Fedora is widely recognized to be a smooth Linux distribution with up-to-date software, and is also used by a lot of developers around the world. Just around a 10 days ago Fedora 28 was released, bringing many changes and updated software.
This review will guide you through the new release and what to expect so far.
Perhaps the main thing about Fedora is that it does not try to have its own shiny pieces of software, but tries as much to contribute at upstream. You’ll probably find many of the following features in many other Linux distributions as well. Many were done by the Fedora community.
One of the few new things in Fedora 28 is that the software center (GNOME Software) now asks you on first startup about whether you would like to enable 3rd-party property software or not. Fedora is committed to provide and use free software only by default, but it tries to be “more user friendly” with this step:
Accepting this will install 3 repositories, which are the Steam repository, Google Chrome repository and the closed-source Nvidia drivers repository:
Fedora 28 comes with the 4.16-5 Linux kernel, Firefox 59, LibreOffice 6.0.3, GNOME 3.28.1, Plasma 5.12, GCC8, Ruby 2.5, Golang 1.10, PHP 7.2 and many other small utilities and libraries.
Fedora 28 GNOME x86_64 ISO file size is around 1.8GB, which is very similar to Ubuntu 18.04’s 1.9GB file size, but both distributions do not really provide any extra applications out of the box; Just Firefox, LibreOffice and GNOME desktop. Which is very much in terms of size comparing to previous releases for both distributions.
One of the nice things in Fedora is that the Firefox package is patched to enable client-side decoration (CSD) if the user chooses to use it via Customize –> (Uncheck) Title Bar. Which will remove the extra title bar from Firefox and give you the following look:
This feature was also available in Fedora 27 (especially patched by Fedora devs). Now, in Firefox +60, all distributions will have the same option. But I think that the upcoming Fedora 29 should try to enable this option by default, since CSD is really important to be compatible with the overall GNOME applications.
Nautilus 3.28 now allows you to “star” your files. If you have some important files that you would like to be able to access very quickly, you can star them from the right context-menu:
And they will appear under the “Starred” tab in Nautilus:
A set of nice extra wallpapers are available for Fedora 28. However, they are not installed by default, but you need to install the f28-backgrounds-extras-gnome package first:
But some annoying thing is there in Fedora 28 in terms of usability (at least for us); The middle & right clicks on touchpads of laptops no longer work. You’ll have to use the right-menu button explicitly to launch it, which is very annoying in some cases if you are used to it.
After booting up, Fedora is reported to use around 1.5GB of memory with just an empty GNOME desktop. Which is really high comparing to other distributions such as Ubuntu 18.04 which only uses 1GB of RAM although it uses the same GNOME version (3.28).
The booting time is as follows:
Startup finished in 1.602s (kernel) + 2.810s (initrd) + 8.662s (userspace) = 13.076s graphical.target reached after 6.286s in userspace
Which is also slower than Ubuntu 18.04 by around 4-5 seconds. These results were obtained on a Lenovo Thinkpad x260.
However, Fedora 28 comes by default with a set of optimizations for battery usage. Usually, most other Linux distributions report to last around 6 hours on the Thinkpad x260 battery (40 Wh total), but on Fedora 28, we can observe that the system lasts around 8-9 hours, which is around %25 better than the default setup on Ubuntu 18.04 (or other distributions):
When it comes to daily usage, we noticed that there’s a small hang in Fedora 28 when launching some applications or running CPU-intensive tasks. For example, if you installed GIMP and tried to open a PNG image, you’ll notice that there’s a system hang for around a second. But the same thing does not exist when using GIMP to open the same image on other distributions or even images with larger file size.
Also if you are running a Steam game and you try to open Firefox, on other distributions there is no hang and everything seems normal. However, on Fedora, there’s like a second of system hang going on during that.
An even worse thing happens if you try to install an application from the software center; Total system freeze for 40 seconds followed by an alternating hang for around 20 seconds. After that by a minute or two, the whole GNOME Shell session will crash instantly and all your work is lost.
We thought that this could be something related to the Wayland session of GNOME, but when we tried Xorg session, although the hanging stopped happening very often, the Shell continued to restart itself every few minutes when running CPU intensive tasks or installing software.
We also thought this could be something related to our installation only, but it turns out that some other users on /r/Fedora are facing the same issue. Later on we learned that it’s a well-known bug in Fedora 28 on some Lenovo laptops. If you ever face this bug, then you are not alone.
Ironically, Fedora 28 is reported to be the first release in the history of Fedora to release exactly on the expected date; Every other single release was late by at least a day or a week for further testing. This one, however, escaped that.
Fedora 28 is yet another updated release for power users around the world. With updated software and some interesting new features and battery optimizations, Fedora 28 can be a good choice if you are looking for the latest stable up-to-date packages or you would like to get software just as they are from upstream.
You may, however, face one of the common bugs in Fedora 28 of face crashes and hangs like we did, but this doesn’t mean that it’s not worth to try. Your experience on your hardware may be different than ours.