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Fedora Linux 35: Fresh Gnome desktop and new KDE edition

The Fedora developers have released a new version of their Linux distribution. In Fedora 35, they worked intensively on stabilizing changes that had already been implemented in earlier versions – such as the “Pipewire” sound server introduced with Fedora 34 as a PulseAudio replacement.

Gnome makes the step to version 41 as the primary desktop environment of this distribution, whereby its package management “Gnome-Software” now, if not all, integrates the most popular Flatpak packages from flathub.org via an additional repository. The “systemd-resolved” service, which has been responsible for name resolution for network connections since Fedora 33, has the ability to deal with “DNS over TLS” (DoT).

Another novelty: Fedora “Kinoite”, a modularized Linux system that maintains system partitions in read-only mode and updates them separately from installed applications.

Optional installation of Flatpaks

Before selected programs from Flathub are available in the package manager, this additional source must be activated.

(Image: screenshot)

Fedora 34 had already exchanged the PulseAudio sound server for Pipewire. This project by Red Hat developer Wim Taymans has gone from managing video streams to being a full-blown replacement for PulseAudio over the past six years. The benefits include multiple APIs in a single sound server and low latency.

In addition to bug fixes, Fedora Linux 35 also provides the Wireplumber session manager. Wireplumber replaces the management of output and input interfaces as well as sound cards and Bluetooth devices that was previously only available in the main. Pipewire should be a bit more robust and easier to configure when multiple output devices are available. When controlling Bluetooth devices, Pipewire supports newer codecs such as mSBC and the narrowband CVSD.

The release date of Fedora 35 has been postponed twice by one week each time – not uncommon for the distribution, which is targeting a biannual release frequency. The last stubborn bugs before Fedora was released concerned the new integration of Flatpaks from flathub.org via the package manager “Gnome Software”.

However, not all Flatpaks are offered, but only the 50 most popular programs that are not available as a regular package in the Fedora package sources and are also completely unobjectionable in terms of licensing. This includes including Microsoft Teams, the Zoom client for Linux, Anydesk, Discord, WPS Office, OnlyOffice and Minecraft. The integration only takes place if these are activated after the installation with an option in the package manager under Gnome.

Since Fedora 29 there has been a separate edition “Silverblue”, a modular system with a Gnome desktop, which integrates the basic system in read-only mode and updates it separately from programs. This approach is intended to provide a Linux system that is as robust as possible, which on the one hand consists of changeable RPM packages, but on the other hand updates the operating system kernel separately. This modularization of Fedora for the desktop is loud FAQ about Silverblue originally from the “CoreOS” server system, which was created for containers and flat packs.

The “Silverblue” edition with Gnome is now available from the new variant “Kinoite” supplemented with KDE Plasma 5.22, which had been in development since 2018. Here, too, the installation is carried out using the Anaconda tool, but the system is set up and updated not via “dnf”, but via “rpm-ostree” and via Flatpaks.

The preferred desktop in Fedora is still Gnome, now in version 41, which among other things brings new touchpad gestures to the overview page. Gnome is always available in Fedora without pre-installed extensions or customized themes. The simmering discussion about the limited adaptability of GTK4 with libadwaita therefore does not play a role for Fedora.

As usual, Fedora Linux 35 is again available in variants with other desktops as a live system. In addition to Gnome and KDE Plasma, these “spins” are also provided by XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon, the particularly slim desktops LXQT and LXDE as a work environment and the tiled window manager i3. There is also a server edition of Fedora, which allows the selection of package groups during the installation. All variants are available for the processor architectures x86_64 and ARM (aarch64). A summary of the important changes can be found in those that are currently pending but will be available shortly Fedora 35 release notes.


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