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Key Takeaways

  • Fedora 39 beta release provides a preview of the forthcoming Fedora 39 general release, due on Oct. 24th, 2023. It features a new kernel, updated applications, and performance boosts.
  • The web-based installation program was pulled from this release due to bugs, showing how Fedora prioritizes stability. However, it may be included in Fedora 40.
  • GNOME 45 is included in Fedora 39, featuring improvements in window movements, changes in the settings application, and a new system details dialog. It has new wallpapers, a tweaked default theme, and a new workspace indicator.

The next release of Fedora Linux, Fedora 39, will be available on Oct. 24th, 2023. To get a sneak peak at the new features, we installed a late beta version of this dependable Linux stalwart.

Fedora: Stability Über Alles

Fedora 39 is available as a beta build. It gives us a heads-up for the forthcoming Fedora 39 general release on Oct. 24th, 2023, so naturally we downloaded it and fired it up.

There’s a new kernel, updated applications, a jump up to GNOME 45, and performance boosts.

Some scheduled elements didn’t make the cut. Sensibly, Fedora Linux always puts stability first. If a feature or function isn’t going to be ready in time, they have no qualms in dropping it. A point in case is the new web-based installation program. It wasn’t ready to be deployed, so it was pulled from this release.

In my opinion, that’s a sane decision. The new installer hasn’t been canned, just delayed. It might appear in Fedora 40.

Bear in mind we were looking at a beta build, so there's a chance there may be differences in the final release.

Installing Fedora 39

To reinforce the point that this is a beta and should be treated with caution, the installation program has a crystal-clear warning that you shouldn’t use this on any important computer.

1Fedora 39 beta warning screen

The rest of the installation process was exactly the same as previous versions of Fedora, but it seemed to go through much faster. One of the noticeable differences throughout this release is the performance boost. It seems faster in all aspects.

As I mentioned, the new installation program was pulled from this release because of outstanding webUI bugs and time constraints to fix them. It needs to use webUI because it uses Firefox in kiosk mode to provide the user interface.

As far as I can ascertain, there’s no new functionality being added. It’s just a modern re-implementation of the installer that we’re all familiar with. Not having it included in Fedora 39 isn’t much of a blow, and waiting until Fedora 40 is better than having a buggy installer in Fedora 39.


Fedora 39 gets a new set of clothes with GNOME 45. We’ve covered GNOME 45 in depth elsewhere, but at the risk of repeating ourselves, we’ll pick out a few of the highlights here.

This version of GNOME uses GTK 4.12, and benefits from GTK’s improvements to its Vulkan back-end renderer. Mouse pointer and window movements are smoother in GNOME 45, due to its window manager, Mutter, gaining a new dedicated kernel mode thread.

The “Settings” application has received some polish and new functionality. The “About” screen has been simplified, and a new pop-out “System Details” dialog has been added. There’s a handy “Copy” button that stashes the details in the clipboard. You can then paste them into a document or email.

The new system details screen accessed from the About screen

“Adwaita,” the default theme, has been tweaked and there are new GNOME wallpapers for dark and light mode. There’s also some new Fedora wallpapers, all of which are a massive improvement over the gloomy default wallpaper that came with Fedora 38.

The wallpaper selector in a Fedora 39

There’s a new key combination, Super+S, that opens the System Menu which sports a new screenshot button.

The new screenshot button in the system menu

The Settings application has been modified here and there, including a new panel in the “Date and Time” section that allow you to control the appearance of the clock and the calendar in the top panel.

“Loupe” has been renamed as “Image Viewer,” and it supports multiple images at once in 18 different file formats. It replaces “Eye of Gnome.”

You can choose the columns you want to have displayed in the “List” view of the “Files Browser.”

The "Activities" button has been replaced with a new workspace indicator. It shows a dot for each open workspace, and a dash for your current workspace. With a few workspaces in play, it looks a little like Morse code.

5The workspace indicator that replaces the old Activities button

Clicking it takes you to the usual “Activities Overview”, but pointing to it and using the scroll wheel on your mouse moves you from workspace to workspace.

Related: Here's What's New in GNOME 45

Kernel Version 6.5

Our Fedora 39 beta shipped with kernel 6.5.7-300. A new kernel is always welcome, if only for bug fixes that close off security holes. Kernel 6.5 contains improvements that reduce boot times on high-end desktops and servers that have Intel Xeon or AMD EPYC and other multi-core processor desktops and servers.

Intel and AMD graphics drivers have been modified to better support eDP LCD panels with variable refresh rates.

Laptops based on the AMD Ryzen CPU should have faster post-hibernation resume times, and Ryzen 7000 series equipped machines have better EDAC error handling, making them able to use error-correcting RAM functionality on motherboards that support it.

Software Versions

Here are the versions of some of the software in the beta build we looked at. Most of these were preloaded. We had to install Thunderbird.

Kernel: 6.5.7-300.fc39.x86_64

  • Binutils: 2.40
  • GNOME: 45.beta.1
  • LibreOffice:
  • Python: 3.12
  • RPM: 4.19
  • Vagrant: 2.3.4
  • Perl: 5.38
  • Boxes: 45.0
  • Golang: 1.21
  • Gcc: 13.2.1
  • Glibc: 2.38

Life in the Fast Lane

We need to talk about the speed improvements. Compared to Fedora 38, Fedora 39 is faster when opening and closing windows, launching applications, and performing searches. Way faster.

Finding applications in the “Activities Overview,” in particular, is practically instantaneous.

Searching for applications in the Fedora 39 activities overview

Running in a virtual machine on my desktop computer, Fedora 39 was almost as fast as the operating system running on my physical hardware.

Just in case this was due to improvements in the VirtualBox, the virtualization software I use, I loaded up my Fedora 38 virtual machine to compare. It wasn’t my imagination, Fedora 39 has been given some high-octane go-faster juice. Fedora was never a slouch, but users are in for a treat with Fedora 39.

Where to Get It

You can download the beta from the usual Fedora Workstation page. You'll need to slide the “Show Beta Downloads” slider button over to reveal the beta downloads.

The Fedora Workstation download page

When the final release version is available, it’ll be found on this page too.

Fedora 39 is another great release. The new kernel and GNOME 45 alone would justify the upgrade. Adding the performances boosts make it a no-brainer.