Hello, I’ve been using Linux Mint for past ~3 years and have basic bash knowledge, in other words I’m not complete Linux novice but not an expert either.
I’ve been thinking about trying Fedora, the question is whether to go for Workstation or Silverblue. I have some questions that might help with my decision.
The main usage would be Android development and some light gaming. Most important priority would be stability since I need to focus on the work instead of on the OS. I don’t mind initial leg-work, the important thing is that after the initial leg-work, I wouldn’t have to troubleshoot a lot. Basically set and forget.
Silverblue looks appealing because of the containerization and the rollback abilities, that being said, I’m not versed on that topic.
does it support dual-boot on two separate drives? From my research I found out UEFI dualboot is problematic due to limited or problematic partitioning…which shouldn’t be a problem with two separate drives, right?
does Android Studio work? AFAIK I’d have to use Toolbox, but I’ve never done anything with containers before and searching didn’t yield much. Also does the emulator work?
nVidia - I assume the drivers are fine, but how well does Optimus work?
There is no harm in trying them both out and finding which ones suits you best.
Regarding your questions.
- There is an existing existing bug if trying to duel boot with separate drives using a single EFI boot partition. There is a quick fix you can do do during install. It also should be fixed in Fedora 32.
- It looks like Android Studio is packaged as a flatpak in Flathub which you could give a go. I’ve never used it so I can’t comment on it over using toolbox.
- I don’t have a Nvidia card but the usual place to install them if from on Fedora is RPMFusion these support Optimus and can be installed on Silverblue.
Welcome to the forum!
Silverblue and Workstation are very much alike with some important differences, one being the immutable root file system. There are packages that would require installing various dependencies, or system configuration access that the immutable file system precludes. Generally, this type of use case is the target of the toolbox container. Silverblue is developing, and is a newer approach to a workstation, so growing pains can be expected. Thankfully, I can use Silverblue as my daily workstation for various tasks including development and documentation.
As for dual/multi boot and Silverblue, I haven’t tried it but I know the prime area of issue seems to be with custom partitioning and the Silverblue installer. For what it is worth, I have had issues with custom disk partitioning not working as expected while installing Silverblue on a BIOS machine. My advice would be backup your data first. If you have the space, it should be no problem to point the Silverblue installation to the drive/partition desired and maintain the dual boot setup by doing the auto partitioning of the Silverblue destination. As for Android Studio, I think it works fine. I used IntelliJ’s IDEA, which AS is based on and it worked fine as a flatpak. nVidia drivers unfortunately are always an issue, but are no more than they are with the standard workstation I believe at this point. So, on the topic of system setup and customization with Silverblue, your $HOME and /etc are still mutable and can be modified and therefore you can use your preferred dot files. The container usage and management on Silverblue is rootless with Podman, which is a security benefit over Docker. The rollback feature is nice, and I have only had twice I can think of where I had to use it. Both times were early on (F28&F29).
Dual boot is simple on Workstation, but a huge hassle on Silverblue. I managed it once by trial and error, but on another computer I spent several hours only to give up the Windows partition entirely (even though I actually kinda need it).
Silverblue: I would think Android Studio would work well either on Toolbox or through the Flatpak. I did install it once, and it seemed to work, but I’m not an actual Android dev, so I uninstalled it without trying any heavy lifting, so it might be limited, I don’t know.
That said, I think Silverblue rules. Rollbacks and the container-first workflow are main selling points for me.
Fedora SilverBlue is awesome, but I think Workstation would be the best choice for now. One con of SB for me is flatpak, its packages take a lot of space. I did not check the what’s going to be of F32 SB yet. Which juice things they added to it?.
If you’re using two separate disks to dual boot in an UEFI system, you wouldn’t need to care about a boot manager much, GRUB in this case, you can use your BIOS boot menu to choose which drive to boot to. Each OS creates its own entry there. You can check or edit the entries with efibootmgr from inside a Linux terminal. Depending on what you need to dual boot to and on your machine specs, maybe virtualization would be better.
NVIDIA is simple to install from RPMFusion repositories. On F31’s Gnome you also need GNOME Run With PRIME extension to help you run games or other software with the discrete GPU (some games I have to use it). Installing nvidia-settings and GreenWithEnvy (GWE) is helpful to monitor your GPU.
I currently do not use PRIME, as I use my laptop as a desktop at home, but it seems to have improved. I will take a look.
I installed Silverblue on my old Lenovo W520, which has graphics wired up to Nvidia Optimus. This is what I get on a fresh install.
- graphics driver - nouveau (not nvidia or something ancient like vesa)
- Desktop graphics - OK.
- video - Youtube works fine in Firefox. Adobe Flash is not installed.
- glxgears - 58 frames per second (that’s limited by my 60Hz monitor)
I can use Flatpak to install Steam, and use Steam to install Limbo. Limbo is a platform game, and it works fine.