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One OS, three flavors: How Fedora 21 is splitting up to double down on focus

Chris Hoffman | Nov. 5, 2014
The first fruits of the sweeping Fedora.next project appears in Fedora 21, which goes live in beta form today.

The goal is to make Fedora the best platform for these developers, so, when you go to a developer event, all those Macs you usually see would be replaced by Fedora machines. That's quite a goal.

Miller was quick to stress that Fedora Workstation would still have all the usual stuff for enthusiasts. To continue the Lego set analogy, they "still have all these buckets of Lego," but it's not just random buckets of Lego. There are Lego sets to help get you started. So it's now "here's a castle set and here's a spaceship set"-- you're not just a bunch of options and left to your own devices. But you can ignore the sets and dive into the bucket, if you want.

Cloud: The cloud product is what you'd expect: pre-built images "to run in Amazon EC2, OpenStack, or other cloud providers," as Miller explains it. Fedora has always had a bit more of a desktop focus, so "many people haven't chosen to use it" for the cloud. They want people to think of Fedora first for this. Miller was also eager to discuss Fedora Atomic, a Docker host ready to go for the cloud. Docker is a container-based virtualization system that many people are becoming very enthusiastic about lately. Even Microsoft now loves Docker!

Server: This is the product closest to the traditional big Fedora installer DVD. "It's your Lego and you can assemble it into whatever server you want," he said. It's meant for a home or small business server, and you can easily install "roles" to set it up as a database server, identity server, or whatever other type of server you want. They'll also be shipping the Cockpit web-based server administration tool to provide easy, web-based administration of a Fedora server. This is ideal for new server admins, or just server admins new to Linux.

When asked why someone would choose to go with Fedora on a server instead of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (Red Hat funds Fedora, and Fedora provides a sort of development platform for the stable, longer-supported, slower-moving RHEL) or CentOS (a free repackaging of RHEL), Miller quickly conceded that RHEL and other slower-moving systems would be ideal for many servers.

"It's not necessarily for everybody," he said, but Fedora would have all the newest versions of things and support for the latest hardware. "RHEL 7 has a lot of big changes from RHEL 6, but people who were keeping up with Fedora were ready for them already."

The future of the Linux desktop
So that's the future of Fedora, at least for the next ten years. A stronger focus on the reasons people actually choose to use Linux, where Linux is particularly ideal, without sacrificing all that tweakability enthusiasts like. "We still have all those things you can tinker with... but we wanted to make something that is polished to a certain audience."

 

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