RisiOS is the Fedora-based Linux distro you’ve never heard of, but definitely should try

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Fedora Linux is already a brilliant operating system that is as user-friendly as it is reliable. In fact, for a very long time, I would never have recommended Fedora to anyone who didn’t have considerable Linux experience. Over the past few years, that has changed drastically, to the point that I’d be just as comfortable recommending Fedora as Ubuntu.

But once in a while, a developer or a team of developers takes Fedora to another level of usability. Such is the case with RisiOS, which is a Seattle-based Linux distro that adds just enough “extra” to make it a special kind of distro.

First off, RisiOS uses the GNOME desktop, and for the most part, it’s pretty vanilla. You won’t find a Dash To Dock extension installed to modify the default desktop UI. Instead, RisiOS looks pretty standard out of the box.

It’s not.

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First of all, RisiOS includes something that every Linux distro should offer. I’m talking about a welcome screen. Of course, this isn’t just any old welcome screen. Instead, the developers created a RisiWelcome app to hold new users by the hand and help them with things like installing media codecs, setting up Flathub, installing apps with GNOME software, installing web applications, customizing the desktop (with the RisiTweaks app — more on that in a moment), configuring audio, games, graphics, productivity and video production, where to get help and even how you can contribute to RisiOS.

The RisiOS welcome app.

The RisiOS Welcome app will be a breath of fresh air for new users.

Image: Jack Wallen

The RisiWelcome app stands out among standard onboarding tools. With this tool, users can configure their desktop operating system exactly as they need it, without having to google a single thing. This is how well the developers have crafted this app.

Speaking of edits…

What is RisiTweaks?

If you’re familiar with GNOME, you’re probably familiar with the GNOME Tweaks tool, where you can configure the look of your desktop. The RisiTweaks tool goes even further by adding more options for theming, extension management, more layout options, easy browser installation (for Brave, Chrome, Edge, Opera and Vivaldi) and a granular window control.

The RisiTweaks app.

RisiTweaks makes it easy to customize your desktop.

Image: Jack Wallen

Web apps

Web apps are another great addition to RisiOS. This tool is available for many Linux distributions and makes it easy to create web applications. After creating a new web app, it will appear in the app overview, where you can launch it like a traditional app.

The RisiOS Web Apps tool.

Adding web applications to the desktop is simple with risiOS.

Image: Jack Wallen

This cursed warning

During the first use of RisiOS, I encountered a strange problem. Out of the box, the default web browser (Chromium Freeworld) refused to start. It wasn’t until I upgraded (which requires a reboot) the OS that the web browser opened. Once the upgrade was complete, however, everything worked exactly as expected.

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Who is RisiOS for?

If I had to categorize the best user base for RisiOS, I’d say it’s users who want to be able to access the Linux desktop operating system through a distro that will hold their hand when they first step in, but then exit quickly. out of the way so they can progress faster than they could with, say, an Ubuntu-based distro.

The RisiOS Linux distro came out of nowhere and seriously impressed me from the start. If you’re looking for a rock-solid operating system that can be exactly what you want it to be (without too much hassle), this might just be the one. Download an ISO image of RisiOS, burn it to a USB drive and install it. Or, better yet, run it as a virtual machine (with the help of VirtualBox) and start the tires before installing it on your desktop or laptop.

Either way, RisiOS will impress you.

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