I recently switched from Fedora Workstation to Fedora Silverblue. I can say that this transformation is worth all the time and energy. Fedora Silverblue is an immutable desktop operating system derived from Fedora Workstation. It has the look and feel of a regular desktop operating system, but has extremely high stability and reliability.
$ neofetch /:-------------: [email protected] :-------------------:: ----------------------------- :-----------/shhOHbmp---: OS: Fedora 31.20191219.0 (Workstation Edition) x86_64 /-----------omMMMNNNMMD ---: Host: 20LTS1RE0Y ThinkPad L480 :-----------sMMMMNMNMP. ---: Kernel: 5.3.16-300.fc31.x86_64 :-----------:MMMdP------- --- Uptime: 2 hours, 5 mins ,------------:MMMd-------- ---: Packages: 1629 (rpm), 7 (flatpak) :------------:MMMd------- .---: Shell: zsh 5.7.1 :---- oNMMMMMMMMMNho .----: Resolution: 1368x771 :-- .+shhhMMMmhhy++ .------/ WM: sway :- -------:MMMd--------------: Theme: Adwaita [GTK2/3] :- --------/MMMd-------------; Icons: Adwaita [GTK2/3] :- ------/hMMMy------------: Terminal: termite :-- :dMNdhhdNMMNo------------; Terminal Font: Monospace 9 :---:sdNMMMMNds:------------: CPU: Intel i5-8350U (8) @ 3.600GHz :------:://:-------------:: GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 :---------------------:// Memory: 3920MiB / 15529MiB
Fedora Silverblue aims to provide an excellent platform for developers, super system administrators and users engaged in container-centric workflows-working with Toolbox, Podman, buildah, cri-o and Kubernetes. Silverblue is immutable, which means that the operating system on the disk is exactly the same from one machine to another and never changes the state of use.
Software Management in Fedora Silverblue
Compared to other package-based Linux distributions, Fedora Silverblue gives users different options to manage software applications.
These options are:
- Using the toolbox: Mainly used to install CLI applications and development and debugging tools.
- Using Flatpak: For GUI applications, the main installation method is via Flathub app Store.
- Packaging layering: The rpm-ostree tool is a hybrid image / package system with atomic upgrade and package layering capabilities.
1. Manage packages on Fedora Silverblue using the toolbox
Silverblue comes with a toolbox utility that uses a container to provide an environment where development tools and libraries can be installed and used. This utility allows you to run multiple containers (no GUI) of Fedora Server and install packages to be used for development purposes.
The toolbox provides a familiar package-based environment where tools and libraries can be installed using the standard Fedora package manager – dnf.
Advantages of using the toolbox
- Keep the host operating system clean and stable – You do not have to install hundreds of software packages on the host system that are not always used.
- Isolate software dependencies: Containers are a great way to isolate and organize the dependencies required by different projects.
- Best Experimental Place – If you are using new software or unstable package distributions, the toolbox is the right choice. Once complete, you can always clean up your environment without damaging the host system.
- Make you happy – You will always laugh and know that the host system will not crash because of the wrong software package installed.
The toolbox uses the following technologies:
Fedora Silverblue comes with a toolbox utility pre-installed. If the command line tools are not available for any reason, use the following command to install them:
$ rpm-ostree install toolbox
Because the packages are layered, a restart is required to boot to the image using the toolbox. You can also install the toolbox in Fedora Workstation by running the following command:
sudo dnf install toolbox
Using the toolbox on Fedora Silverblue
- After installing the toolbox, you can create a new container using the following command:
$ toolbox create
You can provide a name for the container you want to create and a specific Fedora version.
$ toolbox create --container myfed --release f31 Created container: myfed Enter with: toolbox enter --container myfed
This will create a container called myfed from the Fedora 31 base image. For Fedora 30, use f30.
- To list existing toolbox containers and images, use the following command:
$ toolbox list IMAGE ID IMAGE NAME CREATED a198bc8c3cda registry.fedoraproject.org/f31/fedora-toolbox:31 2 months ago CONTAINER ID CONTAINER NAME CREATED STATUS IMAGE NAME 70ca4cdc725d fedora-toolbox-31 5 weeks ago Up 6 seconds ago registry.fedoraproject.org/f31/fedora-toolbox:31 8bad25c92c74 myfed 16 seconds ago Created registry.fedoraproject.org/f31/fedora-toolbox:31
- To enter a toolbox container for interactive use:
$ toolbox enter -c myfed We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things: #1) Respect the privacy of others. #2) Think before you type. #3) With great power comes great responsibility. Welcome to the Toolbox; a container where you can install and run all your tools. - Use DNF in the usual manner to install command line tools. - To create a new tools container, run 'toolbox create'. For more information, see the documentation. ⬢[[email protected] ~]$
On the terminal, you can use dnf to manage packages, just like in a Fedora Workstation computer.
sudo dnf -y install vim bash-completion curl wget
- To delete a toolbox container, use:
--- Remove all toolbox containers --- $ toolbox rm -a --- Remove a toolbox container named myfed --- $ toolbox rm myfed --- Force removal of running toolbox container --- $ toolbox rm -f myfed
- To delete all existing podman toolbox containers, images and configurations:
$ toolbox reset
2. Use Flatpak to manage packages on Fedora Silverblue
Flatpak is the main way you can install applications on Silverblue. The main source of the Flatpak application is Flathub – A large repository of Flatpak applications that can be installed.
