Fedora 32 was released a month ago, just in time for my refurbished Dell E7250 laptop that I had ordered from Dell on ebay (US). The laptop arrived in a like new condition. If it weren’t for the packaging and the big sticker at the bottom you wouldn’t be able to tell it apart from a new product. Sure, it’s 5 years old but for USD $219 one can’t complain. It has a full HD 12.5 inch touch screen, a 5th Gen i5, 8 GB of Ram and a 128GB SSD. Lightweight and sturdy, it comes with a back lit keyboard and lot’s of ports. A nice mobile workstation. I specifically chose this one as it came with Windows 8.1 by default. Since I rarely use it with Windows (just to play a few games now and then) I prefer it since I do not need to do bother with constant Windows updates.
Back to Fedora. Until now, I had been using Fedora 30 on a Surface Pro 2 and was very happy with it. Fedora has been a natural choice since it uses touch friendly Gnome as it’s default desktop. Also, Fedora’s Wayland implementation has been very solid, allowing for proper fractional scaling. The Surface pro 2’s 10.6 inch screen really needs fractional scaling. I also have it now at 1.25% on the Dell and it has been very smooth.
I usually stay mostly with default settings with some minimal tweaks like adding “Places” onto the top panel for quick access.
One does need to add the rpmfusion free and non-free repositories in order to get all the media codecs that do not come with the default installation.
The default browser is Firefox. It is fine but not very good for touch input. For better touch support I have been using Chromium from the rpm fusion repositories. Their version is called chromium-freeworld and includes all codecs so any type of video should run – except Netflix. For that I use Firefox where DRM support works out of the box.
By the way: If Netflix is a bit choppy, force Firefox to use hardware acceleration. Enter in the URL field: about:config , then search for “layers.acceleration.force-enabled” and change it from “false” to “true”. Might do the trick.
So far I have been very happy with this release. I haven’t done anything really demanding yet. Mostly web browsing and some text and graphics editing.
Once I install steam and get some gaming done I will add more feedback.
I did have a situation once where the system basically froze. I didn’t wait very long for it to recover and rebooted but that would have been quite annoying if I had had an important project open.
What I still need to figure out: a practical way to encrypt my home folder. Since I am sharing the SSD with Windows, I couldn’t do a full disk encryption and sadly there hasn’t been an option to encrypt the home folder for quite some time. If anyone has a recommendation, please let me know in the comments below.
Let’s have a look what others are saying about this release:
Joshua Allen Holm from distrowatch has made a comprehensive review:
He is quite positive about his experience. He says both Gnome and DNF seem snappier and only encountered a minor snag with the software center. He highly recommends this release to all Fedora users but cautions newbies about the need to do some manual work (installing additional repositories) in order to get everything one needs on a daily basis.
Jim Salter wrote a big piece on arsTECHNICA which includes an interview with Fedora Project leader Matthew Miller.
While mostly happy with the system he said it felt slower than Ubuntu in rebooting and in launching apps like Firefox.
He also felt there was no advantage for him personally using Wayland instead of Xorg. As I mentioned earlier, a big advantage is fractional scaling – If you need it.
He did like how it comes with the newest kernel and how fast the software center felt compared to Ubuntu. Overall, he recommends it more for “people who like to tinker”.
Phoronix have done a comprehensive speed comparison between Fedora 32 and Ubuntu 20.04LTS.
All tests combined, Ubuntu came out 2% faster.
Encouraging news came a short while ago on the fedora magazine: Lenovo will start offering some Thinkpads with Fedora Workstation as default.
EDIT: Seems fedora 32 is also Linus Torvalds current main distribution on his newly assembled PC. You can read through the interview on ZDNet.
So, what are your thoughts on Fedora 32? Would be cool to get some feedback from other fellow long term users.