Red Hat's Fedora Core 6 Tops A Million Installs
Published: January 9, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
A lot of Linux nerds were apparently busy over the holidays. It has only been 74 days since Red Hat delivered its Fedora Core 6 development Linux release, but according to the company the software has been installed on over 1 million machines.
Fedora Core 6 is, of course, the foundation of the future Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 for servers and workstations that is now expected on February 28 after being pushed into 2007 from a late 2006 expected debut. Among other things, the integration of the open source Xen virtualization hypervisor from XenSource is a bit trickier to integrate than Red Hat expected, mainly because the underlying chip technology to support virtualization was in flux last year and Xen is itself changing very rapidly as it matures into an enterprise-grade product.
On average, Red Hat is seeing over 95,000 Fedora Core 6 installs per week, which is a very high rate for an operating system, Linux or not. And the numbers are growing as time progresses, with recent weeks above 100,000 new installs and the Christmas and Hanukkah holiday week accounting for 130,000 downloads. Those numbers do not count installations from mirror sites on the Internet that distribute Fedora Core, by the way. (You can see the stats for Fedora Core 6 downloads on this page.)
At the end of March 2005, just two months after Sun Microsystems announced its Solaris 10 operating system, making it freely available for distribution on both Sparc and X86/X64 platforms, the company broke through the 1 million download barrier, and by late October 2006, some 21 months later, the Solaris download rate had continued strong although cut by about half the initial rate. Still, even at the slower rate, Sun has more than 6 million cumulative downloads for Solaris 10, which seeds a vast potential customer base for its paid Solaris support. Solaris is said to generate well north of $1 billion in revenues at Sun, even with Sun giving the operating system away, since enterprise customers who roll it out in production environments gladly pay for support.
Red Hat launched the Fedora Project for much the same reason--to seed a big base of customers, some of whom will want to get support and will therefore move to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Fedora is also how Red Hat gets beta testers for future commercial releases as they are being developed by the Fedora community. Sun launched the OpenSolaris project as the vehicle for Solaris development in the wake of the Solaris 10 launch and after it took Solaris open source.
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