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

Ultramarine Linux is Fedora made easy - and migrating from one distro to the other is easy, too. Plus: There are some clear reasons to make the change.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
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. 

When you add Ultramarine into the mix, however, Fedora gets even easier. 

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

Ultramarine is a take on Fedora Linux that aims to simplify the experience. The developers added extra repositories (which gives you a wider selection of software to install), out-of-the-box multimedia codecs (so you can play most audio and video file types without jumping through hoops), and "sane defaults" (to make the operating system experience as smooth as possible from your first login).

I first wrote about Ultramarine Linux when I claimed it as a contender for flagship Linux distro 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 installation finished, I rebooted, logged in, and was greeted by a Budgie Desktop ready to configure to meet my needs.

But wait! Isn't this supposed to be an out-of-the-box experience? Yes, and for most users, it will be. I just prefer my desktops a particular way, so there's always some tweaking on the menu.

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

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.

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

I decided to test this route with a default Fedora install by migrating to Ultramarine Linux and installing Budgie Desktop. In the end, I was quite pleased with the results. (Although this method doesn't bring along the nifty Ultramarine wallpapers, a quick search should make these 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.

1. Update Fedora

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

sudo dnf update

When that finishes, reboot if necessary.

2. Run the migration

Back at the terminal window, 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 many changes. 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 Budgie Desktop

Budgie Desktop is a very user-friendly environment. Not only does it include all the bits you're used, but 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 MacOS. It's pretty flexible.

Here's how to add Budgie.

1. Go back to the terminal

Open the terminal app 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 in the bottom-right corner. From the pop-up menu, select Budgie Desktop. You can now log in as usual and 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

Congratulations! You've migrated Fedora 40 to an even more user-friendly version of itself. If you add 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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