How to improve my Fedora experience?

(Following my previous question Trying XFCE in a minimal way - #3 by ilikelinux)

I recently started using a Linux laptop, coming from MacOS. I don’t want a MacOS experience (and certainly no Windows), but a nice looking and userfriendly operating system. My usage: browsing (with sync support, so Waterfox), mailing (preferably also for an Microsoft Exchange account for work an Gmail account, also rules/filters are necessary), office (text and spreadsheet, LibreOffice is fine), basic vector editing (I miss Affinity, a good Illustrator alternative, but I’m willing to learn Inkscape), music (Kid3 works fine for tages, Audacious is almost good enough-but not). No gaming or video-editing, no programming.

I like the look of KDE, not the one from Gnome.

BUT. I encounter too much small problems. I don’t really mind, but the problem is they keep me from my work, since I try to fix them.
So I need to change something. Another Linux distro would mean a fresh install (I don’t think I can safely and easily make the current installation dual boot?).
Trying another desktop environment would be the easiest, but I’m not sure that would solve the problems. What suggestions do you have?

Examples of the trouble: automatic hiding of the panel doesn’t show the panel, copy-and-pasting doesn’t work across all application (I can use the clipboard, and that solves it), the open/save as window sometimes messes up (that seems fixed now - only you have an expanded tree view in some programs, instead of open folders), the font in Falkon is jaggy (so I don’t use it anymore).
You get the gist: most of it small issues, but they bother me and make me want to fix them, instead of working :-).

Maybe waiting with updates would help, but how could I automate that or make a schedule to attend to?

Operating System: Fedora Linux 40
KDE Plasma Version: 6.0.4
KDE Frameworks Version: 6.2.0
Qt Version: 6.7.0
Kernel Version: 6.8.9-300.fc40.x86_64 (64-bit)
Graphics Platform: Wayland
Processors: 16 × 13th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-1340P
Memory: 23.2 GiB of RAM
Graphics Processor: Mesa Intel® Graphics
Manufacturer: Framework
Product Name: Laptop (13th Gen Intel Core)
System Version: A4

EDIT: I changed the title, because I made a mistake: I wrote approve, but meant improve!

Hey and welcome. So, one by one.

browsing (with sync support, so Waterfox)

Why waterfox? Librewolf has sync too, it needs to be enabled in the settings

For Mail, Thunderbird will work. You need OAuth for Gmail and the Exchange addon for that MS crap (sorry). But they are working on native support, keep an eye on their blog.

For Audio, (without having any experience), try Ardour or Zrythm, both are Linux-first apps.

I encounter too much small problems

Get used to them, ask on KDE Discuss, search for open bugs on Bugzilla. KDE has a ton of software, as I said it works really well for me.

Just treat it like it had no settings. Keep things default as much as possible. You can tweak it how you want but the “restore to default” is limited and you will encounter endless edge cases that cant all be thought of.

XFCE, LXQt, Mate, Cinnamon will all give you worse experiences than KDE in my opinion. They are just all pretty dated.

You dont need another Linux distro to reinstall Fedora with a different Desktop haha.

Also, if you can, get a secondary (cheap, used, SATA) SSD and install Distros there. Adapters are cheap, you can try Distros without troubles, use the SSD for backups etc, its never bad to have one (or 10 like me haha help me). And unlike using virtual machines, you can test real hardware support, native performance and you dont need a crazy machine.

Or use the live environments, I think all Fedora spins have them. Use fedora media writer, download the iso, flash to a stick. Or use Ventoy, flash it to a stick with the VentoyGUI and then just drop your ISO files to the stick and try multiple ones.

Just keep in mind: KDE and GNOME are the most developed DEs.

There is lots of techy background stuff around that regarding display technology etc, but in short: most other environments used a single huge component, Xorg, that handled all display stuff. It is outdated, basically unmaintained, really insecure and should not be used when possible.

It allows apps to do basically everything, record every keystroke, inject input into other apps, record the screen etc.

A ton of apps rely on that (for screensharing, input things, …), especially “cross platform” (Windows) software. And all these “alternative desktops” also rely on it to do the heavy lifting.

This component is currently replaced with Wayland, a set of instructions, and for some reason most Desktops do their own way of using it (“implementation”).

