RisiOS is the Fedora-based Linux distribution you've never heard of but should definitely try

If you're always on the lookout for new Linux distributions to try, here's a Fedora-based OS with additional features perfect for new users.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer

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

But every so often, a developer or team of developers takes Fedora to yet another level of usability. Such is the case with RisiOS, which is a Seattle-based Linux distribution that adds just enough "extra" to make this a special kind of distribution.

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 off, RisiOS includes something that every Linux distribution should offer. I'm talking about a welcome screen. Of course, this isn't just any old welcome screen. Instead, the developers have 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 apps, customizing the desktop (with the RisiTweaks app -- more on that in a bit), setting up audio, gaming, 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 to new user.

Image: Jack Wallen

The RisiWelcome app is very much a standout among standard onboarding tools. With this tool, users can get their desktop operating system set up exactly how they need it, without having to google a single thing. That's how well the developers have crafted this app.

Speaking of tweaks…

What is RisiTweaks?

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

The RisiTweaks app.

RisiTweaks makes it easy to customize your desktop.

Image: Jack Wallen

Web Apps

Another wonderful addition to RisiOS is Web Apps. This tool is available for many Linux distributions and makes it very easy to create web apps with ease. After you create a new web app, it'll appear in the Application Overview, where you can launch it like a traditional application. 

The RisiOS Web Apps tool.

Adding web apps to the desktop is simple with risiOS.

Image: Jack Wallen

That darned caveat

Upon the first usage of RisiOS, I did run into a strange problem. Out of the box, the default web browser (Chromium Freeworld) refused to start. It wasn't until I did an upgrade (which does require a reboot) of the OS that the web browser would open. 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 would say it's those users who want to be able to get into the Linux desktop operating system by way of a distribution that will hold their hands as they take their first steps, but then quickly get out of the way so that they can progress faster than they might with, say, a Ubuntu-based distribution. 

The RisiOS Linux distribution came out of nowhere and seriously impressed me out of the box. If you're looking for a rock-solid operating system that can be exactly what you want it to be (without much hassle), this might well be it. Download an ISO of RisiOS, burn it to a USB drive, and install away. Or, better yet, spin it up as a virtual machine (with the help of VirtualBox) and kick the tires before you install it on your desktop or laptop. 

Either way you go, RisiOS will impress you.

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