Objective Review: Immutable variants are the majority of Fedora Linux in use

I think Guix is slightly ahead (timeline wise) as a transactional system, which is entirely declarative, supports rollbacks (environment too) and user level package management.

Silverblue is very stable in everyday use, I began using it in the beginning when it got started. Aside from the subtle paradigm shift, it was extremely usable. With caveat’s of course. The container based workflow it fosters has now become more second nature for me. While there is still the ability to tinker under the hood through the tools rpm-ostree and ostree provide. it is comforting and somewhat liberating from a user POV to be able to be able to merely “rollback” an untintended consequence of a recent change. I think it is pretty easy to install multiple DE’s and switch as you normally would, again with some caveat’s, otherwise why make Kionite, right?
Immutability is an appealing feature that is gaining a lot of attention this past couple of years. I think Nix OS broke ground here for all.

If you havent looked a Guix lately, or are unfamiliar with it, you should take a look. After all it is GNU Linux. The one thing it does not do is stick to the FSH, which can be problematic for some.

I think there are some ideas in use with Guix that may work well in Fedora. Suchs as supporting transactional user home environments.

I’ve started the discussion about that in Change build and release cadence · Issue #384 · fedora-silverblue/issue-tracker · GitHub. To be able to change the release model, we need work on CI and openQA testing that is not done yet. See:


I would applaud this as an objective for the next five years - Silverblue is a great workstation OS today, with rpm-ostree enabling people to “get their work done” (by installing RPMs where necessary) while the Flatpak ecosystem and Developer toolchains catch up with the potential of an immutable OS. It has been transformational for me personally, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a low-tinker, high-reliability Linux desktop.

If this is to be pursued then the structure and position of Silverblue needs a re-think. The KDE and Sway spins of Silverblue have better websites than Silverblue itself, for example, and it’s a pity that Silverblue has been downgraded from having an equally-sized place with other editions on the website to a text mention in the footer. Externally Silverblue has an image of being somewhat “abandoned”, with the momentum existing externally (Ublue, I note, got some great ZDNet coverage which raved about underlying Silverblue features but doesn’t mention the OS once*). A re-design of the website has been discussed, fwiw, but it seems that this has languished (while other project sites have moved forward).

There are other examples, e.g. Fedora Flatpaks not being kept up to date (I don’t know if this specific issue is still recurring on new releases). In this issue I offered to help with the Flatpaks and was referred to the package maintainers documentation - but this is entirely about RPMs (not Flatpaks), and honestly I just started questioning the value of the Fedora Flatpaks in the first place (I’m now just using Flathub directly).

In my view, this is because Silverblue (and, possibly separately, Flatpaks) doesn’t really have a working group - or, at least, not one I could track down - and so it’s very hard to contribute. As an example, someone suggested on the Matrix channel yesterday that anyone could contribute a new website, which I could do (many people could do) but I don’t want to “waste” my time crafting a contribution without reasonably knowing that it would be accepted (who would even accept it?). I have also started discussions around what packages to ship with Silverblue, and when/whether to use the Firefox Flatpak - both have had some discussion and feedback (and might be bad ideas) but have otherwise sort-of languished, and this feels like where Silverblue is on any decision-making or direction (which is my perception, as someone that really likes Silverblue and wants to help, rather than necessarily a fair representation of what is going on internally).

I think there also needs to be a re-think on the messaging around rpm-ostree. This is the “killer app” that turns immutable desktops from “a bit of an experiment” to “working, today, for most use-cases” - put simply, you can basically treat Silverblue like a Workstation installation, install most** RPMs you’re already using, and immediately benefit from the increased reliability and stability of an immutable desktop. Of course, we should encourage users to try the Flatpaks (and Toolbx) first - but rpm-ostree along with the vast Fedora RPM ecosystem is a lovely, pillowy backup that you can fall back to if you just need to get something done. But this practice isn’t actually championed (indeed, I most often see it being discouraged) which leads to new users deploying dirty hacks (e.g. installing in Toolbx, then deploying many brittle wires back into the host - .desktop files, etc) to avoid using one of the key USPs of the OS! rpm-ostree is the path to Silverblue, it’s the key USP for Silverblue, and once you tell people they can bring most** of their Workstation setup to Silverblue they are usually much more up for the switch.

Anyway, I’ve tried to give some insight into what I see to be the obstacles to achieving this objective, without coming across too negative. @tpopela and @siosm (which, so far as I can tell, are Team Silverblue) have been really helpful on Matrix and on the issue tracker, and I’m grateful that they have kept the project going (seriously, I use this OS every day, and it’s been so transformational to my workflow I would really hate to go back to a mutable OS). I do think that if this objective is to be successful Silverblue needs distinct decision-making that builds on this, giving decisive direction to the edition, and giving contributors the confidence to invest their time (and if this exists, it needs externalising).

*note: this is not a criticism of the Ublue team. What they’re building on top of Silverblue is awesome, and the momentum they’ve built up is why they’re being awarded the mindshare.

**yes, not all RPMs work on Silverblue.


There is now a SIG for Flatpaks in Fedora with regular meetings.

Silverblue discussions most likely happen in the Workstation working group (not sure as I don’t attend those).

Kinoite discussions happen in the KDE SIG meetings.


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