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Fedora also had the same process for mounting the Windows share. Again, the Browse Network button didn't find anything.
The Geekbench application again did nothing when double-clicked. Engineers had to open a terminal window, login as user, and then run the application. This was another level of access engineers were not altogether comfortable with. Under Ubuntu, engineers typed, "sudo geekbench" and the application ran, while staying within its own user session. Under Fedora, engineers had to login as a root and run Geekbench under root -- not under its own user session. Engineers also had to be logged in as root in order to double-click and install IBM Lotus Symphony Beta.
Fedora also had the same Palm OS Devices applet and had no problem syncing the Palm device. It automounted the iPod and had no trouble transferring audio files through gtkpod.
While Fedora had successfully gone through each inning, engineers' concerns over using the root password had kept it short of matching Ubuntu's success. If Fedora could connect to the wireless network much more smoothly than Ubuntu, it would win the round, hands down.
Engineers went to the Add/Remove Software applet to install ndisgtk. Oddly enough, it couldn't find ndisgtk or ndiswrapper through the applet's search function. Fedora must not be seeing a repository that had the application. After some searching and referencing Web forums, engineers finally found ndiswrapper and managed to install the drivers. While the wireless adapter detected the network on the first try and didn't have any trouble maintaining connection, the effort required to find and install ndiswrapper (and not ndisgtk, the easier application) was just enough to keep Ubuntu ahead.
Even if the sudo/root difference is not as major an issue as engineers felt, the process for wireless drivers had enough stumbling blocks to keep Fedora from decisively snatching away the lead.
A close call, but Ubuntu wins the game and the title of Best Desktop Linux.
Finally, there are a few notes to consider. For users comfortable with sudo, using the root password may seem to be a bigger deal than to users already comfortable with RPM-distributions. This might just be one of those "your mileage may vary" aspects of being a Linux user.
Even though Fedora and Ubuntu both use the Gnome desktop environment, it's not, by any means, identical in look and feel. The main taskbar at the top, for example, is slightly different, with Ubuntu having all its System applets under Administration and Preferences and Fedora having a separate category for power related applets. Even some of the applications have been tweaked.
Engineers used gnome-screenshot to take screen captures of the distributions for each round, and noticed that the application acted differently on Ubuntu and Fedora. It wasn't a case of running with different options -- one or both must have tweaked the code. Ubuntu's tool took a screenshot and then closed automatically. Fedora's tool, on the other hand, stayed open, making it easy to take multiple screenshots without repeatedly going to the taskbar and opening up the tool. It was annoying enough that engineers briefly toyed with the idea of crowning Fedora the winner just for that.
Both communities have a vibrant community that are helpful in posting tweaks and suggestions for how to get something working. While it's not as wonderful as having a dedicated support line that Novell, Xandros and Red Hat would provide, it's much better than randomly searching for a page or two online. The forums are key. If you have a working network connection, either on the Linux PC or a different one, it simplifies troubleshooting exponentially.
From what engineers could tell, there are many ways to install an application on Linux. Ubuntu (and its compatriots) has .deb packages and Fedora and its ilk has .rpm packages, which automatically open up a package installer and runs. There are applications written as a shell script (for example, perl) which simplifies installation. Then there are the installs off the repositories, using the Synaptic Packet Manager or Add/Remove Applications. And finally, even .bin (binary) files can also execute. All these options, while making more applications and tools available, can get a little overwhelming. Just enough to long nostalgically for good old .exe files.
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