Fedora, the Red Hat spin-off favored by Linus Torvalds, has reached version 37, with its latest official release. It brings good news for Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi 400 owners, as their machines are now catered for by a new operating system, but bad news if you’re hoping to upgrade on a 32-bit Arm device.
First, the bad news. The Arm v7 architecture is no longer supported, meaning that 32-bit Arm processors won’t be able to upgrade to this edition. All Arm v8 chips support 64-bit operating systems, however, and accessing all the RAM on a Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB of memory requires this support.
The kernel at work underneath it all is 5.19, the last version of the 5-series kernels before the jump to kernel 6 and the same one found in Ubuntu 22.10. The two systems also have Gnome 43 in common, the desktop environment bringing its quick toggle and Nautilus 43 file manager to the latest OS versions. The difference is that while Ubuntu has a customized version of Gnome, the Fedora installation is more traditional, and there are also Fedora spins using the KDE Plasma, XFCE and Cinnamon desktops, among others. Fedora also doesn’t use Ubuntu’s maligned Snap system for installing new apps, preferring the Flatpak package manager.
The OS comes with updated versions of Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice and the GCC compiler. The OS benefits from improved driver support for certain Realtek wireless cards, new wake-on-LAN capabilities, increased support for the TrackPoints on Lenovo laptops, and BIG TCP, which allows larger packets on IPV6 networks and can increase transfer speeds.
Rather than release an LTS version like Ubuntu, which receives updates for many years and makes a good choice for first-timers looking for a place to start in the Linux world, Fedora puts out a new edition every six months, each of which is typically supported for a year. That’s not to say it’s not beginner-friendly - we installed it as a virtual machine and found the process straightforward, though it required a complete shutdown of the VM after installation, a reset wasn’t enough - but anyone installing this will be looking to upgrade much sooner than they would with Canonical’s OS.
Fedora is also slightly less approachable than Ubuntu, as it presents the user with a bare desktop upon first starting, with no favorites bar, no icons, and just the Activities button in the top left for company. It does, however, have a nice default desktop wallpaper, depicting tall buildings in countryside split by a river - perfect if you find Ubuntu's orange and purple color scheme a bit much.
Fedora Workstation 37 with Gnome can be downloaded in X64 and Arm64 flavors from getfedora.org, while the spins that use different desktops can be found at spins.fedoraproject.org. Server and IoT editions are also available, along with minimal systems for cloud and containerized workloads.