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Fedora 7 -- what, when, and why

With the Red Hat Summit kicking off, I'd like to take a few minutes to discuss some of the recent happenings in the Fedora Project, particularly around Fedora 7. This email is being sent both to public Fedora mailing lists, and to Red Hat mailing lists, so that folks in both the external and internal Fedora communities can have a chance to read it, and people can all sort of consistently spread the same message about Fedora.


The next version of Fedora will be released on May 24th. It will be called "Fedora 7" -- not "Fedora Core 7". It's the most ambitious release of Fedora that we've undertaken, and I hope that when we look back at Fedora 7 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."

(1) 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 RHEL or other Red Hat (not Fedora) branded products to be built and to be more firmly controlled by Red Hat than Fedora is. Fedora serves as an upstream for various Red Hat products, and Fedora has a responsibility to provide a good "service" to those downstream "customers".

(2) Custom spins of Fedora. The primary consequence of (1) is that customized versions of Fedora are now possible to an extent that was not available previously. User-generated Fedora, if you're looking for a buzzword. :-P

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.

(3) Live CD, DVD, and USB technology. A Fedora spin can be loaded onto various forms of bootable media, which 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.

(4) Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology has been integrated with the Fedora graphical virtualization manager tool. KVM provides a full virtualization solution, and users have a choice between KVM and Xen, along with Qemu, in this release.

(5) The usual set of upstream changes and improvements that are a part of any Fedora release.


Fedora will have a good presence at the Red Hat Summit, beginning on May 9th. There are four talks specifically about Fedora -- a general Q&A, a talk about Fedora Infrastructure, a talk about building custom versions of Fedora, and a talk about the Live CD technology.

Furthermore, there will be a Fedora booth in the main area, where Fedora folks will be able to have general conversations with folks. If you are looking for me, this is a good place to start!

Additionally, we will be able to give folks who attend the Summit a Fedora 7 Preview Live DVD. This is a special spin of Fedora that we did for the RH Summit, with custom artwork, Firefox start page, and various other goodies.

We'll also have some of the bootable USB keys around for demonstration purposes, as well as demonstrations going on showing folks how to build custom spins of Fedora.

I'm putting the finishing touches on this note on a plane somewhere between Raleigh and San Diego. :-)


As stated earlier, the Fedora 7 release date is May 24th. This is one week before LinuxTag 2007 in Berlin, which we are using as the "European Launch" of Fedora 7. Our LinuxTag presence is being organized by Gerold Kassube, one of our Fedora Ambassadors. The community of folks in Europe who care deeply about Fedora is definitely a bright spot.

For those of you in Europe who will attend LinuxTag, I look forward to seeing you there.

Max Spevack
+ http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/MaxSpevack
+ gpg key -- http://spevack.org/max.asc
+ fingerprint -- CD52 5E72 369B B00D 9E9A 773E 2FDB CB46 5A17 CF21

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