Today marks an important day in Fedora history. We’ve released Fedora 7 - the most ambitious release that we’ve undertaken so far. We hope that when we look back one or two years down the road, the decisions that we made for this release will have proven to be as impactful as anything we’ve done in the Fedora space since the start of the Fedora Project. In one sentence: “Fedora 7 has been about improving the manner in which all future Fedora releases will be made.” Want to know what’s new with this release? Read on.
Open Source Toolchain
In Fedora 7, the entire toolchain is free. Every step in the distro creation process is free software and can take place on hardware that is accessible both to Red Hat employees and the general Fedora community.
- Source code in an external version control system.
- RPMs built on an external, open source build system.
- Distributions built with an external, open source compose tool.
Why is this important? Because Fedora’s ultimate goal over the past few years has been to allow proven non-Red Hat contributors to have greater influence and access to the Fedora Project. From the technical side, this goal has been pushed forward by the Fedora Extras project and the Fedora Infrastructure projects, especially.
One of the Fedora Project’s success metrics is building and running itself in a way such that no single entity can completely control Fedora’s fate. Fedora 7 gets us there insofar as there is no “secret sauce” in the ability to spin a Fedora distribution. Nothing is hidden.
Balanced against these goals of increased openness has been the need to create systems and infrastructure that continue to allow Red Hat Enterprise Linux or other Red Hat (not Fedora) branded products to be built and to be more firmly controlled by Red Hat. Fedora serves as an upstream for various Red Hat products and Fedora has a responsibility to provide a good “service” to those downstream “customers.”
Custom spins of Fedora are available in this newest release. The primary consequence of the open source toolchain is that customized versions of Fedora are now possible to an extent that was not previously available. Fedora Respins, or User-Generated Fedora, are good if you’re looking for a buzzword.
Think about some of the possibilities:
- People in various countries directly managing localized spins of Fedora, customized both for language requirements and bandwidth requirements.
- “Competing” spins of the Fedora Desktop, or server-ready package sets, allowing the best ones to gain popularity and be shared.
- The ability for a business or a university that uses Fedora to take their own third-party RPMs and create a Fedora-derived distribution that integrates them at build time.
Live CD, DVD and USB technology. A Fedora spin can be loaded onto various forms of bootable media that allows users to run their OS without hard disk installation, and gives users the ability to launch the installer with a simple double click. As with what is written above, the tools used for this are all free software and therefore everything in this space is also fully customizable by users.
Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology has been integrated with the Fedora graphical virtualization manager tool. KVM provides a full virtualization solution, and in this release, users have a choice between KVM and Xen, along with Qemu.
In addition to all of the other new features and updates, there are also the usual set of upstream changes and improvements that are a part of any Fedora release.
Today’s Fedora release just so happens to fall during the week of LinuxTag - one of the biggest Linux shows of the year in Europe. We’ll have Fedora representatives there and plan to make a big deal out of the Fedora 7 launch with LinuxTag as a sort of worldwide launch party.
We’ve got a great Fedora booth set up, we’ll be doing installs of Fedora 7 during the entire show and there is a full day of talks lined up. It should be a great show.
A huge amount of the credit for LinuxTag goes to our Fedora Ambassadors team - a committed group of volunteers who help to make sure that Fedora has a strong presence at all the big shows. It’s yet another testament (this time non-technical) to the power of the Fedora community.
For those of you in Europe who will attend LinuxTag, we look forward to seeing you there. For everyone else, check out the site and download Fedora here.