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Fedora 40 Released, Here’s What’s New

Powered by Linux kernel 6.8, Fedora 40 ships with a GNOME 46 desktop environment, a refreshed software base, and more.

The wait is finally over. After another nearly six-month cycle since its previous 39 release, Red Hat’s community Linux distro Fedora 40 is here to delight its many followers, bringing the latest updates from the free and open-source world. Let’s take a look at what’s new.

Fedora 40 Highlights
There are many new features in this release, but as always, the main focus is on the desktop environment, which in the flagship Fedora 40 Workstation release is GNOME 46.

GNOME 46 Desktop Environment
Unlike many distributions that add extra extensions to GNOME in their releases, Fedora consistently offers a vanilla GNOME experience. We greatly appreciate this and consider it one of Fedora’s major strengths. The new Fedora 40 release is no exception.

There are numerous new features to explore, and while you can find a detailed look in our comprehensive article on the subject, here’s a quick summary of the GNOME 46’s key highlights:

- A massive improvement to the file search functionality within the Files application, introducing a new global search.
- The tracking of any file operations has now been relocated to the bottom left corner of the Files interface.
- Users can now select their preferred format for displaying the date and time on files in either List or Grid view, with “Simple” or “Detailed” available.
- Lightning-fast switch between List and Thumbnail views.
- Enhanced notification system – notifications now feature collapsible and expandable functionality.
- Redesigned “Settings” – a new “System” menu and improved “Mouse & Touchpad” settings.
- GNOME Online Accounts now has integrated support for Microsoft OneDrive.
- VRR (Variable Refresh Rates) is included as an experimental feature but is disabled by default.
- Enhanced system efficiency with lower search memory usage, better screen recording, smarter image viewer resource management, and faster GNOME terminal apps.

Plasma 6 Desktop Environment
But the excitement doesn’t stop with the flagship Fedora 40 Workstation. Fedora Spins, the alternative versions of Fedora that come with different desktop environments or are tailored for specific use cases, have also received a version bump alongside the main release.

As you might expect, the spotlight is on the Fedora 40 KDE release, which features the all-new Plasma 6 desktop environment (6.0.4) based on Qt 6.7, accompanied by KDE Frameworks 6.1.0 and the KDE Gear 24.02.2 apps collection.

This update includes numerous new features, which you can explore in detail in our dedicated article. However, for those looking for a quick overview, here are the key highlights of Plasma 6 in the Fedora 40 release.

- Build on top of the Qt 6 and Frameworks 6
- Wayland as display server protocol by default
- The latest in the KDE Gear 24.02 app collection
- New floating panels and redesigned panel’s settings
- Return of the Desktop Cube effect
- New Overview effect
- Settings to choose your preferred sound theme
- New default Task Switcher
- More relevant Accent Colors
- Improved search functionalities and better Night Light
- Accessibility improvements

Linux Kernel 6.8

Fedora 40 features the Linux kernel 6.8, which introduces several enhancements. Here are the main ones.

- Virtualization Enhancements: It introduces Linear Address Masking (LAM) for Intel processors and guest-first memory support for KVM, enhancing both performance and flexibility in virtual environments.
- Filesystem Support: Key improvements include a new online check and repair feature for Bcachefs, enhanced online fsck for XFS without the need for unmounting, faster reading of small blocks for Ext4, and new features for Btrfs and EROFS that improve performance and compression, especially in low-memory situations.
- Hardware Compatibility: Linux kernel 6.8 expands its support to newer hardware, such as the Broadcom BCM2712 processor found in Raspberry Pi 5, AMD’s WBRF Wi-Fi feature, and Intel’s Xe graphics with a new DRM driver.
- Memory Management: Memory management has been improved through optimizations such as zswap writeback disabling and a multi-size interface for Transparent Huge Pages (THP). It also begins integrating Rust support, enhancing security and reliability.
- Networking Optimizations: Enhancements to networking include improved cache efficiency and the ability to create special files in the SMB file system.
- Power Management: Kernel 6.8 refines power management with features like SBI-based suspend to RAM for more efficient power use in devices using the RISC-V architecture.
- AppArmor Enhancements: AppArmor bolsters security by upgrading the hashing algorithm from SHA1 to SHA256, albeit with a potential minor slowdown in policy loading on lower-end systems.

PyTorch Integration

AI is now an integral part of the tech industry. In light of this and recognizing the growing demand for efficient and powerful machine learning tools, Fedora 40 now includes the popular open-source machine learning framework, PyTorch.

Devs can now integrate it into their systems with a single command: sudo dnf install python3-torch.

While this initial release supports only CPU-based operations, it marks a foundational step towards more comprehensive updates, including support for advanced computing accelerators such as GPUs and NPUs.

Refreshed Software Base
Outside of the novelties mentioned above, Fedora 40 comes with a completely refreshed software base; on the client side, you can find Firefox 125, LibreOffice 24.2, Thunderbird 115.9, GIMP 2.10.36, and more.

Furthermore, you’ll also find an updated developer stack, including the following:

- GCC 14.0.1
- Golang 1.22.2
- Python 3.12.3
- Perl 5.38
- Ruby 3.3.0
- PHP 8.3.6
- Node.js 20.12.2
- OpenJDK 21

Additionally, it’s worth noting that Fedora 40 will be especially exciting for developers and enthusiasts of containerized services as it includes the brand-new major Podman 5.0 release.

This update introduces several new features, the most notable being the complete overhaul of the podman machine commands, the adoption of Pasta as the default backend for rootless networking, and the shift from the BoltDB database backend to SQLite.

Immutable Becomes Atomic
Immutable distributions have become a key component of the Linux ecosystem, providing benefits such as enhanced security by preventing unauthorized changes to system files, atomic upgrades and rollbacks, and more. And Fedora offers a whole host of such releases. Let’s recall them quickly:

- Fedora Silverblue: GNOME Desktop
- Fedora Kinoite: KDE Plasma Desktop
- Fedora Sway: Sway Window Manager
- Fedora Budgie: Budgie Desktop

However, Fedora developers seem to prefer another term instead of “immutable.” That is why, starting with Fedora 40, the project has announced the consolidation of its rpm-ostree based immutable desktop variants under the new banner of “Fedora Atomic Desktops.”

This change groups the above-listed desktop environments into a unified category, streamlining the user experience and system updates. Moreover, the rebranding includes renaming the Sway variant to Fedora Atomic Sway, formerly known as Sericea, and Fedora Budgie to Fedora Budgie Atomic.

How to Upgrade to Fedora 40
If you’re running Fedora 39 and want to upgrade but are still trying to figure out how to do it, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. You can easily do it by following our comprehensive “How to Upgrade to Fedora 40 from Fedora 39” step-by-step guide for a hassle-free execution.

Bottom Line
Fedora 40 is another polished release that solidifies Fedora’s status as one of the best choices for your desktop. The distribution is not bloated, with only the bare essentials preinstalled—think browser, office suite, audio and video player, and text editor.

Everything runs smoothly in this Fedora release, as you would expect. Additionally, the new GNOME 46 and KDE Plasma 6 desktop environments make using it a true delight. We highly recommend trying it; we’re confident you’ll be pleased.

Can’t wait to do it? The ISO installation images are available from the project website’s download section. For more detailed information about all novelties in Fedora 40, visit the release announcement.”

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