Red Hat Consolidates Fedora Core and Extras Development
Published: January 16, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
Seeking to simplify the process of creating its development Linux releases and the related stack of thousands of programs that go into its Fedora Core distribution, the Fedora Project has announced that it is working with the Fedora Extras ancillary project to create a single, merged Fedora project and code repository. Bill Nottingham, a member of the Fedora Core board, which steers the open source project, made the announcement to the Fedora developer list on January 4.
According to Nottingham, Fedora developers as well as those who work on the finalized Red Hat Enterprise Linux commercial project, have been looking for ways to streamline the development process. Up until now, Fedora Core, which is the basic Linux setup and core Linux applications, has been developed distinctly from Fedora Extras, the stack of additional Linux applications that, more or less, converge to become Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Fedora is an unsupported, development release, while RHEL is a commercial release that comes with various paid-for support options. The developers who work on Fedora Core and Fedora Extras have been trying to figure out a way to treat all applications, whether they were part of Core or Extras, the same. And according to Nottingham, the answer is to stop treating these programs differently and to merge the efforts into one single Fedora Project.
"Starting with Fedora 7, there is no more Core, and no more Extras; there is only Fedora," explained Nottingham in his post to the Fedora developer list. "One single repository, built in the community on open source tools, assembled into whatever spins the Fedora community desires."
The Fedora Board, which steers the Fedora Core development effort, and FESCO, which steers the Fedora Extras effort, will work together to figure out how the merged projects will be managed and how the new, single code repository will work.
For now, Red Hat's development release will simply be called Fedora, no core, no extras, and the Fedora 7 Test1 development freeze is slated to go into effect on January 23. A Test1 Release is expected to be put out on January 30. The feature freeze for Fedora 7 hits on February 20, and the Test2 release follows on February 27. In March, translations are added and a Test3 release gets kicked out, followed by a final development freeze on April 5 and an expected general availability release on April 25.
Fedora 7 will include the merged Core and Extras code, and will come with separate "spins," or variants of the code stack and installation procedures, for a Gnome desktop, a KDE desktop, and a server. LiveCDs will also be part of the release. Developers are working to improve wireless device support, and to speed up both system boots and shutdowns, which take a long time on Linux. If you want to see all of the upcoming features for Fedora 7, you can take a gander at them here.
As far as corporate IT nerds are concerned, the list of packages in the proposed Fedora Server is probably the most interesting part of Fedora 7. The usual gang of suspects for delivering Web, FTP, SSH, IMAP, LDAP, and the related server-side alphabet soup of Internet technologies used on infrastructure servers are on the included list for Fedora Server. The important thing is all of the extraneous stuff that is not part of the server edition--stuff that just needs to be removed or locked down if you want to set up a secure server these days. There is no point in making people do such work. Jesse Keating, Dave Jones, and David Lutterkort are managing the server spin of Fedora 7, so send them your to-do and not-to-do list for this sub-project.
And if Red Hat wanted to go the extra mile, it would learn from Fedora 7 and create a minimalist version of RHEL 5. Call it Red Hat Secure Server or something catchy, and have it only install the basic things necessary to create a secure infrastructure server.
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