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Fedora 20 + GNOME 3.10, Free Software Overdose!

First of all, Fedora 20 is on alpha version and Fedora 20 stable is scheduled for the end of this year (Dec 3, 2013). GNOME 3.10 is on stable release, and it’s first mega update (3.10.1) will come on Oct 16, 2013.

The other thing I want to clarify is that Fedora 20 supports more desktops (ie KDE 4.11) than GNOME. However because of the connection between a company (Red Hat Inc), a Project (Fedora Project) and a Foundation (GNOME Foundation), Fedora releases are mostly well known as GNOME ones.

10 Years of Fedora

Fedora releases come out every 6-months, therefore version 20 is a kinda special release as it celebrates the 10 years of Fedora. Fedora Project officially born Sept. 22, 2003 as a successor of Red Hat Linux which withdrawn in 2004.

Fedora unlikely to Red Hat Linux, don’t offer an official support (there isn’t a demand anyway), but you might find commercial support from independent companies.

By the way except of 10 years of Fedora, GNU (GNU Not Unix!) also celebrates its 30th anniversary! Yeap, there have been 30 years (Sept. 27, 1983) since Richard Stallman publicly announced GNU Operating System.

Fedora Distro or just Fedora?

What is operating system? Is the Linux (aka the kernel)? Is the Linux together with GNU tools? Is the Linux together with GNU tools plus a display server and a desktop environment? The question seems to be as much sensitive as the differences between Open Source and Free Software are.

Fedora is known as just Fedora and not Fedora Linux, but is also known as a Linux Distribution. I guess they call it Linux Distribution cause they ship Linux Kernel, which is the actual Operating System. A more general term is the Linux Desktop.

Canonical’s Ubuntu was the first Linux Distro that dared to throw away the “yet another Linux Distro” stereotype and they proudly said “We created the best Operating System, just Ubuntu”!

On Fedora case things are more clear. They (Red Hat, Fedora, GNOME) create almost everything  (Kernel, Display Server, Desktop, Drivers) so they don’t really distribute anything that’s not theirs. So in my opinion, Fedora isn’t a Linux Distro but an independent free operating system. Don’t get that wrong. There are many many people and organizations that contribute indirect in Fedora, that aren’t members of Red Hat, or Fedora or GNOME.

Despite the fact that Fedora creates more software than Canonical, their distro isn’t considered as solid as Ubuntu. This is what Fedora 20 (and GNOME) is trying to change. But more things will come on their next releases.

Is Fedora 20 a Linux Desktop? Fedora has announced that their will support ARM as their primary architecture together with i686 and x86_64 arches. That means that by next year, you will be able to run Fedora and GNOME (hopefully with multi-gesture support) in your ARM devices.

Fedora annoyances

Traditionally Fedora can give a double user experience. It can be really good, it can be totally unusable. It is very common to suffer from a Fedora bug, that will ruin everything. Usual cases: a broken wireless driver, buggy Graphic Drivers etc.

Personally I have those 2 issues in both F19 and F20. Kworker (a kernel process) sometimes use full CPU and make the system unresponsive for 10-15 secs. Since this is a Kernel Bug, I guess more Distros are affected from it.

The other bug (known bug), is that mouse cursor gets invisible (but still working!) when you login from GDM to GNOME Shell, and you have to logout-login to fix it. Those kind of small bugs are giving Linux a bad name and you have to submit bugs, because at least in case of GNOME, if a bug isn’t on Bugzilla it won’t get fixed, no matter how obvious is it.


I am missing screenshots here because 3 times I’ve tried Anaconda (Fedora’s installation manager), I’ve seen many differences. I imagine they still work on it and at the moment it has serious bugs that can make Fedora 20 installation impossible.

However its design looks like pretty much as Fedora 19 and it still has an unnecessary complex way for creating partitions. It’s like they’re trying to make it look cool by sacrificing usability.

