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Fedora 31 announcement, news and known issues

Once a year, we upgrade all the desktop systems to the latest version of Fedora, our Linux desktop operating system.

General information

New in F31, or in our Fedora setup:

  • Gnome 3.34 (see below for details)
  • Cloud integration: you can link your Google Drive, OwnCloud/SurfDrive and some other cloud storage services the file manager (in addition to Dropbox, which has been there for a couple of years).
    Various online calendars can be integrated in the desktop calendar utility.
  • Python is now by default 3.7. You can still call python2 to get a python 2.7 interpreter, but not all packages are being supported any more, and python 2.7 irself will be unsupported soon.
    • All python programs in the desktop and system utilities, are now using python 3.
    • Command python will now invoke python3 so check your own scripts.
    • We have a working version of AMUSE installed for python3, please initialize it using module load amuse/12.1-py3 (shell command to run before starting amuse or python)
  • Wayland: the official Fedora release notes have a lot of information about Wayland, a replacement for the X11 graphics system. We don't use Wayland at this time, since it doesn't yet support many features that are needed in our type of work (remote graphics, VNC, various scientific programs, …). So you can ignore all that is written about Wayland in the documentation.
  • LibreOffice has been upgraded to version 6.3 with lots of improvements and new features. See Release notes
  • Removed software:
    • various python2 packages, where the latest version of the package no longer supports python2. Most notably:
      • astropy
      • python2-ipykernel
      • python2-pandas
      • python2-statsmodels
      • python2-scikit-*
      • python2-mpi4py
      • python2-sympy
      • python2-numexpr
    • If you still need these packages, a private install or virtualenv will still be possible, but you may have to explicitly install an older version (e.g. pip2 install –user astropy==2.0.12)
    • To install a python2 kernel in jupyter,a personal setup can be made using python2 -m ipykernel install –user
    • python2-matplotlib no longer has the QT backends (incompatible with current QT)
    • Revelation password manager (no longer maintained, see also for method of migrating to the keepass or keepassxc password managers)
    • PhotoPrint (last release was 8 years ago, no longer compatible with current libraries)
    • scite program editor. however, some much more capable program editors are available, eg anjuta, geany, codeblocks and others.
    • Several obsolete or unlicensed gstreamer media plugins have been removed
    • Several compatibility libraries were dropped. These were libraries to run programs built with very old versions of the GNU compilers (gcc 3.3, 3.4 and 4.1). If you still have binaries from > 10 years ago, recompiling might be advisable.
  • Renamed/replaced software
    • xine-ui is new name/version of the gxine media player
    • Python module asciitable is now part of astropy, at (see
      Similarly, pyfits is now
  • The Flash plugin is still part of Google Chrome, but no longer provided as a firefox plugin. Google plans on dropping support soon, so don't count on it any longer.
  • Java is now available in 3 versions: The last freely obtainable Oracle Java 8.x release; OpenJDK 8 and OpenJDK 11.

Known issues in Fedora 31

  • The Gnome desktop will not run on computers without hardware accellerated graphics. If you want Gnome on these machines, choose “Gnome X11” or “Gnome fallback” from the menu on the login screen.
  • VNC issues: Desktop environments that require hardware accelleration (3D desktop effects) are too heavy to be used inside a virtual desktop (VNC, X2GO). See VNC desktop issues for details and workarounds.
  • TeX package psfig, which has been obsolete for a long time, has now almost completely stopped working. Converting documents to newer packages such as graphics or graphicx is recommended, and is usually easy.
  • Solved: the current version of Python package tensorflow seems to work fine now with any version of python 3, making installation much easier
  • Gnome doesn't display notification area aka system tray icons any more by default. The fix is, to enable the topicons plus extension: open gnome-tweaks, and go to extensions to do that. After that, the icons such as status icons of dropbox, skype etc, will be in your top panel.
  • Applications using the “pango” text rendering engine (including Gnome, Cinnamon and MATE desktops) will no longer support bitmap fonts. If an application looks strange, you may have to select a different font for it (seen on terminal emulators, emacs with non-standard settings, possibly other applications)
  • Mono (.NET compatible framework) has been updated to version 5. This may require rebuilding Mono apps.
  • Bleachbit (file cleaner) works, but seems to display wrong icons: the “search” icon is grayed out, but is available for clicking, and the “clean” icon to start cleaning, shows as a grayed out x, so might be mistaken for an abort icon. The help text shown when the mouse is over the icon, shows the right description for each task. (fixed in update)
  • Solved: Quota reporting is currently not working (solved as long as users use supplied alias)
  • hdfview fails some(?) files. Known bug unfortunately no known solution yet.
    there are many other programs available that can work with HDF5 files, e.g. R, vitables or veusz
  • The clipit clipboard app that is a default part of Gnome, Cinnamon and MATE desktops, sometimes hangs, which blocks all cut, copy and paste actions. Exit the app by right-clicking on the icon (which looks like a clipboard), and choose the quit action. If this happens a lot to you, you might want to disable the app in your startup applications preferences.

Some general observations and tips

  • Gnome 3. Gnome 3 is a completely different desktop design, which makes the desktop look and behave a bit like a Tablet PC. Some people may like it, but if you don't, “Mate” is available as an alternative, to give you the experience of good old Gnome 2, or “Cinnamon”, for a more desktop-like version of the new Gnome, or try “Gnome Classic”.
    More on Gnome 3
  • Gnome applications: in every new release, more Gnome applications are rewritten in the style of the Gnome 3 desktop. This means: a separate application menu, displayed Mac-style in the top bar on the Gnome desktop, or under the application icon in other desktops, the most important actions displayed as buttons, and everything else in a menu at the top right in the application window.
    See desktop applications for a table listing alternatives, in case you cannot get used to the new look.
  • Cinnamon desktop tweaks: While Cinnamon is based on (and compatible with) Gnome 3, there are separate tools for its customization, eg, if you want to modify the programs that start in each session, use cinnamon-session-properties for that (also available from the settings overview).
    More on Cinnamon or see the list of available desktop applications
  • Programs that start with each session: A lot of programs are started by default in each desktop session. many of them are unnecessary; some of them are annoying or can cause problems. users can disable everything they don't need.
    More on session tweaking
  • The command pmount can be used to mount removable media (cdrom,dvd,usb-disks) from the commandline. E.g.: pmount /dev/cdrom mounts the cd/dvd as /media/cdrom.
  • Intel compilers: The Intel compilers (ifort,icc) are not enabled by default. The latest freely available version is 10.1, which can be loaded using module load intel. However, for most code, the GNU compilers are better than these old Intel compiler versions. (if you read that the Intel compiler has speed benefits, this probably refers to the very expensive current version, which we cannot install on a system-wide basis, or you are reading an obsolete webpage; the GNU compilers have gained significant speed of the last couple of years).
    If you really need the current Intel compilers, find funding, and be prepared to have a license locked to a single computer. Intel also provides personal free student licenses. As personal license, we cannot install it for you, unfortunately.
linux/fedora_31.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/08 09:46 by jansen