Fedora 36 Woos Developers With Desktop Overhaul, but Will It Please Linus?

Linus Torvalds’ Linux distro of choice has some major updates, but what hasn’t changed might be just as important.

The Fedora project has announced the release of Fedora 36. The new release comes with some major enhancements to its desktop environment, including an update to the default GNOME environment.

What’s New in Fedora 36

Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader and Distinguished Engineer at Fedora’s sponsor, Red Hat, announced the release of Fedora 36 in a Fedora Magazine blog post. Miller emphasized the project’s community spirit in the post:

Normally when I write these announcements, I talk about some of the great technical changes in the release. This time, I wanted to put the focus on the community that makes those changes happen. Fedora isn’t just a group of people toiling away in isolation — we’re friends.

The new release shows the project’s commitment to newer software. Fedora 36 includes the latest version of the GNOME desktop, GNOME 42, which itself debuts some new features. Two new apps make their appearance in Gnome 42, including the Console terminal emulator and Text Editor, which, surprisingly enough, is used for editing text.

There’s another cutting-edge change in Fedora 36. Users who install proprietary NVIDIA drivers will have the display system default to the newer Wayland protocol, which is intended as a higher-performance replacement for X11 that has been in use since the late 1980s.

One major change that didn’t make it into Fedora 36 was dropping support for legacy BIOS, which has existed since the very first IBM PC rolled off the assembly line in 1981. While almost all modern PCs have switched to more capable UEFI firmware, major virtual machine hypervisors like VirtualBox still emulate the older BIOS by default but can still use UEFI experimentally. Fedora’s developers backed down on this change, according to The Register, but are still considering it for Fedora 37, which is slated for release approximately six months after Fedora 36.


Fedora 36 Carries On Commitment to Innovation

While there’s not much earth-shattering in Fedora 36, it does indicate how the developers favor newer, more bleeding-edge software over the downstream counterpart Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The latter focuses on supporting enterprise servers and thus favors more tested packages. Fedora is upstream of RHEL, so Fedora updates will make their way into future releases of RHEL.

Fedora’s newer software makes it attractive to developers. The distro claims one VIP user, Linus Torvalds, according to ZDNet. Torvalds runs Fedora on a recent desktop PC build. By his own admission at a 2014 DebConf talk in Portland, Oregon, Torvalds isn’t all that interested in distributions, just wanting to install and get on with his work developing the Linux kernel:

Fedora apparently fits the bill, and perhaps Fedora 36 may follow suit as Torvalds’ distro of choice, even if only apparently out of inertia. Interested users can download Fedora 36 for themselves from the project’s official website.

Fedora 36 Marks Another Solid Release

Fedora’s fast, frequent updates will likely endear Fedora 36 to the distro’s devoted user base. Fedora is frequently contrasted to Ubuntu, which favors more stable releases, but the latter’s decisions might have some users wondering if they might switch to Fedora to recapture some of the excitement they used to feel about Ubuntu.


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