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What’s new for Silverblue, Kinoite, Sericea and Onyx in Fedora 39

Tuesday, 21 November 2023 | Siosm’s blog


Fedora 39 has been released! 🎉 So let’s see what comes in this new release for the Fedora Silverblue, Kinoite, Sericea and Onyx variants. This post is a summary of the “What’s new in Fedora Silverblue, Kinoite, Sericea and Onyx?” talk I did with Joshua Strobl for the Fedora 39 Release Party (see the full slides).

What’s new?

Welcome to Fedora Onyx!

Fedora Onyx is a new variant using the Budgie desktop, with a (nearly) stock experience. It follows up on the Fedora Budgie Spin which has been introduced in Fedora 38.

The experience is similar to other Fedora Atomic Desktops (what’s that? see below 🙂): ships toolbx out-of-the-box and access to Flatpaks.

We will hopefully re-brand it from “Onyx” to “Fedora Budgie Atomic” and later aspire at having the Atomic variant be the “Fedora Budgie” and have the “mutable” spin be re-branded.

Fedora Atomic Desktops

We have created a new Special Interest Group (SIG) focused on (rpm-)ostree based desktop variants of Fedora (Silverblue, Kinoite, Sericea and Onyx). The “Fedora Atomic Desktops” name will also serve as an umbrella to regroup all those variants under a common name.

Note that the new name is still pending approval by the Fedora Council. A Fedora Change Request has been opened to track that for Fedora 40.

We will progressively centralize the work for this SIG in the fedora/ostree GitLab namespace. We already have an issue tracker.

What’s new in Silverblue?

Silverblue comes with the latest GNOME 45 release. Loupe replaces Eye of GNOME (EOG). For now, the new Flatpaks are not automatically installed on updates so you will have to replace EOG by Loupe manually.

Fedora Flatpaks are now available ppc64le and included in the installer.

For more details about the changes that comes with GNOME 45, see the What’s new in Fedora Workstation 39 on the Fedora Magazine.

What’s new in Kinoite?

Kinoite stays on Plasma 5.27. Plasma 6 is coming for Fedora 40.

A subset of KDE Apps is now available as Flatpaks from Fedora. They are built from Fedora RPM source and build options and are also available for all releases (not just the latest) and even other distributions due to the nature of Flatpaks.

Thanks a lot to Yaakov Selkowitz and the Flatpak SIG for making this happen!

With the Flatpaks being available in the Fedora remote, we have removed some apps from the base image: Okular, Gwenview, Kcalc. The Flatpaks are not installed on updates but you can install them from the Fedora Flatpak remote or from Flathub.

Fedora Flatpaks will be installed by Anaconda by default for new installations in Fedora 40.

What’s new in Sericea?

No major changes this release.

rpm-ostree unified core

Ostree commits are now built via rpm-ostree unified core mode. The main benefits are cleanups and stricter build constraints (that sometimes surface bugs in RPMs). This is also how Fedora CoreOS is being built right now.

This change should be completely transparent to users.

This is needed to get bootupd support and a step towards moving to ostree native container images (discussed below).

What’s next?

bootupd support

Adding bootupd support to Atomic Desktops will finally let users easily update their bootloader on their systems (issue#120). We needed the commits to be built using rpm-ostree unified core mode, which is a change that landed in Fedora 39.

We are now waiting on Anaconda installer fixes that are in progress. This should hopefully land in Fedora 40.

Ostree Native Containers

The idea behind Ostree Native Containers is to package ostree commits as OCI containers. The main benefits are:

  • OCI containers are easier to manage, deploy and mirror than ostree repos
  • It makes it possible to create derived images via a Containerfile/Dockerfile
  • As it is a regular container, you can inspect its content, scan it for vulnerabilities or run it like a container
  • Signing is made easier via support for cosign/sigstore

You can take a look at the following examples that take advantage of this functionality:

Work is currently in progress to add support to build those images via Pungi. Initially, they will be built alongside the current ostree commits. This is currently planned for Fedora 40 (the change page needs to be updated / rewritten).

We will be looking at fully transitioning to containers in a future release.

Universal Blue, Bluefin and Bazzite

Those projects build on the in-progress support for the Ostree Native Containers format and the Fedora Atomic Desktops images. All the changes that are included are made via Containerfiles/Dockerfiles.

They include lots of options, offer a wide choice of images, include additional fixes, enable more platform support, UX fixes, etc.

Universal Blue is the general project, Project Bluefin is the developer focused one and Bazzite is focused on gaming, including on the Steam Deck and other similar devices.

Check them out!

Support for Asahi Linux?

Help us make that happen! One notable missing part is support in Kiwi (issue#38) to build the images. See Fedora Asahi Remix for more details.

Where to reach us?

We are looking for contributors to help us make the Fedora Atomic Desktops the best experience for Fedora users.