Innovations on the Linux desktop: A look at Fedora 30's new features

Learn about some of the highlights in the latest version of Fedora Linux.
161 readers like this
161 readers like this
Fedora Linux distro on laptop

Anderson Silva, CC BY-SA 4.0

The latest version of Fedora Linux was released at the end of April. As a full-time Fedora user since its original release back in 2003 and an active contributor since 2007, I always find it satisfying to see new features and advancements in the community.

If you want a TL;DR version of what's has changed in Fedora 30, feel free to ignore this article and jump straight to Fedora's ChangeSet wiki page. Otherwise, keep on reading to learn about some of the highlights in the new version.

Upgrade vs. fresh install

I upgraded my Lenovo ThinkPad T series from Fedora 29 to 30 using the DNF system upgrade instructions, and so far it is working great!

I also had the chance to do a fresh install on another ThinkPad, and it was a nice surprise to see a new boot screen on Fedora 30—it even picked up the Lenovo logo. I did not see this new and improved boot screen on the upgrade above; it was only on the fresh install.

Fedora 30 boot screen

Desktop changes

If you are a GNOME user, you'll be happy to know that Fedora 30 comes with the latest version, GNOME 3.32. It has an improved on-screen keyboard (handy for touch-screen laptops), brand new icons for core applications, and a new "Applications" panel under Settings that allows users to gain a bit more control on GNOME default handlers, access permissions, and notifications. Version 3.32 also improves Google Drive performance so that Google files and calendar appointments will be integrated with GNOME.

Applications panel in GNOME Settings

The new Applications panel in GNOME Settings

Fedora 30 also introduces two new Desktop environments: Pantheon and Deepin. Pantheon is ElementaryOS's default desktop environment and can be installed with a simple:

$ sudo dnf groupinstall "Pantheon Desktop"

I haven't used Pantheon yet, but I do use Deepin. Installation is simple; just run:

$ sudo dnf install deepin-desktop

then log out of GNOME and log back in, choosing "Deepin" by clicking on the gear icon on the login screen.

Deepin desktop on Fedora 30

Deepin desktop on Fedora 30

Deepin appears as a very polished, user-friendly desktop environment that allows you to control many aspects of your environment with a click of a button. So far, the only issue I've had is that it can take a few extra seconds to complete login and return control to your mouse pointer. Other than that, it is brilliant! It is the first desktop environment I've used that seems to do high dots per inch (HiDPI) properly—or at least close to correctly.

Command line

Fedora 30 upgrades the Bourne Again Shell (aka Bash) to version 5.0.x. If you want to find out about every change since its last stable version (4.4), read this description. I do want to mention that three new environments have been introduced in Bash 5:

$ echo $EPOCHSECONDS
1556636959
$ echo $EPOCHREALTIME
1556636968.012369
$ echo $BASH_ARGV0
bash

Fedora 30 also updates the Fish shell, a colorful shell with auto-suggestion, which can be very helpful for beginners. Fedora 30 comes with Fish version 3, and you can even try it out in a browser without having to install it on your machine.

(Note that Fish shell is not the same as guestfish for mounting virtual machine images, which comes with the libguestfs-tools package.)

Development

Fedora 30 brings updates to the following languages: C, Boost (C++), Erlang, Go, Haskell, Python, Ruby, and PHP.

Regarding these updates, the most important thing to know is that Python 2 is deprecated in Fedora 30. The community and Fedora leadership are requesting that all package maintainers that still depend on Python 2 port their packages to Python 3 as soon as possible, as the plan is to remove virtually all Python 2 packages in Fedora 31.

Containers

If you would like to run Fedora as an immutable OS for a container, kiosk, or appliance-like environment, check out Fedora Silverblue. It brings you all of Fedora's technology managed by rpm-ostree, which is a hybrid image/package system that allows automatic updates and easy rollbacks for developers. It is a great option for anyone who wants to learn more and play around with Flatpak deployments.

Fedora Atomic is no longer available under Fedora 30, but you can still download it. If your jam is containers, don't despair: even though Fedora Atomic is gone, a brand new Fedora CoreOS is under development and should be going live soon!

What else is new?

As of Fedora 30, /usr/bin/gpg points to GnuPG v2 by default, and NFS server configuration is now located at /etc/nfs.conf instead of /etc/sysconfig/nfs.

There have also been a few changes for installation and boot time.

Last but not least, check out Fedora Spins for a spin of Fedora that defaults to your favorite Window manager and Fedora Labs for functionally curated software bundles built on Fedora 30 (i.e. astronomy, security, and gaming).

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He was introduced to Linux by his uncle back in 1996. In the early 2000s Anderson transitioned from being a developer to a system administrator/release engineer. He joined Red Hat as an IT Release Engineer in 2007.

6 Comments

Nice article. I'm using Fedora 30 too \o/

I also upgraded my Fedora 29 laptop to 30 a few days ago. It's working great! Good review!

I too did the upgrade, and was looking for the new plymouth theme. To enable it use:

$ sudo plymouth-set-default-theme bgrt --rebuild-initrd

and reboot.

Your boot screen likely changed on reinstall because you went from BIOS/legacy boot to UEFI when you reinstalled. UEFI boot you see the motherboard logo for most of boot

I've been using Fedora since I first discovered Linux in 2003. And I've lived through "Dependency Hell" and while it was painful (to say the least!) I learned a LOT about the Linux kernel and the operating system as a whole. I loved Gnome 2...but I'm REALLY in love with Gnome 3!! I prefer Fedora with that desktop environment over all the others! I dunno...it just seems to not "feel right" when using Fedora and not having the GNome desktop. But I guess that's what makes Linux so awesome!...the fact that you can install and use whichever desktop interface you so choose! Kudos to the Fedora Devs!...I plan on being with Fedora for a LONG time!...I've tried quite a few distros...some that aren't even around anymore (farewell Fuduntu......Point Linux.....Crunch Bang...PearOS....etc.) and of course I've tried everything under the sun when it comes to Debian / Ubuntu based distros...but nothing feels like "home" to me like Fedora does! And now?...I recently heard that Scientific Linux is going away?......damn shame. I loved THAT distro a whole lot too!

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