Fuduntu Linux, a relatively new distribution which came into life  with its first official ISO in late 2011, tries to distinct itself with the following qualities.

  • Aesthetically Pleasing
  • Desktop Focused Design
  • Unbelievable Performance
  • Unparalleled Battery Life

Let’s have a look at some of the aspects of  Fuduntu before examining how it performs against the points above.

  • Fedora based
  • Rolling release
  • Own package repositories
  • GNOME 2.x

I had tested the last two Fuduntu releases before testing the latest 2013-1 release. Some of the notable changes in this release (besides package updates) are

  • Jupiter, a power management tool developed by the lead  developer of Fuduntu, is no longer available as the upstream updates have obsoleted it.
  • Cairo replaces AWN as the docker application
  • Steam and Netflix Clients

Installation:

Fuduntu provides a x86 and a x64 live DVD ISO, both are of size ~1GB. The boot menu in the live mode can boot into the ‘default’ and ‘fail safe video driver’. The system boots into the classic GNOME 2 desktop. Fuduntu uses the Fedora’s ‘anaconda’  installer and there were no noticeable changes to the default installer (note that fedora has revamped their installer). The installer worked as expected and I was able to install the OS within five minutes as I booted from USB.

I’ve noticed two issues related to the installer (these are anaconda related).

  • The second step asks the user to select which type of storage will be used to install the OS and after completing this step, instead of providing the additional configuration options for storage devices, the installer asks the user to configure the host name, time zone and root user configuration, and after this step, the installer comes back again to storage partitioning. This just breaks the continuity of the process
  • I was not able to install Fuduntu in a VMware virtual machine, as it was complaining about non-availability of boot and swap partitions while using custom partitioning

BootSwap

Using Fuduntu:

Fuduntu uses the classic GNOME 2.32.1 instead of the latest 3.x series. After using GNOME2 for a while I could not stop thinking how easier the life was with GNOME2 :-). Below are some of the things I’ve noted when using Fuduntu.

  • Minimal and adequate applications were available(One application per task)
  • No torrent client but ‘dropbox’ came installed

Now, it is time to examine how Fuduntu performs against its stated advantages.

Aesthetically Pleasing:

The sleek GNOME2 with  Cairo dock and custom theme makes Fuduntu as an unobtrusive desktop. There were some nice wallpapers included. Overall it was visually appealing.

Desktop

Desktop Focused Design:

The desktop focused design, in my understanding, directly relates to the choice of GNOME 2 instead of GNOME 3. As I said earlier, I had no difficulty in navigating /configuring the desktop.

Unbelievable Performance:

The installation was pretty quick and I would say, it was one of the fastest installation. Performing the user and date configuration during the first boot after installation can be integrated in the installation itself. I’m not sure why ‘anaconda’ still uses the two step approach. The system booting/shutdown  as well as opening applications were relatively quick. The use of GNOME 2 adds to the perceived performance improvements.

Managing applications was neither performance friendly nor easy when using the GUI tools included. There were three application modules, ‘Add/Remove Software’, ‘Software Sources’ and ‘Update Software’ instead of managing all these in a single place. These ‘applications’ can be opened simultaneously but all the actions requested will be queued. This made it to difficult to track and achieve what we wanted to do with these modules. To worsen the matter, when cancelling the update operation in ‘Add/Remove Software’, also canceled the ‘Update’ operation in ‘Update Software’. For a beginner, this would be very difficult. If you are familiar with ‘yum’, I suggest you take that route instead.

PackMgmt-1

PackMgmt-2

Unparalleled Battery Life:

The test machine is a HP DV6T QE laptop with switchable graphics between Sandy Bridge and ATI 7690M. In all the distributions I’ve tried ( Ubuntu and its derivatives, Mageia, Calculate Linux etc.) as well as Fuduntu, I’ve to disable the ATI dedicated graphics to avoid overheating as I was not able to get the proprietary drivers to work. Fuduntu is the first distribution in which the CPU temperature would stay in 52-58C range. The CPU power usage in all other distributions (after using tools like ‘lm-sensors’, ‘laptop-mode-tools’ and ‘fancontrol’), was in the 64C – 72C range. This was the same with Windows as well. Using GNOME 2 can be a reason for this less CPU usage but I have no other GNOME2 installation to compare. Some of the XFCE installations were also not as good as Fuduntu.

CPU Temp

CPU Temp-Win

Fuduntu had an excellent power management tool called ‘jupiter’ but it is no longer available. You can read more about ‘jupiter’ and its replacement (kind of) ‘ktune’ here.

Other thoughts:
  •  The level of hardware detection is same as the other distributions I’ve tried
  • Fuduntu includes all the media codecs. I was able to play all the formats I had.
  • The user forum is very active and I was able to get what I wanted
  • Fuduntu includes ‘Ailurus’ configuration tool for managing some of the aspects of the system but many of the options included can be configured in other places like ‘System Settings’
  • On the same topic, ‘Ailurus’ also has a module for package management. The repositories activated shows a different output that the ‘Software Sources’ I’ve discussed earlier. Also the available packages were very limited though the main repository is activated. Multiple applications to manage packages, is not a beginner friendly approach.

Ailurus-Repos

Available-Apps

Conclusion:

The Good:
  • Simple and clean desktop (GNOME 2.x :-))
  • Good battery life
  • One application per task
  • Stable ( no application/OS crashes)
  • A very good documentation
The bad:
  • Package Management might be difficult for beginners

I’m using Fuduntu as my main desktop. I recommend this distribution for beginners as well as experienced.