I tested out two recently released Linux based distributions. Not intentionally, but in the pursuit of a goal. I was curious to see how much fruit was born from the investments Intel made with code they adapted for Linux to support 6th Generation Intel processors (aka Skylake). Overall, I find Fedora 24 Workstation to be a very solid release that works well for a number of scenarios.
The two distributions I tried were Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Fedora Workstation 24. Originally, I intended to run CentOS 7, but there was a catch. I am now using an Intel-based Ultrabook with a 4K screen and it would be interesting to see how well CentOS supports 4k. I ran CentOS 7 for most of 2015 and early 2016 and found it to be a solid Linux distribution. Out of the box, CentOS 7 doesn’t do 4K. I specifically observed boot up sequences with messages referring to issues with the 6th generation processor family. Perhaps other CentOS 7 installs proceed without these issues but on the ultrabook I am using, it was consistent. Truth be told, the kernel version in CentOS 7 (at least the revision I used) is older.
As I preferred a solution that had good support for the Skylake family of Intel processors, Skylake integrated graphics, and 4K, out of necessity, my first answer was to switch back to Ubuntu. Ubuntu was what I ran for approximately 4 to 5 years ending in 2015. A substantial amount of applications, solutions, and work has gone into Ubuntu and I knew there was a good chance it would support the features of an ultrabook running a 6th Generation Intel.
I ran Ubuntu 16.04 for about 2 weeks and found that the updated Ubuntu distribution was nice, clean, and overall highly satisfactory. I recommend Ubuntu (or Linux Mint) for those trying out Linux or switching to it on home computers. It seems to have the widest hardware support, but I had more specific preferences. While Ubuntu supports 4K out of the box, you may have to adjust the rendering of programs with the help of the Gnome Tweak Tool. You can find information about that on Phoronix.com and other websites. Even then, you may not get a consistent program layout across the board. Ultimately, my solution was to change the effective display resolution from 4K to 1080P on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I was okay with that as 4K wasn’t the reason for my ultrabook selection but the pre-installed amount of memory, SSD, etc.
I learned about the Fedora 24 release on Phoronix.com and recalled that the creator of Linux has been known to prefer Fedora in the past. That little tidbit and the descriptions of advances in Fedora 24 was enough for me to try it. Among other things, I was surprised at how well Fedora 24 supported 4K resolution. The display rendering is clean and consistent out of the box and the distribution seems to have a very smooth feel to it. Fedora 24 Workstation is quite nice. Further, I found that the setup of various tools to be quite straightforward using DNF. I had tried Fedora years ago and it was okay, but it has really improved.