This means suddenly all need to do way more than before, meaning all these DEs dont work with Wayland or way worse than KDE and GNOME.

automatic hiding of the panel doesn’t show the panel

please explain more, there is “dodge windows” and “autohide when no mouse hover”. I only use dodge windows for a secondary one, and in general just avoiding all the floating hiding stuff is best for stability.

copy-and-pasting doesn’t work across all application

Never had something like this, please give an example and the exact apps where this happens. Copy-paste should work. And other desktops will not do anything crazy here to fix this.

the open/save as window sometimes messes up

Again, no idea what that is, a screenshot of exact description is helpful

Falkon is jaggy

Well Falkon is kinda kool, but it is not really usable for daily usage and it doesnt have to be. Just use any Firefox variant you like.

Maybe waiting with updates would help

You (and me and tons of other F40 users) use Plasma 6, that is a huge overhaul (the first major release since 10 years!) including many packed in redesigns and small things. The following updates will mostly be bugfixes.

For that, it works great for me. And in a few months all bigger bugs should be fixed (I currently have 103 reported open bugs…)

I recommend Nate Grahams blog to get a feeling about the amount of bugfixes we get every week.



I’m just here to comment that Inkscape is Superior to Illustrator at this point. If you are willing to learn it is amazing ! Yes, I have used both extensively. Illustrator for a very long time. Inkscape is at this point better in my opinion.

Here is a Watercooler for Inkscape Pathfinders.


My two cents as “average joe”.

Speaking of “linux” you are looking at a moving target.
“Linux” tries to work on anything but that is almost an impossibile goal, like doing an infinite job with very finite resources.
So it is impossibile to predict how a certain distribution with some desktop environment and some applications will work on some hardware.

Then It changes at any new release.
I make USB keys with “live” systems of the major distributions at any new “stable” release and test them against my own hardware.
It only shows what works with that exact hardware on some day.

I am ready to move to a different distribution, a differente desktop environment and different applications at any given time because, it has already happened several times, any new release can introduce some crash that forces me to either postpone the update or to find something else.

That said, there are two main “branches”, one is all software using GTK and the other is all software using QT.

If you want to make use of the latest improvements/technologies you must pick either Gnome or KDE Plasma. This includes all the applications, for example the browser will work better on Gnome - Wayland because it is being developed and tested for it.

When you need (or you just like better) “legacy” environments, you pick XFCE (for example) but there are alternatives that are way more “legacy” than that and they still work, more or less. You can go back in time to the early days of PCs. Yes, one day each of these alternatives will have some major issue but, like I said, everything is a moving target around here.

You can’t compare with Apple because they sell their own hardware so there isn’t any surprise.

You can’t compare with Windows because hardware and software vendors try their best (yes, not enough at times) to make it work, while nobody considers “linux” in the consumer business.

You chose “linux” and you are “free” but you become a nomad.

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I use firefox on kde plasma wayland.
What is an example of sometime that is not working in plasma that requires gnome?


Yeah, it looks that way. But isn’t Cinnamon used by Mint and Mint is often named as one of the most used and stable and userfriendly distro’s.
Also, if I read online comparisons or fora, all those DEs are treated as possible options. I believe the people who write those comparisons mean well, but I often doubt if they really use their Linux installation daily and professionally, without also having a Windows or Mac computer.
Clearly, often it’s just page-filling, so not that well intended…

The bugs on Bugzilla I still have to discover, good tip.

I’m also mainly happy with Fedora / KDE, but for instance the mail is something I really need, and the copy-pasting not working is an annoying step in my workflow (I will post a separate topic on that).
I don’t tweak that much, I think.

(I do use Firefox, I switched from Waterfox but forgot I did :slight_smile: )

I can boot of an external SSD? I already had the tip of using a live USB, both are good idea’s. To know if a system works, you really have to use it for some time. You can’t just open a few windows and programs and know it really does what you want without too many bugs.

And I know you don’t need a new Fedora installation to try DEs :slight_smile: I just meant: what can I try before trying a now distro.

I tried both. When it’s hidden and I hover with my mouse over the bottom of the screen, I have to repeat that 2 or 3 times before the panel shows. So now I leave it visible, which is no drama, but it’s cleaner when it hides.

