Changes in Fedora Silverblue 29

Currently Silverblue 29 removes a lot of apps from the base image compared to 28, namely:

  • Archive Manager (File Roller)
  • Boxes
  • Calculator
  • Cheese
  • Clocks
  • Contacts
  • Disk Usage Analyzer (Baobab)
  • Fonts
  • Help
  • Image Viewer (EOG),
  • Logs
  • Maps
  • Screenshot
  • Simple Scan
  • Text Editor (gedit)
  • Videos (Totem)
  • Weather

Of these apps, the following can be installed from Flathub and work perfectly:

  • Calculator (org.gnome.Calculator)
  • Contacts (org.gnome.Contacts)
  • Fonts (org.gnome.font-viewer)
  • Image Viewer (org.gnome.eog)
  • Videos (org.gnome.Totem)

The following are available, but don’t work completely:

  • Boxes (org.gnome.Boxes, it works, but some of the more complicated things like using host USB devices in guest VMs, doesn’t work yet)
  • Clocks (org.gnome.clocks, doesn’t integrate into gnome-shell)
  • Maps (org.gnome.Maps, cannot fetch maps)
  • Text Editor (org.gnome.gedit, no external plugins)
  • Weather (org.gnome.Weather, doesn’t integrate into gnome-shell)

And the following aren’t flatpaked and can only be layered for now:

  • Baobab
  • Cheese
  • File Roller
  • Help
  • Logs
  • Screenshot
  • Simple Scan

I think at least Clocks, Help and Weather should be available in base image. Lack of Help breaks, well, help in all host GNOME apps, and Clocks and Weather can be installed from Flathub, but don’t integrate with gnome-shell calendar popup:

(Moved here from IRC)

Added: @misc mentioned on IRC that gedit is also missing. I’ve missed that since I had gedit-plugin-drawspaces layered, so it pulled gedit back.

There’s a flatpak for gedit (org.gnome.gedit) on Flathub, but it’s missing plugins, so it’s better to layer it currently.

This change apparently happened as part of: Commit - workstation-ostree-config - 04c703cede3d8c2e7c41bc94ea98951dcdae70b4 - see the addition “# Non-critical apps → Flatpak”. In fact, the change looks like it tries to be even more dramatic, but perhaps there are dependencies that resulted in Nautilus, etc, being still pulled in.

I don’t disagree that, eventually, everything that can be in a Flatpak should be in a Flatpak. But there are multiple technical steps to get there:

  • We don’t have Flatpak builds of these apps in Fedora, or even, in some cases on Flathub
  • We likely will not, for Fedora Silverblue 29, have an enabled-by-default Fedora Flatpak repository, because we just (today!) have the ability to build Flatpaks in Fedora production, and there are things to be sorted out, in particular handling of rebuilds for security updates. It’s more likely to be something we advertise as “install to try out”.
  • We don’t have Anaconda support for installing Flatpaks
  • As @misc pointed out on IRC, we need to think about what happens on upgrade as well if we move things from base-image to Flatpak.

So, as far as I can see, things that look like part of the operating system - whether Clocks or Nautilus - need to stay in the Silverblue image.

Thanks for starting this topic! There have been quite a number of changes to f29 in the last 6 months:

I believe the f29-only commits start with “Add flatpak-builder” and above.

Further note that there’s at least one more notable change proposed: PR#98: manifest: Drop docker by default - workstation-ostree-config -

And I want to highlight that for anyone concerned about things being removed from the base image, today one can use install --allow-inactive which is basically the equivalent of marking a package “user installed” in dnf - you can do this before rebasing, and the package will start being layered.

One thing here too: I would say that so long as we ship Firefox in the base, the argument for not shipping other apps gets murkier.

You have an opinion then on “base operating system apps” - want to express that as a PR and we can debate there?

  1. Isn’t Firefox available as a Flatpak?
  2. I can live without GNOME Boxes but not without Virtual Machine Manager. Sometimes, containers just don’t cut it. :wink:
1 Like

Not officially, and not on Flathub. And you would have a trouble searching for a Firefox flatpak if you don’t have a browser in the base image. (Actually, there’s Epiphany installed, since it’s required for gnome-software webapps, but it wouldn’t be a good UX to rely on a hidden browser for that))

Well, Boxes isn’t an essential app (although it’s a GNOME core app, so it’s expected to be there). However, lack of e.g. Help literally breaks other apps, and also initial setup.

@exalm: So you would encourage to build up or to do initial setup on a programm via flatpak?

Ah - I wondered why Fedora wasn’t the default browser (on 28 - I haven’t tried a 29 nightly compose yet).

You mean Firefox instead of Fedora? :slight_smile: It should be default, Epiphany doesn’t have a desktop file (unless you layer epiphany package) so it cannot be default browser.

What do you mean? Not sure I understand your message :confused:

Well I mean let’s say I want to have Firefox on Flatpak. Would you recommend building it in flatpak? I can imagine that is a lot of work.

There’s an unofficial nightly flatpak, and Mozilla is working on an official one. But for now, it’s in the base image anyway, and if it’s not, it would be best to layer it.

Edit: also, there’s a pending Chrome submission on Flathub. It’s blocked, because it involves a hack, but it works. If it’s not accepted, Endless will have it (they are the ones who packaged it), and we’ll be able to user their flatpak as well.

okay I see;) At the end we know it’s a development process and it needs time that other packages will be added on flatpak.

I’m not sure, you might have read that I’m looking for broadcom driver for Silverblue. Do you have an idea to solve this problem?

No idea. If it involves a kernel module, then you cannot yet, same as with nvidia.

ufff okay…well on F28 workstation I could install the driver via rpm-fusion. But afterwards I have to get it suitable to the Kernel.

Therefore I guess, it’s the same problem like nvida?

Would it be better first to use workstation instead of Silverblue and wait for F29 Silverblue/F30 Silverblue next year?

If you want to use Silverblue without hiccups or having to fiddle around, then waiting until it’s a bit more mature is definitely wiser.

Lots of people use it as their productive desktop, though - which doesn’t work so well if you miss a critical part. Like internet.

Well, I like Silverblue after several weeks and for me it’s a challenge to fiddle.

Yes, I work with it for my productive desktop. But the note doesn’t have wifi because the drivers of broadcom are not yet reliable. I tried already rpm-ostree install or the connection with dnf. At least I found from broadcom b43 driver; but the important driver has not been found yet.

1 Like

Heads-up: Geary bug is w fixed, but Maps in Flatpak still cannot load anything. And I’ve somehow missed the fact that Weather cannot load anything as well.

Does anyone have experiences with f29 silverblue? How is it working? I have still f28 atomic-workstation-ostree

If possible let’s try to keep comments on topic so that it doesn’t get too chatty and people stop reading.