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Fedora Desktops – Memory Footprints

There are over 40 desktops in Fedora. Each desktop has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. Usually picking a desktop is a very personal preference based on features, looks, and other qualities. Sometimes, what you pick for a desktop is limited by hardware constraints.

This article is to help people compare Fedora desktops based on the desktop baseline memory. To narrow the scope, we are only looking at the desktops that have an official Fedora Live image.

Installation and Setup

Each of the desktops was installed on it’s own KVM virtual machine. Each virtual machine had 1 CPU, 4GB of memory, 15 GB virtio solid state disk, and everything else that comes standard on RHEL 8.0 kvm.

The images for installation were the standard Fedora 31 Live images. For GNOME, that image was the Fedora Workstation. For the other desktops, the corresponding Spin was used. Sugar On A Stick (SOAS) was not tested because it does not install easily onto a local drive.

The virtual machine booted into the Live CD. “Install to Hard Disk” was selected. During the install, only the defaults were used. A root user, and a regular users were created. After installation and reboot, the Live image was verified to not be in the virtual CDROM.

The settings for each desktop was not touched. They each ran whatever settings came default from the Live CD installation. Each desktop was logged into via the regular user. A terminal was opened. Using sudo each machine ran “dnf -y update”. After update, in that sudo terminal, each machine ran “/sbin/shutdown -h now” to shut down.

Testing

Each machine was started up. The desktop was logged into via the regular user. Three of the desktop terminals were opened. xterm was never used, it was always the terminal for that desktop, such as konsole.

In one terminal, top was started and M pressed, showing the processes sorted by memory. In another terminal, a simple while loop showed “free -m” every 30 seconds. The third terminal was idle.

I then waited 5 minutes. This allowed any startup services to finish. I recorded the final free result, as well as the final top three memory consumers from top.

Results

  • Cinnamon
    • 624 MB Memory used
    • cinnamon 4.8% / Xorg 2.2% / dnfdragora 1.8%
  • GNOME
    • 612 MB Memory used
    • gnome-shell 6.9% / gnome-software 1.8% / ibus-x11 1.5%
  • KDE
    • 733 MB Memory used
    • plasmashell 6.2% / kwin_x11 3.6% / akonadi_mailfil 2.9%
  • LXDE
    • 318 MB Memory used
    • Xorg 1.9% / nm-applet 1.8% / dnfdragora 1.8%
  • LXQt
    • 391 MB Memory used
    • lxqt-panel 2.2% / pcmanfm-qt 2.1% / Xorg 2.1%
  • MATE
    • 465 MB Memory used
    • Xorg 2.5% / dnfdragora 1.8% / caja 1.5%
  • XFCE
    • 448 MB Memory used
    • Xorg 2.3% / xfwm4 2.0% / dnfdragora 1.8%

Conclusion

I will let the numbers speak for themselves.

Remember that these numbers are from a default Live install. If you remove, or add services and features, your memory usage will change. But this is a good baseline to look at if you are determining your desktop based on memory consumption.

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Welcoming our new Fedora Community Action and Impact Coordinator

Good news, everybody! I’m pleased to announce that we have completed our search for a new Fedora Community Action and Impact Coordinator, and she’ll be joining the Open Source Program Office (OSPO) team to work with Fedora as of today. Please give a warm welcome to Marie Nordin.

If you’ve been involved in Fedora, you may have already been working with Marie. She’s a member of the Fedora Design and Badges teams. Her latest contribution to the Design Team is the wallpaper for F31, a collaboration with Máirín Duffy. Marie has made considerable contributions to the Badges project. She has designed over 150 badge designs, created documentation and a style guide, and mentored new design contributors for years. Most recently she has been spear-heading a bunch of work related to bringing badges up to date on both the development and UI/UX of the web app.

Marie is new to Red Hat, joining us after 5 years of involvement with the Fedora community. She was first introduced to Fedora through an Outreachy internship in 2013 working on Fedora Badges. Marie’s most current full time position was in the distribution industry as a purchasing agent, bid coordinator, and manager. She also has a strong background in design outside of her efforts for Fedora, working as a freelance graphic designer for the past 8 years.

