While Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution, Fedora is the fourth most popular. Fedora is based on Red Hat Linux while Ubuntu is based on Debian. Software binaries for these two distributions are therefore incompatible. Both distributions release a new version every 6 months but there's a difference in their long-term support models — Ubuntu offers support for 18 months after a version is released and also releases LTS (or Long Term Support) versions every two years that are supported for 5 years. Fedora, on the other hand, offers a shorter support period of only 13 months. This promotes promotes leading-edge software because it frees Fedora developers from some backward compatibility restraints, but also makes Fedora a poor choice for product development (e.g., embedded systems) or web servers. There are other differences between Ubuntu and Fedora, such as bundled apps, desktop environment and the size of the distribution.

Comparison chart

Fedora versus Ubuntu comparison chart
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Kernel type Linux (Monolithic) Linux (Monolithic)
Source model Free and open-source Free and open-source
Company / developer Fedora Project (sponsored by Red Hat Inc.) Canonical Ltd. / Ubuntu Foundation
OS family Unix-like Unix-like
Initial release 16th November 2003 20th October 2004
Default user interface GNOME Unity
Website http://fedoraproject.org/ www.ubuntu.com
Package manager RPM Package Manager, YUM, DNF dpkg, Click packages
Latest stable release Fedora 24, 21 June 2016 Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak, 13 October 2016
Working state Current Current
Available language(s) Multilingual Multilingual (more than 55)
Release date 16th November 2003 October 20, 2004 (2004-10-20)
Security No real threats No real threats
Software used RedHat based (uses RPM files and yum) Debian based (uses .deb files and apt-get), sometimes non-GPL compliant
Update method yum (GUIs avialable) APT (GUIs available), Software Center
What is it? A popular flavor of Linux (free operating system based on Linux) A popular flavor of Linux (free operating system based on Linux)
Distribution Based on RedHat, RHEL Debian
Popular Applications Mozilla Firefox, Rhythmbox, Evolution, Rhythmbox, Libreoffice, Nautilus (file manager) Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, Rhythmbox, Evolution, LibreOffice, Nautilus (file manager)
Developed and supported by RedHat, IBM, and contributors Canonical Ltd.
Introduction (from Wikipedia) Fedora /fɨˈdɒr.ə/, formerly Fedora Core, is an RPM-based, general purpose collection of software, including an operating system based on the Linux kernel, developed by the community-supported Fedora Project and owned by Red Hat. Ubuntu (originally /ʊˈbuːntʊ/ uu-boon-tuu, according to the company website /ʊˈbʊntuː/ uu-buun-too) is a Debian-based Linux operating system, with Unity as its default desktop environment.
Price Distributed freely under GNU license Distributed freely under GNU license, support can be purchased, ad supported
License Primarily GPL Various, primarily GPL and GFDL
Supported architectures amd64, i386 amd64, i386
Development and Distribution Developed by contributers, IBM, and RedHat, Inc. Developed and distributed by Canonical ltd.
Multi-touch supported Yes Yes
Cost Free Free
Support Community Community and Paid
Laptop stickers showing Fedora, Red Hat, "no bugs", and "no worms. The center one is GNOME Love with the internationalization (i18n) and accessibility (a11y) and a GTK+ cube mapping to those.
Laptop stickers showing Fedora, Red Hat, "no bugs", and "no worms. The center one is GNOME Love with the internationalization (i18n) and accessibility (a11y) and a GTK+ cube mapping to those.


There are some common principles for both Fedora and Ubuntu, including promoting free, open source software, and community participation and collaboration in maintaining software. Both projects are owned and maintained by commercial interests — Fedora is owned by Red Hat and Ubuntu is maintained by Canonical.

The Fedora project believes in leading-edge software, as well as providing free alternatives to proprietary code. Ubuntu has put a stronger emphasis on usability, accessibility, as well as expansion into other spheres like mobile.

Bundled apps

The big differences between Ubuntu and Fedora when it comes to bundled apps are as follows:

Interface differences

Fedora’s default desktop is GNOME 3.2.1. This is quite different from other desktop environments, even when compared to other GNOME desktops. For example, users must press the alt key to reach the shutdown menu, instead of accessing it from the regular menu, and windows cannot be easily shrunk or re-sized. However, web sites, such as Gmail, are treated as local applications and can start automatically when you turn on your PC. The system requires 3D-capable graphics cards.

Ubuntu’s default desktop is unity, which is available in 2D and 3D. It uses a standard GNOME based interface and is designed to be a universal interface for desktops, tablets and smartphones. It allows users to pin web applications to the Launcher on the desktop and conduct an online search in the dash.

Below, four Linux-based systems are compared, including Bodhi, Fedora, Ubuntu, and OpenSUSE.

Release Schedule and Support

Both Ubuntu and Fedora release a new version every six months. Ubuntu versions for both desktop and server are supported for 9 months while Fedora versions are supported for 13 months after release. Every two years, Ubuntu releases an LTS version (Long Term Support), that is guaranteed support for 5 years.

Use on servers

Many users choose a Linux distribution on a server based on the environment they are comfortable with. This is either Debian-based (where Ubuntu Server is a popular choice), or RPM-based, where CentOS is a more popular choice compared with Fedora because CentOS offers maintenance for 4 years and security releases for up to 7 years.

Popularity on desktop

According to online surveys, including with PC World, and ZDNet, Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution. As of January 2013, the latest version of Ubuntu was downloaded 81,063 from CNet. Although Fedora is now downloaded from its own website, an earlier edition saw 10,000 downloads in the first 24 hours after release.


Different hardware can affect the comparative performance of Fedora and Ubuntu. Some benchmark tests suggest that Ubuntu boots faster while Fedora is faster to shut down. Fedora won more of these tests than Ubuntu, but many of these were practical ties in performance.[1] [2] [3]


Fedora is based on Red Hat Linux and uses the RPM package manager; Ubuntu is based on Debian and uses APT. Software binaries for Fedora and Ubuntu are incompatible.


The Fedora Project was founded in 2003. It was began as an undergraduate project by Warren Togami and its development was based on collaboration with the global volunteer community.

Ubuntu was based on the Debian project’s codebase. Since its initial release in October 2004, a new version has been released every 6 months.


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