What’s new in Fedora Workstation 39

Cover image by Jackub Steiner

Fedora Workstation is the premier open source desktop operating system, built by a worldwide community including you! This article describes some of the major user-facing changes in the latest version, Fedora Workstation 39. Get it today from the Fedora Workstation webpage, or upgrade your existing install within the Software app or with dnf system-upgrade in your favourite terminal emulator!

GNOME 45

Fedora Workstation 39 includes the latest version of the GNOME desktop environment, GNOME 45. This version features stylish new widgets in several core apps, a brand new Image Viewer app, a new keyboard backlight setting on supported systems, a more informative Activities button, improved performance, and many other refinements to the user experience all throughout. More details are available in the GNOME 45 release notes.

Little big things

GNOME 45 features several refinements all throughout the experience. Here are just a few:

  • A dynamic workspace indicator replaces the static Activities button. This new indicator is more informative, showing the number of workspaces and the currently-focused one all at a glance.
The new dynamic workspace indicator
  • A new camera activity indicator appears when accessing a camera via Pipewire. This joins the microphone, screencast, and screen recording indicators.
  • The Quick Settings menu features a new keyboard backlight setting on supported hardware.
The new keyboard backlight setting
  • The default cursors have been redesigned, fixing several long-standing issues with the original set.
  • The Adwaita-qt and QGnomePlatform Qt themes are no longer available in Fedora Workstation 39. Qt apps now use the upstream default theme.

Core apps

Many apps in GNOME 45 now use the new user interface widgets featured in libadwaita 1.4. This gives them a beautiful two-tone design with sidebars extending to the full height of the window. Not only does this look great, it also enhances the apps’ adaptability, making them easier to use with smaller window sizes. More details are available here. Additionally, the new headerbar widget enhances visual separation between the headerbar itself and the window’s contents.

Files, Settings, and Calendar showing the new sidebar widget

Fedora Workstation 39 features GNOME’s new Image Viewer app, internally known as Loupe. It has been written from the ground-up for high performance and adaptability using Rust, GTK 4, and libadwaita.

The new Image Viewer app (artwork shown in screenshot is public domain)

Several smaller refinements have been made in the core apps. Among many others are the following:

  • The Settings app features a new System Details section, a new keyboard layout viewer, easier to understand descriptions, and better keyboard navigability.
The new System Details window
  • Better ordering of search results in Files.
  • It is now possible to remove user data when uninstalling Flatpaks in the Software app.
The new prompt shown when uninstalling a Flatpak app
  • Line-by-line scrolling and more useful search results in Calendar.
  • Support for copying files, images, and text when using RDP connections in Connections.

Performance improvements

GNOME 45 features a number of performance improvements.

  • Hardware-accelerated video decoding is now automatically preferred, where possible.
  • Thumbnailing in the Files app is now multithreaded.
  • Cursor stutter and latency is significantly reduced.
  • Search performance is greatly enhanced in GNOME Shell and within several apps, including Files, Software, and Characters.

Several performance improvements have also been made across the whole stack, including in GLib, GTK’s OpenGL renderer, and systemd. A lot of these performance optimisations would not have been possible without the enabling of frame pointers in the previous version of Fedora Workstation!

Under-the-hood changes throughout Fedora Linux 39

Fedora Linux 39 features many under-the-hood changes. Here are some notable ones:

  • Fedora Linux 39 now features a coloured Bash prompt by default!
The coloured Bash prompt
  • The Noto fonts are now the default for languages using the Indic script. This replaces the older Lohit font set.
  • The modular repository is no longer available in Fedora Linux 39 due to low usage and lack of active maintenance.
    • The Fedora Module Build Service will be sunset around the end-of-life of Fedora Linux 38, i.e. in May 2024.

Also check out…

Cool happenings throughout the Fedora Project!

  • November 6, 2023 marks the Fedora Project’s 20th anniversary. Keep your eye on Fedora Magazine for a special 20th anniversary article! 🎉

New in Fedora

59 Comments

  1. Scotty_Trees

    Thanks to all the devs, maintainers, contributors, bug reporters, and all other volunteers for their efforts for this new release! Been looking forward to this, can’t wait to install this after work today! Love me some new Gnome goodies!

  2. MasterKasper

    I just tried Fedora 39 out and in looks real fancy!