I believe that Marie’s varied background in business and administration, her experience with design, and her long term involvement with and passion for Fedora makes her an excellent fit for this position. I’m excited to work with her as both a colleague on her team at Red Hat and as a Fedora contributor.

Feel free to reach out with congratulations, but give her a bit to get fully engaged with Fedora duties.

Congratulations, Marie!

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Sharing Fedora

After being a Fedora user for a while, you may have come to enjoy it. And in fact you might want to encourage others to try Fedora. You don’t need any special privileges or to become a Fedora Ambassador to do that. As it turns out, anyone can help others get started with Fedora just by sharing information about it.

Having the conversation

For example, if you go out to lunch with a group of colleagues periodically, you might find it natural to talk about Fedora with them. If someone shows interest, you can suggest to get together with them for a Fedora show and tell. There isn’t any need for formal presentations or prepared talks. This is just having lunch and sharing information with people you know.

When you’re with friends, relatives, colleagues, or neighbors, conversation often turns to things computer related, and you can bring up Fedora. There are usually opportunities to point out how Fedora would partially if not completely address their concerns or provide something they want.

These are people you know so talking with them is easy and natural. You probably know the kind of things they use PCs for, so you know the features of Fedora that will be attractive to them. Such conversations can start anytime you see someone you know. You don’t need to steer conversations toward Fedora — that might be impolite, depending on the situation. But if they bring up computer related issues, you might find an opportunity to talk about Fedora.

Taking action

If a friend or colleague has an unused laptop, you could offer to show them how easy it is to load Fedora. You can also point out that there’s no charge and that the licenses are friendly to users. Sharing a USB key or a DVD is almost always helpful.

When you have someone setup to use Fedora, make sure they have the URLs for discussions, questions, and other related websites. Also, from time to time, let them know if you’ve seen an application they might find useful. (Hint: You might want to point them at a certain online magazine, too!)

The next time you’re with someone you know and they start talking about a computer related issue, tell them about Fedora and how it works for you. If they seem interested, give them some ideas on how Fedora could be helpful for them.

Open source may be big business nowadays, but it also remains a strong grassroots movement. You too can help grow open source through awareness and sharing!


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Unsplash.

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Set up single sign-on for Fedora Project services

In addition to an operating system, the Fedora Project provides services for users and developers. Services such as Ask Fedora, the Fedora Project wiki and the Fedora Project mailing lists help users learn how to best take advantage of Fedora. For developers of Fedora, there are many other services such as dist-git, Pagure, Bodhi, COPR and Bugzilla for the packaging and release process.

These services are available with a free account from the Fedora Accounts System (FAS). This account is the passport to all things Fedora! This article covers how to get set up with an account and configure Fedora Workstation for browser single sign-on.

Signing up for a Fedora account

To create a FAS account, browse to the account creation page. Here, you will fill out your basic identity data:

Account creation page

Once you enter your data, the account system sends an email to the address you provided, with a temporary password. Pick a strong password and use it.

Password reset page

Next, the account details page appears. If you want to contribute to the Fedora Project, you should complete the Contributor Agreement now. Otherwise, you are done and you can use your account to log into the various Fedora services.

Account details page

Configuring Fedora Workstation for single sign-On

Now that you have your account, you can sign into any of the Fedora Project services. Most of these services support single sign-on (SSO), so you can sign in without re-entering your username and password.

Fedora Workstation provides an easy workflow to add your Fedora credentials. The GNOME Online Accounts tool helps you quickly set up your system to access many popular services. To access it, go to the Settings menu.

Click on the option labeled Fedora. A prompt opens for you to provide your username and password for your Fedora Account.

GNOME Online Accounts stores your password in GNOME Keyring and automatically acquires your single-sign-on credentials for you when you log in.

Single sign-on with a web browser

Today, Fedora Workstation supports three web browsers out of the box with support for single sign-on with the Fedora Project services. These are Mozilla Firefox, GNOME Web, and Google Chrome.

Due to a bug in Chromium, single sign-on doesn’t work currently if you have more than one set of Kerberos (SSO) credentials active on your session. As a result, Fedora doesn’t enable this function out of the box for Chromium in Fedora.