Simply open Flathub on Fedora Silverblue Fedora’s Flathub Settings Page then click “Flathub repository file“Button to download the Flathub configuration.
End users can also add the Flathub repository manually by running the following command:
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
Using Flatpak on Fedora
- To list the remote servers you have configured on your system, run:
$ flatpak remotes Name Options fedora system,oci flathub system
- To search for “applications” in the repository, use search for command. E.g:
$ flatpak search chromium Name Description Application ID Version Branch Remotes Chromium B.S.U. Fast paced, arcade-style, top-scrolling space shooter net.sourceforge.chromium-bsu 0.9.16.1 stable flathub $ flatpak search skype Name Description Application ID Version Branch Remotes Skype Call and message skype users, with video chat support com.skype.Client 220.127.116.11 stable flathub Franz Messenger for the desktop com.meetfranz.Franz 5.4.1 stable flathub Discord Chat client com.discordapp.Discord 0.0.9 stable flathub
Each search result includes Application ID with Remotely Where the application is located.
- To install the application, run:
$ flatpak install flathub
Example: $ flatpak install com.skype.Client -y ...... 1. [✓] org.freedesktop.Platform x86_64 19.08 flathub 178.2 MB / 238.0 MB 2. [✓] org.freedesktop.Platform.GL.default x86_64 19.08 flathub 90.9 MB / 90.9 MB 3. [✓] org.freedesktop.Platform.Locale x86_64 19.08 flathub 16.7 kB / 318.2 MB 4. [✓] org.freedesktop.Platform.VAAPI.Intel x86_64 19.08 flathub 8.7 MB / 8.7 MB 5. [✓] org.freedesktop.Platform.openh264 x86_64 19.08 flathub 594.2 kB / 593.4 kB 6. [—] com.skype.Client x86_64 stable flathub 80.9 MB / 80.8 MB Installing 6/6… ████████████████████ 100% 2.6 MB/s 00:00
- To list installed applications, run:
$ flatpak list --app Name Application ID Version Branch Origin Installation Skype com.skype.Client 18.104.22.168 stable flathub system Chromium B.S.U. net.sourceforge.chromium-bsu 0.9.16.1 stable flathub system GNU Image Manipulation Program org.gimp.GIMP 2.10.14 stable fedora system File Roller org.gnome.FileRoller stable fedora system
- To run an installed application, use:
$ flatpak run com.skype.Client
- To update all installed applications and runtimes to the latest version, run:
$ flatpak update
- To delete the application, run:
$ flatpak uninstall com.skype.Client
For more details please check flatpak CLI Reference page.
3. Use rpm-ostree to manage packages on Fedora Silverblue
Most (but not all) RPM packages provided by Fedora can be installed on Silverblue using this method. This can be done by modifying the Silverblue installation to extend the packages that make up Silverblue.
Package layering creates a new “deployed” or bootable file system root, and the system must be rebooted after the package is layered. This preserves the rollback and transaction models.
- First, generate the rpm repo metadata:
$ rpm-ostree refresh-md
- You can install packages on Silverblue using:
$ rpm-ostree install
$ rpm-ostree install vim $ for i in neofetch zsh feh sway; do rpm-ostree install $i; done
- You can also replace packages with
$ rpm-ostree override replace
- To uninstall the package, run:
$ rpm-ostree uninstall flameshot Checking out tree 675ab14... done Resolving dependencies... done Checking out packages... done Running pre scripts... done Running post scripts... done Running posttrans scripts... done Writing rpmdb... done Writing OSTree commit... done Staging deployment... done Freed: 242.4 MB (pkgcache branches: 2) Removed: flameshot-0.6.0-4.fc31.x86_64 qt5-qtsvg-5.12.5-1.fc31.x86_64 Run "systemctl reboot" to start a reboot
Performing upgrades and rollbacks on Fedora Silverblue
The standard behavior is to download and install updates automatically, but as a user, you can perform system updates manually.
$ rpm-ostree upgrade
Alternatively, you can check for available updates without downloading them, run:
$ rpm-ostree upgrade --check
Performing a rollback
Silverblue keeps a record of previous OS versions and can switch to the latest version.
There are two ways to roll back to a previous version:
- Temporary rollback: Simply reboot the system and select a previous version from the boot menu to perform a temporary rollback.
- Rollback permanently: To permanently switch back to the previous deployment, use the following command:
$ rpm-ostree rollback
This is the basic way to manage packages on Fedora Silverblue. Other interesting guides are:
How to run Docker containers with Podman and Libpod
Setting up Docker container registry and encrypting SSL with Podman
How to publish a Docker image to Docker Hub using Podman
Upload CentOS 8 Cloud Image to OpenStack Glance
- Install packages on Fedora Silverblue
- How to use Flatpak on Fedora
- How to install packages on Fedora Silverblue using rpm-ostree
- How to upgrade Fedora Silverblue
- How to get started with Fedora Silverblue