  3. Chris

    The new sidebars in the core apps look horrible… It’s genuinely a massive usability regression for Files in particular, as the address bar is now so tiny. The old Files was perfect. Just change for the sake of change…

    • Simon

      I wouldn’t say it looks horrible but I am also confused with this obsession about random design changes when the features of GNOME core apps leave much to be desired.

    • Darvond

      It looks like it was designed for a mobile. Hardly befitting a desktop platform, but that’s GNOME for you.

      • nikita

        Gnome isn’t just a desktop platform, adaptability to smaller screens has been a goal for quite a while now

        • Darvond

          So create a separate (sub)platform instead of shoehorning desktop, netbook, and mobile users into one design space. It won’t work. They each require a paradigm of approach.

          Inconveniencing desktop users for a touch centric interface design is exactly what out of touch is. A desktop launcher won’t work on a 5 inch screen, just as huge borders & flat buttons aren’t going to favor desktop users.

      • Michael Setzer II

        Update on test machine went fine, but messed up somethings.
        Had Xfce setup, but upgrade changed it to gnome? Didn’t like, so changed it to Xfce again.
        Messed up vnc as well. Have been using vnc going back to Fedora Core 1 with Xfce, nothing changed in startup, but comes up with gnome. Had to dump tigervnc since it wouldn’t work correctly. Installed turbovnc with Xfce selected, and works great.
        Otherwise seems ok
        Will upgrade 4 work machines and do the same.

    • Nick Fenwick

      Is the address bar really so tiny? Comparing my Gnome 44 desktop with the screenshot above, it looks like the bar has been reduced by the width of the sidebar, but this still leaves a decent size bar. I do agree that the reduction isn’t functionally useful, there’s no reason to have the ‘Files’ title at the top of that sidebar when the old bar used to be able to use that space. I’d support some kind of option to allow the old behaviour, but with the sidebar now physically occupying the entire column I doubt that would be easy to achieve.

      I’m enjoying the custom title bar feature, not sure what version of Gnome this came in (probably years ago and I missed it). VS Code, for example, has an option you have to enable window.titleBarStyle=custom which makes it much more space efficient, and enables other options like moving the Activity Bar to the top.

    • Pisu S

      I switched to KDE.
      I’m done.
      I have neither the time nor the energy to entertain myself or get excited
      by new unwanted changes…..
      I remember the full black theme that the high-contrast-inverse theme had back in gnome 3.26 and they removed that !!
      For the mobile Gnome is perfect but not for the desktop.

      • Mimimi

        mimimi. Haters gonna hate. You get the best operating system, the best desktop environment and still mimimiing. Switch then, back to Windows – it is great place for nonconstructive criticism.

        • senileOtaku

          Pisu S was talking about DESKTOPS, not the OS itself. And using the terms “Best” and “GNOME” together is a contradiction in terms.

          GNOME should exist as a DE, since it’s all about choice. But the GNOME devs need to learn to stop BREAKING GTK functionality for everyone else. Time for all the other non-GNOME projects to migrate to CTK, and leave GTK for GNOME to trash.

        • Pisu S

          Seriously Man!
          I absolutely love silverblue/kinoite/Sericea.
          Silverblue is perfect for touch screen ThinkPads/Latitudes for corporates. The only thing holding it back is the Office Suite.
          That the Fedora team took time to even make a Sway immutable desktop version just shows the ruthless dedication of the team !!

          I have a x250 that meditates with Kinote on it. Its more than perfect.

          For desktop users and newcomers Gnome can be a nightmare. If I really wanted to deal with the technicalities of Gnome, instead I would just sway+mc+neovim+tmux all day long. If people really need to come to Linux to play games or do office work then there has to be uniformity and logical consistency in what a desktop is. KDE is 100% perfect in that regard.

          You should go address those Wayland haters, who complain but lack competence in writing their own code or contributing anything worthwhile besides complaining. I support Flatpaks too, Not Snap.

      • William

        Yes! Gnome’s UI is ugly and UX is terrible, and the situation is changing from bad to worse. Uninformative, with too many clicks, and a user still needs a terminal for almost everything, like removing wallpaper and replacing it with a solid color for instance. While screens are getting bigger, those morons still adapt UI for small screens. Is my criticism constructive enough? Developers never actually listen to users, they call us haters instead

    • Paul

      Agreed, they look worse and add yet another inconsistency… put on a screen with single pane apps and they look too different, and for no benefit.

