Powered by Linux kernel 6.5, Fedora 39 comes with a brilliant GNOME 45 integration, and Onyx joins the family of Fedora’s immutable OSes.
Red Hat’s community Linux distro Fedora 39 rolled out in beta on September 19, and today, after a month and a half and two consecutive delays due to last-minute bugs, it is officially released and available for download.
It presents you with the best open-source technologies, combining cutting-edge features with stability, making it suitable for a wide range of users, from casual desktop users to developers and system administrators. So, without further ado, we bring you the highlights of this release.
Fedora 39: Here’s What’s New
Before we jump into all the exciting updates of the latest release, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane. Can you believe it is been 20 years since Fedora first burst onto the scene with Fedora Core 1, way back on November 6, 2003?
And here we are, two decades later, celebrating the arrival of Fedora 39. It is like a birthday bash for this amazing distribution that’s captured the hearts of millions. So, hats off to Fedora on its 20th anniversary – what a fantastic journey! Now, back to the topic.
Fedora 39 comes with no loud surprises or significant new features, delivering another polished release that has become a hallmark of the distribution. Of course, the thing making the difference is GNOME 45.
GNOME 45: An Integration Like No Other
One of Fedora’s greatest strengths has always been that, unlike many other Linux distributions offering a GNOME desktop environment often modified with various extensions, Fedora’s developers have always stuck to giving users a vanilla GNOME experience. This is true of the new release as well.
Initially scheduled to feature the newest GNOME 45, Fedora 39 has adapted to unexpected postponements by incorporating the most recent GNOME 45.1 update, a significant enhancement and the standout feature of this release for its user base.
It gives users the latest and greatest from the desktop environment, with the most important being:
- The new activities button dynamically displays the number of available virtual desktops.
- The file manager received a significant performance boost, redesigned with a full-height sidebar, giving it a more modern feel.
- GNOME’s System Settings has a reorganized “System Details” dialog, a revamped “Privacy” tab, and introduced a dedicated “Devices” section.
- Some of the GNOME 45’s core apps have been updated. The default image viewer, Eye of GNOME, has been replaced by the new one, Loupe. GNOME’s new camera app, Snapshot, replaces the previously used Cheese, but Fedora 39 still ships with Cheese.
- Quick Settings now includes a button for controlling keyboard backlights.
In summary, implementing GNOME 45 in Fedora 39 is one of the best we’ve come across. Of course, it couldn’t be otherwise, given that Fedora and GNOME are pretty intertwined with much-shared development.
Linux Kernel 6.5
Fedora has always been at the forefront of adopting and integrating the latest Linux kernels. With Fedora 39, this tradition continues as it is powered by the latest and greatest Linux Kernel 6.5.9.
This provides users many enhancements, performance improvements, and widening hardware support.
Fedora 39 Bids Farewell to Modularity
Starting with Fedora 39, it will cease the building and shipping modular content to its users. This means that the “fedora-repos-modular” and “fedora-repos-rawhide-modular” packages are set for retirement, and modular repositories will no longer be composed.
The reasons underpinning this shift are multifaceted. Notably, there’s been a noticeable decline in activity around Modularity, with the most recent significant engagement on pagure.io/modularity traced back to over three years ago.
For those wondering about the fate of Fedora’s Module Build Service post this change, it is slated for termination once Fedora Linux 38 reaches its end of life.
Onyx Joins the Family of Fedora’s Immutable OSes
As we informed you at the end of April, Fedora Onyx was proposed as a new addition to the family of immutable operating systems that already included the flagship Silverblue (GNOME Desktop), Kinoite (KDE Plasma Desktop), and Sericea (Sway window manager). This is already a fact.
Here’s the story behind that. One of the significant new features in the previous Fedora 38 release was the adoption of Fedora Budgie as the official Fedora Spin. As the name implies, this is Fedora, which includes the Budgie desktop environment by default.
Now, besides the regular Budgie Spin, proponents of the immutable approach have another option to bet on in the face of Onyx, but this time, it comes with the Budgie desktop environment.
Like other members of Fedora’s immutable family, the Onyx relies on using rpm-ostree – a hybrid image/package-based system for managing the filesystem of Linux that uses the OSTree version control system to maintain an image-based representation of the operating system. So, welcome to Fedora’s family, Onyx!
Other Fedora 39 Highlights
Outside of the innovations mentioned so far, Fedora 39 comes with a completely refreshed software base, the most important of which are:
- Firefox 119 Web Browser
- LibreOffice 7.6.2 Office Suite
- Rhythmbox 3.4.7 Music Player
- Cheese 44.1 Webcam App
Furthermore, you’ll also find an updated developer stack, including the following:
- GCC 13.2
- Golang 1.21
- Python 3.12
- Perl 5.38
- Ruby 3.2.2
- PHP 8.2
- Node.js 20.7
- OpenJDK 21
You can visit the release announcement for more detailed information about what’s new.
Fedora Spins Also Get Version Bump
But the excitement doesn’t stop with the main Fedora 39 Workstation. Fedora Spins, the alternative versions of Fedora that come with different desktop environments or are tailored for specific use cases, have also received a version bump alongside the main release.
In light of this, Fedora 39 KDE ships with Plasma 5.27.8 accompanied by KDE Frameworks 5.110 and KDE Gear 23.08.1 apps collection.
Adherents of lightweight desktop environments will be pleased to find that Fedora 39’s Spins include the nimble LXQt 1.3.0, the sleek Xfce 4.18, and the refined MATE 1.26.2, each offering a simple and efficient user experience tailored to individual preferences.
Finally, to round off the list, Fedora 39’s Cinnamon Spin offers the most up-to-date iteration, Cinnamon 5.8.4, delivering a modern and easy-to-use interface for its users. We’ll also mention the Budgie Spin, which ships with desktop environment version 10.8.1.
How to Upgrade to Fedora 39
If you’re running Fedora 38 and want to upgrade but are still trying to figure out how don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. You can easily upgrade directly to the latest Fedora 39 release by following our comprehensive “How to Upgrade to Fedora 39 from Fedora 38” article.
The whole process is smooth and seamless, and depending on the speed of your internet connection, it can range from 20 minutes to an hour.
Fedora 39 is another release that solidifies the distribution’s status as one of the best choices you can make for your desktop system. The distribution is not bloated, with only the bare essentials reinstalled – think browser, office suite, audio & video player, and text editor.
From there on, you can build on with only what you need – an approach we like very much! Of course, the obligatory Flatpak support is also provided here by default. Additionally, we’d like to mention that the base installation only takes up 4GB of disk space, which impressed us very well.
So, if you want to try it, something we highly recommend, the ISO installation images are available from the project website’s download section.