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Revision as of 19:49, 23 July 2009 by Julian (talk | contribs)

Introduction to Fedora for Ubuntu users

Although looking familiar, Fedora does some things different than Ubuntu. This page tries to explain the major differences to Ubuntu in day-to-day use and introduce former Ubuntu users to the Fedora tools.

The root account

The biggest difference for users coming from Ubuntu to Fedora is that sudo does not work. The root account is the account for the system admin. This account is disabled in Ubuntu. In Ubuntu, you perform actions that require root privileges using sudo. In Fedora, root access can be gained with


su will ask for your root password, not your regular user password. The root password is the password you entered while installing, not the password you entered when creating a user account after your first boot.

After you logged in successfully as root, you have administrative rights as long as you close the terminal or log out with

Using sudo
If you want to use sudo anyway, have a look at Configuring_Sudo

Package Management

Fedora uses different tools for package management than Ubuntu. Here is a quick overview how to accomplish common tasks in Fedora:

Ubuntu command Fedora command Notes
apt-get update yum check-update You don't need to do this as yum updates its cache automatically before performing transactions
apt-get upgrade yum update -
apt-get dist-upgrade N/A Distro upgrades with yum are possible, but not recommended. Use PreUpgrade instead
apt-get install yum install -
apt-get remove yum remove -
apt-get purge N/A -
apt-cache search yum search -

Updating software

If you want to keep your system updated, the PackageKit update applet will help you. It will notify you about updated packages and security updates. Its settings can be changed at System->Preferences->Software Updates. If you want to update your system manually, open System->Administration->Software Update or run

yum update

as root.

Installing/Removing software

If you want to install or remove software, open System->Administration->Add/Remove Software. To install or uninstall packages, check or uncheck their check boxes.

Adding and removing at the same time
Note that the graphical frontend can't install and uninstall packages at the same time yet

For installing packages on the command line, simply type

yum install package1 package2 package3

and for removing packages

yum remove package2

The yum shell

If you want to add and remove packages at the same time, or trigger mass transactions, like updating your system, then installing firefox and emesene, and then removing pidgin, you can use the yum shell. Open the yum shell (as root) with

yum shell

Then you can simply type

install firefox emesene
remove pidgin
transaction run

You can use any valid yum command in the yum shell. To see what it will do, type

transaction list

and to accept the changes, type

transaction run


For more information about the yum shell, have a look at the yum-shell manual page

man yum-shell

Searching software

You can search software in the graphical Add/Remove Software program by entering search terms in the search box, or on the command line by typing

yum search searchterm1 searchterm2

Getting the restricted stuff

If you are looking for the equivalent of the Ubuntu restricted and multiverse repositories, that include patented and closed source technologies and programs, consider enabling the RPMFusion repository. free is the equivalent of universe and contains potentially patent-encumbered software like gstreamer-plugins-bad or the VLC media player nonfree includes non-free software like proprietary 3D graphics drivers. These repositories can easily be enabled by typing (as root):

su -c 'rpm -Uvh'
RPMFusion and the law
Using software from RPMFusion may illegal in your country

Using apt anyway

If you still like apt better than yum, you can also use apt on Fedora. Install apt with the following command:

yum install apt

Note that apt won't be able to access the RPMFusion repositories. After that, you can use apt-get as usual (don't forget to log in as root

Life cycle

Unlike Ubuntus 18 months, Fedora only offers 13 months of updates per release. That means that you have to upgrade to the latest Fedora at least every second release. Fedora also doesn't offer a LTS version. Be sure that you're able to upgrade your system at least every 13 months. Regular Fedora releases happen every six months. If you want to know when the next Fedora is going to be released, have a look at the Release Schedule