Fedora Labs are pre-built images of Fedora 32 Workstation, a Linux distribution known for solid performance and new software packages. What the Labs do is provide users of a few common use cases access to an image that comes with all of the software they’d want in order to hit the ground running after they install the system.
There are eight different labs right now, covering everything from astronomy to gaming to design. They’re all live systems, so there is no need to install anything to your system, which is potentially an attractive option for those users who have a system already up and running. Let’s look at all eight in brief.
1. The Fedora Astronomy Lab
The Astronomy Lab comes with a wide array of tools useful in astronomy, including visualization software, scientific Python tools, and free astronomical image processing software. Also of note is a library designed to support the control of astronomical instruments. This Lab will absolutely be great for both experienced and amateur astronomers.
2. The Fedora Comp-Neuro Lab
The Comp-Neuro Lab is similar in its philosophy to the Astronomy Lab: it comes pre-installed with an array of free Neuroscience modelling software to allow you to get to work quickly. This includes SciPy, a scientific Python library, and NEURON, a detailed neuron simulation environment that allows you to work down to the single-neuron level.
3. The Fedora Design Suite
This is the lab you may have heard of before, as graphic design is one of the more common uses for a relatively powerful machine. The Design Suite comes with all of the open-source essential design apps, including GIMP, Blender, Inkscape, Darktable, and Krita, allowing you to use Fedora’s excellent hardware compatibility on convertible laptops and draw and design to your heart’s content.
4. The Fedora Games Lab
Another very common specialized use case, gaming on Linux has taken a turn for the positive over the last couple of years. The Games Lab is less of a hardcore gamer’s distro like Pop!_OS can be, but it is more focused on the plethora of free and open-source games that are available to the community.
I appreciate this take on gaming on Linux, as it celebrates the work people have done for a long time to make sure we have entertaining games to play on Linux that are free and open. That being said, if you are a hardcore gamer on Linux and want to use the Fedora Games Lab, there are easy options in the software store to get access to proprietary Nvidia drivers and Steam.
5. The Fedora Jam Lab
The Jam Lab is for anybody who’s looking to produce audio on Linux. Focused on music production with applications like MuseScore and TuxGuitar, there are plenty of applications and uses for those looking to produce audio other than music. Most notably, this includes Ardour, a multi-channel audio production application that feels very professional to use.
6. The Fedora Python Classroom
The Python Classroom is a particularly interesting lab. There are loads of Python learning tools crammed into one live environment, including the Mu editor, Python 3 IDLE, multiple IDEs, editors, shells, and Git. However, the most interesting part is that there are several different ways to get access to the Python Classroom.
You can download the ISO Image to burn onto a flash drive and run on a standard x86_64 computer. You can also get an ARM image for running on the classic software development learning platform the Raspberry Pi. Even more interestingly, you can download a Vagrant Box image to import into either VirtualBox or a libvirt hypervisor. Finally, you can choose to download the whole thing as a Docker container to run with Docker (or Podman). This is all incredibly important for those learning Python, as it provides convenient and isolated working environments that can be deployed quickly and easily.
7. The Fedora Security Lab
The Security Lab is a great option for security testing using Fedora as a base. There are many tools similar to Kali Linux, Parrot OS, Blackbuntu, and many other security-focused Linux distributions. There are a myriad of tools available to you, including classics like aircrack-ng, John the Ripper, and Wireshark. It gives a great platform that runs well off a USB stick or in a virtual machine with the XFCE Desktop Environment and terminal-based tools and will serve as security testers as well as an alternative to Kali Linux or Parrot OS.
8. The Fedora Robotics Lab
The Robotics Lab is the ultimate tinkerer’s playground with numerous tools for your robotics projects. It comes with many different development environments, including Arduino and the Eclipse multi-language IDE, as well as Gazebo, a 3D robotics simulator. It has everything you need to create the robots of your dreams.
Why Are Fedora Labs important?
The Fedora Labs are incredibly important. It should be said that you don’t have to download these as separate ISO images and create a bootable USB or Virtual Machine. You can install any and all of this software one piece at a time, and you can even install these as DNF groups, which are found by opening a terminal and typing
But packaging them as convenient live systems enables users to download an ISO, flash it to a USB drive, as we’ve all done at least once before as Linux users, and get started with relevant software immediately available to you. Plus, beyond just being live systems, there’s a very easy “Install to Hard Drive” button that enables users to fully invest in the system they have. The work the Fedora Project has done here is incredible, and it should be applauded.
Now that you have all kinds of new OS images to play around with, you may want to learn about Virtual Machine Manager on Linux, how to create a Linux live USB in macOS, and some tips for speeding up your virtual machines.