In Firefox, I use Google Messages and in another tab my electronic patient dossier. I copy the message and want to paste it in the notes of a patient. Pasting shows nothing, so I have to click the clipboard, where the message indeed is pasted, click that and then I can past it in the patient notes. (I just tested: it was only when selecting the text of the messages as a whole, I mean with the hour and info around the text itself). So the problem is limited :slight_smile:

I only gave those issues as an example of the kind of things I encountered, I get that it’s not useful to have a list of different issues in one topic. But since you asked…

It’s been a while, so I don’t remember in which programs or situations it happened. When you wanted to open a file, the open window didn’t redraw correctly, it got chunkend and portions of the list didn’t move up or down, while others did, making it a patchwork where you couldn’t click the correct file. Like I said, that seems solved (it was a problem though, again, an example of things why I get distracted from my work).

OK, that reassures me. I will just wait and solve the issues I encounter. I don’t mind that, I only was afraid I would keep on doing that. I’m easily distracted, that’s why I worried it would be like this for a long time and a lot…

Ah, you’re a developer? In that case: thanks for the work, I’m very impressed with the general usability and look of KDE (or Fedora, I don’t know which things are caused by which always)

I have a Framework Laptop, I think it tries to make it work for Linux :slight_smile:
I indeed would want to use as much KDE programs as possible, but their mail doens’t work, for instance. So I have to use another.
I see like Firefox and Zettlr use a different open and save window, I used "“GTK_USE_PORTAL=1” to make it match the rest of KDE. So I guess I should prefer GTK applications as much as possible?

Because I started using it on my Mac, because Firefox became really slow there. Waterfox seems lighter. On my Framework (the only computer I use now) Firefox is just fine. But I will check Librewolf as well!

Ah, yes. The first thing that really confused me about Linux.

Here are your options:

  1. Use Evolution and install the evolution-ews extension. You can add your Exchange account via the Exchange Web Services protocol. It supports your mail and calendars pretty well.
  2. Use Davmail. You can install the Flatpak. You can now use any email client you want, including Thunderbird, because it converts EWS to IMAP. In your email client, you connect to the Davmail local server which then relays it to your Exchange webserver. Thunderbird setup here: DavMail POP/IMAP/SMTP/Caldav/Carddav/LDAP Exchange Gateway - Thunderbird mail setup
    It’s a little confusing, but works fairly well afterward.
  3. The Thunderbird extension works well, I hear.

As @boredsquirrel mentions, Thunderbird will support Exchange natively sometime between June-July. So far, they will only support mail, but calendar support will come later.

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KDE Plasma with Wayland by default is a very recent improvement. That means until recently if you wanted to see improvements on Firefox because of Wayland your only option was Gnome. You could test KDE Plasma with Wayland but it was very buggy.

That said, browsers are one of the areas where KDE - QT is lacking, last time I checked Firefox and Chromium came with GTK.

Anyway, the general point I was making still stands, when you want to make use of recent developements in “linux” you either pick Gnome or KDE. Yes, you can run GTK software on KDE and QT software on Gnome, maybe with some visual glitches.

About Mint, it may be “user friendly”, besides I don’t think you can be more “friendly” than Fedora Workstation given that it is very minimalistic by nature.

Unfortunately Mint can’t be much “stable” in its default version because it is based on Ubuntu, which has been having all sorts of issues since some time. Maybe Mint LMDE version, which is based on Debian but I guess it has a much smaller userbase.

My personal esperience with Mint was cut short because the Wireless connection did not work when I set the IP address manually instead of getting it from the DHCP. It doens’t mean anything of course, like I wrote above, all distributions are unpredictable.

Hi Dil,

That’s very kind of you to help, but it’s not needed. I use Betterbird (it works perfect with Exchange and Gmail - it’s a fork of Firebird), I know about Evolution (have it as a backup) and even know about Davmail (which is a good example: it demands time to understand and configure and exactly that is what I want to avoid, because i should work, not learn and configure Linux as much as I do).
I only gave it as an example of the things that give me trouble and lure me away from my real tasks. That wouldn’t be the case if Kmail would work out of the box. That’s why I gave the example.
In time, I will spent time learning Linux and the distro/DE I use.

I used Plasma Wayland for over a year and it was always fine. Has gotten better, but not sure if that is Wayland related.

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