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Jan
25

Fuduntu 2013.1 Review – Quite Punny

Posted by Rob Zwetsloot

Designed to fit somewhere between Fedora and Ubuntu, this fork of Fedora is a fully functional and easy to use distribution

Whenever we get a chance to look at the new Fuduntu, our first impressions are always about how nice it is to work with. Positioning itself as a lightweight, battery friendly distro, Fuduntu is one of the few remaining Linux distributions that still uses the venerable GNOME 2 desktop environment, enhancing its functionality with a dock similar to OS X. It’s quite fast, and comes with a decent selection of default apps to let you hit the ground running while you further enhance the experience.

Installation of Fuduntu is nice and simple, with some advanced options for storage and partitioning, followed by setting up users and other system options post reboot. This particular Red Hat/Fedora style of install is always great for OEMs or sysadmins, and the Fuduntu version is as good as any other bar the Mandriva derived distros. The whole process runs at a fairly normal speed on a modern computer, but is nothing to shout about.

GNOME Fedora Ubuntu
The default apps in Fuduntu are a great starting point.

The initial Fuduntu set-up comprises of Chromium for web browsing, LibreOffice suite for all kinds of office work, a small selection of media players. Enough to get yourself going of course, and the repos are well stocked with programming packages and IDEs, among everything else, so it’s quick enough to get down to some serious work if time is short. The dock for the GNOME 2 interface has been changed from AWN in previous versions to Cairo – apparently AWN is no longer maintained, and there are a few bugs present that are not being fixed. The Cairo dock is a nice replacement, work in practically the same way and allowing for some snazzy UI effects like previewing the contents of a folder on the dock, and of course hides away just fine when it’s not in focus.

It seems odd in 2013 for a modern, up-to-date distro to still be using GNOME 2, especially with some high profile alternatives. Especially MATE, which is slowly maturing as a very competent replacement and upgrade to the original code base. GNOME 2 of course still runs fine, and the extra functionality from Cairo is much appreciated, however it may be time to think about changing to MATE.

Fedora Ubuntu
GNOME 2 still works fine, but it might be time to move to MATE

There are a couple of new, fairly high profile apps that have been added to Fuduntu – namely Netflix and the Steam Beta client. Fuduntu is the first Linux distro to officially support and distribute either of these via their repos, although of course there’s a few caveats. Netflix itself has to run on Wine, and installing and setting it up takes a while as it sets up enough core Wine modules to allow it to run. It can then be found in the Sound & Vision part of the applications menu, however we generally had issues getting it to work on our review setup in what was apparently a rare case for people using Fuduntu. Steam is a native app though, so there wasn’t any problem there. Of course, both of these apps are restricted, proprietary, non-free software, and that is not likely to change in the forseeable future – it’s just nice to have them so readily accessible.

Fuduntu is a great, user-friendly distro that is very much focused at users that are in the community and need a straightforward version of Linux to use day to day. The extra additions and changes make sure it’s kept relevant as well, and as a rolling distro it means you’ll have to worry about upgrading a lot less than with others.

Verdict

4/5

Fuduntu is a pleasure to use, and doesn’t really have any concessions made to appease any particular sect of the community. The use of GNOME 2, while perfectly fine, still seems odd, but it works well even with the new additions of Steam and Netflix. Great for laptops too with its power management.

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    • http://www.fuduntu.org Andrew Wyatt

      Thanks for the review! We do still have deep roots in GNOME 2.3x, because it is very stable and supportable. MATE is still too unstable to be considered as a stable desktop.

      We are in close communication with Ikey D. from SolusOS and are following Consort with the intent of integrating it after it becomes stable as our next-gen desktop.

    • crabbos

      Ooh, Consort would be very interesting to see on Fuduntu! I hope Solus2 is released soon.

    • http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in Arindam Sen

      Good review. In fact Fuduntu came 9/10 in my assessment as well. For me, the best part of Fuduntu is Gnome 2.32.x. I tested out a of distros in last 1 year and quite a few of them had either Mate or Cinnamon as a potential substitute to Gnome 3.4.x or 3.6.x. All the test results on the same laptop, Asus K54C, 2.2 Ghz Core i3 processor with 2 GB RAM. Below are the average resource utilization to boot the default DE with system monitor running (all 32-bit OSs):

      Gnome 2.3*: RAM: ~150 MB from Snowlinux 3.1 Crystal, Solus 1.2 Legacy & Fuduntu
      Cinnamon 1.4/1.6: RAM: ~230 MB from Mint 13 & 14 Cinnamon, Snowlinux 3 White
      Mate 1.2/1.4: RAM: ~ 200 MB from Mint 13 Debian, Mint 13 & 14 Mate, Snowlinux 3 & 4 Mate
      Gnome 3.4/3.6.*: RAM: ~300 MB from the rest of the gnome distros

      CPU utilization for all is in the range of 1-10%.

      So, definitely Mate is better than Cinnamon or Gnome 3 in resource utilization but is yet to be stable. Further, Gnome 3 still rules the roost and actually gives a performance better than XFCE 4.10.

      Sad that possibly by next year there will be no distro with Gnome 2 desktop :(. The primary reason for me liking and using Fuduntu is Gnome 2 and when Fuduntu migrates to Mate, I’ll possibly replace it with Snowlinux or any good Linux OS still giving Gnome 2 option.

      Regards,
      Arindam

    • Gonzalo

      Looks great.
      And I wouldn’t recomend MATE, either. Rather go for Consorttium (next generation, based on Gnome3)!
      Godspeed Fuduntu.

    • Lim

      I really liked the look of this distro and once installed I was very impressed with almosy every aspect. The only snag was when I tried to update the packages; the machine simply would not go beyond the ‘sign-in’ screen. This apparent fault was consistent as I tried fresh installs and then upgrading at least half a dozen times. I want it to work and am looking forward to the next full issue.
      Regards, lim