On the other hand, they provide LVM and encrypted partitions and Fedora is the leading distro on such stuffs. I’ve got many disks with many OS and formats, and when I plug them to Fedora, it can discover everything and creates a really long Grub Menu. None other distro (at least a distro I’ve used) can’t do that. Really amazing work on that!

Fedora 20 Tech Details

There is a large set of Fedora changes in this latest release that greatly improve user experience. For example the removal of Sendmail and Syslog Services lead to less footprint on disk and at runtime and give us faster boot times, which is always nice.

Another nice performance boost is when we launch applications. In my case in Fedora 19 when I was starting Nautilus, it was needing around 0.5sec, when in Fedora 20 needs around 0.2sec. It’s happening instantly like in Ubuntu 13.04, which I was impressed from it!

In general the whole GNOME is more responsive but I don’t know if this is a Fedora fix or a GNOME one. The bottom line is that Shell is noticeably smoother, except the times it gets bugged. At this time Fedora 20 provides Shell 3.92, but they will soon update to the latest  3.10.1.

There is also a Snapshot and Rollback Tool that will let us to save a current working system before we update. If update brakes our system, we will be able to revert on the previous state. Particularly useful for people that using Rawhide.

One of the highlights of Fedora 20 is also the new Software App, that let us install additional software in a human way!


GNOME Software is offered as a Tech Preview, and it will be completed on Fedora 21

Software App only includes Applications and not individual packages, therefore we still need to use the old tools. There is an older post with more details.

Fedora 20 once again pays attention in Virtualization and Web Development and from my experience Fedora is by far the most completed platform for creating web-applications. I know many people prefer Mac for writing web-apps, but Fedora goes the whole experience in a new level.

Unfortunately we can’t have Photoshop in Fedora and more unfortunately Open Source tools can’t replace Adobe’s Suite.

You can see all the new features of Fedora 20 at:

And once again Fedora Docs team provides an amazing change log wiki!

GNOME 3.10

We are going to make a video with GNOME 3.10 and point out all the new features of GNOME 3.10, by next week, cause I missed the dates -I thought GNOME was releasing on October :/

The most significant change of GNOME 3.10 is the port under Wayland. Again I will make a detailed post another day and give instructions how to run it in Fedora 20 -if you already don’t’ know ;)

At this time Wayland Port is a Tech Preview and only useful for testing and filing bugs. Full support (with XWayland) is expected to come in GNOME 3.12 and Fedora 21.

GNOME Shell 3.10

Faster and more responsive, Shell 3.10 closes more than 100 bugs from 3.8. Shell never had any major complains and therefore it hasn’t get any major changes on workflow.


Shell has a new design on Application Folders plus they added paging. Paging helps in spatial memory (in what page my App is?) and is more useful in touch screens. Keyboard users will probably use the search entry for finding and launching apps.


Unified menu groups all the system setting in a single entry. Menus are dynamic and if available it will also display Battery, Bluetooth Wireless etc. User Name is gone, both for privacy reasons and for the space that it was consuming. Notice that the language layout uses its own entry.


A more completed System Area

Round buttons for accessing settings, lock the screen and shutting down. I think this is the first time that GNOME uses round buttons! I have missed the story behind and who designed them, but it looks good! More details you will find at Allan’s post “Feature Focus: GNOME 3′s New System Status Area“.


Lock Screen now features a different background from the actual desktop that you can set from Settings. There are also improvements on how notifications are displayed here, mostly useful for devices that we are used to lock and have them somewhere next to us ;)

GDM also has slightly changes on how we choose Session; and everything looks certainly better from 3.8.


Major improvements in almost any application, but the most significant change are new Header Menus introduced in GTK 3.10.


System Monitor is one of  the Apps that switched to Header Menus

You can check more at official GNOME 3.10 release notes:

GNOME 3.10 Release Notes


Even if 3.10 doesn’t have the huge changes of the previous versions, all this set of details and bug fixing leads to the most solid GNOME ever. And as off-record info, many GNOME developers consider 3.10, their best work so far. And it is!

