Fedora (operating system)
Fedora 26 Workstation with GNOME 3.24
|Developer||Fedora Project (sponsored by Red Hat)|
|Source model||Open source|
|Initial release||6 November 2003|
|Latest release||27 / 14 November 2017|
|Marketing target||Desktop, workstation, server, cloud|
|Update method||0.5 years per stabilization|
Alternative or secondary: i686, aarch64, armv7, ppc64, ppc64le, mips64el, mipsel, RISC-V
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux)|
|Default user interface||GNOME|
|License||Various free software licenses, plus proprietary firmware files|
|Preceded by||Red Hat Linux|
Fedora // (formerly Fedora Core) is a Unix-like operating system based on the Linux kernel and GNU programs (a Linux distribution), developed by the community-supported Fedora Project and sponsored by the Red Hat company. Fedora contains software distributed under various free and open-source licenses and aims to be on the leading edge of such technologies. Fedora is the upstream source of the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution.
Since the release of Fedora 21, three different editions are available: Workstation, focused on the personal computer, Server and Cloud for servers, and Atomic being the edition meant for cloud computing.
Fedora has a reputation for focusing on innovation, integrating new technologies early on and working closely with upstream Linux communities. Making changes upstream instead of specifically for Fedora ensures that the changes are available to all Linux distributions.
Fedora has a relatively short life cycle: each version is usually supported for at least 13 months, where version X is supported only until 1 month after version X+2 is released and with approximately 6 months between most versions. Fedora users can upgrade from version to version without reinstalling.
The default desktop environment in Fedora is GNOME and the default user interface is the GNOME Shell. Other desktop environments, including KDE Plasma, Xfce, LXDE, MATE and Cinnamon, are available and can be installed.
Fedora uses the RPM package management system, using DNF as a tool to manage the RPM packages. DNF uses libsolv, an external dependency resolver. Flatpak is also supported by default, and support for Ubuntu's snaps can also be added. Fedora uses Delta RPM when updating installed packages to provide Delta update. A Delta RPM contains the difference between an old and new version of a package. This means that only the changes between the installed package and the new one are downloaded reducing network traffic and bandwidth consumption.
Fedora uses Security-Enhanced Linux by default, which implements a variety of security policies, including mandatory access controls, which Fedora adopted early on. Fedora provides hardening wrapper, and does hardening for all of its packages by using compiler features such as position-independent executable (PIE).
Fedora comes installed with a wide range of software such as LibreOffice and Firefox. Additional software is available from the software repositories and can be installed using the DNF package manager or GNOME Software.
Additionally, extra repositories can be added to the system, so that software not available in Fedora can be installed easily. Software that is not available via official Fedora repositories, either because it doesn't meet Fedora's definition of free software or because its distribution may violate US law, can be installed using third-party repositories. Popular third-party repositories include RPM Fusion free and non-free repositories. Fedora also provides users with an easy-to-use build system for creating their own repositories called Copr.
Beginning with Fedora version 21, it is available as three distinct primary editions:
- Fedora Workstation – It targets users who want a reliable, user-friendly, and powerful operating system for their laptop or desktop computer. It comes with GNOME by default but other desktops can be installed or can be directly installed as Spins.
- Fedora Server – Its target usage is for servers. It includes the latest data center technologies. This edition doesn't come with a desktop environment, but one can be installed.
- Fedora Cloud – It provides a minimal image of Fedora which includes just the bare essentials. It is meant for deployment in cloud computing. It also provides Fedora Atomic Host images which are optimized minimal images for container uses.
Similar to Debian blends, the Fedora Project also distributes custom variations of Fedora called Fedora spins or editions. These are built with specific sets of software packages, offering alternative desktop environments or targeting specific interests such as gaming, security, design, education, robotics, and scientific computing (that includes SciPy, Octave, Kile, Xfig and Inkscape). Fedora spins are developed by several Fedora special interest groups. Fedora also provides a Fedora Atomic Host image for Project Atomic, which is Red Hat's solution for deploying Docker-based containerized applications.
The Fedora AOS (Appliance Operating System) is a specialized spin of Fedora with reduced memory footprint for use in software appliances. Appliances are pre-installed, pre-configured, system images. This spin is intended to make it easier for anyone (developers, independent software vendors (ISV), original equipment manufacturers (OEM), etc.) to create and deploy virtual appliances.
x86-64 and ARM-hfp are the primary architectures supported by Fedora. Pidora and FedBerry are specialized Fedora distributions for the Raspberry Pi. As of release 26, Fedora also supports ARM AArch64, IBM Power64, IBM Power64le, IBM Z, MIPS-64el, MIPS-el, RISC-V and Intel i686 as secondary architectures (with i686 being primary until release 25).
The name of Fedora derives from Fedora Linux, a volunteer project that provided extra software for the Red Hat Linux distribution, and from the characteristic fedora hat used in Red Hat's "Shadowman" logo. Warren Togami began Fedora Linux in 2002 as an undergraduate project at the University of Hawaii, intended to provide a single repository for well-tested third-party software packages so that non-Red Hat software would be easier to find, develop, and use. The key of Fedora Linux and Red Hat Linux was that Fedora's repository development would be collaborative with the global volunteer community. Fedora Linux was eventually absorbed into the Fedora Project, carrying with it this collaborative approach.
Fedora Linux was launched in 2003, when Red Hat Linux was discontinued. Red Hat Enterprise Linux was to be Red Hat's only officially supported Linux distribution, while Fedora was to be a community distribution. Red Hat Enterprise Linux branches its releases from versions of Fedora.