To sign on to a service, browse to it and select the login option for that service. For most Fedora services, this is all you need to do; the browser handles the rest. Some services such as the Fedora mailing lists and Bugzilla support multiple login types. For them, select the Fedora or Fedora Account System login type.

That’s it! You can now log into any of the Fedora Project services without re-entering your password.

Special consideration for Google Chrome

To enable single sign-on out of the box for Google Chrome, Fedora takes advantage of certain features in Chrome that are intended for use in “managed” environments. A managed environment is traditionally a corporate or other organization that sets certain security and/or monitoring requirements on the browser.

Recently, Google Chrome changed its behavior and it now reports Managed by your organization or possibly Managed by fedoraproject.org under the ⋮ menu in Google Chrome. That link leads to a page that says, “If your Chrome browser is managed, your administrator can set up or restrict certain features, install extensions, monitor activity, and control how you use Chrome.” However, Fedora will never monitor your browser activity or restrict your actions.

Enter chrome://policy in the address bar to see exactly what settings Fedora has enabled in the browser. The AuthNegotiateDelegateWhitelist and AuthServerWhitelist options will be set to *.fedoraproject.org. These are the only changes Fedora makes.

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Fedora shirts and sweatshirts from HELLOTUX

Linux clothes specialist HELLOTUX from Europe recently signed an agreement with Red Hat to make embroidered Fedora t-shirts, polo shirts and sweatshirts. They have been making Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, and other Linux shirts for more than a decade and now the collection is extended to Fedora.

Embroidered Fedora polo shirt.

Instead of printing, they use programmable embroidery machines to make the Fedora embroidery. All of the design work is made exclusively with Linux; this is a matter of principle.

Some photos of the embroidering process for a Fedora sweatshirt:

You can get Fedora polos and t-shirts in blue or black and the sweatshirt in gray here.

Oh, “just one more thing,” as Columbo used to say: Now, HELLOTUX pays the shipping fee for the purchase of two or more items, worldwide, if you order within a week from now. Order on the HELLOTUX website.

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Fedora pastebin and fpaste updates

Fedora and EPEL users who use fpaste to paste and share snippets of text might have noticed some changes recently. Recently, an update went out which sends pastes made by fpaste to the CentOS Pastebin instead of the Modern Paste instance that Fedora was running. Don’t fear — this was an intentional change, and is part of the effort to lower the workload within the Fedora Infrastructure and Community Platform Engineering teams. Keep reading to learn more about what’s happening with pastebin and your pastes.

About the service

A pastebin lets you save text on a website for a length of time. This helps you exchange data easily with other users. For example, you can post error messages for help with a bug or other issue.

The CentOS Pastebin is a community-maintained service that keeps pastes around for up to 24 hours. It also offers syntax highlighting for a large number of programming and markup languages.

As before, you can paste files:

$ fpaste sql/010.add_owner_ip_index.sql Uploading (0.1KiB)...
https://paste.centos.org/view/6ee941cc

…or command output…

$ rpm -ql python3 | fpaste
Uploading (0.7KiB)...
https://paste.centos.org/view/44945a99

…or system information:

$ fpaste --sysinfo Gathering system info .............Uploading (8.1KiB)...
https://paste.centos.org/view/8d5bb827

What to expect from Pastebin

On December 1st, 2019, Fedora Infrastructure will turn off its Modern Paste servers. It will then redirect fpaste.org, www.fpaste.org, and paste.fedoraproject.org to paste.centos.org.

If you notice any issues with fpaste, first try updating your fpaste package. On Fedora use this command:

$ dnf update fpaste

Or, on machines that use the EPEL repository, use this command:

$ yum update fpaste

If you still run into issues, please file a bug on the fpaste issue tracker, and please be as detailed as possible. Happy pasting!


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

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Edit images on Fedora easily with GIMP

GIMP (short for GNU Image Manipulation Program) is free and open-source image manipulation software. With many capabilities ranging from simple image editing to complex filters, scripting and even animation, it is a good alternative to popular commercial options.

Read on to learn how to install and use GIMP on Fedora. This article covers basic daily image editing.

