Explore what’s in store for the upcoming Fedora 38 workstation release.
Fedora (backed/financed by RedHat) has recently become popular with many Linux users. Usually, Ubuntu and Fedora are the two main “go-to” distributions for any workload. Due to several Ubuntu policies in the recent past and “over-friendliness” with Microsoft, a good number of long-term Linux users started adopting Fedora workstations for their desktops.
In addition, Fedora is backed by Red Hat, a leading open-source company, and it always pioneers adopting new technologies before any mainstream Linux distributions. Last year, Fedora was the first distro to offer the modern Wayland, Pipewire as default in its workstation flavour and a few performance-related improvements such as out-of-memory handling (OOM). All of these are eventually adopted by others later on.
The upcoming release – Fedora 38, also plans for some interesting new features and improvements, which make it an attractive option for developers, Linux users and system administrators.
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As of publishing this, the changes are frozen at the moment for the Beta release. Hence it’s a good idea to explore the new features.
The Fedora 38 beta release is expected between March 14 and 21, 2023. And final release between April 18 and April 25, 2023.
Fedora 38 Workstation: Best Features
First, let’s talk about the Fedora 38 workstation edition, which defaults to the GNOME desktop.
Fedora 38 workstation features the GNOME 44 version of the desktop. In Fedora, you get the most authentic GNOME desktop experience since most of it ships as vanilla GNOME.
GNOME 44 is bringing background-apps feature in the system tray menu. Many applications and users take advantage of this feature when the main application window is not visible. Here’s how it looks in the system tray.
The Files (aka Nautilus) gets the expanded folder view in GNOME 44, and you can enjoy this long-pending feature in Fedora 38 out-of-the-box. The view is available in list view, and you can quickly expand or collapse folders/sub-folders.
Furthermore, the file-open dialog now shows the image preview in the Grid-view layout, which was also pending for a decade. You can use this feature in Fedora 38 alongside many other smaller improvements of GNOME 44.
Read the GNOME 44 feature highlights in detail here.
Other desktop environment flavours in Fedora 38
The KDE Plasma edition of Fedora 38 features the Plasma 5.27 desktop version. KDE Plasma 5.27, which was released recently, is the final Plasma release of the 5-series and brings some cool features. Key changes include the Tiling-widow feature, robust settings for multiple monitor displays, Wayland updates and a brand-new welcome screen. Note: Fedora 36 should get KDE Plasma 5.27 soon, before Fedora 38 release. It is currently under testing.
You can read the detailed feature guide of Plasma 5.27 here.
Also, Fedora 38 to feature the Xfce 4.18 desktop in its Fedora 38 Xfce edition. Released a few weeks back, Xfce 4.18 is a massive release in terms of features after almost two years. You get a revamped Thunar file manager with a split view, image preview, robust FTP settings and more panel tweaks.
You can learn more about Xfce 4.18 on this page if you want before trying out Fedora 38 Xfce edition.
On top of the above, other desktop flavours get their latest versions in Fedora 38, such as LXQt 1.2.0 and MATE 1.26.
It’s worth mentioning that the Fedora LXQt flavour is introducing an aarch64 ISO image for users.
New official Sway window manager spin
Thanks to all the praise and popularity of the i3 window manager spin, the Fedora team is introducing an official Sway spin in Fedora 38. Those users who prefer a minimal desktop with a low memory footprint now enjoy Sway, which has excellent Wayland support. With Fedora’s capability with Wayland coverage, it’s an obvious user offering.
Also, an ostree version of Sway is also arriving, code-named “Sericea“.
Official Budgie desktop Spin
After many months of development by Joshua Strobl (lead of Buddies of Budgie), an official Fedora Budgie spin debuts in Fedora 38. Developed by the Solus project, it’s a lightweight yet featureful desktop environment. Plus, it does look professional and is an alternative offering for the menu/icon-driven desktop.
Many users have been waiting for this Fedora-Budgie variant since the Solus project is completely stalled.
Unfiltered Flathub packages
Fedora always advocates Flatpak packages. However, the largest collection of Flatpak apps, i.e. Flathub, was behind a filter. Because of that, you couldn’t install Flathub packages directly from the Software app. However, you had the option to change the filter and use it.
In Fedora 38, this filter moves away, and you get unrestricted access to Flathub packages. They all will be available in Software. First priority is given to Fedora core packages and following Flathub ones.
Core changes impacting all Fedora
The default systemd unit shutdown timer is changing from 2 minutes to 45 seconds. This has been a problem for some time when a buggy service may stall the system shutdown process for 2 minutes. The faulty service may cause unnecessary wait for the user. Now it has been changed to 45 seconds for this release, and the team will observe its feedback and user experience in the wild. It might be reduced to 15 seconds in future releases if all goes well.
Connecting to X server (X.Org or XWayland) from a different endian system other than one Big Endian architecture (s390x) is now disabled by default due to security concerns. However, users can create custom configurations to allow it.
The GNU toolchain in Fedora 38 is bumped up to their newest offerings as follows:
- GNU C Compiler 13.0
- GCC 13.0
- binutils 2.39
- glibc 2.37
- GNU Debugger 12.1
- GNU Make 4.4
- Golang 1.2
- Ruby 3.2
- PHP 8.2
Aiming to be container-native and provide Docker/OCI-based OS and package deployments, more work poured into Fedora 38, which the team termed as Phase 2 after initial work in prior releases.
Furthermore, to be a more secure and robust Linux distribution, Fedora 38 is bringing Unified Kernel Support as phase 1 with initial work. This work places the basic building blocks to allow a unified kernel and would take a few future releases to support it completely.
“A unified kernel image is an all-in-one efi binary containing kernel, initrd, cmdline and signature. The secure boot signature covers everything, specifically the initrd is included which is not the case when the initrd gets loaded as separate file from /boot.”
So, that’s about the significant changes coming up in Fedora 38. You can read in detail in the changeset.
This release is shaping up to be another major update that brings significant improvements and new features to the Linux desktop. With GNOME 44, Wayland enhancements, and the adoption of modern features aligning with industry needs, Fedora 38 is a compelling choice for developers, enthusiasts, and anyone looking for cutting-edge Linux distribution.
Fedora 38 will be released between April 18 and April 25, 2023.