  4. Dave

    Can’t wait to install this on my Steam deck, though there is no good fan control.

  5. Nick Fenwick

    While I always welcome improvements and the devs’ efforts, I think this article should mention the big change in Extensions in Gnome 45, which has been well reported e.g. https://blogs.gnome.org/shell-dev/2023/09/02/extensions-in-gnome-45/ .. I recommend people check their favourite extensions for compatibility before upgrading, in case you find they simply don’t work and it may be some time before they are updated by their individual maintainers.

  6. D White

    Seems more a Gnome update than a Fedora one.

    • There are non-GNOME changes that were made in Fedora Linux 39. Many of them can be found here: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/39/ChangeSet

      This article focuses on GNOME because it is about Fedora Workstation edition.

      • Darvond

        Maybe Fedora needs to champion a desktop that is about users & desktops instead of mobiles & philosophers.

        A desktop that doesn’t break compatibility with itself because it happens to be Tuesday, and is quite open to working with other desktop systems to ensue compatibility and standards.

        Maybe ICED would be the better paradigm, but hm, Fedora hasn’t exactly been developing a desktop, just supporting one with an outmoded code approach to design vs modern sensibilities.

        Or you know, XFCE. They could use a hand in acceleration. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  7. Mahdi Hosseini ( Libreman )

    Very very good and beautiful,
    I will update my operating system as soon as possible. I hope its speed has improved and many bugs have been fixed (especially about GNOME).

  8. SenileOtaku

    Not a whole lot of coverage of what changed in Fedora 39 that isn’t part of GNOME (3-4 lines of text compared to the paragraphs and paragraphs of GNOME coverage). Those of us using Cinnamon, KDE, XFCE, LXzz, etc would like to know what is relevant to us (other than continued breakage in GTK for any non-GNOME desktops).

    • People from the working groups for those subprojects are very welcome to write “What’s New in Fedora ” articles for Fedora Magazine. The reason Fedora Workstation has such an article is simply because they provided one.

  9. Randall Weed

    Thank you, just do the simple fact is these people took time to make this is good enough for us. Thank you

  10. Mike

    Update from 38 went without any issues, swift and painless. Sometimes I catch myself reflecting on what an incredible progress Linux Desktop (like Gnome) has made for all these years. I love new ideas and progress but as for desktop workspace – there’s really not much I can ask for.

  11. Varen

    Great Work Team!!!

    I was distro hopping for a long time but never tried Fedora. I Switched to Fedora 38 a few days ago and i was impressed with it. And in 2 days i was lucky to get a stable update!. Impressive just got better!.

    Thank you all

  12. Ace

    Hey, I am reading through the comments on here about fedora’s awesome new release of workstation 39 and to my horror, instead of some “great job”s and “here is some constructive criticism” I am seeing “GNOME is trash” and “I am freaking out about the stupid little nav bar in GNOME files”… really? Are you going to be so childish that a nav bar being less then a quarter of it’s original size shorter is going to make you that mad? Or a few changes to a different style are going to make you that mad? Grow up! If you don’t like it use KDE! They keep there system nice and ugly, don’t care about aesthetics at all and are years out of date in there ui design but hey, they don’t change much over the years! Seriously, to each there own but you don’t have to be jerks about it! Gnome is doing what they are doing to make the UI more comprehensive and clean which is why the OSes designed to introduce new people to Linux almost always end up GNOME based… they are also the most well prepared for going mobile, the foundation is much better then KDE’s and once they start on the actual shell work for mobile in internist it will surpass all the rest quickly! and all the GTK based apps will automatically work on mobile well. That is a big undertaking… GNOME is really very much pushing the ball for most of the huge improvements in the Linux desktop world! Hence why so many disros are still GTK based. I develop in the GTK, Libawaita, Gjs,and other GNOME toolkits and a change in api from time to time is well worth it! Now it is fine if you disagree, but for heaven’s sake, keep it to your self and just switch to whatever you happen to think is better or adjust your expectations! Now, I personally like the change to the side panel style even though the nav bar is shorter since it give room for a much more modular design system that take a lot of the work off of the developers for the app to still be compliant with the GNOME UI standards, and it lays the groundwork for it to become a universal organization system that allowed the user to know right away, if there are option of this type or the other, they will be right there and if they aren’t, the user does not have to go looking to make sure they are not some place else because they will either be in the side bar or not an option… a good example is Apple, a multi-million dollar company, who has a almost universally loved UI (if if it looks like the css for it is a few years out of style) who does the same thing… I will leave it to you to determine what you think the likely hood is that Apple did not pay someone thousands to apply very intentional placement of options in the UI APIs to flow well with the way humans think…
    Anyway, I am excited to see fedora 39 and can’t wait to get my hands on the new GNOME desktop next Monday! I am especially looking forward to dest driving the improvements to the file search and cursor efficiency! Great job to both the Fedora devs, and the GNOME devs that made this release possible! Thanks!

