Fedora 34 Beta was released last week. I have installed it on several of my laptops; here are the results and observations so far.
The Fedora Project announced the release of the beta version of Fedora 34 last week. It has a number of interesting points. It finally includes the Linux 5.11 kernel, while the standard Workstation version includes Gnome 3 version 40 (aka Gnome 40).
Multimedia management is shifted to PipeWire, rather than PulseAudio. PipeWire is a project that looks very promising for the future of multimedia under Linux; it is supposed to be suitable for both ordinary desktop use and professional audio use, it is better suited for container use (one of the buzzwords today ' hui) and applications.
The i3 wm version (tiling window manager) is finally included in the Fedora Spins. Another important fact: Fedora 34 is compatible with ARM versions, with a variety of builds including Workstation (Gnome), KDE, Xfce and SoaS (Sugar on a Stick), as well as a server version and a "minimal" version. This beta version is intended to be installed from scratch using the ISO images that are available through the links in the release announcement or on the Fedora home page itself.
Differences on Gnome 40When you boot the ISO image (from a USB stick or DVD) you are asked if you want to run the system Live, or go directly to the installer. This question is a bit misleading, because even if you choose to go directly to the installer, it actually starts the entire live system anyway, then runs the installer; when the installer is complete, you will be taken back to the live desktop, where you will need to reboot to access the installed system.
There have been some further improvements and simplifications to the anaconda installer, which remains my favorite among all Linux installers. It only asks for the keyboard layout, time zone, date and time, and installation target.
When you install the Gnome version, it does not ask for a root password or user account information, which are handled by the initial configuration of Gnome, which runs automatically when the installed system is first booted; for other desktop versions, however, this information is still requested in anaconda.
Some of the differences and new features of Gnome 40 are obvious from the start - even the initial desktop after login. For example, the favorites are now on the side of the screen, the list of applications includes a "Tour" of the new features of Fedora 34 and Gnome 40. Finally, the installation of the i3 version is made slightly more difficult by the fact that there is no question about running the installer, and once the active system is started; there are no icons or menus on the desktop to help you start the installation program.
See you on April 20Once the installation is complete and the computer restarted, you get a nice i3 desktop, at least minimally configured, with an i3 status bar nowhere near as complete and configured as the Manjaro i3 desktop but that turns out to be all also much more qualitative than an i3 "bare-bones" installation. However, setting up the new system can be overwhelming, even for an experienced i3 user.
Fedora i3 appears to be built on an xfce4 basis; it includes thunar file manager and xfce4 settings manager, and if there are other desktop apps you need you can install them from command line using something like "dnf install xfce4-screenshooter ". You can get a list of xfce4 packages with "dnf list xfce4 *", all packages available for installation with "dnf list available", or all installed packages with "dnf list installed" - or if you really, really want, try "dnf list all".
The ARM (Raspberry Pi) versions of this Fedora preview turn out to be quite confusing. Even knowing which version or Spin to download, and which Raspberry Pi it should run on, doesn't seem very clear. The release announcement says "images for ARM devices like the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3", and has a link to "Get Fedora Linux 34 Beta for ARM". This link is titled "Download Fedora 34 for ARM Based Computers", but the images in it are for armhfp versions only, which are 32 bit systems.
As the most obvious and logical choice would be to run Fedora on a Raspberry Pi 4, it sounds strange ... It seems however that the developers of this Fedora 34 version are doing a great job on the consumer versions, although it there are still some issues with the ARM version. The next step will be to observe how they move closer to the scheduled final release date of April 20.