Both distributions come with some gnome-tools for system administration. Thus they are easy to use and no big differences will show up. And indeed, they were easy to use, but again, there were some minor annoyances. Adding users in Fedora worked one time and didn't work the next time. A search through the forum-pages revealed that several users had problems setting up new accounts. No real solution was available here. Ubuntu did not complain about adding new users.
When keeping the system up-to date, Fedora uses yum/up2date by default. These tools work quite well although up2date crahed sometimes, as mentiones before. Yum is more stable and also very easy to use but more difficult to "configure" once you want to add more mirrors. Ubuntus apt-get/synaptic package is way ahead in this respect, especially as it offers a lot more packages than Fedoras mirrors.
Installation and uninstallation of tools/apps was easy on both systems but nonetheless, it would be nice if Fedora would switch to apt-get in the future, as most users prefer it to yum and install it on their system.
Slight advantage: Ubuntu
Both systems (on desktop and notebook) were tested on a LAN-Router connection to a flatrate. The D-Link router is known to be fast but a bit quirky, especially with 2.6 kernels. Why that? there is a little problem with ipv6 and the kernel that rendered many systems almost useless on the net. Although webistes could be reached via ping from a console, websites did not show up. This grave bug does not occur on 2.4 kernels but as these are used less and less, it is a good test, how well these two distros manage to get rid of the bug.
In Ubuntu (2.6.8 kernel), webpagedisplay was nonexistent. The known way to solving this problem is to deactivate the ethernetcard, then add some dns values in the /etc/resolv.conf and then restarting the network. This seemes to work on the Ubuntu box. Websites were shown, downloads were functioning. But only for a brief time. After roughly 15 minutes, the connection was dead again and the procedure had to be done again. Very annoying. The only way to consistently solve this problem was to download (yes, apt-get was working nonetheless) the resolvconf, pump and dnsmasq packages. the pump package replaced the dhcp package and after this procedure, Ubuntu was working like hell. The network was very stable, no strange behavior appeared during the next days.
Fedora (2.6.9 kernel) had the same problem at the beginning. No web-page could be seen. But there was a small clue. In the Gnomes networking-tool, there is a checkbox to deactivate ipv6. After deactivating ipv6 and the networking card and after editing the /etc/resolv.conf, the systems was working well again. No packages needed to be downloaded (as in Ubuntu) and nothing unusual happened the following days. Maybe this ipv6 bug will be completely gone once the 2.6.10 kernel is out but until then, users need to do some tweaking with certain routers.
Slight advantage: Fedora
Out of the box, Ubuntu is the winner in this test with 6:4 points but that does not mean that Fedora is a bad distro. Both are well planned distributions that really make your everyday Linux-experience a pleasure and will likely lure many users to the Linux-world. And once Fedora adds a better media support, both distros are at equals. Ubuntu and Fedora are in certain respect the pace-setting Gnome distributions and from an end users perspective the distributions to beat (KDE-based distributions are a different matter).
About the author:
Fabian M. Schindler, 31, is a german free-lance journalist who is using Linux since several years for his everyday work after dumping Windows and MacOS8/9. He has extensively tested and used dozens of different Linux-distributions, like SUSE, Mandrake, Gentoo, or Slackware.
If you would like to see your thoughts or experiences with technology published, please consider writing an article for OSNews.