|Main Screen + GNOME Main Menu|
Before that, I apologize for the recent dearth of posts here (aside from the very recent one). First, I've been busy, second, I've been sick, and third, I haven't really thought of anything to write about. That's part of the reason why I'm writing this. Also, I can promise you that there will be a new review soon after this, and it will actually be two reviews in one (but not a comparison per se). With that, let's get on with answering that question.
So aside from the fact that I wanted to write about something here, I'm testing this because the Fuduntu lead developer made a pretty big two-in-one announcement yesterday: (1) Fuduntu is becoming a rolling-release distribution, meaning that users don't have to reinstall the latest version of Fuduntu every six months just to stay up-to-date, and (2) Fuduntu will stick with GNOME 2.X for as long as possible. These two really piqued my curiosity, so I gave it a spin.
I tested the live session using a live USB made with UnetBootin. I did not test the installation procedure because I did that before, and I haven't read about any major changes to Anaconda since then. Finally, I don't usually mention details like this, but do note that the ISO file has decreased in size from about 1.1 GB to a bit less than 950 MB; the consequences of this will become evident later. Follow the jump to see what's the same, what's different, and whether I still like Fuduntu as much as I did 6 months ago (and I will make frequent reference to that review).
After getting past the boot menu, I saw the boot splash, which seems to have been updated from before. Now, all the cloverleaves in the logo are initially in grayscale, and they individually grow and shrink in a pattern that I can't make out; they then randomly disappear one by one before reappearing altogether in the familiar colored Fuduntu logo. After that came the login screen; although Fuduntu provides an automatic login feature for the live session, GDM still shows itself for at least a few seconds. I would have preferred that GDM not show at all, and that the boot splash give way directly to the desktop, as is the case in many other distributions; to be sure, this behavior hasn't changed from before, though I overlooked it then because I was more interested in directly comparing its behavior to that of Fusion 14 "Thorium" at that time. I get the feeling that this automatic login thing is an issue with Fedora remixes, but not with other distributions that use GNOME 2.X. After that came the desktop.
The desktop is essentially identical to what it was in version 14.9; the wallpaper and themes are all identical, though the Metacity window border theme seems to have a little more of a shiny gradient to it than before. The layout is unchanged, with a panel on top and a dock on the bottom. Overall, it's still very easy to use and quite classy.
|Chromium + Google Docs|
I said before that the size of the ISO file has decreased by 150 MB. How did the developers manage that? Well, two very heavy applications, OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Thunderbird, have been replaced by Google Docs and Gmail, respectively. Wait, what?
|Gmail + Nautilus Elementary + Desktop Cube|
According to the GNOME System Monitor (and from now on, when I quote these figures, I'll also try to include the source like I just did), Fuduntu uses 225 MB of RAM at idle, which I think is about par or maybe just a little under (better than) par for a GNOME 2.X distribution.
I do feel that the 3-category GNOME Main Menu could be eschewed in favor of the more user-friendly Linux Mint Menu, and I know that it can be done in a Fedora remix because it's present in Fusion Linux. Given that the developers of both distributions do collaborate and that Fusion uses some Fuduntu repositories, I think it would be the neighborly thing to reciprocate in that sense. I mean, if I were to install and use Fuduntu on a regular basis, it would be easy enough for me to manually add the repository, install the package, and use it, but it would be nice if it were present out-of-the-box for new users.
Speaking of which, this is the first time that I have noticed that Fedora and its remixes do not have a GUI method of adding repositories, which I find rather strange. I guess I'm just really used to seeing that functionality in pretty much all other modern GUI package managers and I've started taking it for granted now. I don't know if it's the fault of Fedora and its quirks or the fault of PackageKit for lacking functionality that is present in basically every other modern GUI package manager, but it would really help if that functionality were present. I do know that it isn't the fault of the Fuduntu developers, but it's unfortunate that such a quirk slightly mars an otherwise highly user-friendly distribution.
That's where my time with Fuduntu ended. I feel a little mixed about the replacement of traditional desktop applications with cloud applications just to save space, given that it will still take a DVD to hold the live session. Plus, you just saw my two small nits to pick in the last two paragraphs. Other than that, it's the same Fuduntu that I really liked 6 months ago, and it now has a rolling-release schedule; while my testing won't test the consequences of that, the announcement is a huge plus in my book. Overall, I would highly recommend it to new users, and I would say the most appropriate thing to call this is "the resulting distribution if Debian-based Linux Mint moved to Fedora"; to be sure, that is a very, very good thing. In fact, if I installed and used it regularly, I would be happy with 99% of it, which means this could be among the distributions I would seriously consider installing on my laptop's hard drive, along with Linux Mint, #!, and Chakra (and maybe Pardus).
You can get Fuduntu here.