  13. Andrew

    Bit of a rant. Just my opinion, feel free to correct me if there are any factual errors.

    Just did a fresh re-install using 39 beta (then upgraded to release). Was several releases since I did a fresh install, and i’m happy with it, still love Gnome, works well for me. One thing though…this btrfs default fs… I went back to LVM with ext4 and xfs for /home, because I just couldn’t put up with root and home always showing the same % full in df -h. And I get annoyed at having to type a much longer command to get the real result :/ . Plus, as an oracle DBA, i’m very aware of segments/extents and the design philosophy behind btrfs by Chris Mason, and I just feel that development seems to have stagnated and maybe, just maybe, extents and segments weren’t the best fit for a filesystem, and the Oracle dev was just trying to shoe-horn technology he knew into a container that wasn’t the best fit? Am I the only one? I tried looking for info on RAID-6 fixes and it seems it’s still not reliable. I tried finding info on how to do a snapshot of the subvol before a dnf update and being able to revert to the previous subvol if the update goes wrong, and it’s sooo convoluted and poorly documented! Is there a gui that makes all this easy to do? I really like the idea of in-built raid on metadata/data and in-built compression, but they still don’t support in-built encryption after all this flipping time, and the compression is still flaky depending on use-case! Considering all of those points, I just thought ‘stuff it’ and went back to tried and true and well-known LVM commands with ext4/xfs.

  14. Sunil

    Fedora 39 or linux mint edge?

    • Darvond

      I’d sooner pick OpenSuse Leap if you’d prefer a release to release, or Tumbleweed for rolling.

      At the end of the day, Mint is still based on Ubuntu/Debian, which is the furthest from fresh you’ll ever get.

  15. Albernando Alberto

    Nice update! Some might say that this update only has very small or incremental changes, but I think that’s a good thing – focusing on polishing the experience and perfecting the best OS out there!

  16. Patrick

    I’ve installed Fedora Workstation 37 last winter, upgraded flawlessly to 38 in May and to 39 yesterday morning. I have the same feeling as if I’d run a rolling-release distro. What else ? 😉

  17. Patrick

    I’m sorry, I forget to thank the Team for their great job.

  18. Alok

    Just here to convey my thanks to the Devs and others out there for a smooth stable release.
    Just wish that there should have been an auto system filesystem backup like windows does for easy roll back if something goes wrong.

    • Michael Amanti

      While I use Window’s System Image Backup,
      I would never trust any one Backup method.

      So, I also use CloneZilla Image Backup [ and CloneZilla Clone ].
      This works well on Fedora Linux [ 39 ] as well.

  19. duvjones

    Ok, it been a few days for me and WOW….

    This has to be the smoothest that I have had upgrading.

    Question about the coloured bash: I was upgrading from 38 and I am wondering what I would need to have the new default?

  20. Matthew Phillips

    It’s interesting how passionate people are about their DEs. GNOME is still my favorite because it seems to be the place where all the important development is done first, like Wayland and Pipewire. KDE has a lot of edge case polish and love from all the users in its community, but GNOME seems like it is developed from the inside out and I like that about it. I just use it with all defaults, no extensions; same thing with Silverblue, just Flatpaks and try not to layer if I can help it.

    Installed Fedora Silverblue 39 a couple nights ago and still loving it!