Installing GIMP

GIMP is available in the official Fedora repository. To install it run:

sudo dnf install gimp

Single window mode

Once you open the application, it shows you the dark theme window with toolbox and the main editing area. Note that it has two window modes that you can switch between by selecting Windows -> Single Window Mode. By checking this option all components of the UI are displayed in a single window. Otherwise, they will be separate.

Loading an image

Fedora 30 Background

To load an image, go to File -> Open and choose your file and choose your image file.

Resizing an image

To resize the image, you have the option to resize based on a couple of parameters, including pixel and percentage — the two parameters which are often handy in editing images.

Let’s say we need to scale down the Fedora 30 background image to 75% of its current size. To do that, select Image -> Scale and then on the scale dialog, select percentage in the unit drop down. Next, enter 75 as width or height and press the Tab key. By default, the other dimension will automatically resize in correspondence with the changed dimension to preserve aspect ratio. For now, leave other options unchanged and press Scale.

Scale Dialog In GIMP

The image scales to 0.75 percent of its original size.

Rotating images

Rotating is a transform operation, so you find it under Image -> Transform from the main menu, where there are options to rotate the image by 90 or 180 degrees. There are also options for flipping the image vertically or horizontally under the mentioned option.

Let’s say we need to rotate the image 90 degrees. After applying a 90-degree clockwise rotation and horizontal flip, our image will look like this:

Transforming an image with GIMP

Adding text

Adding text is very easy. Just select the A icon from the toolbox, and click on a point on your image where you want to add the text. If the toolbox is not visible, open it from Windows->New Toolbox.

As you edit the text, you might notice that the text dialog has font customization options including font family, font size, etc.

Add Text To Images
Adding text to image in GIMP

Saving and exporting

You can save your edit as as a GIMP project with the xcf extension from File -> Save or by pressing Ctrl+S. Or you can export your image in formats such as PNG or JPEG. To export, go to File -> Export As or hit Ctrl+Shift+E and you will be presented with a dialog where you can select the output image and name.

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Understanding “disk space math”

Everything in a PC, laptop, or server is represented as binary digits (a.k.a. bits, where each bit can only be 1 or 0). There are no characters like we use for writing or numbers as we write them anywhere in a computer’s memory or secondary storage such as disk drives. For general purposes, the unit of measure for groups of binary bits is the byte — eight bits. Bytes are an agreed-upon measure that helped standardize computer memory, storage, and how computers handled data.

There are various terms in use to specify the capacity of a disk drive (either magnetic or electronic). The same measures are applied to a computers random access memory (RAM) and other memory devices that inhabit your computer. So now let’s see how the numbers are made up.

Suffixes are used with the number that specifies the capacity of the device. The suffixes designate a multiplier that is to be applied to the number that preceded the suffix. Commonly used suffixes are:

  • Kilo = 103 = 1,000 (one thousand)
  • Mega = 106 = 1,000,000 (one million)
  • Giga = 109 = 1000,000,000 (one billion)
  • Tera = 1012 = 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion)

As an example 500 GB (gigabytes) is 500,000,000,000 bytes.

The units that memory and storage are specified in  advertisements, on boxes in the store, and so on are in the decimal system as shown above. However since computers only use binary bits, the actual capacity of these devices is different than the advertised capacity.

You saw that the decimal numbers above were shown with their equivalent powers of ten. In the binary system numbers can be represented as powers of two. The table below shows how bits are used to represent powers of two in an 8 bit Byte. At the bottom of the table there is an example of how the decimal number 109 can be represented as a binary number that can be held in a single byte of 8 bits (01101101).

Eight bit binary number

 

Bit 7

Bit 6

Bit 5

Bit 4

Bit 3

Bit 2

Bit 1

Bit 0

Power of 2

27

26

25

24

23

22

21

20

Decimal Value

128

64

32

16

8

4

2

1

Example Number

0

1

1

0

1

1

0

1

The example bit values comprise the binary number 01101101. To get the equivalent decimal value just add the decimal values from the table where the bit is set to 1. That is 64 + 32 + 8 + 4 + 1 = 109.

