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.

Fedora 28 Review

Fedora 28 Default Desktop

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.

Software Changes

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:

GNOME Software asking to enable 3rd-party repos

Accepting this will install 3 repositories, which are the Steam repository, Google Chrome repository and the closed-source Nvidia drivers repository:

Software repositories in Fedora 28

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.

Appearance & Access

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:

Firefox 59 in Fedora 28

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:

Starring files in Nautilus 3.28

And they will appear under the “Starred” tab in Nautilus:

Starred files in Nautilus 3.28

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:

Extra wallpapers in Fedora 28 GNOME

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.

Performance & Battery

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):

Chart showing battery usage on various distros

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.

Conclusion

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.

You can download Fedora 28 from the official website. Additionally, we recommend that you check our things to do after installing Fedora list.

Fedora 28
Available software
Creativity & Inventing
Daily Use Purposes
Stability & Bugs
Customizability
Summary
Fedora 28 comes with updated software and some good new features for end-users. However, there are some annoying bugs in some cases which could pop up from time to time, but it's still worth to test & try.
76 %
Casual Release
User Rating 3 ( 13 votes)
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3 Comments on "Fedora 28: Another Release for Power Users"

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Octus
Guest

> 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.

libinput defaults have been changed to use the double and triple finger click for the right and middle mouse button. You no longer have to use the right and left corners of the touchpad to perform left and right clicks. It’s possible to revert via dconf, options:

$ gsettings range org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad click-method
enum
‘default’
‘none’
‘areas’
‘fingers’

So edit via:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad click-method ‘fingers’
$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad click-method ‘areas’
etc…

solarcycle
Guest

When using F28 I had many hang ups with the OS. Mostly the terminal and the use of password kept saying authorization failure. I had to keep changing passwords for them to work right. Though the problem would always came back until I read that you can just use sudo su and problem was solved. The system would seem to lag at times for the easiest things like copying files. Copying files brought the system to a stand still. f28 locked up for 10 seconds be starting again sluggishly.