Fedora Linux, RHEL Evolve with New Release
The Fedora Project, which develops one of the world’s most popular Linux distributions, serves essentially as a sandbox for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). But that hasn’t stopped the Fedora team from pushing out a variety of new features in the latest release, Fedora 17, that should appeal more broadly than to Red Hat’s customer base alone. Here’s a look at the most important.
First, though, let’s be clear about Fedora’s relationship to RHEL. In the Fedora Project’s own words, Fedora’s the link between the two is summarized as follows:
The Fedora Project is a community project, separate from Red Hat, but Red Hat sponsors the Fedora Project and provides a great deal of valuable management and resources to the Fedora Project. Red Hat uses the material that the Fedora Project produces to develop its enterprise platform offerings. Red Hat has a strong interest in Fedora, and the success of the Fedora Project has been thanks to the great contributions of Red Hat. … Fedora is the upstream of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).
In other words, although Fedora remains strictly independent, it’s also closely linked to Red Hat. And RHEL, in turn, depends on Fedora both as a proving ground and for helping generate enthusiasm for the Red Hat ecosystem within the Linux world as a whole.
Fedora 17: A Broad Appeal
One might expect the Fedora team, then, to focus mainly on features of importance to RHEL, which mostly targets a corporate user base. But while there’s plenty in the new version of Fedora that will excite server administrators and IT engineers, there’s also a lot for other subsets of users, including:
- GNOME 3.4, the latest iteration of the GNOME 3 platform. In contrast to its earlier days, when it had a lot of maturing to do, GNOME Shell has perhaps now finally come of age. It makes Fedora 17 a more solid general purpose desktop operating system.
- JBoss Application Server 7, an application server for Oracle’s Java Enterprise Edition development. This update should help Fedora 17 appeal to programmers, especially those inclined toward Java.
- A pre-release edition of the “Juno” version of the Eclipse SDK (which is itself mostly Java-based, although it supports development in a wide range of langauges), which also positions Fedora 17 as a great platform for developers.
Lest IT administrators hoping to run Fedora on servers or in the cloud feel left out, however, there’s plenty in Fedora 17 for them as well, including the latest version of OpenStack toolkit for building and configuring cloud infrastructure and the oVirt virtualization management platform.
The extent to which Fedora’s success translates into profit for Red Hat is not completely clear, but there can be little doubt that the solid enhancements in the most recent release of Fedora won’t hurt RHEL as it vies for its piece of the operating system against both open source and proprietary competitors.