By the time you get out to 230 you have decimal 1,073,741,824 with just 31 bits (don’t forget the 20) You’ve got a large enough number to start specifying memory and storage sizes.

Now comes what you have been waiting for. The table below lists common designations as they are used for labeling decimal and binary values.

Decimal

Binary

KB (Kilobyte)

1KB = 1,000 bytes

KiB (Kibibyte)

1KiB = 1,024 bytes

MB (Megabyte)

1MB = 1,000,000 bytes

MiB (Mebibyte)

1MiB = 1,048,576 bytes

GB (Gigabyte)

1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes

GiB (Gibibyte)

1 GiB (Gibibyte) = 1,073,741,824 bytes

TB (Terabyte)

1TB = 1,000,000,000,000

TiB (Tebibyte)

1TiB = 1,099,511,627,776 bytes

Note that all of the quantities of bytes in the table above are expressed as decimal numbers. They are not shown as binary numbers because those numbers would be more than 30 characters long.

Most users and programmers need not be concerned with the small differences between the binary and decimal storage size numbers. If you’re developing software or hardware that deals with data at the binary level you may need the binary numbers.

As for what this means to your PC: Your PC will make use of the full capacity of your storage and memory devices. If you want to see the capacity of your disk drives, thumb drives, etc, the Disks utility in Fedora will show you the actual capacity of the storage device in number of bytes as a decimal number.

There are also command line tools that can provide you with more flexibility in seeing how your storage bytes are being used. Two such command line tools are du (for files and directories) and df (for file systems). You can read about these by typing man du or man df at the command line in a terminal window.


Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash.

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Firefox tips for Fedora 31

Fedora 31 Workstation comes with a Firefox backend moved from X11 to Wayland by default. That’s just another step in the ongoing effort of moving to Wayland. This affects GNOME on Wayland only. This article helps you understand some changes and extra steps you may wish to take depending on your preferences.

There is a firefox-wayland package available to activate the Wayland backend on KDE and Sway desktop environments.

The Wayland architecture is completely different than X11. The team merged various aspects of Firefox internals to the new protocol where possible. However, some X11 features are missing completely. For such cases you can install and run firefox-x11 package as a fallback.

If you want to run the Flash plugin, you must install the firefox-x11 package, since Flash requires X11 and GTK 2. Wayland also has a slightly different drag and drop behavior and strict popup window hierarchy.

Generally, if you think Firefox is not behaving like you want, try the firefox-x11 package. In this case, ideally you should report the misbehavior in Bugzilla.

The Wayland architecture comes with many benefits, and overcomes many limitations of X11. For instance, it can deliver smoother rendering and better HiDPI and screen scale support. You can also enable EGL hardware acceleration on Intel and AMD graphics cards. This decreases your power consumption and also gives you partially accelerated video playback. To enable it, navigate to about:config, and search for layers.acceleration.force-enabled. Set this option to true and restart Firefox.

Brave users may wish to try the Firefox next-generation renderer, called WebRender, written in Rust. To do that, search for gfx.webrender.enabled and gfx.webrender.all in about:config. Set them to true, then cross your fingers and restart Firefox.

But don’t worry — even if Firefox crashes at start after these experiments, you can launch it in safe mode to reset these options. Start Firefox from a terminal using the following command:

$ firefox -safe-mode
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What’s new in Fedora 31 Workstation

Fedora 31 Workstation is the latest release of our free, leading-edge operating system. You can download it from the official website here right now. There are several new and noteworthy changes in Fedora 31 Workstation. Read more details below.

Fedora 30 Workstation includes the latest release of GNOME Desktop Environment for users of all types. GNOME 3.34 in Fedora 31 Workstation includes many updates and improvements, including:

Refreshed Background Chooser

Choosing your desktop background in Fedora Workstation is now easier. The newly redesigned background chooser allows you to quickly and easily see and change both your desktop and lock screen backgrounds

Custom Application Folders

Fedora 31 Workstation now allows you to easily create application folders in the Overview. Keep your application listing clutter free and well organized with this new feature:

Do you want the full details of everything in GNOME 3.34? Visit the release notes for even more details.