What is Fedora Linux?

Have you heard of someone using “Fedora” on their computer and you don’t know what they’re talking about? Let’s look at what Fedora is and a brief history of this operating system named after a fancy hat.

Fedora: an open-source operating system

Fedora desktop with terminal displaying operating system statistics.

First released in 2003, Fedora is a Linux distribution sponsored by Red Hat. For starters, Red Hat is a company that distributes open source software and services to commercial enterprises.

Another of Red Hat’s products is Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a licensed operating system that uses open source components for storage, applications, and more. In contrast, Fedora is a completely open-source and free Linux distribution.

Red Hat calls Fedora the upstream community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which means that Red Hat features are derived directly from the Fedora project. Fedora is one of the most popular alternatives to Windows and macOS.

What makes Fedora different?

Here are some of the most important factors that distinguish Fedora from Windows and macOS.

Fedora is completely free

Official Fedora Download Page

Unlike Windows and macOS, which cost you money and are closed software, Fedora is a completely free and open-source operating system that anyone can install on their computer without ever paying a penny. A USB storage drive and a tiny bit of enthusiasm for learning new things are all you need to install Fedora on your PC.

Every component of Fedora, from the kernel to the included applications, is open source. If you’re wondering what open source really means, it’s when the code for a piece of software is publicly available to anyone. The reason we have a lot of Linux distributions (distros) is because Linux is open source.

Fedora is easy to use

Fedora desktop showing Bluetooth settings.

There are many Linux distributions that appeal to beginners, and Fedora is one of them. Its software center provides access to many popular applications like Slack, Steam, Firefox, etc. If you can’t find an app, it might be available for Fedora but isn’t listed in the store.

For example, Google Chrome is not available on the store, but you can install it from the official Chrome download page by downloading the RPM file. RPM files are similar to DEB files used in Ubuntu. All you have to do is download, double click to open it and click “Install”.

It’s also possible to use the Terminal (yes, the app you see hackers using in sci-fi movies) to install apps. Now, we know the terminal can be intimidating, but you might want to learn it later if you want more advanced system control.

Fedora is a breath of fresh air


Fedora offers a refreshing user experience compared to Windows and macOS. Besides visual appeal, Fedora’s user interface (UI) has a lot of tricks up its sleeve.

This interface, the GNOME Desktop Environment, is one of the most popular desktop environments (DE) in the Linux space. A desktop environment is basically what you see on your screen – app icons, animations, etc. Although the user interface is different from Windows, Fedora’s overall navigation, features, and shortcuts will help you be more productive.

Fedora is more secure

Linux terminal kernel version identified using uname

The open source nature of Linux is one of the reasons it’s more secure than Windows and macOS.

How does this help with security? Thanks to the freely available code, thousands of developers are working on the project, adding features, fixing issues and bugs while you read this. Now, that doesn’t mean that Fedora or any Linux distribution is virus or malware proof, but it is less prone to attacks than Windows.

Fedora is less resource intensive

Fedora System Resource Application

Although Fedora is not the lightest operating system in terms of system resource consumption, it is still better than Windows. During our tests, we found that in standby, Windows 11 consumes between 2.4 GB and 3 GB of RAM, while Fedora uses around 1 GB, giving you more space to run more applications.

Microsoft recommends that you have at least 64 GB of storage to install Windows 11, while you can get started with Fedora with as little as 20 GB of available space. This kind of space saving can be extremely valuable, especially if you are using older hardware.

Fedora gives you more options

A collage of Fedora rotates under the Fedora logo.

If you don’t like the GNOME variant of Fedora, Fedora gives you plenty of other desktop options called Spins. For starters, spins are alternative versions of Fedora. Each spin comes with a different desktop environment to let users choose which DE they prefer.

Choosing the right desktop environment is one of the challenges most people face as beginners. Therefore, if you try Fedora GNOME and don’t like the experience, you can try other versions of Fedora. If you’re coming from Windows, you can try the Plasma spin, as it looks similar. Or, if you’re someone who wants to switch because your old PC can’t handle Windows anymore, you might want to try XFCE or LXQT spins. They help reduce the resource load on your hardware.

RELATED: How to install and use another desktop environment in Linux

A distribution for beginners and advanced users

Fedora’s incredible stability, combined with its ease of use, makes it one of the best Linux distributions for both beginners and advanced users. If you’re stuck despite the shallow learning curve, the official Google and Fedora community page, Ask Fedora, is your best friend.

Like most Linux distros, it’s easy to install. All you have to do is go to the Fedora download page, download the ISO file, and follow our Linux installation guide.

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