Fedora – 10 years of leading Linux development

Fedora is one of the most respected GnuLinux distributions around. It’s been used by leading Linux developers including the father of Linux, Linus Torvalds himself.

There are so many different elements that sets Fedora apart from the rest of the GnuLinux distributions – one of the most notable features of Fedora is innovation. Fedora is a cutting edge operating system which keeps it users at the edge by offering latest packages.

Second beauty of Fedora is heavy contribution to upstream – unlike many other GnuLinux projects which make changes downstream to benefit their own users, Fedora developers prefer working upstream so that everyone benefits from their work including products like Ubuntu.

Third beauty of Fedora is – promotion of Free and Open Source software. Once again, unlike many distributions endorsing non-free software, Fedora offers only those applications which are available under FLOSS licenses.

Fedora was born when Red Hat decided to change its development and business model to strike a balance between fast paced innovation and offering a stable platform for enterprise customers. At the same time Red Hat also needed a model where they can sustain without adding any non-free sauce to their offering and remain fully free software.

When Red Hat discontinued Red Hat Linux in 2003 for non-paying customers it faced heavy criticism from the community.  That’s when Fedora was created. Fedora, a kind of hat, shows a connection with Red Hat’s shadowman logo without diluting the trademark.

There already existed a Linux distribution named Fedora Linux, a community driven collaborative project, was started by Warren Togami in 2002 which was built on top of Red Hat to get third party package for Red Hat users.

Fedora Core 1 running Gnome Desktop.
Fedora Core 1 running Gnome Desktop.

Released on 6 Nov 2003, the first version of Fedora called Fedora Core 1 which was based on Red Hat Linux 9 and had Linux kernel 2.4.19  and Gnome 2.4 and KDE 3.1 as the available desktop environments.

The core name also implied that the core packages needed by the operating system, and other additional packages, were developed and maintained only for Red Hat developers – the way core Android is today developed and mainted only by Google developers. 3rd party packages were made available through Extras repository which were not included on the DVD and CD of Fedora Core. Now RPM Fusion is a kind of single repository which offers add-on packages to Fedora users.

Fedora is more than just a project; it functions as a microcosm of the wider open source ecosystem!

The cutting edge nature of Fedora also a ‘gift and a curse’ for Fedora users are there are more chances for things to break than in Debian or openSUSE. However, that’s the price users are willing to pay to not only stay ahead of the curve but also be part of something that ‘drives’ or directs’ the future of Linux.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary Fedora Project Team says:

Fedora is more than just a project; it functions as a microcosm of the wider open source ecosystem, with a committed community driving innovation at a pace unmatched by other Linux distributions. The project also helps drive the future of Red Hat and enterprise open source, serving as the upstream for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. If you love a specific feature in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the odds are good that Fedora was the catalyst for that capability.

Red Hat has proved that free software can become a billion dollar business without making any compromises with the core philosophy of free software.

Happy birthday Fedora!

About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

27 thoughts on “Fedora – 10 years of leading Linux development

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