/dvd creator, backup tool, system monitor and terminal.
I think that if you are going to install LibreOffice Writer and Calc then you may as well install Impress as well and also it would be good to have either Rhythmbox or Banshee.
If you need an application that isn't already installed then you can install applications by choosing add/remove software under the system -> administration menu.
Fuduntu uses its own repositories. As Fuduntu is a Fedora based distribution RPMs are used.
The easiest way to find a package is to type the name in the search box and click find. If you don't know the name you can also enter the type of application (for example music player).
A list of applications that can be installed appear in the right hand pane. To install the application check the box and click apply.
It is possible to use the Fedora repositories but because of Fuduntu's reliance on Gnome 2 it is better to attempt to use the Fuduntu repositories first as the applications have been tested and are more likely to work with Fuduntu.
Fuduntu is actually very nice. I had forgotten just how good Gnome 2 is and it makes my laptop run like a dream compared with Unity and Gnome 3.
The menu structure is so easy to follow and the dock at the bottom makes it easy to launch applications.
I think the Fuduntu team have got the balance right when it comes to choosing which applications are installed by default although as mentioned above a music player like Rhythmbox would add a bit more value to it.
The look and feel is very clean and the choice of background images make the whole experience very pleasant. There are a few neat window effects included as well courtesy of Compiz.
I have been using this distribution for a few days now and I haven't hit any errors or issues. Usually there is something that hits you straight away but with Fuduntu there are no obvious problems which means it is stable.
So how does it relate to other operating systems?
I really like Zorin (http://www.everydaylinuxuser.com/2012/07/zorin-6-best-operating-system-i-have.html?showComment=1350594295140#c1906898506465356337) and because Zorin has its own desktop I would put Zorin a little bit ahead.
With regards to Ubuntu I would say that Fuduntu is aimed at a different audience. Fuduntu definitely works better on older hardware and it is lighter on resources. Against Mint I would say I prefer Fuduntu's Gnome 2 interface over the Mate desktop (http://www.everydaylinuxuser.com/2012/08/linux-mint-13-everybodys-best-mate.html) but that is because it is more mature as a desktop. Mint 13 with the Cinnamon desktop is a far better experience but again you need to have the system resources to cope with running Cinnamon. Fedora is now heavily Gnome 3 based and as with Ubuntu I think it is aimed at a different audience.
I do not know how long the Fuduntu team intends to continue using the Gnome 2 desktop and whether they will adopt one of the other desktops as they mature or whether they will do the same as Zorin and create their own desktop.
For now though none of that is important. If you like Gnome 2 and you like Fedora how it used to be but with all the hassle of installing extra codecs and software taken care of then Fuduntu is well worth installing.
Thankyou for reading.
About the Author
Gary Newell started the Everyday Linux User blog in 2010 and has written reviews on dozens of different Linux based operating systems. He has also written a number of tutorials.
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