Before Fedora 7, Fedora was called Fedora Core after the name of one of the two main software repositories - Core and Extras. Fedora Core contained all the base packages that were required by the operating system, as well as other packages that were distributed along with the installation CD/DVDs, and was maintained only by Red Hat developers. Fedora Extras, the secondary repository that had been included since Fedora Core 3, was community-maintained and not distributed along with the installation CD/DVDs. Upon the release of Fedora 7, the distinction between Fedora Core and Fedora Extras was eliminated.
Since the release of Fedora 21, as an effort to modularize the Fedora distribution and make development more agile, three different versions are available: Workstation, focused on the personal computer, Server and Atomic for servers, Atomic being the version meant for cloud computing.
Fedora is a trademark of Red Hat, Inc. Red Hat's application for trademark status for the name "Fedora" was disputed by Cornell University and the University of Virginia Library, creators of the unrelated Fedora Commons digital repository management software. The issue was resolved and the parties settled on a co-existence agreement that stated that the Cornell-UVA project could use the name when clearly associated with open source software for digital object repository systems and that Red Hat could use the name when it was clearly associated with open source computer operating systems.
Development and Community
Development of the operating system and supporting programs is headed by the Fedora Project, which is composed of a community of developers and volunteers, and also Red Hat employees. The Council is the top-level community leadership and governance body. Other bodies include the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee, responsible for the technical decisions behind the development of Fedora, and Fedora Ambassadors Steering Committee, which is responsible for the promotion of Fedora Linux worldwide.
Fedora has a relatively short life cycle: version X is supported only until 1 month after version X+2 is released and with approximately 6 months between most versions, meaning a version of Fedora is usually supported for at least 13 months, possibly longer. Fedora users can upgrade from version to version without reinstalling.
The current release is Fedora 27, which was released on 14 November 2017.
|Version (Code name)||Release||End-of-life||Kernel[a]||GNOME|
|Old version, no longer supported: 1 (Yarrow)||2003-11-05||2004-09-20||2.4.22||2.4|
|Old version, no longer supported: 2 (Tettnang)||2004-05-18||2005-04-11||2.6.5||2.6|
|Old version, no longer supported: 3 (Heidelberg)||2004-11-08||2006-01-16||2.6.9||2.8|
|Old version, no longer supported: 4 (Stentz)||2005-06-13||2006-08-07||2.6.11||2.10|
|Old version, no longer supported: 5 (Bordeaux)||2006-03-20||2007-07-02||2.6.15||2.14|
|Old version, no longer supported: 6 (Zod)||2006-10-24||2007-12-07||2.6.18||2.16|
|Old version, no longer supported: 7 (Moonshine)||2007-05-31||2008-06-13||2.6.21||2.18|
|Old version, no longer supported: 8 (Werewolf)||2007-11-08||2009-01-07||2.6.23||2.20|
|Old version, no longer supported: 9 (Sulphur)||2008-05-13||2009-07-10||2.6.25||2.22|
|Old version, no longer supported: 10 (Cambridge)||2008-11-25||2009-12-18||2.6.27||2.24|
|Old version, no longer supported: 11 (Leonidas)||2009-06-09||2010-06-25||2.6.29||2.26|
|Old version, no longer supported: 12 (Constantine)||2009-11-17||2010-12-02||2.6.31||2.28|
|Old version, no longer supported: 13 (Goddard)||2010-05-25||2011-06-24||2.6.33||2.30|
|Old version, no longer supported: 14 (Laughlin)||2010-11-02||2011-12-08||2.6.35||2.32|
|Old version, no longer supported: 15 (Lovelock)||2011-05-24||2012-06-26||2.6.38||3.0|
|Old version, no longer supported: 16 (Verne)||2011-11-08||2013-02-12||3.1||3.2|
|Old version, no longer supported: 17 (Beefy Miracle)||2012-05-29||2013-07-30||3.3||3.4|
|Old version, no longer supported: 18 (Spherical Cow)||2013-01-15||2014-01-14||3.6||3.6|
|Old version, no longer supported: 19 (Schrödinger's Cat)||2013-07-02||2015-01-06||3.9||3.8|
|Old version, no longer supported: 20 (Heisenbug)||2013-12-17||2015-06-23||3.11||3.10|
|Old version, no longer supported: 21||2014-12-09||2015-12-01||3.17||3.14|
|Old version, no longer supported: 22||2015-05-26||2016-07-19||4.0||3.16|
|Old version, no longer supported: 23||2015-11-03||2016-12-20||4.2||3.18|
|Old version, no longer supported: 24||2016-06-21||2017-08-08||4.5||3.20|
|Old version, no longer supported: 25||2016-11-22||2017-12-12||4.8||3.22|
|Older version, yet still supported: 26||2017-07-11||4.11||3.24|
|Current stable version: 27||2017-11-14||4.13||3.26|
|Future release: 28||2018-05-01|
- At the time of release. Supported releases are often updated to the latest stable version of the Linux kernel.
Rawhide is the development tree for Fedora. This is a copy of a complete Fedora distribution where new software is added and tested, before inclusion in a later stable release. As such, Rawhide is often more feature rich than the current stable release. In many cases, the software is made of CVS, Subversion or Git source code snapshots which are often actively developed by programmers. Although Rawhide is targeted at advanced users, testers, and package maintainers, it is capable of being a primary operating system. Users interested in the Rawhide branch often update on a daily basis and help troubleshoot problems. Rawhide users don't have to upgrade between different versions as it follows a rolling release update model.
Some notable Linux distributions derived from Fedora are:
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux – enterprise Linux offering from Red Hat, which branches from the current Fedora baseline
- Korora – aims to be more out of the box and easy to use from a home user perspective
- Qubes OS – a security-focused operating system that uses virtualization to separate various concerns (such as 'work' and 'home') with color-coded windows
- One Laptop per Child (OLPC) – uses Fedora with Sugar desktop environment from Sugar Labs
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