Installing Fedora 20 Alpha

As long as you won’t face any bug in Anaconda, Fedora 20 alpha is totally usable. However you might get an update that will make the graphical interface un-bootable. The worst thing can happen is a broken X Server, because in this case is really hard to downgrade and you should wait for an update, that can take 3-4 days.

The secret here -at least for the guys that aren’t comfortable to restore a broken Fedora- is to update every few days and not every day, so you will reduce the risk.

If you can get a dual boot in your laptop, I reckon to try Fedora 20 because is really amazing release. But don’t install it as single operating system. It won’t be really cool if you have to submit an assignment in University and you get an unbootlabe PC the last day of the deadline :)

Before installing it check on known Bugs!

Common F20 Bugs Release Notes Download F20

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  • Fabrizio Pelosi

    How can I try Fedora 20 Alpha using Wayland directly from the LiveCD?

    • alex285

      I don’t think is possible. Also I didn’t find any live image from another distro that has Wayland as default with GNOME

      • Greg K Nicholson

        I upgraded from Fedora 19 to 20 alpha using fedup (on my second computer). (Upgrading Fedora finally works!)

        On the login screen, Gnome on Wayland is available as a session option in the (cog) menu, next to the Sign In button. (It doesn’t work on my laptop yet, but the option is there.)

    • Chris Wortman

      No you have to use the Install DVD and select it if you have not previously selected it via Fedora 19. The Live CD only contains what is deemed as stable. You can install the Live CD and install wayland, yum install wayland, then select it from login. I know this is an inconvenience but Wayland is still a bit buggier than Xorg and has issues with minimize and Wine specifically. Gnome while missing minimize, it is a KDE and other GTK desktop bug that will leave you trying to figure out where your minimized window had gone. I suggest ONLY Gnome atm with Wayland until they get this sorted out.

  • Kolektor H.

    Hi, is it possible to install it together with Fedora 19 & windows 7?

    • alex285

      Sure, and if you have F19 and F20 in different disks, you can create Grub Entries on both.

  • Dragnucs

    No, Fedora doesn’t create stuff like kernel, display server, desktop etc. But it *is the biggest contributor* to them.

    • alex285

      Hmm? I mean Fedora+RH+GNOME members, not Fedora as Project.

  • Cold Mascerader

    Well anaconda hates me!It keeps crashing making it impossible to install fedora -.-

  • AM

    Can you create app folders in 3.10 in overview mode without messing with dconf?

    • Luya Tshimbalanga

      Alas no. Preset app folders is enabled on Fedora 20 Design Suite though.

  • Marco Scannadinari

    “Fedora 20 supports more desktops (ie KDE 4.11)”

    use e.g. here – i.e. is for cases where there is only one option

  • lsatenstein

    regarding the mouse cursor probem. Switch momentarily to virtual terminal, and back. (ctl-alt-f2 followed by exit)

    • alex285

      Sweet, saved me couple of seconds, thanks!

  • Chris Wortman

    I gotta tell ya, Fedora has always been my home distribution. I am loving Gnome 3.10. I have not experienced any issues at all with Fedora 20 alpha. I have not done any updates atm, I am just using all the proposed features. With alpha Linux distributions I always wait at least a week before running an update on it. If you run updates every day you are asking for trouble. This is not a Fedora secluded issue and stop making it out to be. Stop spreading lies. In fact F20a is by far the most stable Alpha Linux distribution to date. One would even say it is Beta but as time goes on, adding features before Beta lock-in. As for the App Folders feature, it is coming as an update to Gnome 3.10. Again this is not a Fedora related issue, it is a GTK bug that crashes Xorg, so they disabled it. I wish KDE would do this, disable non-working elements for the sake of stability.

