Fedora Core Archive

Fedora 40 released with KDE Plasma 6 and GNOME 46

It’s a big day for Fedora users such as myself – and especially for Fedora KDE users, also such as myself. Fedora 40 has been released today, and while the main focus is always on the GNOME release – although not everyone is happy about that – the various other spins, in Fedora parlance, have also seen major updates. Most prominently among them is the KDE spin, which ships with KDE’s recent megarelease, KDE Plasma 6. Starting at the top, Fedora 40 Workstation comes with the latest GNOME release, 46, which we covered when it was released earlier this year. It also comes with IPV4 Address Conflict Detection to resolve duplicate IPV4 addresses in the same physical network, and the PyTorch machine learning framework is now in the Fedora software repositories for easier installation and implementation by developers – a harbinger of what’s to come. The KDE spin comes, as already mentioned, with KDE Plasma 6, and inherits the non-GNOME improvements and fixes as well, of course. There’s also countless other spins covering pretty much every desktop environment and window manager under the sun, and Fedora 40 is also the first release to implement the new naming scheme for Fedora’s various immutable editions – the Atomic Desktops.

Fedora intends to fully embrace “AI”, but doesn’t address sourcing or its environmental impact

All weekend, I’ve been mulling over a recent blog post by Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller, which he wrote and published on behalf of the Fedora Council. Fedora (the KDE version) is my distribution of choice, I love using it, and I consider it the best distribution for desktop use, and not by a close margin either. As such, reading a blog post in which Fedora is announcing plans to make extensive use of “AI” was bound to make me a feel a little uneasy. Miller states – correctly – that the “AI” space as it stands right now is dominated so much by hyperbole and over-the-top nonsense that it’s hard to judge the various technologies underpinning “AI” on merit alone. He continues that he believes that stripped of all the hyperbole and techbro bullshit, there’s “something significant, powerful”, and he wants to make “Fedora Linux the best community platform for AI”. So, what exactly does that look like? In addition to the big showy LLM-based tools for chat and code generation, these advances have brought big jumps for more tailored tasks: for translation, file search, home automation, and especially for accessibility (already a key part of our strategy). For example, open source speech synthesis has long lagged behind proprietary options. Now, what we have in Fedora is not even close to the realism, nuance, and flexibility of AI-generated speech. ↫ Matthew Miller Some of these are things we can all agree are important and worthwhile, but lacking on the Linux desktop. If we can make use of technologies labelled as “AI” to improve, say, text-to-speech on Linux for those who require it for accessibility reasons, that’s universally a great thing. Translation, too, is, at its core, a form of accessibility, and if we can improve machine translations so that people who, for instance, don’t speak English gain more access to English content, or if we can make the vast libraries of knowledge locked into foreign languages accessible to more people, that’s all good news. However, Fedora aims to take its use of “AI” even further, and wants to start using it in the process of developing, making, and distributing Fedora. This is where more and more red flags are starting to pop up for me, because I don’t feel like the processes and tasks they want to inject “AI” into are the kinds of processes and tasks where you want humans taken out of the equation. We can use AI/ML as part of making the Fedora Linux OS. New tools could help with package automation and bug triage. They could note anomalies in test results and logs, maybe even help identify potential security issues. We can also create infrastructure-level features for our users. For example, package update descriptions aren’t usually very meaningful. We could automatically generate concise summaries of what’s new in each system update — not just for each package, but highlighting what’s important in the whole set, including upstream change information as well. ↫ Matthew Miller Even the tools built atop billions and billions of euros of investments by Microsoft, Google, OpenAI, Facebook, and similar juggernauts are not exactly good at what they’re supposed to do, and suck at even the most basic of tasks of providing answers to simple questions. They lie, they make stuff up, they bug out and produce nonsense, they’re racist, and so on. I don’t want any of that garbage near the process of making and updating the operating system I rely on every day. Miller laments how “AI” is currently a closed-source, black box affair, which obviously doesn’t align with Fedora’s values and goals. He doesn’t actually explain how Fedora’s use of “AI” is going to address this. They’re going to have to find ethical, open source models that are also of high quality, and that’s a lot easier said than done. Sourcing doesn’t even get a single mention in this blog post, even though I’m fairly sure that’s one of the two major issues many of us have with the current crop of “AI” tools. The blog post also completely neglects to mention the environmental cost of training these “AI” tools. It costs an insane amount of electricity to train these new tools, and with climate change ever accelerating and the destruction of our environment visible all around us, not mentioning this problem when you’re leading a project like Fedora seems disingenuous at best, and malicious at worst. While using “AI” to improve accessibility tools in Fedora and the wider Linux world is laudable, some of the other intended targets seem more worrisome, especially when you take into account that the blog post makes no mention of the two single biggest problems with “AI”: sourcing, and its environmental impact. If Fedora truly intends to fully embrace “AI”, it’s going to have to address these two problems first, because otherwise they’re just trying to latch onto the hype without really understanding the cost. And that’s not something I want to hear from the leaders of my Linux distribution.

