My distro of choice: Fedora Silverblue

There are loads of distos available and everybody has their own opinion. And here is mine: Fedora Silverblue.

I want to first clarify that Fedora currently releases two different versions of the desktop: Fedora Workstation and Fedora Silverblue. Fedora Silverblue is currently labelled as an "emerging" edition because it is a new platform that may not yet be suited for all users. Specifically, some feature of the traditional command line do not operate like a traditional Linux system. You can find a quick comparison of the two OSs here.

Below are a couple of the top reasons I choose Fedora Silverblue:

A read-only /usr directory

Fedora Silverblue has a unique implementation of the underlying file system: system components located under /usr are read-only. This means that the core file system runs in a read-only state and can not be modified. This is a very unique feature when compared to other OSs, both Linux and otherwise. The atomic nature of the system means a malicious party, or untrained user, would not be able to modify core system utilities while the system is running, which adds a layer of security, uniform reproducibility, and implementation standardization.

An image based OS

The OS uses git-like tooling to manage its system image. There are many advantages to this approach including greater stability. Since all Silverblue implementations run on top of the same base image, and it is very easy to reset to the base image if the user should need to. The git-like nature also means the image can be rebased to any other OS stream which takes advantage of the same technologies. In-fact, when a user updates to the newest version of Fedora Silverblue, the system is simply rebasing the current system image to the new OS version. Similarly, switching from the unstable "rawhide" branch to a stable branch is as simple as rebasing your system.

Integrated package roll-back

Fedora Silverblue includes a roll-back feature that is integrated with the update manager. When your system has updates ready, you simply reboot to take advantage of them. In the unlikely scenario that the update creates problems for your system files, you can simply reboot again and roll-back to undo the update: easy! Additionally, you can "pin" and save any system image that you might want to retain as part of a fallback plan.

Automated updates

As I mentioned in my distro pick article, Fedora Silverblue includes the functionality to automatically manages both system and application updates. To quote the previous article: The core system can download and merge updates for the user automatically; the next time the user boots up their system, the updated system image would have been mounted automatically. Similarly, desktop apps rely on flatpak technology and are isolated and updated automatically and independently of the core system. This feature is ideal for both new users and seasoned system administrators.

Container centric app sandboxing

Silverblue uses sand-boxing technologies to separate desktop applications from the core system files. This technology is called flatpak. In Silverblue, all non-system applications are delivered as flatpaks. This method of application packaging gives you the comfort of knowing that you have an extra layer of abstraction to restrict applications from having full access to your entire system.

Leading updates

Fedora leads the way when it comes to integrating the latest updates from upstream software projects. This means that it is common for Fedora to have a newer version of the Linux kernel, Gnome, and misc software libraries when compared to other Linux distros. Having new versions of the kernel typically means greater compatibility across new hardware. Fedora's 6 month release schedule contributes to this leadership advantage.

Vanilla Gnome

I really enjoy the Gnome desktop environment: it is clean and minimal. I also like that Fedora uses a stock implementation of Gnome without additional extensions. I sometimes use Gnome without any extensions that modify the work-flow, but I frequently tweak it. Specifically, I frequently configure different implementations of Dash to Panel or Dash to Dock extension.

Fedora is upstream to RHEL

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is a popular Linux OS used in enterprise and cloud environments. It has proven to be stable and innovative in the Linux world and every RHEL release comes from a Fedora release. Additionally, I frequently use RHEL in my day job, so as a Fedora user it is a nice benefit to be able to get a taste of the future of the software that will be packaged in the following RHEL release.

You can find more content about Fedora Silverblue here.