Comparison to other distributions

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Fedora users or potential users sometimes have questions on how Fedora compares to other distributions in the Linux world. If you are wondering if Fedora is the right distribution for you, refer to the following pages:

Linux distributions are very diverse and the following is not meant to a comprehensive comparison of all distributions, nor are they a unbiased review or distribution bashing. Instead, this article looks at some other popular distributions from a Fedora perspective.

We, in the Fedora Project, certainly believe in the diversity and encourage that by working close with upstream projects that benefits all Linux distributions and not just Fedora.



Debian is a community project and a popular Linux distribution.


Like Fedora, Debian is very focused on free and open source software. A good judgement of whether a particular software project is truly free and open source software can be made on the basis of whether it is available via the Debian and Fedora repositories.

Both projects have a large body of collective knowledge from the community in the form of community governance, policies, and packaging guidelines.


Debian uses the deb format, dpkg package manager, and apt-get dependency resolver. Fedora uses the RPM format, the RPM package manager, and dnf dependency resolver.

Debian has free, non-free and contrib repositories, while Fedora has a single global repository that contains only free software applications. Debian has a larger repository with over 20,000 software packages. Fedora has around 15,000 software packages, although it should be taken into account that Fedora does not include a non-free or contrib repository.

Unlike Fedora, Debian does not follow a time-based release model.


Ubuntu is a popular Debian derivative and consequently many of the similarities and differences between Debian and Fedora apply to Ubuntu as well.


Fedora and Ubuntu both use many of the same command line tools, like nearly any Linux distribution, including cp, mv, rm, sudo, wget, etc.

Just as Fedora is sponsored by Red Hat, Ubuntu is sponsored by Canonical Ltd, a UK-based software company that profits mostly on charging for Ubuntu support. Ubuntu also has its own StackExchange website called Ask Ubuntu, which is similar to Fedora's Ask Fedora Askbot-based website.

Ubuntu has a server and cloud edition like Fedora does.


Ubuntu is commercially supported by Canonical while Fedora is a community project sponsored by Red Hat.

Ubuntu is based off of Debian, but Fedora is not a derivative of another Linux distribution and has a more direct relationship with many upstream projects by using newer versions of their software.

Ubuntu has more relaxed policies involving proprietary or patent-encumbered software and selectively tolerates it to some extent.

Ubuntu also uses the deb format, dpkg package manager, and apt-get dependency resolver.

Ubuntu's default desktop environment is Unity, but Ubuntu can also be used with desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and MATE. Fedora's default desktop environment is GNOME, but there are also Fedora spins of other desktop environments, such as KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and MATE.


openSUSE was founded by SUSE, LLC as a predecessor of Red Hat Linux. Because of similarities in packaging software, there are many similarities between openSUSE and Fedora.


Like Fedora, openSUSE uses RPM as a package manager.

openSUSE also has a time-based release model; however, Fedora releases a new major release every six months while openSUSE has a new major release every nine months.

openSUSE has adopted the Fedora trademark license agreement with a few minor differences, and openSUSE has mostly adopted the Fedora Packaging Guidelines as well.


openSUSE uses the zypper dependency resolver instead of dnf. Both of these dependency resolvers use a SAT-solver for quick dependency resolutions.

openSUSE is freely available, but also sold as a retail boxed product with limited commercial support from SUSE, while Fedora is a community project with no retail business.



Like Fedora, Mandriva uses RPM as a package manager.

Mandriva has adopted the Fedora licensing guidelines with few minor differences, and many Mandriva packagers synchronize their packages with the style and patches found in the corresponding Fedora packages

Mandriva uses the Red Hat network configuration file layout.


Mandriva uses the urpmi dependency resolver instead of dnf.

Mandriva has an official non-free repository for redistributable but non-free software. Additionally, Mandriva has a somewhat more relaxed patent policy.

Mandriva has a home-grown set of configuration tools, written in perl with GTK+ 2 bindings, organized in the Mandriva Control Center front-end.

Mandriva uses its own graphical network configuration tool and status applet, rather than NetworkManager like in Fedora.

Mandriva has a for-sale commercial edition, the Powerpack, which includes some non-redistributable commercial software and includes limited support.

Mandriva requires all shared libraries to be split into separate packages and to be provided in both x86-32 and x86-64 form.