Fedora change proposal suggests switching the main Fedora Workstation release to KDE Plasma

Update: the proposal has now been formally announced on the devel mailing list and Fedora Discussions. I have been assured by the main author of the proposal itself that this is very much not an April Fools joke, but of course, there’s still the very real possibility we’re being led on here. Still, I’m taking the risk and treating this as a serious change proposal for Fedora, even though it’s likely to cause some controversy in the wider Fedora community. The proposal is written by Joshua Strobl, the lead developer of Budgie. Yes, this is a change proposal to make KDE the default desktop environment of Fedora Workstation. The reasoning is that KDE is more approachable for new users than GNOME, it supports standards better, the industry seems to be making moves to KDE (see the Steam Deck), and so on. KDE also has more advanced features people have come to expect from a desktop, like HDR, VRR, and more, and it’s the more advanced Wayland desktop. The important note here is that in the highly unlikely event this proposal would be accepted, it’s not like current Fedora GNOME users will be ‘upgraded’ to KDE when Fedora 42 gets released. The idea is to promote the current Fedora Plasma spin to the main Fedora Workstation release, and demote the Fedora GNOME release to a mere Fedora spin, like KDE is now. While I would personally support this change, it’s pretty much 100% unlikely this change proposal will make it through. Red Hat and Fedora are entirely GNOME-first, and no matter how much I believe that’s misguided when looking at the state of the two primary open source desktops today, that’s not going to change. Still, it’s an interesting discussion point, if only to highlight that the frustrations with GNOME run a lot deeper than people seem to think.

Fedora Workstation 41 to no longer install GNOME X.org session by default

Fedora Workstation has long defaulted to using GNOME’s Wayland session by default, but it has continued to install the GNOME X.Org session for fallback purposes or those opting to use it instead. But for the Fedora Workstation 41 release later in the year, there is a newly-approved plan to no longer have that GNOME X.Org session installed by default. ↫ Michael Larabel Expect more and more of the major distributions to abandon X.org completely. For the KDE version of Fedora, X.org will be dropped entirely in Fedora 40 already, so one release earlier.

Introducing Fedora Atomic Desktops

We are happy to announce the creation of a new family of Fedora Linux spins: Fedora Atomic Desktops! As Silverblue has grown in popularity, we’ve seen more of our mainline Fedora Linux spins make the jump to offer a version that implements rpm-ostree. It’s reached the point where it can be hard to talk about all of them at the same time. Therefore we’ve introduced a new brand that will serve to simplify how we discuss rpm-ostree and how we name future atomic spins. ↫ Joseph Gayoso for Fedora Magazine You can get pretty much any major desktop environment as an rpm-ostree (inaccurately referred to as ‘immutable’) version of Fedora, so it makes sense to standardise the naming scheme.

Fedora ponders merging /usr/bin and /usr/sbin

The split between /bin and /sbin is not useful, and also unused. The original split was to have “important” binaries statically linked in /sbin which could then be used for emergency and rescue operations. Obviously, we don’t do static linking anymore. Later, the split was repurposed to isolate “important” binaries that would only be used by the administrator. While this seems attractive in theory, in practice it’s very hard to categorize programs like this, and normal users routinely invoke programs from /sbin. Most programs that require root privileges for certain operations are also used when operating without privileges. And even when privileges are required, often those are acquired dynamically, e.g. using polkit. Since many years, the default $PATH set for users includes both directories. With the advent of systemd this has become more systematic: systemd sets $PATH with both directories for all users and services. So in general, all users and programs would find both sets of binaries. ↫ Proposal on the Fedora wiki I think Arch already made this move a while ago, and it seems to make sense to me. There’s a lot of needless, outdated cruft in the directory structure of most Linux distributions that ought to be cleaned up, and it seems a lot more distributions have started taking on this task recently.

Fedora Linux 39 released

Fedora Workstation now features GNOME 45, which brings better performance and many usability enhancements, including a new workspace switcher and a much-improved image viewer. If you’re looking for a different desktop experience, our Budgie Special Interest Group has created Fedora Onyx, a Budgie-based “Atomic” desktop in the spirit of Fedora Silverblue.  Of course, that’s not all — we also have updated desktop flavors featuring KDE Plasma Desktop, Xfce, Cinnamon, and more. As with every Fedora release, it comes with the latest and greatest every one of the Linux desktops has to offer, as well as all the newest versions of the various frameworks and underlying layers, down to the kernel. Fedora KDE is my desktop of choice, so I’m definitely a bit biased, but I can’t wait to load up the upgrade and install it.

