This post took a little longer than expected, as I inadvertently deleted my draft copy with several notes while migrating.
Ubuntu has been my recent distro of choice and I even upgraded from 18.04 to 20.04. Since then, I’ve read so many nice things on Fosstodon about Fedora 32, I decided to give it another try. I’ve tried Fedora in the past and I had a couple concerns about moving away from Ubuntu:
- Touchscreen support
- Game support
- Not using deb packages
I’ll address all of these and things I learned along the way from moving from Ubuntu to Fedora.
Coming from base Ubuntu with GNOME, the general Fedora interface is nearly identical. Accessing applications, using workspaces, and general OS navigation are roughly the same. Here’s some observations that I could tell right away:
- Less leg burning; I don’t experience random CPU heat ups while doing normal things like surfing the internet or typing posts.
- No dock displayed - this is a personal preference as I’m running on a laptop and prefer more screen real estate for my applications.
- Firefox doesn’t need a special environment variable to enable touch screen scrolling.
- No snap store running continuously in the background.
- No desktop files displayed on the desktop even though there is a “Desktop” folder.
- No system tray for applications displayed by default.
- Not all software is available in RPM (but flatpacks help).
The cons can be addressed by additional configuration. I decided to leave the Desktop alone as I have a bad habit of cluttering up my desktop with files and icons I ultimately don’t use.
Ubuntu enables a lot of these quality of life experiences out of the box, but with a little work I was able to achieve an equivalent experience with Fedora.
Fedora by default only presents open-source software. In order to get the non-free software, you need to enable RPM Fusion. While you can turn on the repositories for Fusion in Software Manager, this does not enable it on dnf automatically.
Therefore, it’s best to follow all the instructions to enable it both on the Graphical Setup and Command Line Setup here: https://rpmfusion.org/Configuration
Another thing to note is to enable both free and nonfree repositories. I enabled the nonfree repositories initially, and found out that I was having package dependencies issues installing standard software like VLC.
There is a lot of overlap of software available between RPM Fusion and Flathub. Flathub, however, had more software available that I normally use outside of standard repositories, such as Signal and the Synology Drive client.
Instructions to set it up are here: https://flatpak.org/setup/Fedora/
Gnome Tweaks and Extensions
Gnome-Tweaks can be found in standard repositories and installed via
sudo dnf install gnome-tweaks. Personal settings I enjoy:
- Show battery percentage
- Show day of week
I haven’t played around with many extensions yet, but these are the base ones I use:
- GSConnect - Phone notifications via KDE Connect app.
- AppIndicator and KStatusNotifierItem Support - Allows display of tray icons for Steam, Synology Drive, etc.
One difference I learned is that you can’t just restart Gnome Shell in Wayland like you can in X11/Ubuntu; any changes require you to log out and log back in.
- Tap to click isn’t enabled by default on the touchpad; quick change in touchpad settings
- No keyboard shortcut for the Terminal; added Ctrl+Alt+T back in
- Alt-tabbing - by default both Alt-Tab and Super+Tab are set to the same setting of “Switch applications.” This will annoyingly display all applications and make you jump around from workspace to workspace, ultimately defeating the point of workspaces. I set Switch windows to Alt+Tab and Switch applications to Super+Tab, which is more in line with the Ubuntu defaults.
After all this, I was able to install Steam through the Software Manager and play Civilization: Beyond Earth without issues.
I also tested out a few games from Itch.io, which I discussed on my previous post. Although a few of them had some issues in Fedora, I tried the same games in Ubuntu and experienced the same behavior.
I was concerned about the ability to play games due to Wayland, but it seems unfounded. So gaming appears to be a non-issue.
Fedora is a nice mix between cutting-edge and stability, and although I wouldn’t recommend it for people new to Linux, it’s a decent intermediate distro for those that are more open-source centric.
After adding all the repositories in, most of the software is available in Fedora. I’m still missing some Synology apps that I may attempt converting the deb packages into rpm, which would be another fun post to share.
Barring any severe compatibility issues, I’ll be sticking with it for a while.
Day 9 of #100DaysToOffload