    Ubuntu has by far the most unfixed bug list, which is longer than any other distribution. Heck even Windows Vista with all it’s updates and SP2 is considered more stable than even 13.04.1, or the last LTS with all it’s updates. Security holes everywhere they act as they don’t exist. They have their own agenda, and yet somehow they created a smoke screen, and a very Steve Jobs distortion field affect around it. Not only does the UI (badly I might add) try to emulate the Mac experience, every thing about it has stability and security issues. Not to mention Ubuntu Software Center chokes if you try to install more than 3 apps on the queue list. Even in the alpha of Gnome Software app, it was super stable. I have had Ubuntu (even after release, months later) get an update which would break booting to a desktop, even Unity.

    Yet you fault Fedora (in all the years even back when it was called Core) had it’s share of issues, but nowhere near the amount Ubuntu has ever had, and Ubuntu is younger.

    I know this article lists a ton of great features, but one of the first things you said, it is either a great or bad experience, I completely disagree with. Fedora, for one, is created for the Linux user and expects it’s users to know how to properly use Linux. This adds a bit of risks for the undertaking. “oh you break xorg and it doesnt boot to desktop” is somehow a Fedora central issue? That is every darn Linux distribution on the planet. How stupid do you think your target audience is?

    I am a bit of a fanboy of Linux in general, but you make Fedora sound like a make or break experience when it is completely not. I am going to say this, not as an experienced “Fedora” user, but as a person in general, Fedora enables the user far more than practically any other distribution out there. Others try to emulate the desktop “experience” by limiting factors and implementing them badly, while Fedora exists for the sole purpose of being Fedora. An Operating System, far beyond the Linux atmosphere. Some key thing may break, but there is always a fix or an update sometimes within hours, at most 2 days. Ubuntu can take an entire month to work out an issue.

    Why is this? They don’t have some higher self absorbed pride filled agenda, the entire purpose of Fedora, among other distributions like Gentoo, Arch, Slackware, exists to be nothing but a powerhouse, delivering the goods without some demand or passive aggressive cry for money. Ubuntu download page, “pay us money and if you don’t you get a skull or sad face and we make you feel bad”. Does this offend you? Good I hope next time you write a better article full of research and not some self issue which is your own problematic experience, trying to pass it off as “I speak for everyone” when you clearly aren’t. You sound like a douchebag to those of us who sort of um know better. “Oh this is great, but it will either work for you or be broken because I am a dumbass who breaks xorg boohoo this is Fedora” when you clearly are a complete bafoon.

    You cite 1 proper bug which has been fixed since Gnome 3.4 when GDM makes the mouse disappear, and has not existed since it has been fixed. Do ya think maybe it is an Xorg and driver issue? Are you perhaps using an Nvidia 500 series card with the new drivers which are broken on purpose? Shock and awe at a Nvidia closed source driver bug which is not Fedora or Gnome related issue.

    With all due respect, please either shut up and stop writing articles, or do proper research and stop dropping acid and writing half baked articles.

    In fact nothing in Linux and OSS would exist as it is today without Fedora’s code contributions, all of which are by far what defines what you see as a Linux desktop and has set a new standard. You fault Fedora for years old bugs which have been long fixed, without mentioning other distributions.

    I don’t care much for your attitude. You can’t be a passive aggrerssive asshole your entire life and expect to get away with it. “It’s great but it cant run Photoshop wah, Gnome 3.10 closes 100 bugs but it breaks if Xorg is messed with WAH shame on Fedora! Gnome 3.10 is amazeballs but Fedora is so annoying DX I hate it but I love it! I have user centric issues so other people are!!!!!” this is what this article reads like. I could hardly keep my puke down at your yellow journalism, trying to hide FUD and lies mixed in with praise and a few details but nothing based in reality at all.

  • Darren

    Was this a translation from another language? If so, or really regardless, have it proof read before posting. It was a very hard read with all the errors in it, I couldn’t finish it.

  • 승우 권

    amazing! Now I want to install Fedora on my computer!! ;)