Red Hat stops packaging LibreOffice as RPM for RHEL and Fedora, suggests Flatpak instead

The tradeoff is that we are pivoting away from work we had been doing on desktop applications and will cease shipping LibreOffice as part of RHEL starting in a future RHEL version. This also limits our ability to maintain it in future versions of Fedora. We will continue to maintain LibreOffice in currently supported versions of RHEL (RHEL 7, 8 and 9) with needed CVEs and similar for the lifetime of those releases (as published on the Red Hat website). As part of that, the engineers doing that work will contribute some fixes upstream to ensure LibreOffice works better as a Flatpak, which we expect to be the way that most people consume LibreOffice in the long term. I’m no fan of Flatpak for a multitude of reasons, but at the same time, I can’t blame Red Hat and other distribution makers for not wanting to maintain a complex set of packages such as LibreOffice. This does give me pause regarding my current use of Fedora on two of my three machines, as I do not wish to rely on Flatpak for anything serious.

Ubuntu 23.04, Fedora 38 released

Two major Linux distributions released major new versions this week. First, Ubuntu: There’s a big user experience uplift courtesy of GNOME 44 and enhancements, and a brand new Ubuntu installer helps improves the onboarding experience. Foundationally, Ubuntu 23.04 runs on the latest Linux kernel 6.2 release, ships Mesa 23.0 graphics drivers (with in-distro access to proprietary NVIDIA drivers for those who need them), plus updates all of the requisite tooling, toolchains, and programming packages developers need. I’m curious to try the new installer if someone else adopts it (I have no need for Ubuntu), but other than that, this is a fairly small release that won’t rock the boat too much. Second we have Fedora: Fedora Workstation focuses on the desktop experience. As usual, Fedora Workstation features the latest GNOME release. GNOME 44 includes a lot of great improvements, including a new lock screen, a “background apps” section on the quick menu, and improvements to accessibility settings. In addition, enabling third-party repositories now enables an unfiltered view of applications on Flathub.  With this release, we’ve shortened the default timeout when services shut down. This helps your system power off faster — important when you need to grab your laptop and go. Fedora is, in my view, the best desktop Linux distribution, and I use it myself on two of my three main PCs. So far, Fedora 38 doesn’t feel like a major new release either, but just more of what you already know.

Fedora 38 plots path to unified kernel support

Red Hat and Fedora engineers are plotting a path to supporting Unified Kernel Images (UKI) with Fedora Linux and for the Fedora 38 release in the spring they are aiming to get their initial enablement in place. Unified Kernel Images have been championed by the systemd folks for better securing and trusting Linux distributions. Unified kernel images are a combination of the kernel image, initrd, and UEFI stub program all distributed as one. This seems like a fairly no-brainer move, and I’m sure there will be agreement and jolly cooperation on this step forward from all involved in the Linux community.

Fedora 36 released

Fedora 36 is releasing this morning as what is yet another release in recent times of being a very robust and bleeding-edge yet stable and reliable Linux distribution. I’ve already been running Fedora Workstation 36 and Fedora Server 36 snapshots on various systems in my benchmarking lab and this release has proven to be quite solid while adding new features and polish on top of the excellent Fedora 35. I have no reservations about stating that Fedora is by far the best desktop Linux distribution you can get today (assuming you prefer GNOME, that is). It’s polished to an insane degree, not afraid to both develop and implement new technologies that bring the Linux desktop forward – kicking and screaming, lots of kicking and screaming – and sports excellent community support through things like RPM Fusion. Linux Mint if you prefer less bleeding edge, Fedora if you want the best the Linux desktop has to offer.

Fedora 37 looks to begin signing RPM contents for greater trust

With Fedora 36 working its way towards release later this month, more developer attention and planning is turning to Fedora 37 that will be released this autumn. One of the changes being talked about this week is for signing RPM contents for a means of trusting the files that are executed. The Fedora 37 change proposal is for adding IMA-based signatures to the individual files that are part of shipped RPM packages. This will allow for enforcing run-time policies by system administrators to ensure the execution of only trusted files or similar policies. This is a good idea, and it’s important to underline that this is entirely optional – nothing will change for regular end users who are not interested in such policies. This won’t limit your ability to install whatever rpm you want, nor does it lock down anything any further than it is today – it just gives administrators more options.