  21. idanka

    Thanks to the team!
    It was a fairly trouble-free update. The gnome
    *it has become much better in terms of speed
    *thumbnail image generation is much faster
    *displaying all icons is also much faster

  22. Andy M

    Gnome Team: Give us options to configure the system how we need / want – don’t force us to a change for the sake of change – please! Every time the interface changes, I lose minutes to hours of productivity. I wish we had options in the configurations to select what you do and don’t want. Some features for dev’s are terrible for my kid who uses linux for school, who has different needs from my wife who uses it for business and me who uses linux for my tinkering. Give me setup options! Make it easy to change color scheme for readability, etc… If you allow users the options, we can optimize it for our use. That’s what makes a UI useful. Make it for the user.

    Please focus on the “under the hood” performance items as well. If you can save me 5 seconds opening a file or picture, that results in real productivity improvement. Great to see those improvements here.

    • SenileOtaku

      You want to have a say on what your desktop looks like? You’re looking at the wrong desktop project then.

    • Darvond

      Sorry, wrong desktop. Gnome has taken Kai Krause’s “padded cell” design philosophy to the illogical extreme.

      I’d suggest swapping Gnome for Cinnamon, Mate, or XFCE at your preference, and voting to replace the desktop of Fedora while leaving Gnome to rot.

  23. Steve

    Wish they would switch back to Plasma as the default.

  24. Peter

    It looks like a lot of people have complained already, so that’s good. I’ve been on Fedora 39 for about ten minutes and I already have two major gripes.

    1) In the terminal, “top c” has changed to “top -c”. What’s the point of that? It’s just one extra key to type, for no benefit.

    2) Getting rid of “Activities” at the top is annoying. I don’t like this shift towards getting rid of words in menus and replacing them with abstract symbols. Also, in Firefox, I can no longer click “Activities” to open a new window, private window, etc, and instead I need to click somewhere else. Again, I don’t see any advantage from changing this.

    Maybe I will get used to these changes, but I don’t think I will ever prefer them.

    • Andrew

      Regarding the Activities bar application specific buttons as in Firefox to add new window, I think it’s good that they changed this, because when they originally implemented it, it felt super weird to use a separate button outside of the application window to change settings. I’m actually glad that they have finally reverted this and all application specific controls are now within the actual application windo again. Maybe they realised that such a design choice wasn’t a good idea after all?

  25. hentaicoder

    real title : whats new on gnome?

    • It was pointed out earlier that Workstation edition installs with GNOME. This article is titled: “What’s new in Fedora Workstation 39”.

  26. Amir Suhel

    “I had been on a long search for the perfect OS. When I installed Fedora for the first time, I didn’t have high hopes. I was using Ubuntu and Windows. However, after using this OS, I never needed to look back at any other OS. Fedora 39 lives up to that reputation too.”

  27. Sasan

    Thank you so much Fedora devs for all your great work.
    I’ve been running Fedora for the last two years on a Lenovo laptop and every bit except for battery life has been pefect. GNONE animations render beautifuly on the 90hz display.
    I’ve been thinking about moving my main workstation (Manjaro KDE) to Fedora gnome too. Who knows this release night finally tempt me.

  28. Alaa

    Nice and good work good time good 👍 job thanks Fedora

  29. Yevgen Taradayko

    The modular repository is no longer available in Fedora Linux 39 due to low usage and lack of active maintenance.

    Very, very sad. As for me it was one of the best feature for many years.

  30. Ednan Penteado

    Quando solicito a atualização do Fedora 38 para o Fedora 39, dentro do Atualizações do aplicativo Programas, o sistema carrega em torno de 65% e posta a mensagem:
    Erro ao executar a transação: o pacote pgdg-fedora-repo-42.0-28PGDG.noarch já está instalado
    Isto aconteceu na atualização do Fedora 37 para o 38, precisei deletar o pacote pgdg-fedora-repo-42.0-28PGDG.noarch, mas com este procedimento perdi meu banco de dados PostgreSQL e todos os arquivos ja lançados, precisei reinstalar o PostgreSQL.
    Este pacote deve ser do PostgreSQL, e o Fedora tem um pacote com o mesmo nome, seria necessário mudar de nome o pacote da atualização do Fedora?

  31. Michael Nordberg

    I had been running Fedora 38 on my Framework 13 laptop and decided today to take the plunge into 39. I decided against going the upgrade route and did a clean install after I had backed up my home directory. Installation was smooth and so far no issues. Got Sublime and PyCharm installed and I am good to go. Kudos to everyone in the development team.

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