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Fedora Linux Unveils Fedora Atomic Desktops

Fedora Atomic Desktops Announced: A Unified Approach to rpm-ostree Spins.

The Fedora team is thrilled to introduce a new family of spins under the brand “Fedora Atomic Desktops”. This development comes as a response to the increasing popularity of the Silverblue and the growing number of Fedora Linux spins adopting the rpm-ostree technology.

The introduction of this new brand (“Atomic”) aims to simplify discussions about rpm-ostree spins and streamline the nomenclature for future atomic spins.

A Brief History of Atomic Spins

The journey to Fedora Atomic Desktops traces back to the initiation of Project Atomic a decade ago, with the development of Atomic Host. This project utilized rpm-ostree to create a filesystem tree that could be deployed and updated as an atomic unit. The evolution continued with the introduction of Fedora Atomic Workstation in 2018, a desktop client implementation using GNOME, later transforming into Silverblue in the following year.

The momentum picked up in 2021 with the launch of Kinoite in Fedora 35, followed by Sericea in Fedora 38 and Onyx in Fedora 39. These rpm-ostree spins offered users a unique approach to managing and updating their operating systems.

Why the Need for a New Brand?

The decision to introduce Fedora Atomic Desktops stems from several factors.

Firstly, with the possibility of more spins joining the atomic variants, a unified umbrella brand becomes essential. Notably, there are ongoing experiments with desktop environments like Vauxite (Xfce) within the Universal Blue custom images project, and potential newcomers like Pantheon or COSMIC. The new brand provides a cohesive framework to organize these spins under one umbrella.

Secondly, a lack of a standardized way to discuss atomic spins has made communication challenging. With multiple spins available, the absence of a clear reference point has led to confusion and inefficiency in conveying information. The new branding ensures a more organized and streamlined approach to discussing and documenting these spins.

Thirdly, the rebranding reflects a more accurate depiction of how rpm-ostree works. The term “atomic” better encapsulates the nature of the spins, emphasizing the update process’s atomicity rather than strict immutability. This shift in language aligns with the preferences of contributors working on rpm-ostree.

Fedora Atomic Desktops: Today

The Fedora Atomic Desktops family consists of four atomic spins:

  1. Fedora Silverblue: Retaining its name for brand recognition and longevity.
  2. Fedora Kinoite: Also maintaining its name due to established brand recognition.
  3. Fedora Sway Atomic (formerly Fedora Sericea): Embracing the new naming convention for clarity.
  4. Fedora Budgie Atomic (formerly Fedora Onyx): Transitioning to the updated naming convention for consistency.

Going forward, new atomic spins will adopt the ‘Fedora (DE name) Atomic’ format, providing users with a straightforward way to identify and understand the desktop environment associated with each spin. This unified branding also aligns Fedora Atomic Desktops with other rpm-ostree cousins, including Fedora CoreOS and Fedora IoT, collectively serving diverse user needs.

This is overall is a good strategic step to align the rpm-ostree based distributions under one umbrella. In addition, the confusion of various names among desktop environments (Onyx, Kinoite) is now resolved since the Atomic name will be common across variants with their desktop names.

For more details, visit the Fedora magazine blog post.

As always, you can download all the Fedora spins from the official page.

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