Getting Started with Fedora Silverblue

Fedora Silverblue is an image-based desktop operating system that includes a built-in package rollback feature. These two features are the reason I am a huge fan of the OS and recommend all users review it to see if it fits there needs and preferences.

Comparing Fedora Workstation and Silverblue

Fedora Workstation is the Fedora Project's traditional desktop OS. It includes a traditional package manager and is the OS most users thing about when they hear "Fedora". Silverblue is an "emerging" desktop OS that includes an immutable base with multiple abstraction layers for user services. Below is a quick comparison:

Fedora Workstation Fedora Silverblue
Desktop Environments in ISO Gnome and Spins* Gnome**
New version schedule 6 months 6 months
Default desktop app method RPM packages Flatpaks
Package manager DNF RPM-OSTREE
Immutable file system No Yes
Package rollback No Yes

* Fedora "Spins" include KDE, XFCE, LXQT, Mate, Cinnamon, and more
** Silverblue uses Gnome. However, "Kinoite" is an alternative build of the same technologies while using KDE.

Fedora Silverblue has a git-like package system in which system package updates are deployed by migrating from one image to another image during reboot. A user never modifies an existing image, but simply modifies a copy of a specific image with layered changes. Package rollbacks are available because the OS retains the previous image of the OS. These images include system packages and components; they do not include your home directory or user configurations. Additionally, Silverblue images are not a disaster recovery solution that would save you from disk corruption or data corruption. Instead, Silverblue snapshots are a way to undo an upgrade or system alteration that had unintended results. The system layout promotes best practices of separating system services from user services.

Get into the details

Below is a collection of articles about getting started with a distro like Silverblue. For the full collection of articles, checkout the Silverblue tag.

Further reading

You can find the community Silverblue forum here.

You can find the Fedora Silverblue user guide here.

Updated: 2021-02-27, to include contextual updates to the current state of Silverblue