First Lenovo laptop with Fedora now available

Red Hat’s Christian Schaller: This weekend the X1 Carbon with Fedora Workstation went live in North America on Lenovos webstore. This is a big milestone for us and for Lenovo as its the first time Fedora ships pre-installed on a laptop from a major vendor and its the first time the world’s largest laptop maker ships premium laptops with Linux directly to consumers. Currently only the X1 Carbon is available, but more models is on the way and more geographies will get added too soon. It seems Lenovo is taking its embrace of Linux quite seriously, with proper integration with things like Linux Vendor Firmware Service and Fwupd. The blog post goes into a number of other recent improvements the Fedora project is working on, too.

Fedora, UUIDs, and user tracking

“User tracking” is generally contentious in free-software communities—even if the “tracking” is not really intended to do so. It is often distributions that have the most interest in counting their users, but Linux users tend to be more privacy conscious than users of more mainstream desktop operating systems. The Fedora project recently discussed how to count its users and ways to preserve their privacy while doing so. As always, an exceptionally good article from LWN.

Announcing the release of Fedora 29

This release is particularly exciting because it's the first to include the Fedora Modularity feature across all our different variants. Modularity lets us ship different versions of packages on the same Fedora base. This means you no longer need to make your whole OS upgrade decisions based on individual package versions. For example, you can choose Node.js version 8 or version 10, on either Fedora 28 or Fedora 29. Or you can choose between a version of Kubernetes which matches OpenShift Origin, and a module stream which follows the upstream.

Other big changes include GNOME 3.30 on the desktop, ZRAM for our ARM images, and a Vagrant image for Fedora Scientific.

You know where to get it.

Announcing flickerfree boot for Fedora 29

A big project I've been working on recently for Fedora Workstation is what we call flickerfree boot. The idea here is that the firmware lights up the display in its native mode and no further modesets are done after that. Likewise there are also no unnecessary jarring graphical transitions.

Basically the machine boots up in UEFI mode, shows its vendor logo and then the screen keeps showing the vendor logo all the way to a smooth fade into the gdm screen.

People were complaining about this way back when I first actually got into Linux, somewhere in the early 2000s. I guess Fedora finally managed to get it working.

Use DNF rather than PackageKit on Fedora

Fedora Workstation comes with two package managers by default: DNF and PackageKit. DNF has all the latest features and the best support, but PackageKit is put front and center in GNOME Software, KDE Plasma Discover, and as of Fedora 26 also in Cockpit’s new Software Update panel.

You may be better off sticking with the DNF package manager in the command line; even though PackageKit is the choice of all the graphical package managers. Here is some of the advantages DNF still gives you over PackageKit based applications.

Fedora 25: with Wayland, Linux has never been easier

Yes, after being pushed back from release after release, Fedora 25 finally defaults to using the Wayland graphics stack (assuming you have a supported graphics card). This is perhaps the biggest change to come in the Linux world since the move to systemd. However, unlike that systemd transition, the switch to Wayland was so seamless I had to logout and double check that I was in fact using Wayland.

I called Fedora 24, released earlier this year, "the year's best Linux distro" but one that I would have a hard time recommending thanks to some ugly kernel-related bugs. Well, Fedora 25 is here with an updated kernel, the bugs appear to be gone, and I have no reservations about recommending it. Not only is Fedora 25 a great release, the updated GNOME 3.22 running on top of Wayland appears to be slick and very stable.

The switch to Wayland has been so long in the making. That being said, I've been using Wayland for several years now - on my Jolla devices.

Fedora 21 review: Linux’s sprawliest distro finds a new focus

Like most Linux distros, Fedora is a massive, sprawling project. Frankly, it's sprawl-y to the point that it has felt unfocused and a bit lost at times. Just what is Fedora? The distro has served as a kind of showcase for GNOME 3 ever since GNOME 3 hit the beta stage. So Fedora in theory is meant to target everyday users, but at the same time the project pours tremendous energy into building developer tools like DevAssistant. Does that make Fedora a developer distro? A newbie-friendly GNOME showcase? A server distro? An obscure robotics distro?

Today, the answer to all the above questions is "yes." And the way to make sense of it all is what Fedora calls Fedora.Next.

Fedora Linux lets you choose your own GUI adventure

"Linux fans hope that the interface changes in Windows 8 will drive more users to Linux. But the open source operating system is facing interface challenges of its own. Part of the problem is that - after so much controversy within the Linux community - there are so many interfaces to chose from. But the new version of Fedora - a desktop focused version of Red Hat’s distribution of Linux - is offering users an easier way to choose between the many flavors of Linux GUI."