I want to test Fedora live, but it wants to install immediately

I’m using Ubuntu. I want to check out Fedora, first for a friend who is using his laptop for basic tasks only (Internet, Office/printing, E-Mail) and who’s main concern is to have a stable and secure system without maintenance. I thought Fedora workstation Silverblue might be good for him/both of us: He doesn’t need any unusual programs, and I don’t have to do re-installs. However, when I created a USB-medium (Media Writer with Silverblue-Download), it does not run a live session. I do get to select between “Install Fedora” and “Try&Install Fedora”, but if I choose “Try” it gives me an installer nonetheless.
I would like to get an impression of the look and feel of Fedora and I’m really disappointed (and can’t believe) this does not work.
So before I set up a VM, I thought I’d give it a try to ask what I’m doing wrong.
A live USB would be helpful to ask my friend if he likes Fedora and can imagine to switch distros too.
Thank you!

I believe you need to download “Fedora Workstation” if you want to test a live image.

My introduction was moved/answered as a question and someone pointed out that Silverblue is the immutable OS and does not have a live version.

I thought it was just a kind of “safer desktop” (since it is named “Desktop”) while I thought coreOS was the immutable one…

It’s really confusing to know what is what.

Is the look and feel of Silverblue different from Fedora Workstation?
What would you suggest is the right Fedora for my friend (basic user, does not want any maintenance issues)? Thank you

There are actually 4 that I am aware of that are immutable.

Hello @danny1353 ,
Please read this Fedora Magazine article on the topic for a pretty clear picture of what they are and what is available. Introducing Fedora Atomic Desktops - Fedora Magazine


The look and feel of Silverblue and Workstation are identical. Silverblue is the “immutable” or “atomic” (sorry to keep piling on the terms, we’re still at the “engineers coming up with names” part of the process…) version of Workstation. It doesn’t have a live image, as you discovered. :smiley: (Actually, I don’t think it’d be impossible or even super difficult to do a live image version, but it just…didn’t happen yet. I’ll have to ask the devs about that.)

There are pros and cons to both for your friend, I guess. It’s harder for him to break Silverblue and probably easier for you to restore it if they do, but there’s still more general information and help on ‘traditional’ Fedora out there on the internet, generally speaking. Though the atomic builds are getting very popular and there’s a good community around them now.


Thank you all very much!
I’m sorry I don’t have knowledge of the Fedora universe (yet), no offence meant.
I only looked at comparing blog posts such as “It’s FOSS” on best distros, most secure distros, recommended distros, and went on from there.

Please don’t get confused/annoyed should I ask again soon about the right Fedora for myself.
I have a different usecase, and with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS reaching end of support, I might bother you again.
It’s only my 65-yo friend reported he had some store customer service helpfully wipe his harddrive after encountering “only white letters showing on the screen”, and now he has no OS any more, so that comes first.

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As far as Ubuntu goes, the latest LTS version (24.04) should be available in April

No one should even turn an eyebrow up should you ask questions. After all, this forum is about helping others.

My recommendation – install the Workstation version and things should be fine.

If you want minimum admin then fedora is probably not the correct distro since fedora releases a new version every 6 months and with F39 release in November, that pushed F37 to EOL in December. Each release is only supported with updates for at most 13 months.

Having a distro such as Ubuntu LTS means that for the most part only relatively minor updates are done for a period of up to 4 years between release date and before it goes EOL

This is a planned feature: Silverblue Live · Issue #489 · fedora-silverblue/issue-tracker · GitHub

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Please, ask as much as you want/need, that is what this area is for, questions needing answers.

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@computersavvy That was very helpful: I mistook the “You can keep working while the system upDATES in one go” as some “It will update, upgrade, whatever” (would that be rolling release?).
So, I thought there would be no need for re-install, just rollback should something happen.

With the situation as is, Ubuntu LTS is much better for my friend.

We had to install it anyway, because unfortunately Fedora did not find the CUPS/Gutenprint driver for their old printer. I was surprised how Fedora can offer Gutenprint for some Brother printers, but not for this one, while Ubuntu does.

Yes, I know about 24.04 LTS. I always wait for the point release though. So I have some months left to make up my mind - or see if it’s possible for me to leave the deb universe without losing programs that I want really badly.

That’s always a good idea with (Ubuntu) LTS releases if you want to lower the initial administrative burden. Most things are usually OK at the original release date but there are always some small things that could keep you busy and if you don’t have the time for this, waiting for the point release is a good thing.

About your last sentence: it’s good to look at options – and obviously we here are biased since we are in a Fedora forum :slightly_smiling_face: – but again: If you don’t want to or have time for this right now, best stick to what is already working for you right now.

A good way to check if your programs are available in Fedora is by using tools like toolbox[1] or distrobox[2]. I use both (in different contexts) and they are both very good. With them, you can create tightly integrated containers to your main distribution in which containers you can run Fedora and you can search and try out the programs you’re interested in, including graphical programs which can be made to appear in your applications menu and work inside the container (this can be achieved with both tools but distrobox exposes this functionality very easily). Don’t be scared away if you haven’t worked with this type of technologies yet – both toolbox and distrobox have a good documentation and support and you just need a few commands to get whichever one you prefer to try installed and running, also on Ubuntu. This is why they exist – to help users get exposed with this type of technology in an easy way. It’s not so important how they work exactly as long as you can try out installing and running programs from the Fedora repositories in a Fedora environment even if you are using another distribution (e.g. Ubuntu).

I just mention this as an option for you to start working with Fedora right now even without wiping out everything and migrating completely to it. You can try out many programs this way, but for the overall look and feel as well as testing out stuff like drivers, etc. you’d still need a VM or even a Live ISO with Fedora Workstation to check it out.

In my opinion, your decision for your friend is correct for now but this might be reasonable for your own first steps with Fedora. That’s why I mentioned it just in case you find this of interest. Otherwise feel free to ask any Fedora-related questions in these discussion boards – that’s what they are for. :slightly_smiling_face:

  1. https://containertoolbx.org ↩︎

  2. https://distrobox.it ↩︎