Ubuntu, SuSE, Fedora and Debian Comparison

I have installed the following OS on my PC of following configuration.

Hardware: PIII-800MHz/192MB/20GB/Intel 82815 Video
OS: Ubuntu 6.06 / Suse 10.1 / Fedora 5 / Debian 3.1

I have installed all these OS, with mostly same configuration (2.6 kernel/ GNOME interface, services…). I have not done any tweak. Here is my observation with ranking. This ranking is based on performance on my PC only.
Rank 4. Suse 10.1:
Installation – slow, Eye candy desktop, Monitor not recognized properly.
After installation – Very slow desktop
Rank 3. Fedora Core 5:
Installation – dead slow, wonderful X configuration
After installation no X, due to issue in locale setting
Rank 2: Debian 3.1:
Installation: Easy and fast first phase installation, second phase installtion after reboot failed (but managed with apt-get manually, package selection interface is not user friendly
After installation – Cool, wide range of applications
Rank 1: Ubuntu 6.06:
Installation: crashing but managed through command line (using fdisk, mkswap and swapon), installation speed is normal
After installation – Fast, Cool, eyecandy, high performance.

Moral: Good installation method does not mean good desktop performance. Ubuntu wins!

Share this post


  1. Yepp, I also think Ubuntu is a good trade off of flexibility and easy-to-use. Quick, stable and Gutsy is well supported (nVidia graphics card, wide screen, wifi: Broadcom Airforce One etc.). Its a good chice for awhile after experience of Caldera 2.2, Slackware 12, RedHat 9.0, Suse 7.3, 8.2, 10.1, 10.2, FEisty, Gutsy.

  2. Given the relatively low specifications of the test machine i would highly recommend trying Puppy Linux. It is full featured and fast.

    With the addition of the EZpup package it is one of the best looking desktops around.

  3. I just went though the same thing…

    I was most disappointed in OpenSuse. The Suse installer didn’t recognise my video, which is OK. What’s not OK is it didn’t let me boot into text mode. I read that I could have used ssh to login remotely, but I didn’t bother.

  4. When I was first trying different Linux distros I learned that sometimes you can have a crappy mix of hardware that most distros will not like.

    Debian has been the most tolerant of different hardware– and rememeber that Ubuntu is a derivitive of debian, but with tweaks and changes. Ubuntu spends more time making sure everything works magically. While debian usually works magically too (especially with the new 4.0 out) sometimes it may require more hand tuning to get things working right.

    Debian (and by association Ubuntu) is probably the most rebust when it comes to the installer and dealing with weird hardware. I ultimately ended up becoming familiar with debian because it was the only distro out of the ones I tried that would install and work nicely on an old box I had at the time.

    Ubuntu is great but I like Debian more because I am more of a power user and Debian lets me work things the way I want without getting in the way.

  5. Hi Benard,

    I am not Ubuntu addict, but I appreciate it since it has given good performance on my laptop and PC so far than any other distro. Since I am not addicted to it, I try many linux distros when they are released. I started with Redhat 8.0. Then it was Mandrake 10.0, Gentoo, Slackware 10, Debian Etch, Archlinux and now at Ubuntu. For me OpenSuse is very slow on my laptop and PC also. It is just me or some thing else.. I don’t know. I don’t have linux circle here to discuss in face to face. That is the thrill I enjoy installing and testing a distro, and changing a production system based on that. Ubuntu has been my production system for more than one and half year (except few months on archlinux).

  6. Hi, well i dont know if Ubuntu is the best distribution for you or dont, that depends on how you feel and what do you need, but i have OpenSuse 10.2 and im happy with it, once i had ubuntu and for me it was very flat and some problems with drivers and stuff like that, you can also try slackwear thats awsome, or if you want the best linux distribution go for Gentoo thats kind of hard on the installation, but change a distribution is a good choice, changes will help you to know what distribution you want

  7. Thanks,

    I have a similar system with LOW RAM (160mb) and was deciding between reinstalling Ubuntu again (I dicked around with it too much.. :() or installing opensuse 10

    I was also wondering about PCLInuxOS.. you might want to give it a go too.

    For now, i’ll follow your advice and reinstall ubuntu.

  8. As someone who has been toying with various OS’s for over 10 years, when I think about trying something new, I am heavily influenced by the “Hassle Factor” of installing/updating. Your observatons are very helpfull.

  9. Dear Jimmy,

    Please note my words – “This ranking is based on performance on my PC only.” – Any how it is not my advice, just my observation. You might have disappointed expecting some thing. Sorry, I am not responsible. This will motivate me to keep blogging. Thanks for motivation. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *