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Is Fedora Linux Still Relevant?

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(khess)
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I've been in discussions with a group of other writers, Linux distribution watchers, Linux community leaders and developers in the past few days concerning Linux commercial vs. Linux community versions and some of us came to the conclusion that Fedora's relevance has waned. In fact, it might be time to scrap it completely. Or maybe it's time for Red Hat to step up and support it formally and unconditionally.

Fedora is the only major community Linux edition that has no commercial support option from its commercial benefactor. Even OpenSolaris has commercial support from Sun.

This brings me to the question, "Does Red Hat really care about its community?"

The answer, from its policies, tell me no.

Don't get me wrong, I love Red Hat Linux--or did until my recent negative experiences with it. My first negative Red Hat experience was a few years ago when they decided to scrap what was then known as Red Hat Linux that ended with version 9.0 in 2004. They then began the infamous Fedora Project to which this post is aimed.

It seems to me, and others, that Fedora is nothing more than a early adopter testbed and package foundry and not a serious linux distro with strong community support with commercial support options.

This is unfortunate since many, like me, saw something special in Red Hat in the latter 1990s and adopted it as their platform of choice. To say the least, I'm disappointed. To Red Hat's credit, they are one of the most successful open source businesses and a true success story for the Open Source Community in general. For this, I applaud them.

Contrary to what you might believe, I am not anti-Red Hat but I do find that some of their corporate policies have become community-unfriendly. In my opinion, if you don't have a good relationship with your community, your level of success is going to be limited. They might not have experienced this yet but they will when adopters realize that there is no support from the mother ship.

So, what does this all mean? It means that you should move to something that is better for your company in terms of support, validity, stability and viability. My suggestions are CentOS, Ubuntu or Debian. Ubuntu is Debian-based and CentOS is actually Red Hat Enterprise Linux created from source--so if you like RPM-based distributions, CentOS is a great choice. If you require vendor support, Ubuntu or openSUSE would be my choices--although Ubuntu's prices are significantly higher than others.

It's time for Fedora to be mothballed and to enter Wikipedia as a historic and defunct distribution.

Since Red Hat has turned its back on me and others in the community twice in the past few years, I bid them adieu. I do wish them the best of luck in their endeavors but until they make a new and convincing effort, I'll use something else.

What kind of experiences have you had from Red Hat--good or bad? Write back and let me know.

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HITMANOF44th
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i used to have redhat went with centos because in my opinion hardware support is better and runs more stable

remember i said in my opinion don't want to step on any toes or start debates

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dandart
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Nice post that I never expected to happen.

It seems Fedora is for people that don't want support and want the bleeding edge of Red Hat. Red Hat has support for some, not for others. That doesn't mean Fedora should die, just because it just isn't for people that want commercial support.

Nice article nonetheless.

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von_Wanderlust
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Wow. I think your reasoning may be slightly flawed. Essentially you are making a value judgment, that only things that have corporate backing deserve to exist.

We all know that Red Hat suports and uses Fedora as a testbed for new developments and that their Red Hat branded system is the stable, no-surprises version. I think this works well, and not only does Fedora end up being a testbed for Red Hat, but also for the wider Linux community.

It is disengenous to suggest that Fedora doesn't have support, Fedora in fact has a well established community that works together to provide help to anyone that asks for it, whether they are single user or an IT technician within an organisation.

If said person is looking for commercial support, one could probably very fairly assume that they a) are not technically proficient enough to run a distribution that regularly brings in new developments from the Linux world, or b) are running an organisation where downtime costs money. In both these instances, there is an option, and that is Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The irony here in the authors belief that value only comes through commercial support is that Linux would never have made it out of someone's little i386 and into the bigger world if we only gauged things on commercial support. Commercial support is great and in the last few years has helped to push Linux along nicely. However, it is not the be all and end all of 'value'.

For the record, I am not attached to Fedora or Red Hat, I am actually an Arch Linux user. I had to sign up as I couldn't stand to hear someone blindly propagate a view that value is only created through direct sales.

As for Fedora/mothballed/history, I believe that it may be the author that goes down in history with a statement like that.

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amaniev
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Fedora has plenty of community support and is ideal for desktop users, gamers and developers who do not need commercial support and want the latest. Fedora has a lot of upstream contribution to its credit. I agree with von_Wanderlust's comments below.

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gnuhead
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Fedora is no more a testbed for (RHEL) Red Hat Enterprise Linux than Debian is a testbed for Ubuntu.

Fedora is upstream from RHEL the same way as Debian is upstream from Ubuntu.

Fedora as not a testbed i'm so fed up of reading posts where this is stated.

Fedora's upstream are the various projects and they always push fixes upstream before they release and try to get those changes accepted upstream before they release which is extremely helpful to all the other distros.
BTW many of your suggested distros with the exception of Debian to the best of my knowledge do not do this. ( Please correct me if i'm inaccurate )

Fedora's work on SELinux, Network Manager , Package Kit, Plymouth etc. are benefited by the entire Linux community.

Fedora may not have commercial support but has an enormous community that is extremely helpful.

"This brings me to the question, "Does Red Hat really care about its community?""
Is that why they fund and support( engineering infrastructure etc. ) Fedora.

"It's time for Fedora to be mothballed and to enter Wikipedia as a historic and defunct distribution."
Is that why its always in the top 5 at distrowatch.

There are millions of Fedora users / contributers, make no mistake my friend Fedora is VERY relevant.

I bid you adieu .. and I guarantee you what ever distro you use the Fedora community has in some way worked very hard on the software you are using.

.peace

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amaniev
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If 'test bed' is being used in the sense of "an execution environment used for testing", then Fedora is nowhere near that. RHEL testing is separate.

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amaniev
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If 'test bed' is being used in the sense of "an execution environment used for testing", then Fedora is nowhere near that. RHEL testing is separate.

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acidphlux
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After using Ubuntu for 3 years on my previous laptop it failed me when I tried to run it on my new Toshiba. It failed miserably. After several hard locks and trying experimental options I gave up and installed Fedora and its worked fine since. The really annoying part is I bought this laptop because all the hardware was supported by open source drivers. Yet the "no longer relevant" distribution succeeded where Ubuntu failed.

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Queixa
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I've used Win and Mac for forever. I go back to DOS and CP/M before DOS. Just started looking at Linux this past January when I got my netbook. I'm currently switching between Ubuntu and on SD cards and using the netbook's 4GB drive as storage for both. Ubuntu is my standard OS -- quicker and cursor control with the touchpad is smoother. But Fedora has some advantages. Fbreader in Fedora is better. I love that it will download automatically public domain books. Same software in Ubuntu doesn't. My USB webcam works fine in Fedora. In Ubuntu, the system seems to recognize it but the software doesn't. Banshee works better with my mp3 player in Ubuntu. Wine seems difficult to mostly useless under both.

I have not yet found a perfect OS -- but I love the flexibility of changing an OS by just switching a $15 8GB SD card. Give me Fedora, Ubuntu, and anything else that works.

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sanjay_ankur
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hi,

Fedora is a community driven project. Hence support is also community driven :)

Red hat does support Fedora.

You need to spend sometime reading up the mailing lists and fedoraforum.org along with planet.fedoraproject.org and the rest.

Here : archives :

https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/fedora-ambassadors-list

You can navigate to all the other lists from there.

Please refrain from publishing your opinions without having proper sources and knowledge on the concerned subject.

regards,

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vonbrand
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Hum... CentOS is Red Hat sources recompiled and repackaged. I fail to see how it can have "better hardware support".

Also, OpenSolaris is Sun's idea of trying to get Solaris (their flagship system) some of the development breadth of Linux, that hardly counts as a comparable situation than Fedora vs Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Yes, Fedora isn't perfect. Yes, it has its rough edges. But it packages in a (mostly well working) collection whatever is the newest and greatest in open source, so if you are curious about where things are going, this should be your first stop. By adopting new stuff agressively, it serves as testing ground for all Linux distributions (and even beyond), so you do benefit regardless.

Besides, Red Hat does support Fedora very heavily, it is not just some kind of orphan left to its own devices.

Please look a bit closer (and try out stuff for a while) before critizising.

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Xinerama
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Is Fedora still relevant?
Jesus man! Yes, it's still relevant. I've been using Red Hat since RPM hit the beat in 1996 with 4.2. Yes, Fedora may not be for the average user, but it sure as hell has come a long way since it's start.
I agree with amaniev and will add that Fedora is an excellent place for people to really get their hands dirty. Sure you're gonna make some mistakes here and there. That's natural. But wait, why pick up the phone and call for help or take time to log onto a site and then search when all I have to is use Google. If it hasn't been solved by a Fedora user surely a flavor of Linux (Ubuntu and its community) will be able to offer some answers.
All this aside, it still doesn't take the average user more than three days to solve even the most difficult task. That is of course unless they're recompiling the kernel.

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fwarren
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Fedora is needed.

I am glad there are very strong Gentoo, Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu communities. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Anything that is "cool" and "really works" in one distro tends to work its way into other distros. They are all the better for it.

Fedora used to run slow on my systems and I prefer DEB to RPM. With things like plymoth and pulse audio Fedora has proven they are always willing to push in directions that Ubuntu won't. Anything that Fedora does that works will be rolled into Ubuntu.

Ubuntu has been great. They pick up the slack from Fedora at making the desktop better. Mark Shuttleworth can say "Yo! Better Notifications" or "Yo! 10 second boot times" or "Yo! Better art work" and Ubuntu has it in the next 2 releases. On the other hand, they seem hell bent on stripping everything out of Gnome that they can to replace it with Mono apps. In the long run. I believe that Mono will be a hindrance. And what is with even considering dropping Gimp for Fspot? Also KDE is a second class citizen. The fact that Fedora is around and is a bit more wary about Microsoft, Novel and Mono is a good thing.

Debian provides the very base that Ubuntu is able to build on. They are dogmatic where Ubuntu is pragmatic. The angels sing when they hear "Apt". On the other hand, stable means old and crusty. They also are so democratic it takes forever to move ahead.

Gentoo is fast, I love their documentation and they are another very strong community.

Linux is better for having all of them around. If any of them wanders to far in the wrong direction. We always have another distro we can turn to.

I am about to load Fedora 11, my first foray into Fedora since Fedora 3.

Viva la diversity!

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sempal
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well...what can i say....we can't judge red hat as a traitor (some of my friends thought that)...if you say that red hat is not fully supported fedora, i won't say that wrong....but to put fedora on recycle bin as what do you want....i guess not...
see it....linux developments don't stand in a distro....i'm ubuntu user as well as PClinuxOS....from those distros (not only ubuntu and PCLinuxOS) i can advice my consumers which linux or *nix system is the most suitable for they need....some applications or some systems might be fail to work on fedora...but those gave another developers to develop better applications...well i guess i like to think that way....nothing should be restricted here....

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