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How to migrate from Fedora Linux to Ultramarine (and why you’d want to)

The default Ultramarine 40 desktop.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Fedora has come a long way from its roots. Five years ago, I would not have recommended this distribution to new users. Although I’m more prone to steer Linux novices toward Ubuntu, Linux Mint, or Elementary OS, Fedora isn’t too far down the list. 

But when you add Ultramarine into the mix, Fedora gets even easier. 

Also: The best Linux distributions for beginners: Expert tested and reviewed

What is Ultramarine Linux? Essentially, Ultramarine is a take on Fedora Linux that aims to simplify the experience. First, the developers add extra repositories, which gives users a wider selection of software to install. Next, multimedia codecs are installed out of the box, so most audio and video file types will play without requiring the user to jump through hoops. The other shift is that the developers have applied what they call “sane defaults” — to make the operating system experience as smooth as possible from the first login.

I first wrote about Ultramarine Linux when I claimed it as a contender for flagship of the year. Recently, the developers released “Lost Umbrella” — based on Fedora 40 — and I was anxious to take it for a spin.

I grabbed an ISO image of the latest release and installed it as a virtual machine on VirtualBox. The installation came off seamlessly — no surprise there. After all, installing Linux has become as easy as installing an application. 

When the the installation finished, I rebooted, logged into the desktop, and was greeted by the Budgie desktop ready for me to configure to meet my needs.

But wait! Isn’t this supposed to be an “out-of-the-box” experience? Of course, it is. And for most users, it will be. I just happened to prefer my desktops a particular way, so there’s always some tweaking on the menu

However, you don’t have to go to the lengths of a full installation to use Ultramarine Linux. If you already have a running instance of Fedora Linux, you can simply migrate it to Ultramarine Linux. The migration doesn’t make too many changes to your current setup. In fact, most of what happens is under the hood, so you’ll barely notice. I will say that the menus between the migrated and official versions are different. For example, the full version gives you a Hot Corners entry in the menu, whereas the migrated version does not. But that’s picking at nits

Also: 5 things to consider before leaping from one Linux distribution to another

I decided to test this with a default Fedora install by migrating to Ultramarine Linux and installing the Budgie Desktop. In the end, I was quite pleased with the results. (Although this method doesn’t bring along the nifty Ultramarine wallpapers – but a quick search and those should be available.)

How did I do it? Let me show you.

How to migrate from Fedora Linux to Ultramarine 

What you’ll need: The only things you’ll need are a running instance of Fedora Linux (version 40) and a user with sudo privileges. That’s it. Let’s migrate.

The first thing I would recommend is to run an update. To do that, open the terminal application and issue the command:

When that finishes, reboot if necessary.

Back at the terminal window, issue the following command to run the migration command, which is:

bash <(curl -s https://ultramarine-linux.org/migrate.sh)

You will be asked to OK a few simple questions (by typing “y”). The migration shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes (depending on the speed of your network connection and computer). When it completes, reboot the machine and log in. You probably won’t see much in the way of change. Your default desktop will remain GNOME (if you’re using the default Fedora desktop). 

Also: Fedora 40 beta is fastest operating system I’ve tested – and it’s full of useful features

Let’s change that as well.

How to install the Budgie desktop

The Budgie desktop is a very user-friendly environment. Not only does it include all the bits you’re used to, out of the box, it looks similar to the desktops you’ve used in the past (think Windows 7/8/10). If you don’t like the way it looks, you can change it to even resemble a MacOS desktop. It’s pretty flexible.

Here’s how to add Budgie into the mix.

1. Go back to the terminal

Open the terminal app once again and issue the following command:

sudo dnf groupinstall "Budgie" -y

2. Select Budgie at login  

When the installation completes, log out. Click your username and click the gear icon at the bottom right corner. From the pop-up menu, select Budgie Desktop. You can now log in as usual and the Budgie Desktop will greet you, ready to go.  

The Budgie Desktop entry in the Fedora login menu.

You should see the Budgie Desktop entry in the login menu.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Also: How to install Linux on an old laptop to give it new life and purpose

Congratulations! You’ve migrated Fedora 40 to an even more user-friendly version of itself. If you add the Budgie Desktop, you’ll find yourself in an environment that does a great job of making you feel right at home.

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