Friday, May 20, 2011

The Fedora Connection

Fedora actually began its existence as a simple collection of software. One of the community outreach projects started by Red Hat as it was working to keep community interest high was the Fedora Linux project, a collection of newer and more experimental software that, when installed on Red Hat Linux, would give users a chance to enhance their computers without introducing risky software to the main Red Hat Linux distribution.

It’s important to note that Fedora Linux was not a stand-alone version of Linux, like other distributions, but was actually what’s known as a repository of software. But it would play a key role in what was to come next.

In September 2003, Red Hat made a stunning announcement: Red Hat Linux would cease to be a product. Instead, users who wanted to have commercial grade support (such as those coveted enterprise customers) would now use and pay for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Users who wished to continue using Red Hat Linux for free and without support would use Fedora Core, a formal merging of Red Hat Linux and the software from the Fedora Linux project.

The new Fedora Core distribution would be governed not by Red Hat, but by an independent nonprofit organization known as the Fedora Project. At the time, this was considered to be a radical move, but as Linux became more commercially viable, vendors like Red Hat were able to make the jump to a pure commercial distribution.

Initially, reaction was mixed. After all, many people wondered, what about home and small business users who wanted some level of support? In response, in 2004 Red Hat (rather quietly) released Red Hat Professional Workstation, a $100 version of Red Hat Linux that came with direct Red Hat support. It was, unfortunately, a commercial failure.

What happened next would shape the commercial/community distribution model for all future releases—not just for Red Hat, but also for other followers of the model.

Simply put, the Fedora community took care of the support problem itself. By becoming a cohesive, flexible body, members of the Fedora Project began to fill the gaps that were once occupied by Red Hat. Documentation was created; support issues resolved; bugs tracked, identified, and removed. In short, the Fedora Core distribution became as robust and powerful as Red Hat Linux ever was and soon surpassed its parent distribution in terms of ease of use and features.

In fact, the Fedora Project became so strong that eventually Red Hat would drop its efforts for a home/small business desktop product and put time, effort, and resources back into Fedora Core.

Ultimately, this approach worked out very well for both sides. Power users and developers got a complete and robust distribution to experiment with and use, and Red Hat kept its commercial distribution solid and mature. And, as an added benefit, Fedora Core, later named just Fedora, would become a test bed for new technologies and applications, which would later be included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

It’s a good example of a win-win situation for users, developers, and commercial vendors alike.

Source of Information : Cengage-Introducing Fedora 2010