By the third day of using Fedora Silverblue, I already discovered it wasn’t as easy to customize Gnome as in Fedora Workstation, or any other distro with a Gnome Desktop Environment. No matter what desktop environment I’m running, the first thing I always do is install a dark theme, either Adwaita-Dark, Arc Dark, or Greybird Dark, and the second thing I do is install papirus icon. With Gnome, you need to install Gnome Tweaks, if it is not already installed by default. With Fedora Workstation it’s just a simple sudo dnf install gnome-tweaks papirus-icon-theme, but with Silverblue instilling these apps requires you to use rpm-ostree instead of dnf.
Once installed, I was able to customize Gnome the way I like it! I’m still installing apps on my laptop, but so far I’m linking Silverblue so much I’ve installed it on a second laptop. Before you go thinking I’ve already made up my mind, I doubt it will stay on the second laptop long since Pop os 21.04 beta was just released, and I’m very excited to check out Cosmic!
The night before last I decided to install Fedora 34 Silverblue on my Dell XPS12. What drew my attention to it was an article I read where someone was saying that Silverblue was very quick to load and run on his older, low-powered laptop.
I thought my XPS12 would be a perfect test machine. The laptop is about 10 years old with an Intel i7 3517u processor, 8 GB of ram, and 128 GB SSD. The machine came preloaded with Windows 8. My wife used the laptop for work but stopped after she lost the power adapter. I found the PC just lying around, and proceeded to order a new adapter on Amazon for $25.00, and began using it to test various Linux distros. When not testing different distros, I usually only use XFCE or LXDE as my desktop environment due to Gnome and even KDE being a little too much for it to handle.
For anyone that says “KDE is now lighter than XFCE” yes, KDE uses less ram, but it requires MUCH more CPU power than XFCE. I’ve compared to two desktops on older PCS and have always run into problems where KDE required just a little more CPU power than the devices had, while XFCE performed nicely. With that said, since I use Pop OS on my main computers, I’ve come to really enjoy Gnome and would like to find a way to run it on my little XPS12. For me, my XPS12 is the perfect size PC to have when on the go.
Another reason for me wanting to try Silverblue is the idea of the base OS being immutable, it can not be changed, and applications are primarily installed via Flatpak. Having an unchanging base OS enables Silverblue to be more stable but also having the ability to roll back to a previous version if an update does go wrong. Furthermore, I am a huge fan of Flatpaks, so the idea of possibly having an OS entirely using Flatpak applications really intrigues me! I’ve always wanted to try running a Linux distro with just Flatpaks but was never able to as I did not have the patience to uninstalls the default applications loaded on the system.
As I installed Silverblue on my laptop, I could see managing it would not be entirely the same and standard Fedora Workstation. Questions immediately started popping up like “Do I still need to install RPM Fusion?” and “How do I change the default theme from light to dark?”Instead of immediately giving up and installing another OS, I decided to make myself use Silverblue for 30 days, and write about my experience. At the end of 30 days, I’ll explain why I’m keeping Silverblue on my system, or why I decided to try another Linux Distro
Here’s to 30 days of Silverblue!
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