Mayank Sharma was ex­pect­ing fire­works when Ubuntu switched to Gnome. Yet Fe­dora is still the undis­puted premier Gnome-based dis­tro. FREE | WWW.FEDORAPROJECT.ORG

APC Australia - - Contents -

Fe­dora 29 is the first ma­jor Gnome-based dis­tri­bu­tion to be re­leased this month. How­ever, the two (Ubuntu be­ing the other) have lit­tle in com­mon be­sides their shared desk­top en­vi­ron­ment. Fe­dora is the test bed for Red Hat En­ter­prise Linux’s (RHEL). This is per­haps why it takes a more bleedingedge ap­proach than other desk­top be­he­moths like Ubuntu. For in­stance, while Fe­dora 29 Beta runs on top of the Linux 4.18 ker­nel, the fi­nal release will be based on v4.19, which was un­der­go­ing test­ing at time of writ­ing.

There are var­i­ous other dif­fer­ences be­tween the two. Un­like Ubuntu 18.10, Fe­dora Work­sta­tion 29 uses the Way­land dis­play server by de­fault. The release also uses the per­for­manceen­hanced Gnome 3.30 and gets all the im­prove­ments of the release as men­tioned in the Ubuntu 18.10 re­view. The per­for­mance im­prove­ments are ap­par­ent when you do load-in­ten­sive tasks in the dis­tri­bu­tion while it runs on vir­tual hard­ware.


How­ever, un­like Ubuntu 18.10, Fe­dora 29 aims to main­tain the de­fault Gnome ex­pe­ri­ence. The most vis­i­ble dif­fer­ence be­tween the two Gnome 3.30-based dis­tri­bu­tions is the miss­ing sup­port for desk­top icons in Fe­dora 29. This is be­cause desk­top icons were never part of the Gnome 3 de­sign goals, and start­ing with v3.28 the de­vel­op­ers de­cided to axe the six-year-old un­main­tained code from the Nau­tilus file man­ager.

Ubuntu gets around the desk­top icons is­sue by in­clud­ing an older ver­sion of Nau­tilus. On the down­side Ubuntu misses out on all the en­hance­ments in Nau­tilus 3.30, such as the new bread­crumb lo­ca­tion bar, the in­te­grated search bar, dy­namic re­siz­ing and oth­ers. A Gnome Shell ex­ten­sion to dis­play desk­top icons that’s un­der de­vel­op­ment will bring par­ity be­tween both the dis­tri­bu­tions in this as­pect.


An­other dif­fer­ence be­tween the two dis­tri­bu­tions is their pre­ferred choice of ap­pli­ca­tion vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion plat­forms. What Snaps are for Ubuntu, Flat­paks are for Fe­dora. Many Gnome pro­grams, like Games, Recipes and the new Pod­casts app, aren’t even avail­able in the of­fi­cial Fe­dora repos­i­to­ries and are in­stead meant to be in­stalled as Flat­paks. You can in­stall Flat­paks from the Soft­ware app af­ter en­abling sup­port for Flathub. To this end, the Soft­ware app in Fe­dora 29 now en­ables you to au­to­mat­i­cally in­stall up­dates for the Flat­pak apps as well.


The in­ter­est­ing new de­vel­op­ment in Fe­dora 29 is the avail­abil­ity of mod­u­lar repos­i­to­ries for Fe­dora flavours. The mod­u­lar­ity con­cept was in­tro­duced in the pre­vi­ous release cy­cle, but only for the Fe­dora 28 Server edi­tion. Mod­u­lar­ity en­ables users to run mul­ti­ple ver­sions of the same soft­ware in iso­lated con­tain­ers. This ar­range­ment helps you use thor­oughly tested ver­sions of pro­grams and li­braries in pro­duc­tion while you play around with their bleed­ing-edge ver­sions, with­out wor­ry­ing about one in­ter­fer­ing with the other. Be­sides these, it’s a fairly stan­dard up­date with mostly in­cre­men­tal changes. If Fe­dora 29 is the only OS in­stalled on the com­puter, GRUB will boot straight into it with­out dis­play­ing a boot menu. In ad­di­tion, the over­hauled GTK3based Xfce 4.13 desk­top is avail­able from the of­fi­cial Fe­dora 29 repos­i­to­ries.


Go­ing beyond the desk­top, there’s more to Fe­dora 29 than the Work­sta­tion edi­tion. There’s also Fe­dora Server and Fe­dora Atomic Host for host­ing con­tain­ers, which has now been re­branded as Fe­dora Sil­verblue. The de­vel­op­ers also claim that Fe­dora 29 is also more ARM friendly than be­fore. En­abling zRAM sup­port for swap on ARMv7 will im­prove the dis­tri­bu­tions’ per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity on ARM de­vices with lim­ited amounts of RAM such as the Rasp­berry Pi.

Fe­dora 29 missed its orig­i­nal release date due to a hand­ful of open bugs, but should be out by the time this is­sue hits the stands.

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