Fedora Silverblue on LUP

LINUX Unplugged 468: The Read Only Scenario Fedora Silverblue on this weeks Linux Unplugged

I’d love to see a quick summary — my attention span doesn’t work for podcasts! Anything particularly useful / insightful?

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So, I hope you appreciate the time suck but I listened to this review and can distill the following …

  • There seems to be a misconception about the appropriateness of layering packages via rpm-ostree as opposed to using a flatpak for the desired app. This is common with Silverblue in that many feel flatpaks are the only way you should install an app. I feel layering wouldn’t be an option if that were actually the intended case.

  • The filtering of Flathub apps was considered a major enough inconvenience for casual first time users, since it wasn’t immediately obvious how to turn it off. Though they noted how easy it was to get the Flathub repo setup (30 seconds).

  • The lack of detailed documentation for Silverblue was lamented.

  • One of the three liked Silverblue enough to keep it as his “Daily Driver” for now and all three liked the stability and solid use experience.

  • Flatseal for flatpaks is a must!

  • Gnome extensions work from the web app was noted, and no issues mentioned.

  • Gaming capabilities were lauded somewhat.

  • Toolbox and Distro-Box are cool and very useful tools.

  • The user interaction after initial installation was discussed with some comments about the message being confusing (pertaining to the initial update if you open Gnome Software right away after first boot), but the end resulting experience being positive. They felt a better choice of wording for that message would go a long way since the action takes a couple of minutes (updating the ostree) , but is downloading and making the commit ready to be installed shortly. I believe it is an error generated by Gnome Software as a result of rpm-ostree in mid transaction.

  • Rpm-ostree was liked, positive comments about it’s capabilities under the hood.

  • The need to reboot after layering or updating rpm-ostree bothered some (traditional non-rebooters), and not others.

  • Fast boot times noted by all.

  • The ability to immediately use flatpaks after install (much like traditional workstation) was appreciated and why it was the preferred method of installing apps for 2 of the 3 reviewers.

  • Negative user experience citing Steam, is attributed to Silverblue …

  • Comparison to a “ChromeBook”

  • Overall sentiment is that it feels mostly like Fedora.

  • Noting of pains in dev stack, in particular VsCode as Flatpak.

  • Comparison to NixOS was throughout

  • Preferred NixOS over Silverblue due to the declarative approach Nix uses for system creation, which they felt in more control of than with Silverblue. (They should check FCOS out if that’s their bag).

I hope that breaks it down accurately enough for you @mattdm


More Silverblue in this weeks LUP

I also regularly listen to LUP and really appreciated the turnout of Silverblue users after the first episode. Particularly that last bullet point I thought was a bit unfair because the way they framed it was “Silverblue felt like someone else’s system” because it was built by someone else. Criticism which could be applied to all of the major distributions; they are all curated experiences built by someone else.

Whoever wrote in addressing that point by describing how Ansible can accomplish declarative OS builds, thank you. More than anything because that is an awesome, enlightening point.

Particularly that last bullet point I thought was a bit unfair because the way they framed it was “Silverblue felt like someone else’s system” because it was built by someone else

I agree that it was worded poorly, but thats a point I have seen in other reviews: Silverblue is not a good system if you tinker a lot with your system, like trying different WMs for example. Unlike workstation you are even more forced to do things in “the fedora (silverblue) way”.

If I wanted a system to tinker I would not choose silverblue either, but for a streamlined experience in regards to getting things done I think it is amazing. Especially since I don’t have to worry about a broken system state.

I kinda think of silverblue as the gnome of distros: When using it I trust a group of developers to make sane choices (most of the time) that help me by getting out of the way and provide a smooth workflow. Changing small things is possible (via extensions), but you are not in an ultra customizable environment.

People are customizing silverblue it’s just you have to do it earlier in the process: Overview - workstation-ostree-config - Pagure.io

I think the issue here is more a lack of documentation on “how to make your own silverblue but with your own WM” and there’s probably ways to go tooling wise.

When I was wm-jumping that would not have helped either, because I was installing and testing tools left and right, and needing a reboot for every test would have annoyed me a lot. For me tinkering = experimenting on a system, so quite a bit a difference from customizing a system based on preferences you know you have.

But its very interesting to see that I could switch to kinonite and back to test it without having to reinstall my base system. I agree with you on the lack of documentation.

More Silverblue in this weeks episode: LINUX Unplugged 472: 5 Problems With NixOS